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Old 28th April 2020
Gear Nut

5.1 Mixing and 5.1 Streaming

I recently got inspired to look into what it might take to set up a 5.1 mix environment and went into a rather deep rabbit hole. After a fair amount of exploration, I've got a rather basic question.

I currently am running a native 2.1 setup on Protools 2020 on Windows 10 using the ASIO driver with a UR824 AI which has 8 TRS (plus 2 ADATs) outputs.

I know I can upgrade from Protools to Protools Ultimate to get surround support so I can mix in 5.1 with appropriate plugins. And I assume PT Ultimate will use the ASIO driver to let me drive through my AI to a 5.1 monitoring setup.

So my basic question:

Is there some way to stream 5.1 from a service through a Windows computer and use the same set of 5.1 monitors for both Protools mixing and video/audio 5.1 streaming? I'm thinking something like driving the streaming output to the ASIO driver and out through my AI interface (I'm aware of the multi-headed issues on ASIO).

I'm reading some about different streaming formats from different services. I think iTunes and Netflix are supporting surround streaming to PCs but it seems that some require specific hardware. For instance Netflix supports Windows 10 but my impression is that you need to stream through the computer to an HDMI port to an AVR or Apple TV that is capable of supporting surround. ATMOS is another layer on top of that I think which might require ATMOS capable AVR/TV. For this Netflix example with an Apple TV, to switch between the TV and Protools, you would need some sort of external audio switch in front of the 5.1 monitoring. I'm kind of hoping I don't need to buy a AVR/TV and switch to mix and stream on the same monitors.

Any advice on what services or surround formats would work in my described mixing environment would be appreciated.