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 Forum index » How-tos » Surround and Sound Reinforcement
Mixing in 5.1 - What methods & tools do you use?
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I am looking at an RME FW800 on my desk right now. Very Happy
It is great!


Yes, indeed... the RME FW800 looks like a great piece of equipment.

It seems I am confronted with the dilemma of having to swap out my PC for one that has a compatable chipset (that still may or may not work) or swap my Firepods for an interface such as the RWE FW800. (And this presumes that the RME FW800 is compatible with my P35 laptop.)

However, I may not be able to do anything until the summer.

I simply tried to get as much memory and processing power that I could with the notion that music software would run successfully. It never occurred to me that a Firewire/Peripheral device and the Video chipset would have any relationship to each other. Alas, I am not a hardware engineer...

If cars acted like computers, then in order to replace a headlight you'd have to first make sure that the headlight is compatable with the brake pads.

Gotta love computers!

Last edited by kkissinger on Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kkissinger wrote:
If cars acted like computers,


Hmm, actually they do more and more so. Like headlights going off when something is wrong with the trailer, or windows dancing up/down spontaneously. I read a lot stuff like this recently when tracking down a problem I had with my car, scary stuff Shocked

I've been considering an RME thingy as well for my Toshiba laptop, (I've got a tecra S2).

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

RME has their own Firewire ASIC chip that works with all known Firewire chips. That's very important. MOTU only works with a few chip makers. If your hardware has another chip (how would you ever know in the first place - especially in a laptop) you are in trouble. The RME is more expensive, but in the potential problems it could avoid, it is worth the money.
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
RME has their own Firewire ASIC chip that works with all known Firewire chips. That's very important. MOTU only works with a few chip makers. If your hardware has another chip (how would you ever know in the first place - especially in a laptop) you are in trouble. The RME is more expensive, but in the potential problems it could avoid, it is worth the money.


Yes, I am tempted to acquire the RME unit and be done with it... however, I am a little shell shocked... after all the incompatible chipset on the Toshiba is the video chip set... the firewire port is has been ok.

Anyway, I am looking at RME's website now to look for any hardware incompatibilities.

The stress builds... Smile
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, today I just "bit the bullet" and purchased the RME800.

It not only solved the incompatibility problem but has brought other benefits:

1) Latencies down to 8ms (from about 21ms)
2) Adat support -- I am now successfully running all eight busses from my K2600 into the RME800 -- 24bit digital at 48khz. Though I had the ADAT capability on the K2600, the Firepod only supported AES/EBU (stereo) and I could only run the front two channels digitally.
3) Analog attenuation of the outputs -- the lack of this feature on the Firepod was causing me a good deal of hassle. This feature is important so that I can tweak my surround sound balances from one location to the next.

The low latency will be helpful for my looping works were a little "sloppy" working at 20-22ms latency.

Thus, the advice to keep my laptop (it is 3.2Ghz, 2gig ram) was excellent.

A special thanks to electro80 and mosc for your help on this.

-- Kevin
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The RME Fireface 800 is pretty cool! Very Happy IMO it does pretty much everything right and then some. BTW: the internal routing/mixer is awesome.
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
The RME Fireface 800 is pretty cool! Very Happy IMO it does pretty much everything right and then some. BTW: the internal routing/mixer is awesome.


Yes, indeed! In fact, this feature has solved one of my major headaches -- namely to implement zero-latency monitoring of my theremin AND send the theremin to the Lexicon MX400. In other words, I can mix the reverb sends from my DAW with sends from my live Theremin. This was a major problem before.

(To monitor a theremin with minimal latency is vital to accurate intonation. Through experiment I have found that an aggregate latency of more than 20ms compromises the result. Thus, if the system latency is 10ms and the Theremin's speaker is say, 15' away (adding up to c. 25ms), the theremin will be difficult to control. As for me, I go for zero-latency monitoring and my main Theremin speaker arranged so the bottom of the speaker is at ear level within arms length.)

The RMS800 is very well thought out. I am very pleased with it.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kevin, I´m actually considering some kind of 8 mic/line to ADAT device to go with the RME. I might wait a few months before buying something, but I am almost in love with the MOTU 8Pre. It has the same AKMs as the RME, it sounds prettty good, it has firewire too and the build quality is good. So far I haven´t found anything wrong with it. Clealry it seems like a better choice than the Behringer ADA800. Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kkissinger wrote:
Yes, indeed! In fact, this feature has solved one of my major headaches -- namely to implement zero-latency monitoring of my theremin AND send the theremin to the Lexicon MX400. In other words, I can mix the reverb sends from my DAW with sends from my live Theremin. This was a major problem before.

(To monitor a theremin with minimal latency is vital to accurate intonation. Through experiment I have found that an aggregate latency of more than 20ms compromises the result. Thus, if the system latency is 10ms and the Theremin's speaker is say, 15' away (adding up to c. 25ms), the theremin will be difficult to control. As for me, I go for zero-latency monitoring and my main Theremin speaker arranged so the bottom of the speaker is at ear level within arms length.)

The RMS800 is very well thought out. I am very pleased with it.



Proper monitoring in the project studio is often completely overlooked. Your experience with the theremin makes completely sense.

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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:42 am    Post subject: Can't believe I didn't see this sooner Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah, who among us has done things such as:

1) soldered a patch cord then discovered you forgot to shove the cover onto the cable...

2) no sound from monitors -- so check every patch cord, connector, signal path, reboot/restart everything -- only to find that the monitors' hardware volume control was turned all the way down...

There are many more "DUH!!!" moments I've experienced and I had yet another one last week. However, this one was a little intricate and I'm mentioning it here in hopes that it may save someone else some headaches.

Last week I wanted to create stereo mixes of some of the music that I am performing live with in 5.1 format. For live performance I send signals to a Lexicon MX400 (used for reverb) and the MX400's output, in turn, is mixed and sent out to the monitors -- no need to bring the signal back into the computer. To accomplish the 5.1 to stereo mix, then, I had to create four input busses to bring the reverb signal back into the computer.

In addition to the additional signal routing, I used Cubase's 5.1 to stereo plugin, dithering, and a software limiter into the chain, too.

My initial mixing attempt was pretty horrible -- too much reverb -- too mushy. So I went back to remix and found that, no matter what I did, the mix was horrible -- sounded like it was in a can! I spent hours messing with the limiter (even removing it entirely). What in the heck had I done?

The breakthrough came when, in desperation, I started working with EQ settings. As soon as I increased the gain -- I got a jarring and unpleasant surprise in the form of feedback. Somewhere, I had inadvertently created a feedback loop -- not enough to produce howling feedback but enough to color the sound and create horrible resonances on transients!

The solution was simply to remove every signal routing that was unneeded for the task at hand.

Now, where exactly was the feedback loop? To be honest, once I rid myself of it I never went back to find it... I suspect I had created it with the signal routing within the RME800. Yes, your first thought might be that I had done the deed when I routed the MX400 back into Cubase however -- well... I knew to watch for that! I suspect that the actual loop was outside of the computer occurring between the RME800 and the MX400.

The moral of the story: if you have strange resonances, if transients sound muddy, and you absolutely can't get rid of it -- look for unintentional feedback.

For me, another "DUH! Why didn't I think of that sooner?" moment.

Embarassed
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Jason



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

I try to avoid reverb and EQ in all of my mixes too. Since I am doing mostly electronic music with my own synth patches I find it best to get the sound right before it goes to the mixdown. Still, there are times when you can make good use of these.


Interesting to hear these different perspectives. I do the opposite.
Reminds of the big hollywood movie Jurassic Park quote "Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should. "
This is a great analogy for so many things. In this case yes EQ and fx are something I apply maybe for the wrong reasons, anyway....

I love my RME Fireface 800 too (I used to do tech support for RME). I haven't used it for surround applications though. It is on my to do list.
Also something I need to check out is that Absynth 4 (N.I. softsynth)
now supports surround as well as so many other new plugins.

I kind of got confused in this thread. What is this "n.1" that your referring to? Thank You all !!! Razz Razz Very Happy Razz Cool Shocked Cool
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jason wrote:
What is this "n.1" that your referring to? Thank You


The number to the left of the dot is the number of full-range speakers, the number to the right is the number of sub-woofers.

A 5.1 system is the standard "home theatre" setup with a left and right mains, left and right surrounds, a center, and a subwoofer.

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Jason



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yes yes thank you
wasnt sure. My brain must be dusty
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Joe Misra



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I received a private message from ramechling about what I had come up with after all this time, figured I would share:

What I ended up figuring out is that I was aiming too high, so to speak. Most (if not all) consumer devices can't stream 6-channel lossless PCM audio at 96kHz/24bit fast enough to play it, apparently. You have to encode to MLP, DTS, or Dolby Digital. Also, sometimes you have to use the video layer to "link" to the audio files, if the player won't recognize DVD-A. Most commercialy released DVD-As I have contain both.

I found a pirated version of the really expensive ($3000) MLP encoding software (which I obviously can't use and didn't keep around, but wanted to see if it made a difference), that worked. Also, DTS or Dolby Digital will work, again only with expensive conversion software.

Ultimately, I've ended up mixing my songs in 5.1 and downmixing them to stereo. Samplitude has worked out well for this, Cubase/Nuendo, Logic, Digital Performer also seem to have that functionality, maybe others too?

That usually results in file a Dolby Pro Logic I / II decoder can use to get 5.1 or at least LCRS (without using the standalone Dolby Pro Logic encoder), albiet not as distinctly as 6 channel audio would yield. It's practical at least Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That's interesting. How does the stereo file deal with the center and rear channels? I mean, how are your stereo files different from stereo mixes you might do directly?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
That's interesting. How does the stereo file deal with the center and rear channels? I mean, how are your stereo files different from stereo mixes you might do directly?


Don´t you remember Dolby Pro Logic? Very Happy


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Pro_Logic

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I know about Dolby PL. Are there encoders in the software he is using? That's the part I didn't get. He said:

Quote:
(without using the standalone Dolby Pro Logic encoder),


Dolby PL really sucks for creating a real surround experience of an acoustic source, like an opera or orchestra, but it may be quite useful for electronic music.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You can get encoders that run as DAW plugins as well as standalone apps.. and then you have the standalone hardware boxes. The latter used to be pretty expensive way back then.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, hardware makes very little sense these days.

Personally, I'd rather mix for good stereo and let the playback system do the PL encoding. Anyhow, this requires a lot of experimentation.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am looking for a panning device for a multi speaker setup, 4 speakers.
i was thinking that i perhaps good use a joystick for this, a kaoss pad or perghaps there is a good other (standalone) device on the market for this (perhaps DIY, but i am not one to make greasy hands Wink )

The sequencer that i use is Logic studio 8.
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