Mixing 5.1 to stereo or not

Sometimes I copy songs from 5.1 film mixings for my personal use.

Is there a way to mix a 5.1 track to stereo?

What I did today, during export, was to select just tracks 1 & 2. Is that enough or I am missing music information from the other channels?

When you go to Export Audio select Custom Mapping to mix-in the rear & center channels.

The rear & center channels should be mixed-in at -3dB. The LFE is not included (the other channels already contain the “regular bass”).

Mix-down Tables

Mixing is done by summation and it will boost the levels so it’s a good idea to first export-as 32-bit floating-point (which can go over 0dB). Then re-open the stereo mix and run the Amplify or Normalize effect to make sure you’re not clipping before exporting to your final-desired format.

In Audacity the sequence looks like this, top-to-bottom:

When loaded into Audacity
1= Left
2= Right
3= Center
4= LFE
5= Left Surround
6= Right Surround

Will it add anything to the quality of the final stereo music to add the rear & center channels?

I’m not so sure what they have in Center & Rear tracks in the music recordings, except if the music was recorded with specific mics for that coming in separate channels.

You’ll have to decide that yourself. :wink:

In movies, most of the dialog is in the center With concerts, the rear channels may contain mostly reverb and applause. [EDIT - Typos corrected]

Most DVDs & Blu-Rays have a separate stereo track that you can select.

If you have a DVD or Blu-Ray player with stereo outputs and you select the sound track you’ll get the downmix. Same thing if you play a surround track on an AVR configured for 2-channel stereo. i.e. It’s not “normal” to throw-away the surround channels. It’s only normal to throw-away the LFE.

Dialog appears in the center. So the minimum mix would be without the Earthquake Rumbles (LFE) and the two surrounds (Room Echo).


There’s another variation. When we produced DVDs for clients, we would sometimes run out of room on the disk. So instead of trying to smash regular 16/48 stereo on there, we would post 5.1 with the Left and Right Only option. Much smaller file with almost the same quality.


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