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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:21 PM   #1
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Who mixes down using surround sound???

I'm happy with my little home-grown audio (with a little video) studio. Recorded and produced a few albums. I write and record "canned accompaniment music" to use during our live shows. Heck! Over the past few years, I've even begun to record/edit/mix music for simple video projects.

And it is all done in stereo.

I finally got to the point where I can "A/B/C" the mixes using three different sets of STEREO speakers. I can even "D" the "mix-in-progress" using my own car's (STEREO) speakers.

But visiting this and other audio/video bulletin boards, it seems like more and more people are using surround sound. Mind you, my audio and video software does enable me to do such projects. I "just" don't have the $$$ investment in speakers and amp(s) to do surround sound. And it seems like that the investment is not cheap!!! So here are my questions:

1) Is surround sound really becoming THAT popular with "regular" folk that I should seriously consider adding this to my happy little studio?? (My modest little "part-time" company sells musical/humor CD's for nursing and other healthcare professionals).

2) Is setting up your studio for surround sound expensive??? (Do you purchase enough speaker systems to "A/B/C" those "mixes-in-progress"???)

3) For those who do mix their audio/video projects in surround sound, what is your set up? What speakers or sets of speakers to you use?? What type of amps do you use??

4) Finally, I own a MOTU 828 MKII devise as my audio card to and from my computer. Am I correct in saying that I can use this card to set up surround sound??? Or do I have to purchase a totally different type of audio card. (I haven't even tried to set up the card. It does have 8 outputs which seems more than what I would need for a 5.1 surround sound set up.)

Thank you in advance for your time and for answering my questions.

Respectfully,

Ted
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Old October 7th, 2004, 04:15 AM   #2
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I don't really see why you would want surround. And the best
people to answer that question are your customers. I personally
don't see the value of music, comedy or healthcare in surround.
Music perhaps, but personally I use 5 channel stereo for that
(ie a normal CD played back over all 5 speakers).

A surround setup doesn't have to be expensive these days. You
can buy full sets for $100 or something. The price increases
if you want a **good** quality system. Then it will get more
expensive. A bought my Yamaha AV dolby digital / dts receiver
for $700 or so if I remember correctly.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 07:23 AM   #3
 
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Doing a surround mix thru 100.00 surround systems is like color correcting on a black and white TV built in 1969.

Surround is becoming more and more popular. I taught a surround class here at the Government Expo just last night, and the fill to cap class was predominantly people either just starting or wanting to get started.

If you're mixing surround for mom/pop/home projects that you're not making a dime for, then using a home receiver and cheap plastic speakers is fine.
If someone is paying you for any sort of work, you owe them the responsible practice of having a real system that is designed for authoring, not designed for game playing and watching movies.

We're digital storytellers and creators of illusion. Surround is a powerful tool, moreso than any other tool you have, to immerse your viewer in your message and create the illusion and depict the story.
Should everything be in surround? Should only special projects be in surround? The answer to both could be yes or no and be right.

Surround is heard in corporate training vids, it's heard in "The Sopranos" and it's heard in Sesame Street specials. It's going to continue to become more and more popular at both the consumer and authoring end.

To NOT be able to do surround merely is a self-imposed limitation. Will you starve because you can't do surround? Not likely. Will you make more money because you CAN do good surround? Maybe for the next year or so...soon it will be as much a part of the business as desktop DVD burning.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:28 AM   #4
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I agree fully with Spot, and please don't take my comment as that
a $100 set will be good to do mixing.

A serious question to you Spot. You say consumer AV receivers
are not really good to do authoring on. Why not? I think I have
one of the "better" (as in most general people who watch DVD
movies at home) decoders/receivers out there (certainly not
high-end or whatever): Yamaha RX-V620

I don't know a lot of people who have anything better than that
(two guys with a Denon do) in my personal circles. So I assume
that if I use this with a good speaker set (which I do NOT have
at this point in time) that is properly setup in levels and positioning
in the room that this is a pretty good set to do mixing on?
Since generally speaking it will be listened to on lesser sets?

Or..... what do you think? Ofcourse there are far, far better sets
out there and the better the quality the better you can hear how
good the track is etc.

Thoughts?
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Old October 7th, 2004, 03:14 PM   #5
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Thank you for the responses!

I configured my MOTU's 828 mkII to what I THINK it should be to do surround sound. I then went into a couple of audio programs (Sony's Vegas 5 and Steinberg's SX) to see if I can configure the software to "see" my audio hardware set up for surround sound. It all seemed to work, thank goodness! I'm happy to say that my question #4 seems to be answered now.

Now for the rest of my questions. What speaker system(s) do you use for your surround sound mixing??? For my stereo mixing, I use Mackie's HR824 for speakers "A". Speakers "B" are Tannoy's PBM 6.5's powered by an Alesis RA 150 amp. . . etc., etc., etc. Do you have "A/B" mix auditions in surround sound like what seems to be commonly done for stereo mixing??? If so, what do you use for speakers and amps???

If logic follows like I think it would follow, I would indeed purchase more Mackie HR 824's (three more) for the "front center" and back "Left and Right" speakers, and a Mackie HRS120 for the subwoofer speaker. And this is JUST for "surround sound mix A"!! If logic follows like I think it would follow, I would also consider purchasing a different set of "surround sound speakers" for Mix B.

It does all seem quite expensive.

One step at a time, though. ;)

Then there's the whole mix-down process for surround sound. I can see the NEW and probably complicated challanges for this. If logic follows like I think it would follow, the whole matter of EQing and placing reverb and (of course) panning are exceptional challanges for surround sound. I'm scared just thinking about it!!!

And I'm excited about the possibilites associated with surround sound mixing too!!!

Spot, you said, "We're digital storytellers and creators of illusion. Surround is a powerful tool, moreso than any other tool you have, to immerse your viewer in your message and create the illusion and depict the story. "

Philosphically, I've always held similar views towards stereo mixing. Taking the "next step" and applying the "I'm a creator of illusion" to the acoustical science of surround sound seems VERY intriguing.

Don't mind me. I'm just thinking out loud.

Again, please share your surround sound set up. It gives me a direction to begin to follow as as think about upgrading my studio. And right now, I'm just in the "thinking phase" of any significant upgrade.

Respectfully,

Ted

P. S. One thing exists for sure!! There's a LOT more to LEARN here!!!
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:07 PM   #6
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I have a home studio, and run Cubase sx and Nuendo ( Steinberg). A year ago I started doing some remixes of my songs in surround, and also did an animated music video called the "Enron song" ( political satire) in 5.1. Although it's a lot of fun, I haven't done any lately because because I have no paying customers wanting it. It sure siounds great though...
I use event monitors for my stereo mixes, and have a matched set of jbl's for the 5.1stuff.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:47 PM   #7
 
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A serious question to you Spot. You say consumer AV receivers
are not really good to do authoring on. Why not?

Because home audio receivers are colored and cannot provide accurate monitoring of audio. It's like using a line doubler to compensate for the fact that you don't have an HDTV monitor and you're doing HD video. It's simply not capable of being accurate and true. But if you're using colored monitoring tools with low end speakers in an untuned room, it all works out moot anyway. Good audio is MUCH more than just good mics, good sound card, and decent monitors. It's also the room. This is where many people are gonna get screwed up.

I know I walked away in part from your question, but after having just done 2 days of training on surround in DC, I heard a lot of questions about rooms, receivers, decoders, etc.
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Old October 10th, 2004, 09:16 AM   #8
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Spot, I think I understand most of the things you are talking
about. And I know all the things you mention (including the room)
is very important in proper sound monitoring etc.

My main interest was if most people are going to watch the stuff
on lesser equipment it might not matter much? Ofcourse you
should always aim for the highest quality possible, but that's not
always possible money wise or space/room wise etc.

In another thread you mention:

" However, every time I bring up good room practices in here, seems to be met with some sort of remark, so I've given up on that particular discussion. "

I have a small room that I hope to transform to a studio over
some time and I would not mind getting the audio right in there.
The room is basically empty and 8.85 feet by 9.68 feet with only
a small extruded patch where the door is.

What things would I need to take into account to get the best
audio from this room?
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Old November 8th, 2006, 02:50 AM   #9
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Insulation, I guess?
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Old November 9th, 2006, 06:05 AM   #10
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Rob,

why don't you head on over to www.johnlsayers.com
i've been reading up that forum for construction designs, acoustic issues, etc etc and I'm sure anyone who is interested in building a studio of their own would greatly benefit from the experienced folks there!
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Old November 9th, 2006, 10:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Lohman
I personally
don't see the value of music, comedy or healthcare in surround.
Music perhaps, but personally I use 5 channel stereo for that
(ie a normal CD played back over all 5 speakers).

I see loads of value and enhanced consumer experience. Why don't you see it that way? Surround music sound far better than the same noise coming out of all speakers. Surround in comedy, stand-up for instance, is valuable as well. It is nice to hear audience laughter coming from behind or where you are sitting than all from the same place as the comedian. That right there gives it a great sense of depth.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 11:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Fiebke
...
1) Is surround sound really becoming THAT popular with "regular" folk that I should seriously consider adding this to my happy little studio?? (My modest little "part-time" company sells musical/humor CD's for nursing and other healthcare professionals).

...
Ted
I have to ask, what is a "musical/humor CD's for nursing and other healthcare professionals?" How does it differ from humor or music for other people?
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