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Surround with arbitrary layout

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Surround with arbitrary layout

Postby mesayre » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:40 pm

Working on a new piece, which I would like to do in at least Quad surround. I like DP's surround panners, but wonder if there's a way for them to deal with a quad layout that is not actually square.

The venue I'm going to presenting this piece in is quite a bit longer than it is wide, and for reasons of aesthetics and accommodating the largest possible crowd I'd like to use the whole space. But it's probably 50% deeper front-to-back than it is wide. I'm entertaining more than 4 speakers, with an additional pair on the "long" side of the rectangle, but that is even further from any standard layout.

Is there some way to tell DP that my speakers are in a different place from where it's expecting them to be? For the sake of proper panning?

Thanks!
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Re: Surround with arbitrary layout

Postby dix » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:05 pm

I don't think there's anything in DP that can help you with irregularly shaped spaces. When I've composed for immersive, unconventional spaces I just sort of approximate the venue's speaker placement with my control room speakers (normally they're in a theatrical 5.1 config, which isn't exactly symmetrical either) so I can get placement and panning in the ballpark, and then do a final mix pass in the venue to dial everything in. I realize that may not be an option for you, but if you can manage it, mixing in the venue itself will dramatically improve the sound. ...in my case i mix down to stems at my studio and do the site specific mix on a laptop.
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Re: Surround with arbitrary layout

Postby mesayre » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:35 am

Thanks for the response and thoughts.

Unfortunately I only have access to the space sporadically, so I have to make educated guesses and then adjust when I can get in to test things later. Not ideal, but the best I can do I'm afraid.

As for the actual space, I suppose I'll just have to approximate using quad. I thought about putting a fill on the long sides of the rectangle that is a combined front-back feed, which I may still try. I have concerns about phase issues in that scenario. Perhaps just 4 speakers will work with careful mixing and proper setting of the panner parameters to prevent 'holes' on the sides.

It's just a hunch, but it seems like DP could accommodate custom layouts if one knows where to find the config files. Unless the layouts are hard-coded into each of the panners (which seems unlikely), there ought to be a way to feed DP a list of channels and coordinates. If it's not there now, I imagine something designed to deal with situations like this in a forthcoming update, given that immersive audio is seeing some large-scale commercial investment these days. Wishful thinking, maybe, since this particular use case is pretty niche.

Guess I have to quit stalling and write some music now :).
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Re: Surround with arbitrary layout

Postby HCMarkus » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:50 pm

I'd mix it in a decent-sounding surround room, then play it back and adjust the inter-speaker balance in the performance room itself. Maybe a little EQ, if available, too, to help it sit well in the performance room.

It will sound great, because you can fine-tune the balance and EQ in the ONE space it HAS to sound great!
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