A 5.1 surround question

Hi There, I am a composer working in N5.5.6 and I am getting more and more request to deliver my stems in 5.1. All of my projects are final mixed by someone else and he is 5.1 capable. My being set up in 5.1 here is really just to ‘check’ his mixes.

My question is: working everyday (last week) - it has been ‘nice’ to hear, as i am writing, the 5.1 in my composing suite. I am not doing anything special of routing said instruments to specific speakers, etc. - just having the ‘surround’ has been nice.

But when I have to send a ‘rough mix’ to the client for cue approval (that needs to be a general stereo mix) - what is everyone’s recommendation?

  1. just export out the 5.1 (output master) and it plays just fine on their stereo playback?

  2. Use the ‘Mix 6 to 2’ insert plugin on the 5.1 master output (if so - should this insert plugin be ‘first’ insert of ‘last’?

    Thanks for your expert opinions.


When you say a “rough mix for approval” I’m assuming it’s exactly that and will not be played on a surround stage system. Therefore, always send stereo. If you send a 5.1 the probability that it will not be downmixed correctly approaches 100%. It’s never downmixed correctly until it’s done correctly. If that makes sense. Even mono is better than 5.1 for approval, at least it plays everything.

Ok thanks Hugh. Really appreciate the reply. Since I am a ‘novice’ - can you tell me the best way to ‘export’ JUST stereo if my template is set up in 5.1. Would I put the ‘Mix 6 to 2’ insert in the master output bus (last of first insert?). Would that be the way to do it? Thanks again.

I just noticed in the EXPORT page that there is a box to tick - “L/R Channels”. Wouldn’t that be what I’d want for providing just a stereo mix? (there is a box for ‘Split Channels’) which I would tick to provide a 5.1 export. Sound right?

If you use the “Mix 6 to 2” plugin, you will get a lot more control as I believe (may be mistaken as I have not tried for a long time now) there is a hidden “MixConvert” instance in there - with the plugin you get a lot more control over the result.
It may be worth asking the clients what they prefer to receive as well - some can even handle surround!

The ‘mix convert’ plugin on last slot of master bus works perfectly these last two months. It also was wonderful to have a client in the studio the other day to ‘hear’ his score in 5.1 - he seemed pleased.

You still get more control over things if you use the Mix 6to2 plugin - with this it is possible to start off using RPGA recommended downmix settings & tweak from there. MixConvert has a wide range of options certainly - but again this is also more flexible from the plugin version as well.

Ok thanks - I’ll try to today on a cue mix.