How To Record Surround Sound? A Straightforward Guide in 2023

  • 15 Dec 2022 05:27
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How To Record Surround Sound? A Straightforward Guide in 2023

Surround sound recording is indispensable for any film, video, or music production. The quality of the surround sound recorded depends on your techniques and available tools.  If you are wondering how to record surround sound, you have come to the right place. In this post, I will introduce some simple methods and detailed steps to record surround sound.

What Does Surround Sound Mean?

Before dwelling on the detailed process, it would help if you understood more about the basics of surround sound.  Surround sound is the sound that surrounds you. This system is prevalent in many movie theaters, where the sounds come from every angle of the room in high audio quality.  This concept also indicates sound diversification with robust bass and sound effects that have impressive hearing effects on the listeners. A typical surround sound device consists of many speakers plus an additional subwoofer.  Therefore, surround sound is often used with the term “5.1”, which means one subwoofer for every five speakers. Recording the sound for this system is a little more complicated, and you’ll need some special tools to do it. 

How To Record Surround Sound?

You should know that the surround sound, or 5.1 audio, doesn’t come from the field. Each voice in the complete 5.1 audio comes with a distinct track. Therefore, a complete 5.1 audio surround sound is actually a combination of many soundtracks recorded from multiple sources. A surround sound system with many speakers tricks the hearers into an immersive experience.  Now, let’s move on to the detailed steps and tools needed for recording 5.1 audio.  

Things You Will Need

There are various audio software and programs designed specifically for recording 5.1 audio. You need software of this type, such as Avid Pro Tools HD,  Apple Logic Studio, and Sony Acid Pro. Then, you need a computer and 5,1 mixing speakers to create and edit your surround sound project. Commonly, an audio device that supports 5.1 surround sound will work. 

Studio Audio

You Need An Audio Studio To Produce Your Own 5.1 SoundTrack

Steps To Record Surround Sound

The steps of recording surround sound vary based on the type of software and the 5.1 audio projects you want to create. Therefore, the essential thing is to master the 5.1 producing and editing software before you process.  You have to accumulate basic sound-producing and editing knowledge as well as the software techniques for this task. Then, use the software and program to mix and edit your soundtrack accordingly.  The low-frequency sounds, such as bass, kick drums, and rumbling sound effects, should be positioned close to the mix’s center. Meanwhile, the high-end audio should come from the speakers on the two sides of the listeners.  After finishing your final 5.1 mixes, render them into both DTS and Dolby Digital format. These two formats are available on most 5.1 audio devices and systems, but the Dolby Digital format is a more prevalent option. 

Is Music Recorded In Surround Sound?

No, most modern music tracks produced cannot be streamed as surround sound but as stereo audio. The reason for this is that most music formats these days are not compatible with surround sound.  This technology is more common in the film industry as movie theaters all feature surround sound systems. 

Stereo Audio

Music Is Commonly Stereo Audio, Not Surround Sound


If you want to understand more about the 5.1 audio and surround sound systems, check out the sections below to discover more helpful information. 

Can You Stream 5.1 Audio?

Yes, you can stream 5.1 audio from various sources such as Youtube and movie films. However, you must use modern TVs and audio devices compatible with surround sound.  You can still play surround sound on an old audio device, but it won’t have the immersive and surrounding effect. 

Can Surround Sound Be Simulated?

Yes, many modern soundbars, stereo systems, and headphones can simulate 5.1 audio. However, you must ensure that the device supports surround sound by checking the information on the manufacturer’s websites. 

How Do Movie Producers Record Surround Sound?

Contrary to many people's beliefs, the surround sound you hear in the movies doesn’t come directly from the field. Each soundtrack is created and recorded in big audio studios with modern recording devices and audio software. The producers may also use the available audio tracks recorded for their movies with permission and license from the owners. 

Final Thoughts

The process of surround sound recording is simple if you know the basic techniques and find the essential devices for this task. Depending on your project, a 5.1 audio can contain between a few to hundreds of individual tracks.  Then, a 5.1 audio system will deliver these soundtracks to create an immersive and surrounding listening experience. The most challenging point of this task is setting up large computers and finding suitable 5.1 software.  So, how to record surround sound? I hope this post can give you more insights into this topic. Thank you for reading!

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Steve McConnell By, Steve McConnell

Steve McConnell discovered his passion for technology early in his life when he bought his first Nintendo (NES). After spending hours experimenting with cartridges, he finally got inspired and began disassembling and rebuilding any that didn't work. Steve began playing online PC gaming after he quit console gaming. He was a passionate gamer and a problem-solver, which led him to create his own computers.
Steve brings curiosity, critical eyes, problem-solving skills, and persistence to US Best Gear as a tester. Steve is a tech nut who loves to keep up with the latest technology, from electric toothbrushes and electric skateboards to fitness trackers and sewing machines.

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