kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

jesseh's picture

hey, im new here and looking for some help working with the audio tools. More specifically im looking for help regarding multi-channel audio output from QC using the audio tools. I've searched and read a whole bunch of forum posts but i couldn't find an answer to a basic question ... how do i map audio to my different speakers ?

i have an early 2009 iMac running to a 6.1 surround amp using optical. If i play dvd's my amp plays in surround so i know it can work. but when i try to play a file in QC to one of my surround speakers to audio only comes out of left or right and my amp is still in stereo (2 channel) mode.

Is there a tutorial or can someone help me configure QC (or my iMac) to get multi-channel audio through optical ?

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gtoledo3's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

The only way that multi-channel audio playback is supported (that I'm aware of), is with the stock Apple patch in Snow Leopard "3D Sound Player".

There's no tutorial that I'm aware of, and you won't be able to change pan positions, or manipulate the audio much (there is a pitch control and volume and that's about it).

A movie player in asynch mode may be able to playback multi-channel audio, but that would be a stroke of luck.

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

Discussed here. I haven't had time to work on this project since this discussion so cannot advise on testing the various options yet but depending on how much you want to spend/experiement the options are there to try. Doing it through optical S/PDIF port may be tricky.

Soundflower with Soundflowerbed is a good way to port the multichannel between devices and apps.

Good luck and interested to hear how you go.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

Imo, that thread reads in a very brain damaged way. It isn't ever really clear that there is any kind of solution. I mean, s/pdif is being recommended, and that's a two channel format. I kinda wanted to barf on the computer screen after plowing through 3 pages of non-answer.

Step 1 - QC needs to put out a multichannel signal that is "surround sound" or where stuff can go to discrete outs. That doesn't seem to be substantially addressed in the thread.

Step 2- Hardware interface, which is the part that gets totally brain damaged with really bad advice in the thread you reference, seems to already have been addressed successfully, as the system already puts out surround sound - it's just getting QC to output surround.

This can happen if a patch that supports multi-channel audio is used - hence, the suggestion of 3D sound player (or whatever the heck it's called - I'm booted in Leopard right now). It might also be a matter of going through a few different file formats with the Audio Tools... it might put out surround sound if the right format is used (?).

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

Well that clears things up tremendously ;-)

For my part I articulated here and there that S/PDF is not ADAT (Lightpipe) and quoted Behringer support for good measure.

Firewire /USB / PCIe card based ADAT multichannel is the cleanest way out of a Mac with multichannel. That will cost you. (Note to gtoledo) Being an AE, gt, I guess you know that I'm just summarising for OP and future reference.

Yeah if you know of a 7.1 encoder capable QC patch it's new to me, being 10.5.8. Would definitely like to get a confirm on that as it would save me a tonne of trial and error with cheap USB wireless and other things suggested on that (less than resolved) thread.

Quote:
I mean, s/pdif is being recommended, and that's a two channel format…

Hardware interface… seems to already have been addressed successfully, as the system already puts out surround sound - it's just getting QC to output surround.

The system already puts out surround sound using s/pdif. So you have a contradiction there. s/pdif can handle limited multichannel if it is encoded with dolby digital or another surround sound codec. So yeah back to encoding, perhaps some application outside QC can take the multichannel via Soundflower and encode it on the fly?

gtoledo3's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

Ooooooh. Yep. I thought that there was a breakout box of some sort being used (firewire, getting multiple channels out to a hardware box from the laptop), and then that was sending to the speakers via some kind of optical standard between the breakout box and the speakers. If that's not happening, and we're talking some kind of Dolby pseudo-surround encoding that just isn't working in QC, then I see the impasse. I hadn't considered that there could be some kind of Dolby stuff going on at all.

(Small aside - Dolby is very much a consumer audio company. They did make noise reduction units that were used on professional 2" recorders, that emphasized the treble, and then did a weird eq curve to bring it back "to normal". In the process, noise floor could be seemingly lessened. However... the sound was weird and a lot of people hated it. The coolest thing to do with Dolby noise reduction units is to record with the Dolby encoding on, and then play back with it OFF...especially with multitracked vocals. You get this really crazy airy peak with background vocals. I guess the Dolby stuff did make it's way into cassette recorders as well, but it wasn't quite the same setup.

When it comes to their pseudo surround sound tech, and different things that are supposed to "widen" stereo image... I don't know about every engineer, but the techniques used are widely regarded as being detrimental to the sound. I guess in the age of MP3 that's sort of a quaint take.)

The snow leopard audio patch definitely supports multichannel audio. However, I don't know how well I think it really works. For some reason, certain types of files seem to cause clipping when the waveform definitely isn't clipping. I think that with some care, correct levels/file format could be found (?).

So, if I've been dancing around the subject, if I had to get this going, I would be trying to:

1: Put a legitimate surround sound file in the Snow Leopard 3D Sound Player (err, I think that's what it's called. Sorry for being lame.)

2: See if it outputs multichannel audio the same way that playing your file however you're playing it now does (this is probably a good test if you are actually using some kind of optical/dolby cheat thing).

If I was in Leopard, or if I wanted something more "robust", it would go something like this-

  1. I would take the "surround mix" and split it up into separate mono tracks.

  2. I would place each track in a separate Kineme Audio File Player.

  3. I would enter in whatever channels I wanted each track to "map to" the outputs of an external hardware interface (firewire or usb) into the inputs of each Kineme Audio File Player patch.

  4. Then, I would take and use a real amp that was setup for surround sound specifically, and had discrete inputs, and plug the corresponding channels of the firewire outputs into the amp, and make sure that things matched as far as balanced/unbalanced signal.

  5. Alternately, if I was using stereo tracks, I would enter in "1,2" in the input for channel mapping... then the stereo tracks would map accordingly (and 3,4 for the next stereo set, so on and so on).

I bet there have been so many firewire and usb devices on the market that I have a feeling that it wouldn't be hard to find one second hand for cheap. Maybe I should read through that thread again, but some of the workarounds that were being speculated about struck me as being around the cost of something that is a robust solution.

dust's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

still think an m-audio or motu is the way to go as it would be universally applicable to both input and output plus its pretty decent quality. if you add some line, and optical compressors plus a pre amp api lunchbox type of unit you can get some really good recordings that will work with qc.

there obviously isn't one right solution, personally i'm all about keeping it all digital hence the whole spdif rant but some good pre amps and compressors really help out when tracking traditional instruments or mics.

(see pics) these guys are on my audio desk right now even though i do not use them. api lunch box, universal audio compressor etc..... i would suggest getting something similar but to refrain from sounding brain damaged you can get great if not better results using software emulation in my opinion.

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jesseh's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

This is all great info, thanks heaps guys :) I already bought an m-audio fast track ultra before experimenting with QC, i'll give it a go when it arrives.

dust's picture
Re: kineme audio tools and working with multi-channel audio

have you tried playing a dvd formatted audio clip inside the plugin yet ? i have not but i think it is a good question ? my surround system isn't working right now. although multi-channel audio and quartz work. i took this picture while i was doing some quartz recording this week. this media is vaulted cryogenically and hermetically sealed. having one of these units lets you know your recording is safe.

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