Just curious how you guys decide when to use stereo or mono SFX when cutting for a 5.1 feature. By SFX, I mean diegetic sounds.

I mean this as a question about channels, when do you put these sounds on LR, and when on C only?

1 Answer 1


As such, I would never mix effects on the sides but nothing in center, and I normally place most effects, and here I'm talking about straight in-frame effects, pretty much centered, with only reverbations in the sides and rear. Unless it's panned. Then it's still mono plus acoustics, but panned. On certain rather big things though, like close ups to trains, big machines, and even gargantuan animals, I use the full front. But never just the sides. That is not strictly true though. The center needs something for the entire soundscape to sound right, not counting ambiances (opinion differs there), but it doesn't necessarily have to be equal loudness or higher. By experimenting here you can get a clearer and more prominent dialogue for example. Like everything in sound design, and virtually anything creative, period, this is something that has to be used with good judgement and carefulness.

  • Thanks Christian. This is really helpful. I've been thinking about that too -- whether having LR effects without anything in C is a practice.
    – mikko
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 2:17

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