[ProAudio] 4-channel program distribution format(s)

Geoff Martin geoff.martin at tonmeister.ca
Tue Jan 24 12:19:34 PST 2023


Speaking as someone who works for a company on the playback end, I would suggest that the safest way to ensure compatibility and correct channel routing on the largest number of playback devices is to distribute the recording as a 5.1-channel package, leaving the Centre Front and LFE channels silent. This will ensure that (almost) any playback device will know where to send the channels, since they’re all tested with 5.1. Although 4.0 is a recognised format, it’s not guaranteed that a playback device will be tested for an uncompressed stream.

There are some examples of this already out there. For example, I’ve found some tracks that are distributed in Dolby Atmos that have either silence on the height channels or on the centre front channel. The decoder is getting a 7.1.4 stream, but there isn’t necessarily content on all channels.

Of course, to keep customers from complaining, it’s also an option to bleed a little Lf+Rf into the Centre Front - and to do a simple bass management to create an LFE channel - but somehow include the information that these channels should be muted on playback for “correct” consumption. This is similar to the old Telarc “5.1” releases that were actually 6.0-channel recordings where the full-band LFE channel was intended to be routed to a ceiling loudspeaker, but if it did go to a subwoofer instead, then there wasn’t too much harm done. :-)

PS: The Danish company that Mark referenced is probably the Norwegian label: 2L, although the Danish label Dacapo releases some stuff on hybrid multichannel SACD.

Geoff Martin
www.tonmeister.ca / www.pm-pens.com

> On Jan 24, 2023, at 9:00 PM, proaudio-request at bach.pgm.com wrote:
> Hi, All,
< snip >
> Is there any ISO standard for 4.0 distribution?
> Any help/suggestions on how to do the "right" thing would be 
> appreciated! I have spent time searching, but I'm not finding the right 
> keywords, I guess.
> Thanks!
> Cheers,
> Richard
> -- 
> Richard L. Hess                   email:richard at richardhess.com <mailto:richard at richardhess.com>
> Aurora, Ontario, Canadahttp://www.richardhess.com/ <canadahttp://www.richardhess.com/>
> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm  
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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