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Split stereo vs. interleaved...not the same? Studio Headphones
Old 30th August 2007
  #1
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Split stereo vs. interleaved...not the same?

The website of a mastering house in Nashville (Independent Mastering) suggested mixing to split stereo instead of interleaved for better sound quality. I tried it in Logic, and the split stereo version did seem to be a hair more pleasant sounding in the center. When I compared the two by flipping the phase on one version, there was a little bit of vocal, bass and snare left so they obviously are slightly different. The mixes were bounced with pan law at 0db.

Any ideas why that would be? Can anyone try this on ProTools (if it does interleaved now, I can't remember) and see if the same thing happens?

(P.S. for all you Logic guys, a bonus question: I usually mix with -3db compensated pan law, and comparing test mixes made at that setting, the split stereo's center material was 3db louder than it was in the interleaved file, so the levels in the interleaved were correct...has anyone else run into this?)


Thanks,

Michael
Old 6th September 2007
  #2
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Anybody?
Old 6th September 2007
  #3
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I also wanna know the answer!
Old 6th September 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMike View Post

(P.S. for all you Logic guys, a bonus question: I usually mix with -3db compensated pan law, and comparing test mixes made at that setting, the split stereo's center material was 3db louder than it was in the interleaved file, so the levels in the interleaved were correct...has anyone else run into this?)

Michael
That seems to be the answer. Why don't you turn of the center -3db? If you switch to 0db it should be the same!
Old 6th September 2007
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Center = -3db is the pan law of most analog consoles.

How that affects split versus interleaved files I do not know. Some DAWs allow you toplay with the pan law. Center = -6db is sometimes used.
Old 6th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSweetener View Post
That seems to be the answer. Why don't you turn of the center -3db? If you switch to 0db it should be the same!
That's just the point, -3db in the center is what I want to use for mixing since I like the way the panning responds, but I also want to mix to split stereo...which right now screws up the center.
Old 6th September 2007
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interleaved is 2 channels in 1 file and split is 2 channels in 2 files..that's all there is to it

if anything i would assume a mastering house would want interleaved as there might be clock/sync issues goint to diff formats in a sitution converting a split mix file
Old 6th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
interleaved is 2 channels in 1 file and split is 2 channels in 2 files..that's all there is to it
Apparently that isn't all there is to it, at least in Logic. Otherwise the information in the interleaved compared to the split pair would be the same, and they aren't. They're close, but no cigar...
Old 7th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
interleaved is 2 channels in 1 file and split is 2 channels in 2 files..that's all there is to it

if anything i would assume a mastering house would want interleaved as there might be clock/sync issues goint to diff formats in a split sitution converting a split stereo mix file
Ah, but doesn't all good software use multi-mono (split stereo) files? In that case you would have one (or two) unnecessary conversions.
Old 7th September 2007
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwinston123 View Post
Ah, but doesn't all good software use multi-mono (split stereo) files?
Define "good"....Logic isn't exactly shareware....
Old 7th September 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMike View Post
Define "good"....Logic isn't exactly shareware....
Sorry, I meant mastering software. I would assume that all mastering houses are working with multi mono files.
Old 7th September 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwinston123 View Post
Sorry, I meant mastering software. I would assume that all mastering houses are working with multi mono files.
No worries.

I did a little research before posting about this, and SADiE works with either format, and Bob Katz stated in the mastering forum that he prefers receiving interleaved files. Be great to get his take on this.
Old 7th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMike View Post
No worries.

I did a little research before posting about this, and SADiE works with either format, and Bob Katz stated in the mastering forum that he prefers receiving interleaved files. Be great to get his take on this.
I guess then it all depends on the software that the mastering house uses.
Old 7th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMike View Post
Apparently that isn't all there is to it, at least in Logic. Otherwise the information in the interleaved compared to the split pair would be the same, and they aren't. They're close, but no cigar...
If you take an interleaved and a non interleaved file in PT and flip the phase, they completely dissapear.....there is no difference except that non interleaved allows mastering engineers to more easily apply MS encoding/decoding to your mixes.
Old 7th September 2007
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I don't understand why yours are different, mine come out exactly the same using the phase flip to check. The only difference should be the amount of files. One vs. Two. When you play them as independent files are you linking them or are you just matching fader levels?
Old 7th September 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLueROom View Post
I don't understand why yours are different, mine come out exactly the same using the phase flip to check. The only difference should be the amount of files. One vs. Two. When you play them as independent files are you linking them or are you just matching fader levels?
Not sure what you mean by linking vs. matching fader levels.

Here's what I did in Logic:
Bounced a mix using "Interleaved" under "Stereo File Type" (resulting in one file, let's call it file "mixA")
Bounced the same mix using "Split (L+R)" setting (two files, mixB.L and mixB.R)
Opened up a blank Logic song, put file mixA on a stereo channel, file mixB.L on a channel set to Left and panned hard left, and file mixB.R on a channel set to Right panned hard right (all channels set to 0db).

When I flip the phase on mixA's channel, the sound doesn't completely cancel out, there are bits of center channel material (vocal, snare, bass) remaining. I also tried converting mixB.L and mixB.R to a single interleaved stereo file (mixC), and when flipping the phase and comparing mixC to mixA I get the same result, they don't completely cancel out.

Keep in mind, this is using files of an entire bounced mix...I'm sure if I just take an interleaved file, copy it and split into L & R, they'll cancel out properly when the phase is flipped. Something is happening during the bounce...maybe it's just a Logic issue. In ProTools, when you bounce a mix to disk (or record the mix to a new channel), are you able to select the stereo file type (split or interleaved) or will it only do it as split mono?
Old 7th September 2007
  #17
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Yep, sounds like you proved it's a pan law "issue". Because you are panning the mono files, they aren't at the same level as the "already panned" left and right in the interleaved file. Did you change the pan law and invert to prove this?

Sonar also has different pan laws to choose from ... For good or bad. Turns out that if you export from the master buss (i.e. a mix-down from the buss you are monitoring) then what you hear is what you get. At that point I decided not to worry about it.

It did cause enough confusion that some people sorted it out and one made a nice set of tables explaining everything. To quote the discussion at the end "The issues develop when you really want to maintain the original clip levels such as when exporting raw (and possibly edited) tracks for use in other software."
Old 8th September 2007
  #18
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There are some pan law things I'm trying to figure out still (much bigger differences between interleaved and mono when pan law is at -3db), but the above mentioned test that I did was all done at 0db pan law. Plus, the fact that mixA (interleaved) and mixC (split files converted to interleaved) would not cancel out when phase flipped eliminates pan law as a possible suspect.
Old 8th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMike View Post
There are some pan law things I'm trying to figure out still (much bigger differences between interleaved and mono when pan law is at -3db), but the above mentioned test that I did was all done at 0db pan law. Plus, the fact that mixA (interleaved) and mixC (split files converted to interleaved) would not cancel out when phase flipped eliminates pan law as a possible suspect.
If the mixes don't cancel out when you flip phase and combine, then something really is wrong somewhere in your DAW. I can print the same mix over and over again in PT and change between the formats and can combine any one of the mixes with any other and they always cancel out.
Old 8th September 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C_F_H_13 View Post
If the mixes don't cancel out when you flip phase and combine, then something really is wrong somewhere in your DAW. I can print the same mix over and over again in PT and change between the formats and can combine any one of the mixes with any other and they always cancel out.
werd
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