How surround mix can be more living out from stems.
Releasing an album is like when your child has grown up and moves on from home. Should it live only cheap places (Spotify/Youtube) or may it also come more exclusive places (Surroundmusic.one)?
Best surround mix are made out of separate instrument and vocal track (all with mastering settings), but an almost as good surround mix can be made out of stereo stems with a little more effort like the TRUCE mix:
TRUCE surround mixes
TRUCE surround mixes are made in Cubase 10.5 out of 4 stereo stems in 88 kHz 24 bit wav;
Lead guitar, drums, bass & scapes.
Scapes are mostly in the rears, bass in the front & sub, drums in the centerline and lead guitar mostly in the front and center.
Drums are moved a bit around using different technics to get the tom toms closer to the rears as shown below. That takes a lot of time, but is worth the effort.
Lead guitar are up front, but the last fraction of a second of each sequence of notes are moved past the center line in a way that the soli are coming towards you. Here is a difference between the 5.1 and the quad mix; In the 5.1 mix it moves just past the center line while in the quad mix it moves past you to the rears.
Besides that the quad mix have a bit gained the bass and lead guitar (without the center and sub channel)
Most of my surround mixes are made with a bit more living/moving quad mix inspired by the 1970’ties quad mixes. Often they were more discrete mix with moving instruments.
TRUCE surround mixes took around 2 weeks of work. Changing the 5.1 into quad only took a few hours; For me it’s important an album with a great sound is released in multiple ways so it can be received by most fans the way they prefer.
Tom tom parts without cymbals:
Under Drums are the Front Rear panning for moving tom toms closer to the rears. Under that the z-axis rotation (here at bars+beat 240-280) to spread out the toms in a section only with toms as shown below (yellow dot is left and red dot is right channel in the stereo stem)
Close in on the tom parts.
Tom tom parts with cymbals:
The drum track in the front only are duplicated to a new track and placed in the rears only. (Both gained down -4dB). In the parts without the tom toms the EQ for both are:
In the tom parts the EQ’s are added the shelf:
This move the toms closer to the rear without affecting the cymbals.
The last fraction of a second of a tone is moved from close to the front and over the centerline:
This was moved further to the rears in the quad mix. Easy to choose the lower points in Cubase and drag them down.
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TRUCE is my 13 official album mixed in surround sound.
(All pics are made by myself and can be used copyright free)