N12 7.1.4 Surround Channel Order is STILL wrong

Why is it not standard SMPTE and DOLBY? or at least switchable to LRCLfeLssRssLrsRrsLftsRftsLrtsRrts

Why follow Microsoft’s order where side pair is after the rear pair! there is no logic in this non standard.

Even in the Nuendo manual it describes the 7.1.4 format in the correct logical order

the side channels left and right, the surround channels left and right,

But then at the bottom it says

In Nuendo, the order of surround busses and side busses follows the specification of Microsoft Inc. To meet the Dolby specification for side surround busses and surround rear busses, swap the device ports of surround busses and side busses.

Please Steinberg, if you insist on using MS non-standard please give us a preference switch to make all meters and bus assignments show the correct SMPTE/ATMOS standard and make N12 behave and execute completely in the standard SMPTE/DOLBY manner. And so we dont have to do a kludgy swap that doesnt reflect in the output meters.


Right?? I’ve been asking about this for years now.

But I’m sure this whole Dolby Atmos thing will blow over soon enough. :upside_down_face:

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Why would a pro audio app follow specs from Microsoft instead of industry standards? :roll_eyes:


(Answer excluding 7.1.4 channel order)

Because it is the SMPTE standard

  1. The “Film” standard doesn’t exist, it’s just the way Dolby does it for most of their products.
    (For example their Dolby DCP-200 Cinema server only accepts SMPTE (Microsoft) channel order, it does not accept their own "film order)
  2. When transferring a Multi BWav file to another application, the channel order is automatically assigned while importing. So when you import a Nuendo Multichannel file (Microsoft) into ProTools or another application, the individual channels are going to be automatically split/routed to the correct outputs.
    (When importing a Multichannel file that is not made according to the Microsoft WaveFormatExtensible standard, the user needs to re-arrange the channel outputs manually)

As a real life example: when you import a “Film” order Multichannel Bwave into the Dolby DCP-2000, your channel assignment will be completely wrong.

(As for the 7.1.4 channel order)

I am not sure about this, but as far as I know, there still is no SMPTE standard for 7.1.4.
Only up 'till 7.1.2 if I am not mistaking.



DCP-200 Cinema server only accepts SMPTE (Microsoft) channel order

My understanding is that SMPTE and Microsoft standards are not the same. This is the misunderstanding we have.
We need SMPTE standard.
Do you admit it is a standard up to 7.1.2 then?
We are only concerned about the 7.1 bit anyway.

Steinberg is usually great with standards. The order of our master meter and speaker outputs to be standardised in post audio is a significant requirement.
It’s obvious that SMPTE beats MS by a mile in the industry.

Is it politics? Dolby used to have their own but they have fallen in line with SMPTE (finally!)

To be honest, I never checked that.
I assume(d) that they are the same.
What’s not?


Microsoft and Steinberg: LRCLfe Lrs Rrs Lss Rss Ltf Rtf Ltr Rtr

SMPTE/ITU, Dolby (industry norm, logical order of the speakers in pairs from front to back) : LRCLfe Lss Rss Lrs Rrs Ltf Rtf Ltr Rtr

Note: Please leave the actual labeling semantics to another debate. It’s obvious what speakers I’m referring to. It’s the order we are talking about.
Also the old SMPTE Film format (L C R …) is pretty much abandoned and thats not the current SMPTE/ITU moving forward. Protools is also stuck in the past, albeit different from MS standard so there can be no argument of the winning standard here. It is definitely SMPTE/ITU.

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Issues like this are so annoying, but it’s not that Steinberg are in error. But I do believe they need to give us the tools to make traversing these issues simple and easy. In this case it would be a UI control to flip the sides/rears order, so that, as Ben quite rightly says, meter and bus assignments show the Dolby ATMOS order if required.

I have searched and I can’t actually find a (free) SMPTE document that specifies the 7.1+ channel order. It would be great if someone knows a link for one.

For the ITU, BS.2159 does not seem to specify it. But it does give you an appreciation for how many formats and factors are involved.

For the case of order L/R/C/Lfe/Lrs/Rrs/Lss/Rss this also seems to be the order for blu-ray.

Microsoft lay out their case for it here, in a somewhat confusing manner due to discussion about channel masks. But their ‘logic’ is in there.


That link Fredo gives the required order as SMPTE in both scenarios, does it not?

ie side speaker pair before rear (unless like in 5.1 there are no side speakers, just “rear”)

Sends should be assigned to the sends in the following channel order L = Send 1, R = Send 2, C = Send 3, LFE = Send 4, Lss = Send 5, Rss = Send 6, Lrs = Send 7, Rrs = Send 8, Lts = Send 9, Rts = Send 10. When using a multi-channel aux track “unlink” to assign each channel to the appropriate send from the channel drop down menu under the link button. Speaker outputs from the Renderer using mutlichannel aux tracks must use the same channel order.

You left out the important sentence that precedes your quote:

If using the Renderer Send and Return plugins with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite in Pro Tools , this channel order must be using when using multichannel aux tracks to send Bed audio to the Renderer. Sends should be assigned to the sends in the following channel order L = Send 1, R = Send 2, C = Send 3, LFE = Send 4, Lss = Send 5, Rss = Send 6, Lrs = Send 7, Rrs = Send 8, Lts = Send 9, Rts = Send 10. etc …


Regardless, that order in bold from mixRyan is the one we need

L R C Lfe Lss Rss Lrs Rrs Ltfs Rtfs Ltrs Rtrs

ie side surrounds first, I cant be any more clearer.

Protools can output that configuration by a similar kludgy method because they are internally stuck in another non-standard of SMPTE Film last time I checked.

My detailed feature-request on this from 2019 for Nuendo 10. Screenshots included! :star_struck: But mostly explains WHY the current situation is a real headache when composing & producing surround sound in Nuendo.

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Can someone help me out here? (Just sorting out a new Atmos 7.1.4 setup).

I see that the N12 internal Atmos renderer reflects the N12 Rear/Side order (i.e. sides after rears).

I can do the output port swap to get the Dolby channel order into my monitor controller - ok.

But - when I export the ADM BWAV - is the order “wrong” in the file? (i.e. sides after rears). My trial of DAPS has expired and I can’t yet purchase it for checking things like this.

I tested ADM conversions by Fraunhofer MPEG-H and EAR Suite but that introduced more confusions.

Thanks for any help.


FML. I thought I was going crazy.

This is a partial re-post of a post I just added to @jpgtr 's feature request thread.

I’ve just checked everything on my system capable of 7.1 (or 7.1.4) audio to see which order they use and what they call it. So far I’ve found this:

Camp 1 (sides before rears)
[My justification why this might be done: logical layout order from front to back of room]

  • MacOS Audio MIDI setup Configure Speakers options (called 7.1 rear surround)
  • Metric Halo monitor controller (called 7.1 ITU)
  • Fraunhofer 7.1 surround test file
  • Reaper (both 7.1 and 7.1 ITU layouts follow this)
  • DaVinci Resolve (called 7.1)
  • Focusrite MixControl (7.1 Surround)

From what I can tell, this is the ISO/IEC 23001-8 7.1 channel configuration.

Camp 2 (rears before side)
[My justification why this might be done: start with 5.1 layout and then add sides for 7.1]

  • Nuendo (called 7.1)

From what I can tell, this is the EBU – TECH 3285 7.1 channel configuration.

At the moment, when I set everything to ITU 7.1, Nuendo is very much the odd one out.

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I answered in your older thread before I saw it here. Basically that version of EBU you are referring to is old as I understand it.

Now it is in line with ITU and Camp 1. All current big streamers require ITU/EBU(new) order - sides before rears.

The current deliverable and newer industry standard is based on the fact that systems at home now dont end at 5.1 anymore. Apparently yet to be properly documented by EBU.

All new recievers, TVs etc are 7.1 and up and have been for years. We’re already knee deep in the array/bed/object based approach. It’s far more flexible and folds down to binaural, older 5.1, even quad systems “seamlessly” as we all know :slight_smile:

Regardless, with this archaic channel order Steinberg is basing targets to the consumer on 5.1 surround as the upper limit, and the higher channel counts being special use more cinematic configuration. Its outdated since about 2017 and ignoring that beds are 7.1 and up and the industry needs a standard to avoid this kaotic “no! I’m the leader” mentality (like Avid). That new standard, adopted by SMPTE and ITU and now EBU, has poked through this mess years ago. It’s just Steinberg and Avid in denial.

Effectively by giving us the dolby and dts apps in windows microsoft has quietly abandoned their old channel order without having to admit it.

Well I’m convinced. Ladies and gentlemen, suggest we all chip on a vote for this.

Does anyone know the answer to this? Please?