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-   -   Surround Upmixing Plugins? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-production-forum/979546-surround-upmixing-plugins.html)

mahoobley 13th January 2015 09:14 AM

Surround Upmixing Plugins?
 
Creating some four channel (quad) ambience sounds for a game I'm working on, however somewhat lacking in the source material - I have a ton of stereo recordings, but very little recorded in 5.1 or quad.

Have tried mixing two similar stereo recordings, or splitting an existing recording, sending one to the front and one to the rear, however this just doesn't really work - the separation is too distinct and phase issues when moving head around occur.

I've also done some quad recordings which have been very useful, but am sadly limited to my locale for capturing the sounds I need which tend not necessarily exist!

I'd have thought however that there must be processing that allows you to fake a stereo sound into surround, and with noisy sources like wind, rain etc this would be quite easy and terms of giving you an impression of space even if it's not authentic - probably using an old Dolby PL2 decoder would probably give you something - and apparently there is.

I found this article from Sound On Sound dating back to 2007 regarding plugins that upmix channels to surround:

Surround Sound From Stereo

The plugins they tested were:

Waves 360 Surround Imager
SRS Circle Surround Decoder
Cycling 74 Upmix
TC Electronic Unwrap

These are all now 7+ years old though, and what was tested was all RTAS - I'm after VST, and Pluggo stuff (upmix) will no longer work.

TL;DR
So, question is - are there any modern Windows VST plugins that will upmix a stereo signal into surround?

huub 13th January 2015 09:34 AM

There's a couple of threads about this.

I really like the soundfield UPM1.
The Waves not so much.. It just sounds like early reflections.
The TC is very nice.

mahoobley 13th January 2015 10:22 AM

Sadly none of these are VST, other than Waves which as you say is poor.

TC Unwrap doesn't even exist in plugin form at all any more.

NReichman 13th January 2015 03:40 PM

I use Iosono Anymix Pro all the time. Sounds great.

Many of the heavyweight users on this list have been raving about Auro.

brandoncross 13th January 2015 04:13 PM

Penteo is the best upmixing plug in for Aax 64 ATM.

minister 13th January 2015 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandoncross (Post 10715746)
Penteo is the best upmixing plug in for Aax 64 ATM.

Debatable.

I find the Auro-Matic Pro 2D (for going up to 5.1) to be the best. 3D goes to 7.1 but is twice the price. the 2D is $799

Auro-3D / Auro Technologies : Three-dimensional sound

mgoorevich 13th January 2015 09:13 PM

Get the Anymix Pro by Iosono.
If you search some threads here a while ago you'll see that folks liked upmixed material made with Iosono the most along with Penteo one.
We provided some examples (including myself) so you could judge for your self.

IMHO the price for Auro and Penteo is a bit high for just an up mixing plugin we using exclusively for music material.

Farhoof 13th January 2015 09:53 PM

I've tried:
TC Unwrap, Waves, Penteo, Anymix and Auro.

Penteo is nice because it retains a lot of channel separation and has very useful settings, also fully (ITU) mixdown compatible back to the original stereo (to avoid lengthy discussions with composers for adding 'phasy' tricks).
Auro because it adds flavor which really works on some music. It's closer to the TC unwrap I was looking to replace (to mix in-the-box). I wouldn't use it on FX though.
Anymix is a more affordable alternative to the Auro, but doesn't sound as good. It's a nice plug, just not the best in it's sort, best value perhaps.
Waves in an option if it came in a bundle.
TC is still great, but hardware (or outdated plugin) which can be a workflow killer. Also it lacks some center and Lfe settings imho. But still sounds wonderful.

For me the Penteo is a special kind of upmix different from the others. Since I already got the TC and Anymix I skipped the Auro and went with Penteo. But some content worked best with Auro/TC and some content worked best with Penteo. I can't say one is perfect for all content. The huge delay of Penteo is a downside though.

But either way, I'd build the 5.1 or quad ambient sounds using different stereo layers and panning, and skip the upmix altogether.

brandoncross 14th January 2015 01:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by minister (Post 10716006)
Debatable.

I find the Auro-Matic Pro 2D (for going up to 5.1) to be the best. 3D goes to 7.1 but is twice the price. the 2D is $799

Auro-3D / Auro Technologies : Three-dimensional sound

Both those plug ins add phase and folddown phasy and verby, washed out.

minister 14th January 2015 02:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandoncross (Post 10717406)
Both those plug ins add phase and folddown phasy and verby, washed out.

I have seen you make this claim before Brandon, respectfully, I disagree. None of my fold-downs sound phasey, verby, and washed out.

brandoncross 14th January 2015 03:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by minister (Post 10717524)
I have seen you make this claim before Brandon, respectfully, I disagree. None of my fold-downs sound phasey, verby, and washed out.

I can prove it.

dr.sound 14th January 2015 05:00 AM

Brandon,
I agree with Minister. I disagree with you.

ggegan 14th January 2015 06:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Farhoof (Post 10716723)
But either way, I'd build the 5.1 or quad ambient sounds using different stereo layers and panning, and skip the upmix altogether.

This.

brandoncross 14th January 2015 06:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dr.sound (Post 10717734)
Brandon,
I agree with Minister. I disagree with you.

Auto adds verb to the surrounds, right? It also adds phase issues, right? How can that fold down without added verb and phase issues? FYI most tv networks have wording in theirs specs about phase correlation. It doesn't matter if it's I forced or not, you are going to be taking a chance at a QC rejection if you use other upmixers besides Penteo, or the dts upmixer. I learned this the extremely costly way.

dr.sound 14th January 2015 12:47 PM

Brandon,
I keep hearing your QC argument over and over.
FYI it's "Auro" not Auto;)
And right, I get it.
You use your way, I'll use mine.

brandoncross 14th January 2015 02:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dr.sound (Post 10718380)
Brandon,
I keep hearing your QC argument over and over.
FYI it's "Auro" not Auto;)
And right, I get it.
You use your way, I'll use mine.

Hi Marti,
That's what makes the world go round. I will say auro sounds pretty damn good both upmixed and folded down but it's messes with the phase too much to use.

mahoobley 15th January 2015 02:24 PM

Thank you for your thoughts all, but I must stress again that I'm looking for something available in VST plugin form. Auro is not available in VST.

I'll check out Panteo and Iosono, once I've managed to convince a colleague to let me borrow their iLok!

Any thoughts on what Iosono's fold downs are like? Unfortunately the results need to be stereo compatable too - our audio engine can't be set to ignore channels when running in stereo.

Thanks!

shock 17th January 2015 10:45 AM

Love the Auro plug-in. Did a few LtRt mixes from material upmixed with Auro. None of those failed QC.

brandoncross 17th January 2015 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shock (Post 10727991)
Love the Auro plug-in. Did a few LtRt mixes from material upmixed with Auro. None of those failed QC.

What network?

shock 17th January 2015 05:51 PM

Discovery, Austrian and German natinal TV and Blu-Ray ProLogicII downmixes of theatrical mixes. Which network did reject your mix?

brandoncross 18th January 2015 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shock (Post 10728816)
Discovery, Austrian and German natinal TV and Blu-Ray ProLogicII downmixes of theatrical mixes. Which network did reject your mix?

Almoat every single us tv network has phase cohearence specs. Not many of them test for it.

About 4 years ago I mixed an entire series for abc, totally papasses qc. The prodiction compay made 5 tapes from each master, so 6 tapes total for each show, 13 eps in all. The company was bought and they had to change the logo on the end credits. Abc qc'd every tape again and failed every mix for phase issues.

I was using tc unwrap to upmix the music. Their is a setting called left right spread or something like that that sounds really good and sounds fine downmixed, it caused phase issues.

I had to remix 13 eps and lay back 13 x6 hour long srw tapes. It was my fault because it's in theit specs. They didn't test for it the first time but the second cq they did test for it. Wow that was extremely expensive and I will not do anything remotely like that again.

shock 19th January 2015 02:37 AM

I see. Bummer! Well, I'd really love to bill networks everytime they overcompress my mixes!! However, to stay on topic, so far this proves you having had bad experience using TC unwrap and me having good using Auro. :)

brandoncross 19th January 2015 03:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shock (Post 10732628)
I see. Bummer! Well, I'd really love to bill networks everytime they overcompress my mixes!! However, to stay on topic, so far this proves you having had bad experience using TC unwrap and me having good using Auro. :)

They do really similar things to phase between channels. I have measured them both.

FlorianE 19th January 2015 08:32 AM

Didn't TC Unwrap have a 'Downmix' setting? This would effectively bypass all the phasey surround stuff.
Anyway:
The magic word with upmixing techniques is 'decorrelation' (also in mono to stereo).
This is most easily achieved by messing with phase.
So to some extent all upmix softwares have this issue.

If you are looking for a really almost mono-compatible surround, then maybe have a look at Waves Q10 'upmix' setting and apply it to a mono surround derived from stereo source via a prologic decoder..

Cheers
Florian

brandoncross 19th January 2015 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlorianE (Post 10733176)
Didn't TC Unwrap have a 'Downmix' setting? This would effectively bypass all the phasey surround stuff.
Anyway:
The magic word with upmixing techniques is 'decorrelation' (also in mono to stereo).
This is most easily achieved by messing with phase.
So to some extent all upmix softwares have this issue.

If you are looking for a really almost mono-compatible surround, then maybe have a look at Waves Q10 'upmix' setting and apply it to a mono surround derived from stereo source via a prologic decoder..

Cheers
Florian

Tc downmix was just a button that did a fold down to stereo so you can check the down mix within the plug in.

Almost all upmix plug ins mess with phase. As I said, Penteo does not, and dts upmix does not. Dts is the best sounding but not aax64 yet.

Waves q10? Huh? No way is that crap sounding eq ever touching a session of mine.

FlorianE 19th January 2015 06:24 PM

Ok, Ok
You can do the same trick using DMG's Equick; but perhaps copy eq settings from Q10...

There was an interesting article in the Csound Journal on pseudo-stereo techniques.
Basically also applies to upmixing stereo to surround, either by converting mono surround to pseudo-stereo or by converting L to L & Ls, R to R & Rs.
I've tried stuff based on Cabrera's article, and didn't find some of it so much inferior to my costly plugs...

Cheers
Florian

brandoncross 19th January 2015 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlorianE (Post 10734376)
Ok, Ok
You can do the same trick using DMG's Equick; but perhaps copy eq settings from Q10...

There was an interesting article in the Csound Journal on pseudo-stereo techniques.
Basically also applies to upmixing stereo to surround, either by converting mono surround to pseudo-stereo or by converting L to L & Ls, R to R & Rs.
I've tried stuff based on Cabrera's article, and didn't find some of it so much inferior to my costly plugs...

Cheers
Florian


Thanks for the tip! Will check it out

quadraphonics 20th January 2015 06:56 PM

I wouldn;'t hold your breath waiting for the DTS upmixer to come to 64 bit. I think that DTS has abandoned it.

Randall

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandoncross (Post 10733946)

Almost all upmix plug ins mess with phase. As I said, Penteo does not, and dts upmix does not. Dts is the best sounding but not aax64 yet.


quadraphonics 20th January 2015 07:04 PM

With respect, I am going to have to disagree a bit, as you are, in essence, just creating a comb filter to a mono, band width limited signal.

If you want to create a stereo surround from a PL style decode, you can do it the way that the Penteo program does, which is:

The Center of the decode goes to the Center of your output.
The L/R from the decode goes into the LsRs of your output
The L/R output is derived from the original 2.0 source, but with some of the mono (Center) and out of phase (surround) signal removed.

I have had some good luck with this method, but it is very program dependent. It won't phase on a fold down, but the surrounds can sound odd depending on how the original 2.0 was mixed.

Another method to accomplish what you want to do is:
Send the original Stereo back to the surrounds via an AUX channel. On the AUX, have a time adjuster plug in set to 960 samples for 48khz (20ms, which is the delay a SDU-4 puts on the surround channel) and an EQ. EQ the surround channel similarly to what the SDU-4 would do (HP around 120Hz, LP around 6khz) - adjust to taste. This gives you a stereo surround without manipulating phase and is generally down mix compatible.

Randall


Quote:

Originally Posted by FlorianE (Post 10733176)

If you are looking for a really almost mono-compatible surround, then maybe have a look at Waves Q10 'upmix' setting and apply it to a mono surround derived from stereo source via a prologic decoder..

Cheers
Florian


cananball 20th January 2015 08:22 PM

I have the Waves UM225/226. It feels pretty flexible but I've never really liked what I've gotten out of it. Sounds artificial, for lack of a better word.

I demo'ed the Iosono a while back and loved it. Simple to use, very natural sounding. I want one.