Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Apr 15, 2012 4:11 AM by Victor Emanuel
brettfrommountain view Level 1 (0 points)



FCPX, 2011 iMac, 10.7.3


I'm working on a project requiring 5.1 audio panning. I have a 2011 iMac connected to a Yamaha 5.1 receiver via an optical link however I am only sending stereo PCM to the receiver.


Do I need specialized hardware in order to monitor multichannel audio?

If so any recomendations?





Final Cut Pro X, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    You will need an audio interface...with muliple ins and out.

    I have a Motu 828 , quite old now but has been brilliant and easy to use.

  • John Phillips10 Level 1 (45 points)

    Yup xfggfx is total right... mark it as answered!  I use a MOTU ultra lite III and it works great.



  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    Don't put that cheque book away...

    I can't see how you would get there without Logic Pro also - $299 from App store.

    Totally super audio app and incredibly cheap compared to when I started using it 10 years ago.

    You will need it to mix the sounds thru the 6 speakers that you will also have to buy...%-)

    I bought 5 Krix towers and a subWoof, the owner of Krix looked a bit surprised...the company lives near me...

    I have since realised it was a bit of overkill. You could get away with small speakers and a cheap SW.

    When you are setup you will have the most fun ever, if you also want to buy a midi keyboard...ouch$$$

  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    I am going to pre-emp the next question by describing something that most will gladly ignore:

    How to create a 5.1 surround audio file...I hope this workflow is accurate

    This should clear the room...:-)


    Creating 5.1 Audio for surround sound is mostly about getting to grips with Logic Pro…not for the faint hearted.

    Bringing the mixed bounced audio into FCPX is the easy bit at the end…

    Another approach may be to bring 6 tracks into FCPX and do the mix there…

    but I have never tried it so I will describe the Logic approach.

    if anyone finds any problems here or mistakes please let us know…geoff


    This workflow is for a Motu 828 audio interface, 

    (other multiple input and output interfaces maybe similar…) using Logic Pro.


    Logic is a very complex app but I will describe here a quick intro

    to mixing your audio, by doing a simple test with software instrument tracks.

    The workflow is very similar for audio tracks in Logic, instead of creating the 6 software instrument tracks ,

    create 6 audio tracks and drop your sounds onto them.


    You will need:

    Motu 828 or similar, 5 speakers and a subwoofer and a 5.1 amplifier, Logic Pro.


    Attach your speakers to 5.1 amp and connect to Motu,  connect Motu to Mac via firewire…(others maybe USB)

    turn it all on.


    Openi audio midi setup In Mac from Finder >Applications > Utilities >audio midi setup > Audio devices

    RMB in left column over Motu 828, in input tab select "use this device for sound input" same for output…


    change Format to 48000hz,  I use analogue at the moment.


    configure speakers for surround while you are there, button bottom right corner of window…


    (optional) changeLogic to 64 bit in Finder >Applications:

    click Logic app icon once and cmd+i - uncheck open in 32 bit.


    Start Logic

    Start a new empty Logic project with 6 software instrument tracks and Output Surround.

    in Logic:

    File> project Settings > Audio  Sample Rate 48.000khz , Surround Format 5.1

    check Logic prefs  > audio are output and input to Motu.

    Check Logic prefs general>caps lock keys is enabled

    Check Mac System prefs > Sound are also seeing Motu as out and in.


    in Logic:

    Notice the Channel strips on the bottom left of the screen, the left one is the track input and the right is overall output.

    To test the system do the, although you can create audio tracks and drop your files onto them if you want when you have got a working system.


    Select track 1, and in input channel strip click Setting and choose an instrument setting e.g. World>Caribbean>drums

    (The right hand channel strip is output and we don't need to add any Setting to that just yet)


    enable record in selected track 1 - ctrl+R or click little 'R' button in track

    put caps lock on, on Mac keyboard (MKB)

    notice floating window representing a MKB

    type on your Mac keyboard ASDGFGHJDGHJ  hear the music?

    turn off the caps lock keyboard by turning off caps lock key on MKB

    This is a cheap and easy way to make any amount of sounds without buying a midi keyboard, 

    and works with thousands of preinstalled instruments.


    Record some music:

    Go to the start of the timeline, start recording by either hitting R (if caps lock off) on MKB or

    pressing the eighth button in the row to the left of the centre bottom panel, (the last button in the transport controls section)

    Play some sounds on your MKB (with aps lock on)

    Hit the space bar to stop recording.


    Select each track and add a new instrument by holding down the Settings button and choosing from the many options.

    Record something on each track/instrument.


    In the track input channel strip double click the surround icon - a circle with a dot. This makes a bigger surround control for the track.

    The placement of the sound can be controlled from here as can the amount of LFE (subWoof) for each track.

    If you have your speakers setup correctly you will be able to move the sound all around the room and to the centre.

    Leave the LFE in the middle for most  instruments usually…the Bass maybe more…:-)

    Double click each surround icon in each track…they are all independent.

    save…not auto save here



    Click the bounce icon top right Logic window

    Save as destination and name 5.1mySong.

    check PCM  uncheck all others, select PCM Destination line to see options to the right

    Below left check start and end times, offline, normalise = overload protection only

    To right File format etc.: AIFF, 24bit ,48khz ,interleaved ,dithering none, surround bounce,

    click Bounce button at bottom of this window.


    Find the file and drag it into iTunes


    In FCPXproject with properties surround sound- audio pan mode none:

    find the file…

    drag it to the timeline…

    play the timeline and notice the 6 tracks in audio meters

    export as H.264…or your favourite.

    play the movie check audio coming out of all speakers


    Done…take a break

  • brettfrommountain view Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks great write up.


    $1000 it is then. The Motu looks like an impressive piece of kit.

  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    Is that what they cost still?

    There may be othe roptions ...havent looked lately.

    What I love about the system is I can plug in a few guitarists and a vocal or two, midi keyboard ...too much fun all in realtime, each musician has a speaker to stand next to and hear.

    well the options are great.

    Starting to sound like a Logic thread now...sorry off topic..ish

    convergence of newMedia

  • stuckfootage Level 4 (3,040 points)

    brettfrommountain view wrote:


    I have a 2011 iMac connected to a Yamaha 5.1 receiver via an optical link

    Hey Brett!

    Before you spend that money, try this little experiment:


    1. System Preferences > Sound > Output : Select Digital

    2. /Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup :

    a. Choose your optical output from the menu

    b. Click "Configure Speakers"

    c  Click "Multichannel"

    d. Choose 5.1 Surround


    Now configure your application to send 5.1 sound out.


    Let us know if that works for you.


  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    ouch...I had forgotten about the optical out of iMac...and didnt read your original thread properly.

    Stuckfootage answer would certainly be worth a try...and save you a truck load of cash and time.

    My steamAge system is showing its age.

  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    And I have found the surround editing area...which looks pretty good...I hope you haven't spent any cash yet.


  • brettfrommountain view Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi stuckfootage,


    I'm stuck at step 4, all options other than sterio are greyed out. What setup are you using?

  • stuckfootage Level 4 (3,040 points)
  • brettfrommountain view Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Les,


    I'm using a Toslink cable and adapter. The Mac picks up the digital interface and is sending stereo PCM but I can only select stereo.


    I plugged the cable into my MacBook with the same results.


    What OS are you using? Is this possibly a Lion thing?

  • xfggfx Level 2 (205 points)

    Have alook at this article at Apple...may be some help


  • brettfrommountain view Level 1 (0 points)

    Non surround encoded multichannel audio output is not possible.


    The origional suggestion to purchase a Motu 848 was correct. Looks like a wicked peice of gear anyway.


    Damaging my Visa as we speak.

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