How to connect studio monitors/sub for 5.1 output monitoring

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zkeko13

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How to connect studio monitors/sub for 5.1 output monitoring

PostTue Nov 26, 2019 5:59 pm

My question to the forum is how to properly hook-up the monitors and the sub (sub is the main mystery), to monitor my 5.1 mixdown (output)taking in account:
1. that my LFE track (from my mix ) is containing very little occasional data (at the places in mix where I decided to route some into LFE (with low pass filter at 80/120Hz added)
2. that my understanding of the process (maybe wrong) is that (for making DCP at the very end), I need to output 6 stems, and because of that, I should calibrate room and monitors and then monitor these 6 independent mono files (after being routed from my DAW to Audio Interface and to the separate balanced TRS cables to XLR inputs of 5 monitors and a SUB, more or less close how would they sound in a theatre
3. that I am not sure how to technically connect everything regarding subwoofer, because according to Recommendation for Surround Sound Production book - quote - bass management in the professional mixing environment is optional (engineer discretion) -
should I connect SUB onto LFE input only, and leave it as it is, or something more is involved regarding subwoofer and his part in final audio and the monitoring process
4. is it even possible that real-time monitoring 5.1 output is identically auditable as the 6 stems package streamed through the cinema projectors over a DCP
5. that look odd that all low frequencies beyond LPF would be just in 5 monitors, and that SUB is in no function other than LFE channel playback, if its not connected with monitors (like in home 5.1 systems)
6. that I also have to consider stereo mixdown option and that this would require different monitor connection setup
Any precise practical help/explanation would be helpful (asking to much, I know ))))
Thanks
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Richard Knight

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Re: How to connect studio monitors/sub for 5.1 output monito

PostWed Nov 27, 2019 11:22 am

In my setup I have a line level mixer feeding the sub, five of the inputs are from the main L C R SL SR tracks and these are turned up to add more bass to my limited frequency range main monitors, just the same system as an AV amp does. The sixth input is from the dedicated LFE output from the editor.
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zkeko13

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Re: How to connect studio monitors/sub for 5.1 output monito

PostThu Nov 28, 2019 10:57 am

Hi Richard, thanks for helping.
Did I get this right - you have 6 inputs on your subwoofer, 5 of these going to monitors and 6th is receiving LFE from your master bus. If that`s so, may I ask you what subwoofer do you have?
And line level mixer? Is that passive mixer, or what!? Sound card? Interface? What is your first piece of hardware in a chain (going from your computer)?
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Richard Knight

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Re: How to connect studio monitors/sub for 5.1 output monito

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 4:27 pm

It's just a 6 channel line mixer, designed originally for keyboard players on stage. The mixer op then goes to the line level input on the sub.
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Mattias Murhagen

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Re: How to connect studio monitors/sub for 5.1 output monito

PostFri Dec 06, 2019 12:52 am

zkeko,

Sorry if this is too much or if I'm saying things you already know...

You should probably get used to thinking in terms of channels that you render/output as mixes and stems, and secondarily the monitoring chain. The two aren't the same thing. It probably sounds obvious when I'm saying it, but remembering that when you think about this will make it easier to understand.

You want to set up your monitoring so that it can accommodate whatever work you need to do as good as possible. So obviously two speakers for stereo, 5 and a sub for 5.1 surround, and so forth. In addition to that you may have to consider the capabilities of the system as well, since they're not all created equal of course.

For a surround system for mixing the idea is that at least the front three channels are allowed full-range audio. So to properly monitor them you'll need to reproduce all that content. Bass management extends the low end of any managed channel. So if you bought fore example a surround system that had small woofers for the 5 speakers you could use a subwoofer for bass management: There would be crossover filtering at some point which would take the low end below a certain point from the five channels L/R/C/LS/RS and sum them together and send them to the sub's amp/driver. It would also often cut out the same low end from the five channels so there is no "doubling up" of content.

That is separate from the concept of an "LFE channel".

IF you need to bass manage your monitoring system because the main speakers won't go deep enough then you will end up with BOTH a low end signal from bass management AND an LFE signal from the LFE channel.

So you can seen now that bass management can be optional, because it depends on the capabilities of your surround monitoring system, and this is regardless of whether or not you are using the LFE channel.

If you choose to not use bass management then as you say you can connect the outputs of your audio interface to your speakers+sub, and possibly go through a monitor controller if you wish. You'd simply map the outputs of the interface to speakers according to whatever surround setup standard you would prefer to follow. I'm guessing L/R/C/LFE/LS/RS is the most common by now.

If you choose to extend the range of the five mains with bass management then you have to figure out a way to filter your signals;

- some subwoofers include this capability. If they do they'll have X inputs that are all filtered where the high-pass signal goes to X outputs which you then connect to your mains, and then the lower frequencies are summed together as I mentioned for the extension. I would think you almost always also then see an additional input for the LFE channel. So with this type of sub it could take care of all of this for you: It would accept all six channels from your interface and the do both bass management and receive LFE content, and the sub's outputs would go to the respective speakers...

- some monitor controllers contain the ability to filter. This would give you the convenience of external control at your fingertips of levels, mute/solo etc (typically).

- some software does the job. In my case most studios I've been in use a subwoofer that does the job, but at my place at home I have my DAW do it in software. The way it works there (Nuendo) is that in my software I have a separate virtual control room monitoring mixer, and I can filter and route signals in that software using both built in functionality and plugins. It allows me to connect my speakers direct to my interface and I can then choose bass management on/off, play back stereo to the L/R speakers only, edit dialog in mono in the center only, play back 5.1 bass managed, 5.1 without bass management, and so on. Very flexible, good and fast.

Check if Resolve can do this for you (wouldn't surprise me) and if it can then you could setup the way I have essentially.

Otherwise you'd have to look for a studio monitor controller or a subwoofer to do it for you.

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