Support more audio channels and surround panning

Devices supporting 8 channels used to be widely used in medium-high computer motherboard integration (such as Realtek’s HD series) and discrete sound cards, while high-end ASIO and Dolby Atmos devices are more supportive of higher channel counts for music synthesis and other areas. The popular open-source live streaming software OBS also supports 7.1-channel output, and there’s even a version specifically built for music creators that supports up to 22 channels.

For compositions that need to be created with delicate surround sound, our only choice at the moment is the expensive Vegas available. In fact, AAC and ffmpeg encoders also support a very high number of channels.

For me, I often need to relocate multiple independent inputs to different channels to achieve a nice surround experience. It would be great if shortcut would let go of this limitation and add a corresponding feature for surround creation!

Can you give more details about your suggestion?

I think we have many users who like to import a multi-channel (surround) file and cut out or rearrange segments. But I do not think many users have a need to master their own surround sound from scratch. Is that what you are doing?

What are your sources for surround sound mastering?

What surround effects are you trying to achieve?

How do you do it today?

For great surround mastering from scratch, I am afraid that panning won’t get us very far. We will also need to be able to apply effects to specific channels. For example, in addition to panning some dialog to the rear, we might also want to add some reverb and delay to make it sound like a large room. But the reverb/delay should only be applied to the rear channels.

FYI, for the next release I am adding two audio related scopes: Audio Vector (phase) and Audio Surround. I think that visualizations are important if we want to add more multichannel editing capabilities in the future.

The next version adds a new audio filter Ambisonic Encoder that can used to spatially position a sound (it down-converts that audio input to mono). Then, you can use the Ambisonic Decoder to convert that to 5.1 surround. I realize that is not the most ideal way to do surround panning, but it does provide some coverage while also providing a spatial audio solution, especially for making or working with 360° video.

For example:
For some reason, members of a symphony band were unable to shoot and record in the same place, so they each made audio and video recordings.
Then combine the files recorded by different people together. The video arranges everyone in a virtual music hall through special effects production; Audio, on the other hand, locates each person in different positions within the sound field based on the video.
This example requires remixing different tracks in audio processing to achieve a realistic auditory experience.

At present, only MAGIX Vegas supports visual sound field localization of soundtracks for this work, so there is no alternative choice.

Another example:
Due to the fact that there is still a certain market space for 7.1 channels compared to 5.1 channels. Materials recorded using 7.1 channels (such as ASMR/live multiplayer microphones/computer games, etc.) can not be individually modified using Shotcut for a certain channel (such as applying filters/effects/rematrixing, etc.), nor can they be easily re-exported as 7.1 channel files.

For this situation, I can only separate the video and audio, and then use different software to edit, adjust, and export them according to the timeline, and finally repackage them together. But doing so is not only troublesome, but it can also lead to difficulties in precise alignment. It would be even better if Shotcut’s interface offered more freedom of choice.

To be more future proof, wouldn’t it be better to be able to have a basic ADM creator with the ability to locate audio objects, add tags about what the object is etc.

Then one of the open source renderers could create stereo, 5.1, binaural, special headphone mixes, hard of hearing mixes etc.