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In this chapter, I'd like to briefly touch on Audition's Surround Sound Mixing capabilities. We've talked mostly about how to work with mono and stereo mixes, but Audition lets you mix for 5.1 surround sound as well, meaning for a set up that includes a Center Channel, Front Left and Front Right Channels, Rear Left and Rear Right Channels, and the Subwoofer. So in order to properly monitor and mix like this, you really have to have a Surround Sound set-up connected to your computer. I can't really give you the full effect here since we can only present these training movies in stereo, but I do want to give you a basic rundown of the tools. So let's start by creating a Multitrack Session, and I'll just call this Surround Test.
I'll save it to my Desktop. Let's make this 44.1, 32-bit, and for the Master Output I'm going to choose 5.1 for a Surround Sound mix. I'll click OK, and that gives me a familiar looking Multitrack Interface. As usual, I have the default 6 tracks and a Master Track, but notice that instead of the Pan knob in the Track controls, we have this little interface, and it's available for each track. This is the Track Panner. Because we're not working in the simple left and right channels of a stereo mix, but instead working with 5 channels and a subwoofer, we need a more specialized interface like this.
You'll see the same thing if you switch over to the mixer panel, and here you'll see the Track Panner for each track here too. So let's get a couple of audio files in here to play with. Inside my Chapter 9 Exercise Files folder, I have 3 tracks from the song Breakdown Mode, which we used in the chapter on Multitrack Mixing. I just grabbed 3 of the files here for this exercise. Now I'm not going to be doing a complete surround mix here. I just want some files in Audition to show you the tools. So I'm just going to grab all three of these and drag them into my Files panel.
I'll switch back to the Multitrack Editor, and here I will just hold down Shift and select all three of those files, drag them onto a track, and that will distribute them across the three different tracks here. Okay, so by default each track is in the same position in the mix, which is balanced in the front center, basically, a stereo mix with the left and right channels emitting an equal level of audio. Let's work with the guitar track. I'm going to solo that up, and now I'm going to double-click the Track Panner. That opens up the Track Panner window for this particular track. Notice how it says Track 2.
So any changes I make here are only affecting Track 2 with the guitar track. And what we see here is a Surround Sound plot that displays how the audio is being distributed through the different channels. So again by default, this is just a stereo mix with sound coming only from the left and right channels. And both channels are emitting the same level of audio at this point. Now it's hard to see at the moment, but these white lines indicate the strength of the audio coming out of each audio channel, and you can see they're both the same length. They're kind of hard to see because they're currently covered with these green and blue overlays. Those are the Angle Indicators.
They show you where the sound appears to originate from. The immersive sound of Surround Sound is created when certain sounds are played at a higher level from certain speakers and a lower level from other speakers. Playing with these levels can create the illusion that the sounds are coming from different locations in a room. So if, for example, I drag the angle dial down here to the right slightly, notice the white lines immediately start coming out of the center channel as well as the right rear channel. Notice the right channel has actually gotten longer to indicate more sound is coming out of it now. The more I drag to the right, the more the right speakers emit and the less the left speakers do.
Notice if I drag far enough, we start to get sound coming out of the left rear speaker. Now tied into this is the stereo spread dial. This determines the separation between stereo audio tracks. Adjusting this dial increases or decreases the apparent distance between the right and left channels, and 30 degrees is the default. Now instead of dragging dials around, you can just drag the center dot around the plot, and not just around the surround plot, but inwards and outwards. This is controlling the radius slider below.
Notice that dragging inward increases the levels coming from the rear speakers and decreases the levels coming from the front. The closer you get to the outside edges of the surround plot, the more the sound is going to sound like it's coming from specific speakers. The more you drag inwards, the less distinct the sound will be. If you drag the radius to the very center or 0 percent, it's going to sound like the audio is coming equally from all speakers. Now you won't be able to get the full effect, but if you have headphones on or a decent set of speakers with enough distance between them, you should be able to hear the changes if I play the track and drag the dot around.
(audio playing) I actually muted it there by dragging everything to the center. (audio playing) Now we have two more sliders down here, the center slider determines the percentage of the center channel's level relative to the left and right level.
Actually, I need to drag this in so you can see it. Notice that as I drag the center slider to the left, that decreases the sound of the center slider. You can see the white line receding there, and it also increases the left and right channels a little bit. And the LFE slider is the level of the signal sent to your subwoofer. The subwoofer signals are non-directional, so the Surround Sound plot doesn't include it. You just use the sliders to determine how much of this particular track you want to play through the subwoofer. You can also click LFE only, if you're working on a track that's only going to play exclusively to the subwoofer and none of the other 5 channels.
Notice that it mutes the rest of the surround tracks. And, by the way, you can also disable specific channels completely by clicking them here. So if I wanted to disable the rear speakers for a particular sound, I can just do that. So that's a very basic rundown of how the Track Panner works, and remember that what we're seeing here applies only to the selected track. Each track can have its own setting. You can also use the tiny Track Panner in each track to move your surround image around. But you can only move it if the large Track Panner window is closed, but it's difficult to be precise with this tool, and you have a much easier time using the Track Panner window.
The small Track Panner is better used as a visual indicator of where the track lies in the mix, and if you need to make an adjustment, you can double-click it to open the full size Track Panner.
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