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Surround and 5.1

 

Surround sound has been around for a number of years, for example with the Quadraphonic standard. But it is really with the advent of DVD and Blu-ray that surround sound reached wide recognition. Most movies are now encoded in 5.1 compressed A/52 surround sound.

 

Blu-ray allows to play uncompressed high-resolution multi-channel tracks up to 5.1 (that is 6 channels). These are Front Left, Front Right, Center, LFE, Surround Left, Surround Right. HD-Audio Solo Ultra can import tracks having from 1 to 6 channels.

 

Most audiophiles may not want to feel in the middle of the band or orchestra but surround sound allows to go beyond stereo sound in several ways :

  • by rendering the music as the artists truly intended. For example, only Blu-ray can deliver the original quad recording of the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon.

  • by allowing original and immersive musical experience not possible with stereo.

  • by recreating a discrete but effective ambiance that better conveys the sound stage and give a sense of being "there".

The steps to create a DVD or Blu-ray disc from multi-channel tracks

 

This can be done from single files that are already multi-channel (e.g. a 6 channels .wav or .aif file), or from a set of mono files that each encode a channel.

 

Step 1 (multi): Import the multi-channel files.

Step 1 (mono) : or import the mono files. DVD-Audio Solo support the naming conventions of Samplitude (e.g. *C24.wav, *FL24.wav, *FR24.wav, *LFE24.wav, *SL24.wav, *SR24.wav) or Vegas (

*Left.wav, *Right.av, *Center.wav, *LFE.wav, *Left Surround.wav, *Right Surround.wav), in addition to its own format (*_FL.wav, *_FR.wav, *_C.wav, *_LFE.wav, *_SL.wav, *_SR.wav).

Step 2 (mono) : Define the number of channels for the tracks that are made of several mono files, from 2 to 6.

Step 3 : Write to disc

Step 1 (multi): Import the multi-channel files. The Import panel will display multi-channel tracks as on the left picture.

Step 1 (mono) : or import the mono files, only one from each mono set (e.g. the front left). The Import panel will display the mono channel track as on the right picture.

Step 2 (mono) : Define the number of channels for the tracks that are made of several mono files, from 2 to 6, by using the dropdown list at the right of the Input Channels field, as follows :

Step 3 : Write to disc.

Useful tips

 

When upmixing with the bult-in VST plug-in provided with HD-Audio Solo or HD-Audio Remaster, you can tune the parameters to widen the sound field if you find it too narrow. Conversely, you can also narrow it.

 

When using the upmixing VST, you can leave the 2 front channels (FL, FR) unchanged by setting the Front Ambience parameters to 0.5. This is usefeful for archival purposes. 

 

The V.I. upmixing VST plug-in works in real-time. You can listen to the effect of the parameters by playing a track within the application if your computer is equiped with surround speakers.

 

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