TRACKTION is perhaps the most intuitive
multitrack software that exists today.
Unfortunately, its design is made only for stereo...
Happily, thanks to the "Rack Filters", a modular approach of the sends / returns busses allows the use of the AcousModules,
and other mutichannel plugins like EnergyXT or Bidule!
So, with some patience, it is possible to do surround sound with it, even up to 16 channels with the appropriate plugins ;-)
Needs : Tracktion 2, SpatPod 5.1 (and his Quick Help),
On Mac OS X, use the SpatSurround 1X, but I have no multichannel recorder...
A good knowledge of Tracktion is better...
For this tutorial we will spatialize a stero track in
a 5.1 surround format.
(Before running Tracktion (Windows version), you are supposed to have put the
SpatPod plugin file inside the VST Folder which Tracktion uses.
For the OS X version, install the demo version of SonicBirth and put the plugin your Library/Audio/Plugins/VST folder)
First, you must create a new empty rack,
drop a new filter on it and select the SpatPod from the list :
Answer YES to the question "Do you want to auto-connect this filter", and the graphic will show the wires connected for all the inputs / outputs.
Give also a name to the rack filter ("SpatPod" for
and if you plan to use other instances it is a good idea to "add this rack to the list of presets" ("manage rack presets" button).
We will need three tracks in order to spatialize a stereo audio file on six
one track for the audio file and the first two outputs, and two other tracks which will act as "auxiliary send busses".
the rack's icon onto the filter zone of the three tracks :
must configure the internal routing of the rack's instances number two
three (on the tracks 1b and 1c on the picture) :
- click on the rack filter's icon on the track two to show its options :
- since this track corresponds to the outputs 3 and 4 of the
we will select for this rack's instance the outputs 3 and 4 of the SpatPod :
left output comes from 3. SpatPod Out 3, and right output comes from 4. SpatPod Out 4
Repeat the same operation for the third track and the outputs 5-6.
Because track one is connected by default to the outputs 1-2, we won't need to change it.
have now to create the three tracks that will send the sound coming
from the SpatPod to the audio physical outputs,
and choose each of these tracks as outputs for the three previous ones.
This will make :
Track 1a > SpatPod outs 1-2 > Track Return 1 :
Track 1b > SpatPod outs 3-4 > Track Return 2
Track 1c > SpatPod outs 5-6 > Track Return 3
Track Return 1 > SoundCard outs 1 + 2 :
Track Return 2 > SoundCard outs 3 + 4
Track Return 3 > SoundCard outs 5 + 6
insert an audio file onto the first track,
- click on the SpatPod icon which is in a rack's windows
- start the transport and play with the littles rings (blue for the left input channel, red for the right one...) !
You can easily record the movements of the sound by pressing
the Automation Record button while playing (red "A").
The automation curves are recorded, and since the three tracks share the same data,
it is possible to show a different curve on each one by selecting the parameter in the list (the little "A" at the edge of the timeline)
If you don't wish to visualize anything on the tracks two
and three, and prefer having some space for other purposes,
it is best is to set them to the minimal height.
If you which to spatialize more than one track, you have to
create more SpatPod racks (new rack > load a preset rack)
and repeat the step B for each sound track and plugin :
all the outputs of the different SpatPods will be mixed by pairs in the same three "return" tracks.
But things become to be less obvious when you want to record the multichannel mix !
can use the PentaRec plugin in a new Rack,
and connect manually the inputs 3 to 6 (option "new input channel") :
Drag three instances of the PentaRec rack after the Aux Returns filters
and select the inputs / outputs 3-4 for the second one, and inputs / outputs 5-6 for the third one.
To record :
- click on the W button to select the path and the name of
the base file : the channel numbers will be added automatically
- press the 16/24 bit button if you want to record in 24 bits (the frequency 44,1 or 48 kHz according to the project)
- press the button Active / Save : it goes green
- press the button Record / Pause : it records what it receives
- you can pause and resume the recording, each segment will be appened to the same file
- the second time that you press the Active / Save button and it goes red : the files are saved
- I you activate the Sync Host Start button, the recording will start only when the host starts
The PentaRec creates six mono files that are ready
for Dolby AC3 or DTS encoding.
If you want to convert them in an interleaved multichannel file, you can use Multiwave or Wavewizard.
If you work with eight channels or more (with a SpatSurround
12 for example),
use a MultiRec 16 instead of the PentaRec and select the channels number you want to record.
This technique can be used with all the AcousModules, incuding the effects and the instruments,
up to 48 channels in/out which is the total number of possible connections in the Rack Filters !
Sorry, I have only a MultiRec 24 available at this time...
You can also use the Auxiliary Sends / Returns instead of direct wiring the tracks :
see Tutorial 4b
Since I am not a Tracktion user myself, I cannot tell you what is better. Obviously, the direct wiring is simpler to set !