The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Is anyone doing surround mixing? Studio Monitors
Old 17th June 2004
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar

yeah, i am a little angry. im tired of riding the remote to sit and enjoy a movie... especially at deafening levels. and its not just me. i preach to the choir constantly about this.

its DIALOG... all else i could give a rats ass less about. DIALOG. spent more time adjusting every syllable. im sure mike here could give you lots of pointers in this direction.
Old 17th June 2004
Gear Nut

Mike have you ever mixed a film? Any thoughts on the previously posed questions?

5.1 seems to be pretty stable but there are flavors running as high as 7.1 and Tom Holmans 10.2 places speakers as ceiling and upper dialog to gain a height element as well as stereo sub or duel mono...

Old 21st June 2004
Gear Nut
Inky Goddess's Avatar

hi guys. sorry i'm late.

lots of questions for the guys mixing music in 5.1: do you think it'll catch on? a few of you have mentioned that problem with the sweet spot being fixed and the listener's position being dynamic; do you think mixing music with dipole surround speakers instead of direct-radiating ones could be helpful, perhaps making the sweet spot more diffuse, or would that just create problems with reflected sound? and if using dipole surround speakers is a feasable option, how do you figure car manufacturers will be able to pull 5.1 off in a vehicle?

i've gleaned several quotes from the posts here:
Originally posted by boody
one thing I should add though; at Galaxy I heard some classical music mixed 5.1 for sacd. I never thought any classical record could give you the feel of a real concert, but the 5.1 recording just blew me away. For classical music and Jazz it could be the bomb......
about the 5.1 for cars; I think hearing sounds from 5 different directions inside your car might be a bit distracting? I use my ears a lot when driving.
it makes sense that surround-sound would be the ideal format in which to experience classical music. classical music was written for the listener as a surround experience, with the concert hall acting as the medium of surround-sound delivery. i don't think that when classical was the pop music of its time many people were there to watch the orchestra play, same as today. we go to these performances to hear unique interpretations of pieces we love, presented to us by our favorite conductors and musicians. we go to feel the music, and to be enveloped by it. surround-sound offers the listener that cocoon-like environment. i think if mozart were alive to hear it, he'd be doing television commercials promoting 5.1 home systems.

i also agree with boody about 5.1 in cars. being able to hear what's going on while you're driving is certainly a safety concern a lot of folks already ignore. then there's the fact that most people can't drive and operate a cell phone; imagine them trying to fix the balance of the surround-sound while driving? you might as well blindfold them with duct tape!
Originally posted by Jose Mrochek
As soon as clubs and concerts do 5.1 shows, people will want to experience this at home.
jose, with sound levels what they are at clubs and concerts, do you think the average listener will even know the difference? the only exception i'll concede is pink floyd; i saw them perform "the wall." i've been told all their concerts are similar. they've been doing their own surround-sound forever, and they pull it off because their audiences are like classical audiences; they listen and don't make a sound until it's over. why do you think giving live audiences 5.1 will convince them to upgrade their home systems? convince me.
Originally posted by AUDIOSFX
As far as overall quality I could not disagree with you more. I think sound tracks have reached amazing levels of quality and dynamic range including the music within them.

Comments are made in the manor that sound for film is bad or too dynamic is very off base in most cases.


Yet I am still seeking contemporary examples by name...
i recently helped a friend out who was having trouble with his home theatre surround system, to wit the same symptoms alpha described. first, he had two speaker wires' polarity reversed. the real problem, though, was that the relative volume levels were ridiculously out of whack. i used my radio shack spl meter to fix them, after i corrected his speaker layout. now the system sounds great, and he thinks i'm some sort of expert...that part makes me giggle.

these things are probably not what’s plaguing alpha, since he's more savvy than my friend is about this and has probably checked all that and more. it sounds to me like he’s just got himself a lemon. have you tried speaking to the manufacturer, alpha? maybe they can trade out your system for one that works correctly. another thing that occurred to me is that maybe your room is too acoustically live; movie theatres have a lot of fabric or sound-absorbing material on their walls and floors, which i'm sure the THX calibration specs take into account.

i’m also anxious to know which dvds contain the worst-sounding mixes you’ve heard. i’ll rent a few and take them to my friend’s place. since he already had the symptoms you described, we'll be able to check the differences in dynamics against the stuff we’ve already seen that sounds fine. it’ll be a good way to recheck my work, and to understand what you’re talking about in general, because i find i agree with audiosfx's statements, both in home and theatre systems. (case in point: when i saw master and commander i arrived a little too late to get a prime seat. i ended up sitting at the rear of the theatre, high up on the right. i didn't have any difficulty understanding any of the dialogue, even in the very noisy storm and battle scenes.) thanks in advance for your list.
Originally posted by denial
I'm curious to know if 5.1 will be the standard surround format. I've even heard the possibility of ceiling speakers be added?
denial…what will the neighbors say? they’re already complaining the music’s too loud! ceiling speakers sound impractical, especially for apartment-dwellers, but who knows? people will buy anything to stay ahead of the joneses.
Old 21st June 2004
Lives for gear
boody's Avatar

about 5.1 in clubs: a bad 5.1 mix can make you feel a bit sick because of the phase problems that might occur when you move around. Will be something in a club... Well, at least the good engineers would be on the job again.

Still, I can't think of a way to implement 5.1 in a club or at a concert because of the sweetspot problem which imo is impossible to deal with without creating phase problems?

Old 21st June 2004
Mike Shipley's Avatar

Alpha , I'm with you all the way on the movie volume thing. It totally pisses me off, but I gather it's a market by market problem , because in L.A.
I find it almost impossible to go to the movies and have it be an enjoyable experience due to the ridiculous volume. I always wear earplugs and don't let my 12 yr old son set foot inside the theatre without custom earplugs.
I don't wanna go deaf and I don't want my son to be complaining about "tinitus" or whatever in a couple of years time because of no standards from movie houses other than "louder".
Usually I now wait till a movie comes out on DVD 'cos I have a really good home theatre and I can turn up the centre chanel and turn down the sides, thus making it bearable to listen to .I saw a kid a couple of weeks ago pleading with his father to not make him go into the theatre because it was so loud, I immediately gave the kid a spare pair of foam plugs because he really was distraught , as his father just dragged him screaming into the theatre telling him not to be so "stupid".
End of rant.
Old 22nd June 2004
Lives for gear
Jose Mrochek's Avatar

Originally posted by Inky Goddess
jose, with sound levels what they are at clubs and concerts, do you think the average listener will even know the difference? the only exception i'll concede is pink floyd; i saw them perform "the wall." i've been told all their concerts are similar. they've been doing their own surround-sound forever, and they pull it off because their audiences are like classical audiences; they listen and don't make a sound until it's over. why do you think giving live audiences 5.1 will convince them to upgrade their home systems? convince me.
Hey Inky, I don't know if I'll convince you but I'll try. First of all I don't believe the "average listener" thing that much. You don't need to be involved in the audio industry to know what sounds good. If you take an average person into one of those sound advice stores and demo a high end 5.1 setup, they will be blown away. And I guarantee you that average person will always dream with that set up and never listen to a regular stereo the same way again. People have good ears, we did not enter the audio industry because we have above average ears, we did because we just love it right ? If you see it from that point of view, we need to somehow reach everyone who is not motivated to "demo a high end system at soundadvice" And the only way I see it , is concerts. Where they can go and hear something they did not expect. I envy you the fact you have seen pink floyd live, (my favorite band) never had a chance to see them.. saw roger waters in florida but wasn't impressed sound wise. And the gilmour replacement sucked, i hate the guy haha anyways.. From the average listeners who werent floyd fans, but saw their concerts THEY ALL told me it was the best concert they have ever seen. Even if they didn't know the songs. Have you ever seen the cirque du soleil ?? They have a type of 17 channel set up, I saw it in orlando.. and it's way beyond fantastic. DON"T MISS IT!!! If you are creative enough, maybe just on song intros , where guitars bounce from one place to another.. the drummer suddenly starts playing behind you.. everyone would be shocked!!!! And would start wondering.. wow, can I reproduce that at home??? if 15k people experience it, you probably have 15k potential 5.1 music mix buyers and so on. By the way, you don't need to be pink floyd to sound kick ass in a live show. Good musicians yeah.. but that's another story heh
Old 22nd June 2004
Gear Nut
Inky Goddess's Avatar

i see now what you mean jose, and i agree that in certain circumstances surround can be powerful live. i was thinking more in terms of loud rock concerts at madison square garden, the nassau colliseum on long island, and the sports arena here in san diego, and live bands in manhattan clubs, because this is where most of my experience has been. (fyi, it should be illegal to play music in the sports arena; the room is the worst-sounding room ever created...unless you're into listening to mud.) thanks for widening my narrow vision. i needed that!
Old 22nd June 2004
Lives for gear
Jose Mrochek's Avatar

Yes, Arenas from what I heard are very difficult for live people. Always try to find a seat or stand up or "sneak in" the closest to the front of house console. The best sounding spot in the room because the guy doing it is there. When I say sorround in a live show, don't imagine it going all the way through.. As someone said, could have serious phase issues, or "sweet spot" problems, I'm saying having a guitarst walk around the say second floor or whatever.. have him walk around the croud or something during a solo, on a spot light, and have the FOH guy follow him with a sorround pot. Or imagine a drummer doing a solo with the toms scattered all over the arena.. I don't know if I'm dreaming but that is something I would like to hear someday.
Old 22nd June 2004
Gear Nut
Inky Goddess's Avatar

jose, now that sounds pretty bitchin'!
Old 22nd June 2004
Gear Nut
Inky Goddess's Avatar

mr. lambrechts, karl, brad, anybody else that mixes 5.1 for film...
Originally posted by AUDIOSFX
Most of us are hired guns and usally the bitch for said director and or producers. The guys in suits that still think sound has no creative input into cinema. Hence sound will never get a head credit deserved or not. Thats bull****..I can name many films that would have died horrible deaths if sound didnt save its ass....
and in another post
The politics of this buisness is very stifleing to say the least
are you finding much of the same? would mr. shipley, alpha, loudist and blackcatdigi be happier if the suits did their suit thing elsewhere and gave you more artistic control over mixing? is it more a budgeting issue?

i find this so perverse...
Originally posted by shipshape
...I gather it's a market by market problem , because in L.A. I find it almost impossible to go to the movies and have it be an enjoyable experience due to the ridiculous volume.
you would think that in l.a., where the film studios are, that this would not be the case. i guess producers and directors don't have go to the theatres of the masses, and so they don't. things might be different if they cared more about what the average person experiences in real life, instead of about what the academy thinks of their work in a perfect viewing environment. it's a shame, but it's also textbook-typical of the california mentality.
Old 22nd June 2004
Gear Nut

Volume is an issue on all fronts of sonic arts. Cd's are mastered at rediculous levels films are to loud trailers are much worse and calibration is not taken seriously by most venues and or engineers for that matter. I have seen several films that I thought were to low in level and sure enough when I checked it was below the calibration standard set by either dolby or thx.
I find that most theaters play it down as opposed to up do to the matinee factor.

If you want to see a movie quiet go at noon there wont be a problem. Senior citizens and children don't like loud.

What we are failing to understand in this forum is that engineers are not the only persons responsible for a film mix a record mix a mastering level or what not... We are paid to do our job and if the client wants it and is paying for it we are way more cooperative than anyone here is saying.

Personal opinion aside. Its about educating a mass market and producing individuals on the reality of level and compression what to look out for and when all else fails warning them about sonic inevitable garbage...

I always see and hear people bitching but not much action. If everybody felt this way we would'nt have jobs...

Now back to the point...

Surround kicks ass ...It is not a permeated market yet in music but is growing very rapidly and will have a place I feel along side the dvd home theaters and other multi channel environments.

Its a new thing and I enjoy it more than listening to mp3's mostly..


no flames just a pov....
Old 23rd June 2004
Lives for gear
boody's Avatar

I'm afraid that in order to change things we'll need to educate the masses...

about movies

most people want to be emotially moved by a film. That's why commercial films scenes become more and more cut short & fx and soundtracks are pumped up beyond reason. Fast change of shots together with frightning sound levels create a heavy emotional response, (maybe because the body feels in danger. it's certainly not healthy) which can compensate for the emotinal lack of depth of most commercial movies.

look at two people having arguments: they start to raise their voice to impress & the one who's intimidated first usualy looses, not per se the one with the best arguments. Volume often rules over matter. Even aplies to this very forum..... it's human.

the music in clubs and at concerts is another thing. Even with earplugs sometimes my ears still go beeeeeeeeeepppp after a visit. People are getting used to way too loud sound.

About suround,

the audiophiles i know love suround... and often listen to terible records... The music fanatics I know listen to mp3; they get a kick out of songs, even at bad quality. Some even like it to be lo-fi; it gives it a cult-status. There are people who will love good rcords in suround, but I don't think it'll work for the masses if it doesn't come with visuals.

Having said that: I do hope that I'll be proven wrong!

My 2cts, sorry for poor english
Old 23rd June 2004
BevvyB's Avatar

It's all about practicalities

Surround needs a leap in technology where the same effect can be created without needing five speakers. Until that happens, no matter how cheap the system, that's three speakers too many. Ergonomically and practically that just doesn't fit into the shape and mess of most peoples houses.

It's not to say some of us don't do it - but just because something is available for the masses doesn't mean it will be embraced by the masses.

MP3 is case in point. Currently it is entirely practical and affordable for a variety of reasons. And what we forget is that useability always triumphs. Which is a good thing. Otherwise I'd be slagging off MP3 players while I carried around a 70's hifi on my head trying not to jog my Tubular Bells record and its incredible hifi stereo. Wooo.

Computers weren't practical until recently. Neither was networking. Now you can still check out the internet on a crap connection with a **** computer. Actually that's a good thing. Access.

Things need to be useful before they need to be incredible. And moving my entire front room around, drilling holes in the wall or mounting things on things and the entire space being changed to accomodate my 'incredible new system' is about as practical as turning my front room into a steam room.

I love surround. At the cinema. If I was richer, I'd be enjoying it in my special movie hifi room. But I'm not. And like most people, surround is impractical.

Which is cool, because it gives me something to look forward to when I go to the flicks.

Also, I've got some Billie Holiday and Oscar Peterson on my iPod which are MP3's. Sounds like pretty good music to me. So here's something else to add to the chat. If music needs these production values so much, hasn't something gone horribly wrong? If I can only enjoy such and such record when its played on such and such, is that a tragedy?

Billie and Oscar seem to care very little what format or system I play them on.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread Starter / Forum
soyezra / Low End Theory
Bluemoa / So Much Gear, So Little Time
Gerax / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
jwh1192 / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
Saudade / So Much Gear, So Little Time

Forum Jump
Forum Jump