Composing in Stereo - final Mix in 5.1?

Hi All , After A nightmare switching from Stereo to Surround at the end of a project in Cubase , going forward I am trying to work out my best workflow in Cubase ( as a new b to Cubase)

My composing is done in Stereo, as no-one has access to 5.1 or Quad until the dub , my old work flow in Logic was set all outputs to Stereo and then switch at the end to 5.1 or quad and Mix , but Cubase does not like switching stereo group to quad outputs and its messy - See here

So I am wondering if it’s best to Create 2 Mix Busses 1x Surround 1x Stereo and set all outputs to Direct and send to both Stereo and Surround ?

Or to just use a surround master for everything and set the Control room to Stereo(while writing) and when I Export mixes set export as to “L/R from Surround”

I am really just trying to work out the best CPU load as when composing I use hundreds of Vis and don’t want to bog everything down with lots of pointless bussing and routing …



I’ll have to double-check my template, but I don’t think I export using that option. To me it makes more sense to set up two buses, one 5.1 and one stereo, and then set those up as sources in Control Room. Assuming you have an actual 5.1 monitoring setup you can have that as your output regardless of if your source is 5.1 or stereo. If it’s the stereo source it’ll play on LR even if CR is set to 5.1 output.

The reason I do it that way is that when I export I’ll export from those buses and I will have had the opportunity to listen to the exact source of each mix in CR while mixing, so there no possibility of any surprises by letting CR do the downmix to stereo and then hope the export is the same. I mean, it probably is the same, but it’s just more comforting to listen to the actual signal I’m going to export.

As for the actual mixing into those buses you have options. You can either start off with 5.1 and downmix it automatically, or the other way around, or you can do two mixes in parallel more or less… I would probably consider what types of stems you need to print and make sure you can export those at the same time and therefore set up busing to make that happen (by “stems” I mean it in the audio-to-picture sense).

PS: Just remember to make your main mix output the widest channel count, i.e. 5.1.

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Thanks Man! So that is how I ended up working. I agree its seems the best and most flexible way.
just couple of things I had to work around ,

  1. You can’t assign the same physical outputs for your Main (Front speakers) In CR for 5.1 and Stereo
    my main (front) Speaker are on outputs 1-2 in my 5.1 set up , which means I can’t assign my Stereo out in CR to the same speakers .

  2. when you fold 5.1 down to Stereo in CR for monitoring, there’s no way to bounce the fold down stereo signal… So I just bounce the Stereo output without listening to it (as its a copy of the 5.1’s Main L-R

This is why I was playing around with only having a 5.1 Master and using the Fold down to listen back , and the Export “L/R from Surround” for the stereo bounces …

Sorry, I’m on Nuendo and I think there are some CR differences that I’ve forgotten about. But just to be clear:

The default should be that if you select a monitor source that is stereo and you select the CR output to be 5.1 that stereo will ‘map’ to front LR within that 5.1 setup and there won’t be any changes to the signal - as far as I know. This is how I monitor my stereo mixes.

It could be a difference between Nuendo and Cubase but I can also set up two monitor/speaker outputs and have 5.1 LR map to the same outputs as a stereo output. So maybe that’s a different setting or a Cubase restriction. But like I said, either way it’s not normally how I monitor, I just leave output to 5.1 in CR.

Also reiterating this for clarity; I have output buses created in the connections window and route my stereo mix to a stereo bus which is what you wrote;

That’s what I do as “final” points in the mix chains. Those are the ones I choose to export from. No need to fold down 5.1 to stereo in control room if you do it that way, just choose the stereo mix bus as your source.

Anyway, maybe we’re saying the same thing. Just wanted to clarify.

All sound how I ended up working , but I am still wondering about CPU and overall system resources . running a Stereo and 5.1 routing system in the background , when a 2nd option could be using Folddown to listen back to you 5.1 and the Export “L/R from Surround” for the stereo bounces …

I am new to Cubase and maybe complex routing does use much CPU with so maybe Vis running it really hard to know if adding a direct out to stereo add much if anything …

I create all groups, fx and main out as 5.1
On main out I have mixdown to stereo plugin(MixConvert or Mix6to2) (after all mastering plugins) so when exporting I fold down the mastered 5.1 with this plugin and if I need any stereo processing I place them after the fold down. I don’t use the CR for folding down.

In this setup you have a real idea how the final 5.1 will sound on systems which is folding down a 5.1 mix (i.e TV).

The draw back is you process all busses in 5.1 and if you want to export channels you have to disconnect them (or reroute to stereo bus) in order to export/mixdown them as a stereo track/file and not 5.1 (vstis for example).

No don’t worry about that. First of all simple summing of signals and simple routing takes very little CPU power. Secondly, even if you’re processing on both of the master outputs it will be different if the signals are parallel. In parallel the system can load different cores for those processes, but if you put the processing in series it has to do one thing before it does the next which usually loads one core more which means a higher risk of drop-outs.

You could just try it, it’s easy to undo.