Surround anyone?

Started by Brak(E)man, May 26, 2023, 10:19:15 AM

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There's been a thing on my mind recently.
Even though I don't have my surround mix setup at the moment
( and no one seems to use it anymore)

Has anyone tried setting up SY-1000 for surround sound ?

With 4 different amps ( and instruments + or fx  ) ,  5 analog + 8 digital outputs
the possibilities seems almost endless.

swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch


The 8 digital outputs via USB are dry guitar only (6 dry strings + stereo output mix ) so not ideal for creating a surround sound


Quote from: Elantric on May 26, 2023, 10:58:30 AMThe 8 digital outputs via USB are dry guitar only (6 dry strings + stereo output mix ) so not ideal for creating a surround sound
There's plenty of guitar amp plugs to use for that purpose.
Not saying that those will sound exactly like "normal" guitars
but in use with the other 5 possible channels, they'll do fine.
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch


I don't think you'd want one-string-per-channel anyway...  I think that'd get old fast.

I am a surround junkie.  My home theater is setup for high definition surround.  As is my home studio.  Even my car has THX 5.1...  I have a collection of hi-def surround performances, including the San Francisco Symphony's entire Mahler cycle.  Plus Steven Wilson's surround remasters of old King Crimson albums.  Multiple Porcupine Tree & Steven Wilson albums.  Genesis, Yes, Steely Dan, Return to Forever.  I have Pink Floyd's DSOTM in surround, and even a digital version of the original quadrophonic (4.0) mix of Wish You Were Here (also a 5.1 WYWH).  Some in DVD-Audio format, which is much higher fidelity than Dolby Digital or DTS.  Some in SACD format.

I have never considered doing it live (mainly because I don't perform live - I only do studio work with friends).

Over the years, I have done a number of pieces in the studio, though, that I can play on most 5.1 systems.

(The biggest problem?  I don't know anybody else who has 5.1 home theater who can play any of it.  I can pretty much only listen to it in my own home & car...  😂)

Doing this live?  The venue choice would be critical.  Most venues are engineered & wired for FOH sound, & sound absorption in the rear.  Folks near the rear left might not be happy with the overall experience.  Folks in the front may not get enough signal from the rear, etc.  The best experience would be restricted to the lucky folks in the middle...  You probably need to elevate the rear channels for separation.  Not impossible, but something to think about.  (Pink Floyd's Animals tour did surround in stadiums...)

Two general strategies...  For each, I used the surround panner in Cakewalk.  (

1.  I've done a lot of algorithmic composition, programs that produce MIDI output.  For some, the algorithm itself produced the surround channel as part of its output (Front left, front center, front right, rear left, rear right, sub).

2.  Automated panning.  Like a stereo panner, but script out your own surround panner.  Panning one instrument can be a little cheezy.  However, panning multiple instruments simultaneously is extremely dreamy, disorienting & cool...  That might be an instance where a hex splitter allowing the different strings in the guitar can be panned independently of each other for an effect.  (In fact the Spicetone Hexappeal may even do this out of the box???)  The good news about such scripting is that you can pan anything - MIDI/VSTs or audio.

For live use, there are commercial surround panners that may help with this.  Find one that supports automation...

Can't really share any of my old surround projects online, but you can get a hint from some algorithmic examples & a little imagination...

Imagine this, but in motion (fractal cascade algorithm):

This is a 100% algorithmically generated piece:

I sometimes play guitar to algorithmic accompaniment:


Note that most of the 5.1 remasters of old albums are aiming to reproduce a stage environment...  E.g., the rear channels are often restricted to emulating an echo/reverb bouncing back from the rear of the venue.  Sometimes even ambient crowd noise for live performances. 

But live, you already have that...  No need to do that... 

The BIGGEST benefit of the 5.1 remixes of albums is that the instruments aren't all stuck in a straight stereo line from left to right.  I.e., you can pull some instruments 10-20% forward, so they aren't mushed together in the stereo spectrum.  Given their own floorspace in the mix, individual instruments are much clearer & significantly less mushy.  They pop.


The abilities of the SY-1000 to work as a quadraphonic device has always interested me, currently been working on a series of surround patches.
The SY-1000 main outs and Sub outs can be "detached" as stereo pairs and be placed as individual mono outputs.
Sort of came around due to having a friend (and former band member) I managed to coerce to the dark side of GK guitars and the GR-55,
and have been trying to convince him the SY-1000 is what he needs next  ;) 
So once I finish making some interesting SY-1000 patches, am goin to take the SY around to his studio, using the PA left/right for the front pair and two guitar amps for the rear L/R field.
So I have a few patches with different guitar models in each corner, ones with similar models, and using playing dynamics (Assigns with input source) to alter the field of focus.
Next plan is to try some dynamic synth sequencers sync'd where each part of the three instrument sequencers make the whole sequence pattern.

It was from being at a Pink Floyd concert, that aroused my interest in quadraphonic surround sound.
then a couple of years ago, at a Tool concert, they used a new experimental surround system, which the effect is difficult to describe, but where ever you went on the stadium floor or which direction you faced, the same surround sound spatial image was in the middle of your head.
I believe it was one of the first few shows to use the new TiMax system

Free "GR-55 FloorBoard" editor software from


I have a sort of 4.1 system going where I run the sub outs to a mixer, with the clean stereo signal fed to the front mains, and an effected (delay + chorus typically) signal to a pair of rear speakers, with my main output going to a bass amp/cab with high frequencies rolled off (poor man's LFE channel).

It would be a real pain to set this up for a live performance, and only people in the sweet spot would ever hear it balanced properly.

However, it sounds killer in my practice room.


Given the suggestions, a Boss GP-10 is also just as capable with its 8 out, 8 in USB Audio specs -similar to SY-1000


I'm also an avid Surround consumer , home theatre setup , mostly music ( same albums as admin-shawnb )

Working in a music venue as my day job I can tell you that making a viable surround setup "live" is impossible or you would do it for only a few people.
In a Venue ( and in your living room ) , you are always closer to a speaker than the others , except "THE" spot in the middle. Mixing for a surround setup is impossible if you want everyone who pays the ticket to have the same surround experience.
Even in stereo , people in front of a stack miss everything that is hard paned to the other side.

I tried it once , only put FX in a Quad setup and people who were in the back sections complained about Too much FX.

Surround is a "couple of square feet" thing in a venue , cost versus number of happy customer would be through the roof


I don't think it's impossible...  I'm sure if you just do something cheezy like put a solo in the rear left, that won't work at all...

I saw a chorale performance in a large symphony hall where they did some atonal work with a large choir up front, and another group in the rear left and another group in the rear right.  It was quite stunning.  (SF Gay Men's Chorus was being adventurous...)

It all depends on the venue, and what you are trying to accomplish.  Will likely take some experimentation.

Heck, there is a standing show here in San Francisco called Audium, where you are literally immersed in 176 speakers...  Music takes on shape and form and moves around, near, and even through you...

Lovely work...  Lots of old school electronic music + musique concrète.  I try to catch this show once every couple of years.  (It's been running continuously for ~50 years!  I first saw it in high school in the 1970s.)
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Unless you hardpan into one channel only , surround is less susceptible to where you're placed in a room , whether it's in a concert setting or in your living room.
Especially with todays "more even" sound distribution amplitude systems.

One of the many aspects of surround sound is that imho it's less important where you sit. Stereo has a "sweet spot " and no real center and have much more problems with where you sit especially with the panning. ( there's other issues as well )

I used to listen to a lot of good surround mixed cds and I mixed/mastered in surround as well.

I think that SY-1000 has great possibilities to make some good surround patches.
I will try out 5.0 LF CF HF LB and RB

(The reason I stopped using imho the best sound system I've heard are several.
First I never setup my home- or my studio surround  system after moving.
Second I almost have given up on monitors when mixing/mastering.
Most people, myself included , listen to music through iPads/IPhone/Android  Bluetooth headphones, a mono Bluetooth speaker or worse. So the reference today isn't a stereo system.)
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch


Quote from: admin_shawnb on May 27, 2023, 12:08:26 PMHeck, there is a standing show here in San Francisco called Audium, where you are literally immersed in 176 speakers...  Music takes on shape and form and moves around, near, and even through you...

I would be curious to see the phase coherence chart of that setup   ;)

It's not impossible to do surround live but panning everything to the center so everyone hears everything from where they are kinda defeat the purpose me thinks......  YMMV


I've been messing with it for a few years for live solo performance and its a challenge. I've had good luck with a few things for spacial widening. Notably a Dytronics Cyclsonic panner, Space Station speaker homebrew and quad home stereo amps. The Dytronics has a plug in now through UA.

When I initially started, my approach was to immerse myself inside the soundfield and it became just the opposite. I had to rethink my sound source. I became influenced by Reese Wynans and Organ players where they seem to bounce their sound off walls for effect.

Here is a solo artist who performs in surround for sevaral decades that imparts some insight that may be of assistance :


This is the shiz

makes a live arena concert sound like you sitting in the middle of a home 7.1 system.
Free "GR-55 FloorBoard" editor software from