Surround sound mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Michael Fossenkemper, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Distinguished Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    I finally mastered my first surround sound release for DVD-A. This was tons of fun. It really took a lot out of me mentally but i'm sure it will get easier the more I do it. This is kind of in response to Don's "will SACD restore dynamics" thread. If you have the monitors calibrated correctly and you monitor at a decent level, it's really uncomfortable to push it to the max. Just too much coming at you. the more breathing room you give it, the better it sounds. i barely used any limiters, just to control a few spikes. In fact, I used a lot less of everything than I would on a 2 track. Also the more you push it, the harder it is to make it work with bass management, not to mention throwing all of those spacial effects and ambience positions out of wack. So if everything is setup correctly, the tendency is to leave a lot more breathing room (dynamics). weeeeee.

    Happy turkey day to eveyone this weekend
  2. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    The above is true.

    Now, how about matters of taste when doing a 6 channel mastering from the 2 track source.

    Here are 'some' options in the rendering of other channels...and many more I am sure can be thought of, not mentioned below.

    Quad sound, vocal center, 80hZ X over at sub.

    This would be the taste of the original quad sound. Whole instruments intact can imulate from either of the rear channels full range and true quad was an experience I really like then (72-75) and still apreciate today. Using all channels for certain sounds, especially background vocals and letting certain whole instruments intact from the rear brings a surreal experience. Bass at 80hZ would allow sustain and punch but would be low enought to keep the imaging from being ruined. In the center would be snare, vox, and a few other sounds that is monoral in nature.


    The model provided by DPL (dolby pro logic)

    This incorporates MS channel info and the difference signal fed to the rear speakers only in stereo. Phase attenuation would be carefully monitored as would rear channel and low frequency energy. Monitored as in corrected to suit. Center will still enjoy a mono mix but a few dB down and low cut as well (since most center spakers have "problems" below 80hZ). User adjustability of all gain struncture would be essential in all models, whether full range would be allowed to go to the front L/R to mix with the sub or x'ed over to hand off the sub, the jury is still out. What I prefer does not exist in your commercial rendering which would be stereo subs and full range on all the speakers providing phase correction can be incorporated on the MS to weed out cancelation of frequencies below 150hZ. This sceme if the rears are rendered at a low enough level can emulatre what a real live concert is about...but remember, it always helps if you are doing video to watch what is going on. With Hell freezes over, clearly toward the left, the shaker is being used in the video about 4 bars before it comes into the speakers on Hotel California. This is a mistake that should have not been allowed to happen. I would have played my own shaker and dubbed it in providing I would have had the video at the time. Knowledge of the video (if it will happen) is most important.

    Another scheme. Total user flexiblity. This give the use the ability to choose what scheme is of preference. This poses major problems in mastering and translation. Interactive audio in this scheme although possible, is hardly the last word in Multichannel. Imagine have a 5 track that you could move around with a joystick as a consumer. Heresy? Good idea, unpractical at best.

    It is (IMO) unfortunant that standards have already been established (somewhat) that may not use the full benefit of the format(s).

    I am for stereo low frequencies. That simple. However it is done, all the way to the bottom octave wide pan. That is me. Phase cues in LF surely make for a much more enjoyable experience (like a live hall can do)

    A single sub cannot move many directions at the same time. Physical impossibility.

    Having worked with Mutichannel for a few years now and knowing the expectations of conformaty that is prescribed within the scheme of DTS, Dolby Digital, DSD Multichannel, PCM multichannel (DVD-A), Dolby pro logic, SQ, CD4, and others in quad...I hope to hear works out there now and in the future that brings us closer to the artists intentions instead of a fireworks display in audio drama.

    Your take on your experiences on your Multichannel mastering would be appreciated.

    Again, overlook any typos...TKX!
  3. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    so quadraphonic systems were too ahead of their time, besides being expensive for the mases between 72/76?

    what about Dark Side of the moon stereo compatibility?

    I get very afraid of consumer´s "surround systems".. where will the guys sit? Imagine a nice mix being ruined due to poor room acoustics and so. That is why I did not buy surround very much yet....

    Consumers are still too far from our Musical ideals...



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