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surround sound technology for DUB?

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Sata Weeva
Posted on Friday, October 18, 2002 - 04:00 pm:   

Just wondering if anyone is dubbing in surround sound? I got music store catalogue recently that features some surround sound mixers and software. It's all very expensive tho.

One Love

Mike Zee
Posted on Friday, October 18, 2002 - 06:09 pm:   

interesting... hmmmm,

i never heard of existing surround-dubs. maybe somebody somwhere does/did it ...
I know that people still dubbing into mono, thou ... -remember? - ONE love!, right? :)

Mypersonal 'philosophy' is that music shall not be 'surround'. To explain this: There's Music(sound). Music (or performance) comes from a 'source'. Source: the band, musician, performer on stage, group of players in the corner of the street etc...
And, then there's You - the listener. You are here, and the Sound/Music/Source is there. Simplisticly to say: You are not seating somewhere in the middle of the stage, while the band-players/singers are running (or even flying :)) around.
But then again, I am not picturing music as some sort abstract amorphous colage of sounds. To me it's musicians with musical instruments and THEIR voices. I mean this is the base of it. Effects are extras. So I don't want to separate sounds/voices from their sources.
BTW, in reality, sounds are surrounding us, but we can not hear it. We hear it in stereo. Why? - cos we've got a pair of ears. So if you analyze it a bit deeper, you'll figure out, that 'surround sound systems' are a boombo-goombo :), it's a ...ohh my, how can I call it???? hmmmmm... well, fake? , I guess, fake would not be the right word. But again, just think of it this way: you deconstruct your "stereo-material" into surround-channels ...then send your 'deconstructed' stereo-mix to surround-sound speaker-system (btw it can be any amount of spekers, not just five- can be hunderd - same thing), let it out into the air, and then mix back to "stereo" through pair of your ears - inside of your brain.
Hope I make any sense here...heh heh
best respects,
/Mike Zee-Dr.ZEE

Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2002 - 01:35 am:   

I agree to a degree with what Mike is saying, but I've often thought of doing something like that myself. Let's not forget that King Tubby used to have an array of speakers around the dancehall, up in trees and what not. It wasn't stricktly speaking surrond, but the speakers had different frequency responses, so it would have had a somewhat similar effect.

Mike Zee
Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2002 - 04:58 am:   

ahhhhhhhh, :), bin_ez,
what you are talking about is , well, you know, from different "movie" :)
I mean, you can be creative as you wish with your staje/dance-hall setup for special effect(s) etc...
You see, we are 'talking' here about some very "specific way of mixing" then very specific way of separation (say encoding), so then you can (and must) to have a very specific reproduction set-up(device) (say decoder) with very specific set of spekers, placed in a very specific way, so then you (listener) have to place your head in a cpecific "spot" so you get the same effect as a producer had, while was creating ...heh heh heh:). you see what it comes down to ?????
I really never could get a sense of exitement out of the whole idea. Even for the movies... (well it is a good thing for video-games, thou, when you are the "performer", so you are in the center).
But, when you are the viewer????, hmmmm....Well, I would guess, most people would disagree with me. But to me the idea of seating infront of the screen (so the action is all infront of you(the viewer), while the sound-component of the action is all over around you - is maybe fun for a while, but at the end actually turns into distructive, confusing and even anoying image of the action. I can say this even for stereo-field, like stero-VCRs, well it depends on how you place spekers and how wide your screen is, but even if stereo-speakers are widly-spread while you have a smal TV-screen in the middle - it is very unnatural for "visual/audio image": it's like, for example, the run-away car driving infron of you , running away, but engin sound somwhere on the side ... it looks and sounds stupid ...:), you can't miss it . it's anoying ..heh heh heh

Well, then again, why even to blah blah about all this in regard to dub?
hhmmm, good questiong thou... i've no answer. Again, I gues it also to be related to what kind of dub you(anybody) likes and what you(anybody) do like about it.
Like for me it is sort of important to have a some image of a some performer, be it a drummer, bass player, singer or what evre ... this is for the image which is being created by the sound.
So, getting the feeling that drums are flying around of my head, while I am walking through the city/or jungle, and performers are seating in the windows of different buildings, or seating on the back of the track,passing by... or seating on the trees, and jumping around etc....
well, this would not be the picture I wish to get/experience.
Now, you see, there's "abstrackt ambient" musical genre, and I am talking here about 'true ambient', not what many guys think of it... So the whole concept behind ambient is to create atmosphere (built of musical and non-musical sounds) which place YOU as listener inside the scenne/field/situation. And for ambient music there's no such a thing as "performer", or sence of "performance". Well, as for dub, to me, it is always about performance first, even thou the "constraction" can be totally "deconstracted", but it's time-event-deconstruction..." a game with presence of the performance and silence, where the silence is being filled by a "dub-producer"......

ok, i''ll shut up ;) ... in the name of silence :)!

/Mike Zee

Sata Weeva
Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2002 - 03:19 pm:   

You said so much Mike I'm lost as where to begin. :) Well, here goes...

What triggered me to ponder dub in surround was listening to dub late at night in a concrete-walled loungeroom by myself and minimal lighting. And a headful of the Holy Herb. Listening to minimal dub in this heightened state sudden sounds would take me by suprise. Especially sounds that leapt out from one side to the other. I'd spin round with the sound and get a little dissapointed that it counldn't go past peripheral angles. I wanted the sound to loop round my head. So I contemplated setting up two more speakers at the back of the room. But (and here's a familiar story) I couldn't afford it.

I'm not so much interested in commercial standard 5.1 surround sound. Just the basic equip to get a 3d effect.

As to *band at the front* - the first echo chamber was a cave, ie. 3 dimentional. And some claim Stonehenge was built/used for music rituals with the inner stones reflecting the sound into the centre.

Picture yourself in a remote African village with a circle of drummers surrounding ecstatic dancers. While thunder roars cross the nearby plains and birds call out over head. And ancestral spirits swirl between the performers/listeners/participants. All are one. Reggae - strong reggae - is nature, the reality all around us. The goal of the dub producer is to put reality into recorded music and put the listener into (that) reality. The reality of nature, the nature of reality.

Posted on Sunday, October 20, 2002 - 12:01 am:   

Ah, yes Mike. Indeed that's why I said I agree with you. Although the sounds in King Tubby's might have surrounded you, it was not "surround sound" of course.
All the same what Sata Weeva (like that name)is saying sounds very interesting.

One thing Mike, when you listen to "Heart of the Congos" do you picture a cow standing next to Cedric Myton or Roy Johnson? Or in the control room with Scratch?

Posted on Sunday, October 20, 2002 - 03:51 am:   

my 5 cents:

- Yes I also noted that surround sound mixing equipment is getting more and more common. I think these mixers are mainly aimed at people producing sound tracks and music for movies.
Are there ANY music albums available on the market in surround sound?

- about Dub in mono, stereo, surround: I think we have to distinguish here between dub played on a sound system at a dance and listening to dub at home:
-- On a sound system the music especially the bass is so loud that you perceive it with your whole body. The music is floating around you and through you like a warm heavy liquid. People are dancing and moving around and nobody will care about where the different sounds come from. So surround and even stereo is useless. (The successful DUB sounds I have seen so far like Jah Shaka and Aba Shanti never play pure Dub. They usually alternate between vocal cuts and dub mixes and always do a lot of chanting, siren/syndrum playing and additional echoing over the dubs. So the audience's focus is even more on the performance of the sound crew and not on the details of the dub record which is actually just used as raw base material for the performance. Again: No necessity for surround mixes here)
-- At home on the other hand you just chill and listen to the dubs as they were created in the dub studio. So here surround would actually make a difference. In fact with the rise of "DVD home cinema" and video gaming it seems that surround systems could eventually become a new standard and replace the current normal stereo hifi setup. So why not consider mixing Dub in surround? It would surely help to create more fascinating echo effects if you could let the echoes bounce around you and not just left to right.. Also good dubs are often very spacey and surround sound would definitely help to make it even spacier.

I disagree with Mike when he says that surround is stupid because first a human being has only two ears and second it forces you to sit in the middle of your 5 speakers. In fact it's the contrary: If you sit exactly at the right position and never move your head then stereo can be enough but as soon as you want some freedom to sit in different positions a surround system will help to maintain a 3 dimensional image - that's why they are used in cinemas!

I completely agree with Mike on the fact that rhytm, bassline and melodies really are what comes first. Next are the dub effects and if all this is perfect then maybe surround sound can add another 10 percent of excitement..
Never forget that the consumer electronics industry leaves no stone unturned to create new markets. Their concern is not "What do the people need" but "What is the next new thing we can sell to them".
I guess 50% of all people don't even care about properly positioning their two speakers for a good stereo image. So how many people will ever have a working surround system at home? And how many of these will want to listen to Dub?? It would be nice to give surround dub mixing a try but it will be for your pleasure alone..

Mike Zee
Posted on Sunday, October 20, 2002 - 12:54 pm:   

heh heh, guys,
very interesting conversation is going on here...
makes me think for sure...
I can like blah blah about this kinda'stuff forever... not really trying to make any point.

If I'd try to be like 100% serious about'll give me a head-pain-through-the-night :)
Really, this is a very complicated subject.

All these my sort of crippled analogies with picturing a "performer" is just a some sort of way to try to make some sense...

Le'me just make couple of notes...two extra cents to shake in the fist ..heh heh

About "having two ears"
Well, this is not really about "stereo" at all. But more about physiology of hearing. Plus if you add to the picture the physics of acoustics ... man, it will really get tough, but WAIT!!!!
this is not all. Let's add to this: Psychology of a Dubhead and all para-scientific and alchemical LABYRINTHIC ways of thinking and viewing the universe in general, which many dub-producers or dub-listeners are guilty of ..heh heh ..then - you are totally out of luck and aren't going anywhere, if you wish to come out with some sort of conclusion.
Here's ...I've made a quick pic out of some gif from some 'med'-site:

heh heh.
you see, technically speaking, if you have one single speaker in the room - you still hear is as a 'surround sound'... do I make sense?
Now, how do you know?
Well, you don't.... cos, you don't think about just hear what you hear.
Then why TWO ears? ... from computing point of view to explain: - it's because you need two 'parameters' - to values...and then you are all set. Add TIME to the mix.
Two parameters, of different value (say haracterististics) are being recived at the same time. Right? - Right.
But! The whole beauty of it is that these two parameters are not the same, even if they came from one single point in X-Y-Z, the same signal reaches your ears at not the same time, plus!!!! your ears are not the same as "receiving devices", and then these two signals (from one source) is being processed inside of your brain, applying only got knows what internal built in effects ...:), but one thing for sure, - The Brain does apply "previous experience"..... and the result is - you know where in 3-d space the source is - infront, behind, under etc.....
But in reality there's no such thing as pure-single source of a signal, traveling through complete silence.... so the picture is really very complex at the end.
Now, why even waste time to talk about it?
would be a good question.
But I am trying to built some sort of a base for a thinking about what does 'surround sound' really is and means.
OK, ...
One thing for sure - in reality it has nothing to do with Dolby ..heh heh , nothing to do with 5 or 6 speakers, absolutely has nothing to with so-called surround-sound-pro-logic-digital-homeentertainment-systems. It has nothing to do with Sony ... that's for sure :)
And one more thing, which came to my mind, while I was thinking'bout this.
You see, what we as dud-producers are doing... we are not really making something what the listener will be hearing, but we are creating only the 'base' of the source for a reproduction.
If you keep this in mind, then it may help some sort of to focus on what's really important.
You need to create that "source base" - the record, which has its "nerve" - it has to be "tight" and to the point. I am sure most guys, know what I mean.
Then the USER/Listener will use this "source" (the record) to turn his/her reproduction system on/alive. And there is no way you can predict or know what it is going to be like, what room, what space, what kind of walls around, or any walls at all, what speaker(s), how much power, how much beer/or weed, how much internal stress, or how much internal emptiness .... etc etc
ohhh, well

hope I did not push it too hard.

And, yes, Daniel...:), since we've got DVDs finally out (finally major electronics-makers decided to let it go, just the way they always did in the past), so since DVDs are out - then what? Then you must put something on it. Right?
DVDs can cary allot. So stuff it ..stuff it stuff it !!! :)
MP3-players are a real boom on the market thou... and how do they sound? shitty!, but it does not change a thing. Electronics market and recording/music/movie/multimedia entertainment is a very strange thing. Really hard to guess where will we be in ten or so years.
All I know, we still gonna have two ears and one brain..:)

guys, take with a doze of humour and flexability everything I am blahin' here.... lol,
(pls ignore buncha'misspellings... :()

nice talking to you as always,
/Mike Zee/aka DrZEE

Sata Weeva
Posted on Monday, October 21, 2002 - 02:35 pm:   

Rasclaat! I just wrote a lengthy msg on this topic and it didn't post.

I cyaan be bothered writing it again. Oh well.

Anyway, here's the idea I have for DIY surround sound.

Set up 4 speakers - 2 in front, 2 behind. Sorta 1 in each corner. Observing normal rules for monitor placement. Connect the 2 front speakers to the normal outs on your mixer and the other 2 to seperate fx Sends - pre-fader. Since panning is really just a matter of how much signal is sent to each speaker, you can control the sound's position using pan and sends.

Sending a sound around the room would require something like - Say it starts at center front. Pan right, as you go turn up send 1 (to right rear speaker.) Keep turning send 1 and bring down fader. Turn up send 2 (to left rear speaker) then turn down send 1. Quickly pan hard left and bring up fader while reducing send 2.
I haven't tried this. Maybe it should only be performed by certain Indian gods. Getting the timing right would be hard, I'm sure.

If anyone tries this setup let me know how you go. Just remember I won't be paying any doctor's bills. :)

Peace, Love, Harmony

Posted on Monday, October 21, 2002 - 03:41 pm:   

Sata Weeva, i think it can be wonderful!!! just imagine a 4-Speaker Ping-Pong Delay!!!

Jah Bless,

Sata Weeva
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 03:26 pm:   

It'd do ya head in, KoCha! :)

I been think things like bringing the vox back in from the rear. Like when a song is stripped to the riddim and you're driftin away with it then a bit of vocal is pushed thru, pulling you back into focus. Imagine the greater impact if it jumped out from behind you.

Does anyone know of a better way to handle panning than the multi send way I described above? A 360 degree rotary pot would be the way but I don't know the lectronics.


Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 05:50 pm:   

This url may be of some help to you:


Sata Weeva
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 02:24 pm:   

Nuff Respect looter. I didn't even think of subgroups (since my mixer don't have them.) My brain's not working too well tonite so i cyaan get my head around it completely but seems it would be easier wit SUBS. Instead of my convoluted way. Might try it with Cubase sometime.

One Love.

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 10:24 pm:   

Yes great link!!
Imagine that : an analogue mixing desk... just mono track but the pan for each Chanel is a joystick (3d-Panning.. i have see that in a car, when you sit in and play with the joystick you can make sound go around you.) surrely the mixer must have 4 out to connect the around speaker.
Wow... crazy mixer... with the effect return on joystick pan...


Mike Zee
Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 04:09 am:   

Sonic Foundry's 5.1 Surround Plug-In-Pack
ahh, check it out, maybe you get a hybe'outa'it :)

/Mike Zee

Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 05:07 pm:   

I heard some records in surround on a dvd player & speaker setup (not mine unfortunately...) and it was very cool, the possibilities are mind-boggling.
From what ive read about the specs of the Akai headrush , it has multiple outs and you can have all sort of crazy pingpong delays going from one speaker to the other. i havent heard this before though.

Sata Weeva
Posted on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 12:42 pm:   

Dem Dub tunes you hear Nem?

Posted on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 08:31 pm:   

Nematod, i see what you say about akai headrush...
different delay time in every speakers.

That's make me imagine a surrond eq.. you route the freq in different speaker and sweep it.. it can be crazy! all in same time!

Jah Bless


Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 11:34 pm:   

Sound isn't so simple to try to make it more difficult whith a system that needs more speakers
,amps,and a accurate deck to make it well.
I'd rather experiment "surround" for sound takes:
Put one mic in front off your source another
at the back and phase invert....(works in case
off bidir.source ex: fender twin,snare..)

Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 10:59 am:   

Hey Sata, it wasnt dub i heard , some sorta modern classical kinda thing, pretty experimental. The sound was panned really strange , quite unlike anything i heard before.
I think this is going to lead to new ways of listening to music; what i mean is that most 'organic' music is recorded to sound as if you were say at a concert, now I reckon producers will start doing all sorts of weird psychacoustic effects , unusual sound placement and things like that.
Well , I can only hope ;-)

Also , Roland have some surround sound mixer called RSS , (extremely expensive of course).

brigite bardotwwv
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 12:37 am:   

Ein Schloss, Ein Wurst, Ein Kopf !wwv

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