Nuendo Bass Management - Multiple Subs

So here’s something to think about.
We are upgrading one of our post suites - and prepping it for dolby atmos. For now, its just wired for 5.1 and 7.1, but will be 7.1.4 soon. New interfaces are in (we’ve gone for focusrite dante all round the studios) and things look good.
However, we are unable to use our neumann monitoring system as it won’t get loud enough. It’s still fine to use for 5.1 mixing - and that will prob remain the most used format. But since folk are starting to ask for atmos on smaller midrange projects, we need to be prepared.
So out comes our focal system.
Which is twin 6BE’s for screen speakers and one 6Be’s for surrounds. And if we can figure out a way to mount them, they’ll become atmos ceiling speakers too. (Focal don’t make it easy…damn I love neumann and genelec’s embrace of fairly standard mounts!)

Anyway. To get the sub levels needed - AND to alleviate some of the room issues around sub, we have two of the focal BE subs.

I’m wondering about the best way to manage them. Should we look at putting them on two outputs - and being able to access both separately? But then - why? I don’t need to have the subs running stereo… except MAYBE for some occasional stereo mixes where I just want to do it for fun / and I really enjoy listening like that.

But this does complicate things. The focusrite software aint brilliant and has many limitations - especially the R1 remote control (why oh why did they restrict the source channels to 30 in total when one 7.1.4 stream takes up 12!) and it can seemingly only do 12 speakers at once… so no chance of properly managing volume using the R1… do we do it all in nuendo? Is that a mistake?

The other option is running the subs in parallel - using a single output and just splitting it old school.

There seem to be so many pros and cons its a bit confusing on which way to go - but once we wire it, I don’t want to change it. We have 18 analog outs in the room - so there’s NO issue using more outputs. But given focusrite restrictions, I think the only way we could do it using its own output is with the nuendo control room. In which case - the R1 becomes a very expensive talkback machine… (but still useful!)

So - does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Many thanks. Brendan.

I’m sure other people can give better input than me… but since I’m bored and had some coffee;

My hunch is that using subs in ‘stereo’ is a bit unnecessary. If they’re crossed over low enough directivity will be really low (or “zero”), which is already as it should be if you’re using one sub as far as I can see, so no use in ‘stereo’ really. Also I would think that it’d pose some sort of head-scratcher to set up the subs to do ‘stereo’. You’d have to be able to switch from one set of channels being bass managed to one sub output versus to two outputs forsub left/right. Not sure how you’d do that switching. Presumably in Nuendo but it seems it’d be awkward. Two Control Room setups to deal with instead of one?

Also, if your R1 can do 12 speakers as a source then 7.1.4 channels is exactly 12 which leaves you with another 6 on your interface (assuming 18 total, did I get that right?). To me that seems reasonable. “6” is a handy number if you ever want a second set for 5.1 for example. I mean, not that you foresee it perhaps, but all it’d take is that you are asked to double check the mix on a second surround setup and you have easy access to 5 surrounds that are for example smaller, plus a sub, and you can now hook that up and have two systems running concurrently with easy switching in Nuendo for the separate sets. Maybe not likely, but my brain is telling me having 6 spare outs is better than 5.

Lastly I think doing it all in CR can be fine and not a mistake, but it depends on how you’re set up and like to work. For me it’s fine (5.1, bass managed, solo jobs for TV up to 5.1 surround).

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Yeah - I’m inclined to agree.
Just use a single output and run them in parallel.

I have in the past used two subs with stereo monitoring, and it is a suburb way to mix - MUSIC. But this room is post, and unlikely to be used for music other than possible new atmos music mixes.

The room is extremely well treated, and when the subs take over between 85 and 100 Hz, we get more headroom / less THD out of the system - which is a nice by-product of using bass management well.

And in that case, the system works far more as a 3.5 way system (the twins are 2.5 - and are actually a little strange in how they work. There’s two cross overs, but both 6.5" drivers take the bottom end, and only one does the mids)

With what is essentially a non-environment room (not as good as a thomas barefoot NE room, but still very good) the imaging down well below 100Hz is brilliant. I might even do some tests this week, but with the two subs below the L & R speakers, you really can hear L&R spread. Its kinda like bottom end in cinema - where the LCR’s all have their own subs, and the LFE are separate subs. In the right room, bottom end moves around REALLY nicely and effectively.

So I guess I was just exploring HOW i might be able to do that… have the subs stereo for stereo mixing, and as a .1 LFE PLUS bass management for the other 11 speakers in an atmos setup - using perhaps just the nuendo control room. It can be done with external DSP quite easily - but the cost of the DSP is a step too far for the type of work this room does.

You are very right in that it is useful to have an extra 6 outputs for a second set of 5.1 monitors. Another option - but I need to look into the integration of it - is for a high end dolby atmos sound bar. Given so much TV is consumed using these, I feel like we should have a way of monitoring through one. The Sennheiser and Yamaha models are both interesting. We will have to work out how to encode the channels on the fly though - something I’ve never looked into before.

I just wish I had more time to play. A week of messing about would probably just about do it…

EDIT : scratch the idea of a sound bar. It makes sense - they require a reflective ceiling. We have a completely dead ceiling in the mix room, and am not about it change it.