What is Multi Channel Audio?

Marcus Costales
January 21, 2022
What is Multi Channel Audio

A multichannel recording is a combined and edited presentation in which different sound channels are assigned to different positions in a sound field.

When producers talk about stereo picture, they're referring to the disparity between the signals in the two stereo audio channels. The listener can use this disparity to determine the "location" or "width" of a sound source in a recording. However, the word "stereographic" refers to a technique for mapping a three-dimensional item onto a two-dimensional plane in a more technical meaning. This example will be used to explain the numerous flavors of multi-channel spatial audio methods employed by audio experts to fool our brains into "finding" sounds in this post.

Multichannel Audio / Surround Sound Multiple independent audio channels and speakers positioned in front of and behind the listener generate surround sound, often known as multichannel audio. The goal is to completely surround the listener with sound from DVD music discs, DVD movies, and select CDs.

Multi-channel stereo, on the other hand, delivers complete left and right stereo sounds to both the front and rear speaker channels. The rear channels are solely used for ambient sounds and rear effects in "Surround" or other "Surround Modes" (Dolby ProLogic II, DTS Neo:6, etc.).

Overall, A channel represents sound that originates from or travels to a single spot. For example, a single microphone may output one audio channel, and a single speaker can take one audio channel. Multiple channels of data can be found in a digital audio file.

Using complex mic location schemes and arrays, there are various techniques to generate ambisonic recordings. However, employing our old buddy, monaural sound, is the most popular method for making ambisonic sound. Mono sounds are sent across a three-dimensional sound field through software like Dolby's Atmos Production Suite. You may "pan" sounds in three dimensions and leave them there, but providing mono sounds with a directional vector and velocity can provide better results. Our brains are aided in understanding and localizing sounds in the field by directional signals provided in this manner.

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