Hey guys,

Obviously 5.1 mixing is an essential skill in film post, and as I understand it is also working it's way into being a standard in game audio too (my particular area of interest).

I'm just wondering how everyone here got their initial experience in creating audio for 5.1 and mixing in 5.1? One of our studios at Uni is equipped as an amazing 5.1 studio, but I only have one year left, and I'm wondering how I'll be practicing after I finish up!

Cheers Joe

3 Answers 3


I was born at the wrong time, we didn't even have a DAW when I was at Uni (I had Cubase VST3 in my room though), just a plain old analogue mixing console and 2 SVHS ADATs.

My first experience with 5.1 was a couple of years ago in Telegael. Studio 1 is a surround mixing studio and I'd mixed a TV movie in stereo that needed to be converted into 5.1 for a DVD release. I mixed the movie and we uploaded the stems to a company in LA to make the DVD, no idea how it was encoded. I think it's Dolby Digital but without having the DVD at hand I can't be sure.

To be honest 5.1 mixing is something I really want and need to do more of but I don't get given the surround projects as my studio is a stereo one, the chap in the surround studio gets the 5.1 work.

Short of buying myself the likes of a 003, 3 more Genelecs and Complete Production Toolkit I don't see an alternative to getting more sound work while I'm with my current employer. It's different in TV land as 5.1 is still relatively rare compared to stereo. I wonder what the actual numbers are for this? Anyone know?


  • Based on comments from folks I know in the TV commercial biz here in Canada very few commercials use a 5.1 mix and none of the design is done in surround just the mix.
    – studio13
    Oct 15, 2010 at 16:29

My first experience with surround projects was in 2005. At that time I was working as a technical assistant for a few production companies that had several studio's, I was in change of audio systems design, integration and maintenance. Now that I'm focusing mainly on creative (sound design) I have had a BlueSky 5.1 media desk system at home for the past year. Protools HD and Kontakt's surround environment work great for designing in surround. I don't have any exposure to post for film at the moment. If your thinking about surround I urge you to go out and get a cheap surround system and start watching piles of DVD's or BlueRAy's and just focus on listening :)


Being a sound editor/designer I got a lot of my early experience of learning how 5.1 is best utilised by working with very good film mixers & observing/discussing their approach. Its always dependent on what is motivated by the scene/moment/story etc...

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