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Old 28th January 2006, 15:53   #1  |  Link
ursamtl
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GUIDE: Using Wavelab to create 5.1 files

This is a basic guide for creating 5.1 files in Steinberg Wavelab 5.x. It uses the V.I Suite plugins but the basic method would be the same if you used non-V.I plugins.

The guide is just text for now. I'll add some graphics or a PDF version once I have more time. This will not teach you how to use Wavelab. It assumes you already know that. If not, learn at least the basics first!

To start with, download and install the following:
V.I Suite 1.1 Installer or as a zip file V.I Suite 1.1 Zip file (3MB)

Classic Master Limiter
Wavelab does not support the 2-in/6-out V.I plugin, but it does support the 2-in/2-out fLfR, CLFE, and sLsR plugins. Using Wavelab's Audio Montage feature, it's possible to create 6 channels that you can then encode to surround sound using AC3, DTS or other 5.1 encoders.
  1. Open stereo source file in Wavelab.
  2. Choose Edit > Audio Properties and then choose 32 bit float under Bit Resolution. If you need to change the file's sample rate, do not do it here!
  3. If you need to change the sample rate to 48000 as required by DVD projects, choose Process > Convert Sample Rate and then choose 48 000 from the list. Click OK.
  4. Press Ctrl+A to select the entire wave file. Choose Process > Eliminate DC Offset. The program scans the file for DC Offset and then prompts you to remove any offsets it finds in either channel. Click OK to do so as this will maximize the amount of theoretical dynamic range available in the file for conversion.
  5. Choose Edit > Create Audio Montage from Wave. A dialog box appears with Whole Range selected. Click OK.
  6. After the Montage window opens with the audio file in a track, clone the track by click on the small dropdown list with the number "1" and choosing Clone Track or by pressing and holding the Alt key while pressing T, then releasing both and pressing the D key. Repeat this to clone the track a second time and create stereo track 3.
  7. In the top left corner of the Montage window under the Edit tab, click Mode and choose Mode DVD-Audio, then return to the same menu and choose 6 channels (Lf, Rf, C, LFE, Ls, Rs).
  8. On the left side of each track, you will see a dropdown list button with the label no fx. For each of the three stereo tracks, click this and choose Add Effect Slot then click the Effects button in the dialog box that appears. First add the appropriate V.I Suite plugin as listed below. Then add a second effect slot in the same way for a limiter such as the Kjaerhus Classic Master Limiter I've recommended in the V.I guides.
    Track 1: fLfR and Limiter
    Track 2: CLFE and Limiter
    Track 3: sLsR and Limiter
  9. Assign the track outputs to the correct channels by clicking the Lf : Rf under the track number on each stereo track and choosing the correct channels. Important: for the CLFE and surround tracks, be sure to remove the checkboxes beside Left front and Right front because these remain checked even if you check other channels in the dialog box.
  10. Once you have set levels, effects, etc., to your liking, click the Render button at the bottom of the master section and then click the wide button across the bottom to set the output file format. In the Audio File Format dialog box that appears, choose the settings appropriate for your surround encoder (bit resolution, etc.) but be sure to set the Channels to Multi Mono. This will create six wave files (Wavelab does not support exporting a 6-channel wave file). If your encoder requires one 6-channel wave file, I recommend Johnman's wavewizard utility, described elsewhere on this forum.
This guide is just a basic starting point. If you're familiar with Wavelab or an expert, I'm sure you'll come up with variations that work for you. For example, you may want to split the three montage stereo tracks to six mono tracks and then apply effects as required. Certainly some compression on the LFE track can add some extra bottom end where required. You could add reverb to the rear channels by adding an additional effects slot with a reverb plugin. Always remember to use a limiter plugin AFTER all the others. Experiment. Try feeding sLsR with a reverb plugin. Reverse their order and see what the result sounds like. You could also use other plugins instead of the V.I Suite or in combination with them. For example, there are some voice extractor plugins available that some find effective. These can producing warbling artifacts, so you have to play with their settings to get good results. Anyway, the only limit is your imagination.

Finally, share your results with us here on the forum. Tell us what worked for you. Others will benefit from this community exchanging information.

Enjoy!
Steve.

Last edited by ursamtl; 7th September 2006 at 23:31.
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Old 14th February 2006, 15:42   #2  |  Link
kingtim
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A quick question. When checking the CLFE (track 2) to Centre and Low Freq Effects under the Audio dispatch menu, should I check the low pass Filter box, or even apply a low pass to the channel prior? Or leaving it as it is would be OK?
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Old 14th February 2006, 16:33   #3  |  Link
ursamtl
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I would just leave it as is. Both V.I and CLFE have low-pass filtering already built in.
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Old 1st November 2007, 09:01   #4  |  Link
CrazyJ32
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OK, so now how do I get this into a 5.1 ac3?

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Old 1st November 2007, 11:59   #5  |  Link
ursamtl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyJ32 View Post
OK, so now how do I get this into a 5.1 ac3?

Unless you already have software that converts a 6-channel wave file or 6 mono wave files to AC3 5.1, I'd highly recommend Aften. See this thread.
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Old 1st November 2007, 12:19   #6  |  Link
CrazyJ32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamtl View Post
Unless you already have software that converts a 6-channel wave file or 6 mono wave files to AC3 5.1, I'd highly recommend Aften. See this thread.

Thanks, but Iv finally discovered a means to do it.

...wow what a headache, it took me 7 hours to figure out how to convert an 11 second clip to an an 11 second clip. And to think I expected to have joined it to my main ac3 files* by now, silly me.

Tomorrow I will attach a guide to this guide and hopefully have better luck with phase 2. Goodnight.

*That IS possible, right? (all 3 files are 448kbps, 48khz, 6ch (3/2.1), cbr)
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Old 2nd November 2007, 05:03   #7  |  Link
CrazyJ32
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OK, first of all incase you cannot find the fLfR, CLFE, sLsR, and Limiter plugins in Wavelab then you need to put the V.I Suite 1.1 Installer and Classic Master Limiter files in C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins

Now, if anyone else here has issues converting these wave files into a multichannel file, here is what I did:
  1. In wavelab I set the bit-depth to 24bits before encoding. I also used 48khz because it's DVD-compliant.
  2. I used Multiwav 1.0.0.1 to mux the files into a single, 6 channel wav.
  3. I then used WAV to AC3 Encoder 0.9 to convert it to ac3 48khz 448kbps 5.1 surround. To do this I used the following settings:
    • 448 kbps (any will do, but I needed this for my particular purpose)
    • CBR (uncheck VBR, necessary for DVDs)
    • Dolby Surround Mode: Dolby Surround Encoded
    • Audio Coding Mode: 3/2 (L, R, C, Sl, SR)
    • Specify use of LFE Channel: LFE Channel is present
    • Engine: Aften (via drop-down menu)
The rest of the settings I left as default.

Unfortunately Multiwav does not support 32-bit floating algorithm.
The wave file played as static in all media players except VLC.
The default setting in my case. I don't know if this is the program default or if it was defaulted by the source sample rate.

Last edited by CrazyJ32; 2nd November 2007 at 14:50.
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Old 2nd November 2007, 12:01   #8  |  Link
ursamtl
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Looks good. Yes, it might have took some time, but you learned more by doing it that way then reading about it.

Just a couple of comments. First, don't sweat it if you can't use 32-bit floating point format files. Yes, this would result in the most mathematically precise files, but the differences between 24 and 32 bit files are practically inaudible. The big difference occurs between 16 and 24 bits (yet some people claim they can't hear even that difference). Besides, programs such as Wavelab do their internal calculations at 32 bits, so the advantage of actually loading 32-bit files are pretty much irrelevant. I believe Wavelab has a setting for using 32-bit temporary files somewhere in its preference settings, so make sure you check that.

You mentioned that it's not necessary to use 48kHz audio. No, you don't need to if you're going to play the files back on a computer. However, if you're doing an audio-only DVD (not DVD-Audio but audio on a DVD-V)or the soundtrack for a DVD, it must be at 48 or 96kHz. That's a requirement of the DVD specification. However, if someone is going to do a surround CD (with an ac3wave or dtswav. Several guides on here explain this), the sampling rate must be 44.1kHz or it won't work.

If someone is doing a DVD-Audio project, the sampling rate can theoretically be anything. However, bandwidth limitations prevent a 24/96 5.1 DVD-Audio disc unless someone has the software for MLP compression.

Anyway, just wanted to throw in some information. Thanks for your guide. It's very helpful.

Regards,
Steve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyJ32 View Post
OK, first of all incase you cannot find the fLfR, CLFE, sLsR, and Limiter plugins in Wavelab then you need to put the V.I Suite 1.1 Installer and Classic Master Limiter files in C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins

Now, if anyone else here has issues converting these wave files into a multichannel file, here is what I did:
  1. In wavelab I set the bit-depth to 24bits before encoding. I also used 48khz sample rate but you don't need to.
  2. I used Multiwav 1.0.0.1 to mux the files into a single, 6 channel wav.
  3. I then used WAV to AC3 Encoder 0.9 to convert it to ac3 48khz 448kbps 5.1 surround. To do this I used the following settings:
    • 448 kbps (any will do, but I needed this for my particular purpose)
    • CBR (uncheck VBR, but its not necessary)
    • Dolby Surround Mode: Dolby Surround Encoded
    • Audio Coding Mode: 3/2 (L, R, C, Sl, SR)
    • Specify use of LFE Channel: LFE Channel is present
    • Engine: Aften (via drop-down menu)
The rest of the settings I left as default.

Unfortunately Multiwav does not support 32-bit floating algorithm.
The wave file played as static in all media players except VLC.
The default setting in my case. I don't know if this is the program default or if it was defaulted by the source sample rate.
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Old 2nd November 2007, 14:44   #9  |  Link
CrazyJ32
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Thanks for the response and also thanks for this handy guide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamtl
First, don't sweat it if you can't use 32-bit floating point format files. Yes, this would result in the most mathematically precise files, but the differences between 24 and 32 bit files are practically inaudible.
sweet


Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamtl
You mentioned that it's not necessary to use 48kHz audio. No, you don't need to if you're going to play the files back on a computer.
Right, I know, but point taken. I will edit the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamtl
If someone is doing a DVD-Audio project, the sampling rate can theoretically be anything. However, bandwidth limitations prevent a 24/96 5.1 DVD-Audio disc unless someone has the software for MLP compression.
Does such a software exist? (as freeware/shareware/cheapware)

Thanks again.
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