Moving Music to 5.1 sound?


Feb 24, 2007
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It appears that 5.1 Music Disks are currently available.

Have any of the residents recorded in DTS or 5.1 sound?
reference: Wiki on 5.1 sound standards

I have to guess it requires some major equipment upgrades to perform a 5.1 audio set?

And what about the software tools, Any that support 5.1 creation?
I haven't done it - but it sounds cool! I'd say it would be hard (in fact...I can't see how it would be done) to mix a DJ set in 5.1 surround. But if you were producing a track from scratch, then that's something I would love to listen to.
Its not that hard to do technically, but you should be 2 people, My guess, you correct me if I'm wrong.
Pick a really nice instrumental, in stereo, then fade vocals into the left and rear, and right rear. Pick some other track, or the same, and fade it into the rears and centre.

But to make it sound nice, who knows what next.

Play the THX sound sample at the beginning of a movie, that is just beautiful to me.

I've emailed Ableton to see what product they have that lets you author 5.1.
I'll post he reply. Will try FL aswell.

But what kind of mixer would you need, what would the flow have to be to support 5 channels of sound, think of the new effects engines that this would inspire.
I'm getting wet just thinking about it.

There has got to be some techno geeks on this site that write there own device effects??:hello:

I'm going to wander threw some techy forums to see who I can find that does the effects engine plug-in now. There's a format known as VST i think, need to understand that too.

Dream, can you understand the logical requirements for a mixer, to be able to manipulate 5 channels??? enough to describe it in a logical flow?

Or is there way to do it with a multi channelled mixer?

So many questions.:rolleyes:
So here's what I send, and received from Ableton.

Hi Chris,
At this time we do not have means to author music in 5.1 surround. It is on our wishlist, but we can't give a timetable for releasing it any time soon.
Best regards,

On Apr 1, 2007, at 2:36 AM, Chris Gooderham wrote:

Hello Ableton, It has become apparent that your product is in the lead in the Music production world, for many artists.
I have been researching the amount of material available in 5.1 or DTS sound, and find it rather limited.
Do any of your products provide the means to author music in 5.1 surround sound or DTS?

I believe this to be the logical step in Live entertainment and am looking for the product that will assist in this.

Chris Gooderham
Vancouver, BC, Canada
5.1 is already in use on Logic Pro 8.

It does not require an advanced mixer... Set would not be possible to do as the tracks you are playing are only in stereo...

I studied a whole semester on Surround sound and its standards at university this year.

If you was to record a set and you wanted to create some cool effects like say for instance a build up/rise (in trance) could circulate around the room... That's about as far as it could go set wise...

You would have to duplicate the stereo tracks you have recorded from your set remember to do two left and two right. have a mono for the centre. do not worry about the Subwoofer (LFE/Low Frequency Effects) because your system already has a cross over in which the lower end frequencies are already channelled into your LFE.

Then go from there... I think, you render it to an MPEG-D file. Don't quote me on that though.

You could easily produce a track in 5.1... Leon Bolier's 'Bonaire' would be a great track with all the bird sounds etc.

Take a look at logic. It even has algorithms for 'fake' surround sound just using two speakers. A lot of laptops incorporate this into their sound cards much like the SRS 'WOW' that you get in Windows Media Player.

The Nyquist theory comes into practice here where you actually get frequencies to cancel out parts of audio in each channell and this makes it sound like it is a surround sound track.

You spoke about THX, this is just a standard bought in with the first Star Wars movies... If you had a THX system in your cinema then you are hearing it exactly or almost exactly as it was when the sound engineer mixed down the original sound track. A lot of the home theater systems now (Logitec for example) have branded their systems THX... This is completely pointless as they are obviously not going to be anywhere near as good at the system the original engineer uses.

VST is Virtual Studio Technology. It is a plug in stand alone program that 'plugs in' to programs such as cubase, fruityloops etc. You can get Synthesisers as VST. Im not too sure if there would be a surround sound mixing VST as it will only get back into the mixer as stereo...

Good topic. I'm interested to see what you're going to do with this knowledge.

Start small on 5.1... Don't go straight to 22.2! :drool:
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Hey Will, thanks for all the great info.

I've been without my PC for quite a while now, just built a new one.
runs the newer ALC883 codec, so has a nice 7.1 system, with a discrete channel for alternat audio.
May be able to try some testing with the 5.1(quad is all I really need) but with 2 discrete channels, I can run 2 instances of a program, and direct each to different speakers through this sound processor.

I have been to a few venues(not clubs, but theatres) who have produced some amazing sounds by using spacial(surround) of more than 5.1, like your 22.2. And it was amazing.

My favourite was a strong melody in front with a quiet slow track creaping into the back, then flowing around the room to meet the front, and then actually push the main melody around the room with it. it blew my mind.
This was at a live orchestra event in Vancouver. The Orchestra was just the music, the effects were the real show. It was a 10 minute demo of new technology, about 2 years ago.

Thats the history of my desire.
But now I need to finsh my studio with 7.1 speakers(6.1 will work) and I'll settle for 4.1 to start.
Hopefully I can get this to work on my Vista machine.
And I am a little short on the amplifiers right now.
Lemme play with Logic Pro 8 and see what it can do for me.

btw, the THX track rules, I crank it every time it shows on a movie, yum.
Oh Crap, I now need a MAC to use Logic Pro 8,
Can I emulate a OSX? on Vista? lol

And I read up on the Nyquist Theory, very interesting, but way too much detail for me to comprehend, but it was nice that it showed a few examples.
Basically, I just need to start with high bitrate tracks to avoid aliasing and messing up the 3rd, 4th etc channels.
I'm hoping my discrete outputs will manage that for me, trying it with a simple quad idea....til I buy a MAC.
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Hi Chris. Interesting system you got there. Nothing of course what I'm using for production cause simply there is no need for me to have it lol. i dont watch movies that often and i only produce in stereo lol.
but would be good to hear it.

as far as i'm aware you cant emulate osx onto a windows pc. if you did it wouldnt run properly anyway.

let me know how u get on ;)
I hear ya Will, its rather geeky for the purpose.
I've realized to make a good 4.1/6.1/8.1 track with require some sexier software. And I looked at Logic, and it is very impressive looking, will do 4.1 easily.

I did realize this sound card is better suited to help me pump music thru the house better, and to test at least some 4.1 tracks.

Who's got a free MAC? :lol: That will run Logic? :)
if ur on a budget mate look on ebay for the powermac g4. upgrade that then u will be fine ;)
One of my son's wants to get a MAC, so its gonna be a tough sell.
But I will look around, thx, good idea.
no worries. the white iMac is pretty low in price its not the newest one but the silver ones (with leopard on) on came out less than a year ago.
as far as i'm aware you cant emulate osx onto a windows pc. if you did it wouldnt run properly anyway.

let me know how u get on ;)

My mate has OSX running on his PC - now they've changed over to the Intel architecture it's pretty simple to do. Stability-wise he's pretty happy with it, was testing itusing Ableton Live and that ran smooth as a baby's bottom. Wish I could say the same for Ableton on my PC!! Still ironing out a few glitches with the latest version.
Can I emulate a OSX? on Vista? lol


yes but you need steam powered 500 gigs of RAM, 450 of that only for Vista to emulate. j/k :)

for mixing you'd need already 5.1+ produced tracks and i haven't done any research into it tbh.
then in terms of dance music it prolly defeats the purpose, in a club environment you hardly get proper stereo sound, mostly down to their installed PAs but also due to moving acoustics, you won't get people to stand still and not interfere with soundwaves.
in a performance/in concert environment I think that some artists are dabbling with it (BT?)

interesting topic.

Pink Floyd used multiple speakers to feed their sounds but it was done from the engineer working the master mixing console. they had some success so that some critics said "the sound came from the right and from the left, from the front and the back, from under your seat and sometimes from out of your head"

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Hey 90d, you have a good point.
For the dance crowd, 5.1 won't mean squat.
But some of the vancouver clubs are more than just booze, boobs and dance floor.
They are setting up their venues for the next level. Business functions, movie premier's etc, and the 5.1 is already there.

But as you mention, the DJ spinning tracks won't be using the 5.1, its just to complicated to cover a dance floor, But the 5.1 will emerge on the dance floor, its just a matter of when.

btw, I'm really talking about quad sound 4.1, can't see a huge advantage in the centre channel.

BTW, I have an PvD Music Video DVD in 5.1, and it really kicks a**.:grinning:
Thing about that ...headphones are 2.0 stereo, mixing and using headphones as reference will be hard, unless you create your own 5.1s or buy one of those gamer headsets or companies make a new lineup. You will be missing some emphasis that can be critical to mixing properly.

Some of you may remember what Quadrophonics recording is. It's basically 4 audio channel music. It didn't work. There was a whole recording label devoted to it too..
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Hey Tarek, I almost thought this thread was dead.
The wife and I went to a Tori Amos concert in Seattle last weekend, and she utilized 5.1(7.1) in her concert, easier to do when you have the background music playing in the rear channels and there were sounds from above and in the middle sides. Very effectively done.

But without 5.1 headphones(and even with, since I have a pair) the whole experience just isn't the same. I think its only the concert or arena that would benefit, and of course the Movie industry.

FYI, I recall seeing that Ableton now supports 5.1 but haven't confirmed.
I guess you're right, but that would work if you got a producer to play his productions, not a DJ trying to mix. Of course, if the DJ is skilled enough to mix by ear without headphones through the yelling of the crowd ( rare ), then all is good. But Ableton would only look for 5.1 support for those who use it for production...or playback..right?
True, just for production, live mixing with 5.1 would be difficult, but I expect a simple add-on/effect could enable various modes of rear channel signals to play, like send 12k-15k freq to rears with .1ms delay, or roll a specific effect around the 5 channels.
But I haven't seen a mixer yet to support more than 2 channels at once yet..