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Summing Stereo tracks to MONO in FCP 7

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Dylan Zink
Summing Stereo tracks to MONO in FCP 7
on Jun 22, 2011 at 1:00:45 am

Hey guys I'm having some trouble summing audio properly in FCP and I'd appreciate some help.
I have a source HDCAMSR with an audio layout like this:
Ch. 1 Mono Narr
Ch. 2 Mono Dia
Ch. 3 and Ch. 4 Stereo Music
Ch. 5 and Ch. 6 Stereo Effects

and my client would like a MONO NDME

So far the only solution I have for this is to do a channel mix on a D5 at 50% to sum the stereo tracks to mono and I really need to be able to do this in FCP.

So this is what I've been testing:
I've been capturing the tape exactly like the tape and then...
Setting up my sequence audio setting as
4 channels of dual mono and I'm routing the Narr on 1 out channel 1 and setting the attenuation to 0dB
routing the Dia out channel 2 and setting the attenuation to 0dB
routing the Stereo Music out channel 3 and setting the attenuation to -6dB
routing the Stereo Effects out channel 4 and setting the attenuation to -6dB
but when I check my quicktime export the stereo audio that I'm summing to MONO out channels 3 and 4 are still coming way to HOT and the more I attenuate it doesn't seem to be lowering the mix at all.
Does anyone know why this is happening??

Dylan Zink

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Michael Gissing
Re: Summing Stereo tracks to MONO in FCP 7
on Jun 22, 2011 at 2:59:01 am

It would be best to unlink the stereo music & stereo FX, pan to center and route to 3 or 4 output. The -6db is a wise move and you have to apply that to both clips after the unlink & pan.

All I can guess is you are only changing one side of the original stereo. I have to say it is a strange request to make stereo music & FX to mono for any deliverable that I have encountered. You sound post facility should also have provided the stems as wav files so you should have to recapture off tape.

Stem mixes are typically undipped so they won't go back together as a mix. I hope your client doesn't think that your mono version will further sum to a final mono mix. If that is required then take the stereo final and pan that to mono.

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Dylan Zink
Re: Summing Stereo tracks to MONO in FCP 7
on Jun 22, 2011 at 7:50:25 am

Hello, thank you for your response. I have been doing more testing and I'm still having trouble accomplishing these mix downs in FCP. Oh..yes the clients request is strange and it's a request we are currently trying to tell our schedulers to discuss with the client because I agree completely with what you stated. In the mean time, even for my own satisfaction I would love to know how to properly sum stereo to mono. So this is what I've tested:

I created a stereo 1k tone @ -20dB to test something that I can read properly and easily on meters. I did as you said and I modified the stereo pairs to mono and panned the tracks to center. When I set my track output so both of my 2 mono tone tracks @ -20dB are out channel 1 with the attenuation set @ -6dB, the result is that the tone is now reaching -14dB (No attenuation was applied). On my next pass I set my sequence settings>General tab>Audio Settings to Config: Stereo Downmix with the same source and output @ -6dB and the result was that my new media was now @ -20dB (at this point I was excited because I just successfully summed to tracks of audio and kept my audio at the correct level. But then...I was back to my actual clients audio trying to do the same thing I did before in my first message but this time unlinking the stereo tracks, panning them to Zero and also you the Stereo Downmix setting and my output resulted in 1 track of audio and I didn't end up with the 4 discrete tracks I needed. What gives?? I also tested doing this whole process with the Audio Setting>Config: Discrete Channels setting and this resulted in no attenuation of my audio.

Does anyone know the process to actually sum audio without raising the gain 6dB??

Dylan Zink

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