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Archive for March, 2008

Ambient Quadraphonic to 5.1 AC3 Recording

Posted by Jeff on March 27, 2008

Here’s my new workflow:
1) Import both stereo tracks into Audacity
2) Create two new tracks (Center and LFE)
3) Raise and lower the tracks to the proper top-to-bottom order for AC3 (at least, the AC3 that is output by BeSweet and ac3enc) – FL, Center, FR, RL, RR, LFE
4) Go to Preferences -> Audio Files -> check “Use Custom Mix”
5) Export to wav file, use the default mapping
6) Open the wav in AC3Machine (part of BeSweet); disable all of the range, compression, and balancing controls; export to AC3.
(Note that AC3Machine is downloaded separately from BeSweet, but requires the command-line version of BS. Also, ac3enc is a “plugin” download for BS.)

One note in particular to the Zoom H2… the left/right assignment seems to be reversed in both the front and rear files.

Next, I’ll try to figure out the Dolby Digital CD thing, as well as making a simple dvd using the AC3 track.

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Ambient surround recording

Posted by Jeff on March 26, 2008

I’ve been playing with quad-track recordings of ambient sounds (provided by mstock, using the Zoom H2), trying to convert them from a pair of stereo recordings (2 files with 2 tracks in each) to Dolby Digital/AC3 5.1 surround. Instructions were found here and here. I first used Wavewizard to combine the two wav files into one 4-track WaveFormatEX file. Then I used Wavosaur to add two more channels (the center and sub). Wavosaur is also a VST host, which allows me to use the H2-Zoo plugin to visually remix and balance the channels. Finally, I used BeSweet (and AC3Machine) to transcode the resulting .wav file to a .ac3 one (which can then be added as the audio track for a dvd.) But after playing both the wav file and ac3 file through my receiver (via XBMC), I realized that the tracks were not corresponding to the correct speakers.

Then I switched to the most recent beta version of Audacity, which can actually be used for all of the above steps except for the transcode to AC3. I’ve figured out that the multitrack wav uses the following track order:
RF, LF, RR, LR, Center, LFE
This is *not*, however, the order that AC3 uses. So if I want the surround audio for the dvd to play correctly, I’ve got to figure out that track order… later.

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