Surround sound mixing is getting more and more popular by the second. Videogame sound, DVD audio discs and HD television are formats where people are using Logic to mix and surround. In this video, we will go over some of the terminology and hardware requirements to do a surround mix in Logic. To mix surround in Logic, you will need more than two channels of output on your sound card. All formats that are considered surround need, at the minimum, four channels of output. This means your internal Mac Core audio card isn't enough. You can see the Audio Interfaces video for more information on external audio interfaces.
Explaining the formats of Logic's surround mixing is like giving a history of surround sound. This is because over the last 30 plus years, there have been several different formats that are being used as standards. Officially, Logic supports six formats. Here is some information about the surround formats that Logic supports. Quadraphonic. This format uses four channels with speakers set up symmetrically. Quad became outdated in the later 70s. There is a modern resurgence however with the use of an alternative four-channel format called Ambisonics.
LCRS, which stands for left, center, right and surround, this is a four-channel system with only one rear or surround speaker. It was used to mix early film surround soundtrack, like the original Star Wars. It's also known as Dolby Pro Logic. 5.1 or ITU 775. This is the most common surround mixing formats and the one we will spend the most time on. This format uses six outputs, which are called Left, Right, Center, Left Surround, Right Surround and the LFE or Low Frequency Effects Channel.
For optimum mixing, the speakers must be set up according to the slide. 6.1. The 6.1 format is used for Dolby Digital EX, or DTS ES. It adds a center surround channel in the rear. 7.1 comes in two flavors. The 3/4.1 uses the same speaker configuration as 5.1, but adds two additional side channels: left mid and right mid placed directly to the left and right of the listening position. It's designed for big cinema. Then we have the other 7.1 format: Sony Dynamic Digital Sound or SDDS.
It adds two additional speakers to the 5.1 matrix in the front, the left center and the right center. As with the other 7.1 format, this is designed for use in a large cinema, equipped with Sony decoding and playback hardware. When you're setting up Logic to work with any of these surround types, channel order, or which output talks to which speaker, is very important. Let's look at how Logic handles this in the General Preferences. Go to Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio and then go to the IO Assignments tab.
Under Output, we can see there is a Surround area. Here you can adjust manually where surround outputs will show up on the output channels of your interface. Assuming we are mixing in 5.1, when you select the ITU 775 preset, it sets up your output in the standard way. The Standard ITU preset puts your Left speaker output on Output 1. It puts your Right speaker output on Output 2. Your Center channel is on Output 3. Your LFE is on Output 4. Your Left Surround is on Output 5, and your Right Surround is on Output 6.
Some of these outputs will go to different places. In the Logic default setting, your center is actually Output 5. The LFE is 6, your Left Surround is 3 and your Right Surround if 4. You can customize these to any way want them, or you can use the presets that are already here. Another thing to be conscious of here is that when you bounce your surround mix, Logic will append an extension to your files according to the bounce. You can see these in the Bounce Extensions tab. As you can see, files for the left will have a .l, files for the center will have a .c and so on.
This default is probably good. But you can change it here in case you are authoring or mastering your surround mix in a certain software that likes different extensions. Now that we know some terminology and what's involved in the hardware of our surround mix, we are ready to set up our system and start mixing in surround.
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