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  1. Is there anyway to convert Mono to Surround?

    I have a lot of old movies with Mono soundtracks, and I want to know how to convert the soundtracks into some kind of surround.

    I know amplifiers can create a sort of pseudo surround in Mono Movie mode, but frankly I never thought much of it.

    I have ripped soundtracks to waves before, then tried messing around in Vegas 5.0, but I'm not sure what I am doing, and usually end up frustrated.

    After I edit the waves, how do I get them back on a Dvd again to make a new backup with surround sound?

    Are there any simple guides for bozos like me out there? I can't find any.

    Any help please would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. Thanks Soopafresh, I checked them out, but I'm only a Newbie and both seem quite complicated.

    Surely there must be something a little less involved. Or maybe not?

    Anyone else help, Please?

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  3. Member Marvingj's Avatar
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    Just get a standalone mixer & split the mono!
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  4. Unless you really know what you're doing, I don't think you're going to be able to produce better results than the pseudo-surround setting on amps that you've said you don't rate very highly.

    It's hard enough taking a mono audio source and making a decent (pseudo-)stereo track from it; approaches include using EQ to make the Left and Right channels sound distinct, and adding a very short delay to one track/side. The results of doing this yourself are not likely to be aweinspiring, in my humble opinion.

    Instead of expanding the one track of audio out to two, you're talking about expanding it out to 5 or more different tracks.

    You could try doing this with methods such as EQ and delay, but that's most likely all the amp is doing when it's on a pseudo-surround setting.

    Basically, the information for surround just isn't there on the mono audio track in the first place, so you can't really add it in later.

    Add to that the fact that there's not a lot of free (or even cheap) software that can take 5 or more wav files and encode them into 5.1 AC3 or something similar, as far as I'm aware. (I think BeSweet and ffmpeg use the same ac3enc engine to encode to AC3, and I don't think that can do this job - there's Soft Encode which some people are now saying is abandonware, but I don't know much about that).

    Of course, I'm not saying it's technically impossible to generate a surround track from mono, but I'm saying I would expect it to take hours of fiddling around, and I wouldn't be too optimistic about the quality of the results.

    Sorry to pee on your parade, but I would personally recommend you not bother spending too much time on this!

    cheers,
    theDruid.
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  5. Oh well, looks like I'm stuck with boring old 1 track Mono then!
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  6. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    That's why most of the studio releases of old movies have either single channel or 2 channel mono audio. I would copy the mono into a left and right and produce a 2 channel mono AC3 track. The reason amps can't matrix the audio very well is because a mono track doesn't have enough to work with. The biggest advantage to going to a 2 channel mono audio track is you get the audio out of the centre speaker. Many amps will put a mono track almost solely in the centre, which adds to the isolation.
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  7. Thanks Gunslinger.
    I know what you mean. Some of my movies have the mono converted to both left and right channels. However, it's still the same 1 track, only split in two.

    Oh well, looks like I'm stuck with boring old mono from 2 speakers then!
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  8. Member Sillyname's Avatar
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    No shame in mono, when you're dealing with old movies. Will need to be converted to at least 2 channel mono, though, to be DVD compliant. Many receivers will have soundfield settings that willl do the conversion to pseudo surround for you. Why waste valuable disc space with a simulated 5.1 audio track, if you can do it on the fly through your home stereo amp?
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  9. Because as I said in my original post, I don't think much of it.

    Or to put it another way: crap.

    Mono to me is dull and lifeless or tinny and boring compared to a surround mix.

    On the point of "old" movies, there have been quite a number now upmixed from mono to 5.1, so it can be done professionally. Although it's true a few don't sound great, to me they are still better in surround than mono. I just was interested in trying to create something akin to surround out of 6 mono waves and wasn't sure how to do it.
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  10. Member Sillyname's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rad14
    Because as I said in my original post, I don't think much of it.

    Or to put it another way: crap.

    Mono to me is dull and lifeless or tinny and boring compared to a surround mix.

    On the point of "old" movies, there have been quite a number now upmixed from mono to 5.1, so it can be done professionally. Although it's true a few don't sound great, to me they are still better in surround than mono. I just was interested in trying to create something akin to surround out of 6 mono waves and wasn't sure how to do it.
    It took 40 years for Disney to create a surround version of the original Fantasia. I'd say good luck but I really don't see you taking that much time out of your life for each of your movies you want to convert.

    You'd have to split your mono track into say 30 seperate frequencies by running it through a 30-band EQ and rerecording it 30 times, then loading each track seperately on their own track in some sort of multitrack audio software(I use Adobe Audition.) Then while watching the movie pay attention to positions of people and other sound making things on the screen and group together all tracks that fall in the range of each object in their respective location on the screen. All other tracks of frequencis that do nothave an apparent location on screen can be summed to surround channels and make sure you pay attention to people's line of sight, if someone looks towards the camera while they are listening to someone talk off screen then the voice of theat person needs to come from behind you. And then remember to smoothly fade frequencies that had been previously localized to a specific speaker location, back into the main mix. Like I said, this should take you several decades, each movie.
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  11. Check this out Sillyname

    https://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=202949&highlight=mono+surround


    I wonder how many decades it took offline or BJ_M to do it?
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  12. Member Sillyname's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rad14
    Check this out Sillyname

    https://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=202949&highlight=mono+surround


    I wonder how many decades it took offline or BJ_M to do it?
    offline's post is about converting a stereo track to 5.1, which is alot easier because you can pull out a center channel by summing the similarities between left and right and then tweeze out your low frequencies for LFE, the only hard part is making the surround channels, unless the stereo track you are starting with is Dolby Surround encoded (analog, you know, the old type before Dolby Digital). If it is Dolby Surround encoded, you can extract the surround channel info but it will only be mono in your rear speakers, which is what the original Dolby Surround was limited to. Still would be easier to just leave the track stereo and run it through a receiver that decodes good ole' fashioned Dolby ProLogic (Not to be confused with Dolby Prologic II).

    You're starting with a mono source, though. That's VERY different.
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  13. Okay. Point taken.


    Is that it then?

    Mono has to remain mono? Or the dire "pseudo surround" offered by amplifiers with the famous reverb and echoes effects, that make me feel like I'm sitting in a cavern to watch a movie?
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  14. Member Sillyname's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rad14
    Okay. Point taken.


    Is that it then?

    Mono has to remain mono? Or the dire "pseudo surround" offered by amplifiers with the famous reverb and echoes effects, that make me feel like I'm sitting in a cavern to watch a movie?
    Pseudo surround can sound prettier than trying to convert it, I'm afraid. Sometimes 2 sounds can occur in the same frequency range and because they are riding the same wave, you can't seperate them from each other, so you may have been busting your buns for a couple of days to get 10 mins done and find that several areas have got places were the audio cannot be seperated into the channel you want it to specifically go to without the other piece of audio tagging along. Also you'd probably have alot of unatural gaps of silence coming from other speakers while you steer the audio to the speaker you wish it to go to.

    Example: 2 people walking through a park talking. You'd hear birds and wind but everytime someone talked, the birds and wind would get muffled around you while the people's voices come from the center channel. It would be more annoying than pseudo surround. Honest.
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  15. Oh well, looks like I'm stuck with the dire pseudo surround then!
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  16. Member Sillyname's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rad14
    Oh well, looks like I'm stuck with the dire pseudo surround then!
    Most of the charm of an old movie is its ability to transport you to a certain time period. If it was in THX and colorized, I'd feel cheated.
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  17. I've heard this arguement before, but to me there is a world of difference between THX and colourising an old film and enhancing a 1 track, flat, often tinny and uninspiring mono soundtrack.

    I personally don't agree with colourising old movies and of course purists then say, "You can't have double standards!" but personally, as I said, enhancing an old soundtrack to make it even better is totally different from completely colourising a b/w movie.

    I know it's a matter of opinion in the end and I'm sure there are as many for as against, but personally I was glad when movies like GWTW, Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Cleopatra, Spartacus etc etc were enhanced with 5.1 Surround.
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  18. But when hollywood "enhances" a mono track to 5.1, they do it the proper way(most of the time). They go back to the original rolls of sound tape which they used to mix the mono track with. Then they use those to mix a 5.1 version. If they have the budget, they will hire editors, and they will re-edit the orginal sound rolls to make it 5.1 specific before mixing.
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  19. Yes, I know, of course they do it the "proper way". I understand that and of course we at home can't possibly come up with a surround track like them.

    All I originally was asking was, is there anyway to convert mono to surround? I suppose I should have added, I know it won't be true 5.1 surround, but something better than just plain mono.

    That's all.
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  20. Oh well, looks like noone has the answer after all!

    Mono must remain Mono

    IOW Dull, tinny, lifeless and boring.
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  21. Does anybody how they did it with "Exorcist" and "Omen"? Mono to surround. Just copy he original mono-track 5 times or did they record dialogue and effects separately?
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  22. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by melodram View Post
    Does anybody how they did it with "Exorcist" and "Omen"? Mono to surround. Just copy he original mono-track 5 times or did they record dialogue and effects separately?
    There is another post on this subject with an explanation. Basically the more successful "conversions" from mono to whatever have been in reality a remix of the original elements. Nothing magic esoteric about this. Sound for movies starts off "double system" picture on on negative and sound on multiple negatives or later magnetic tape and now HDD. So as long as the original elements have been archived you can go back to the originals and pretty well do what you like. HOWEVER if you only have a mono track basically you are stuffed!
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  23. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    As I have mentioned long before (about the time this original thread started), you can research, separate, filter & isolate,... and remix from mono to stereo or surround via a new master mix. But there is no magic about it. The upshot of it always is: the amount of work needed to reconstruct/restore/enhance, or "recreate" a title is nearly the same as the amount of work needed to create a title. If you cut corners on effort, you are ending up always cutting corners on quality.

    Back in the 90s I did a proof of concept where I restored and colorized the last 6 minutes of the 1946 "The Big Sleep" along with mono -> surround audio restoration & enhancement. I'm proud of what of what I was able to do for personal reasons, but beyond using it in my own resume/showreel I am not allowed to ever distribute it. (Plus I wouldn't want to give away a few "trade secrets").
    But note that for 1 person to do 6 minutes, in my off-hours, it took me a couple of years to complete just that one project, and that was only an SD version, because that was the only thing available to me at the time.

    Scott
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    Hey, I can only agree with the others. Very complicated for beginners, just enjoy it in Mono.
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