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Surround Sound Mixing Styles: Classical and Onstage

Mixing in surround should be a creative endeavor, especially as music and the enjoyment of listening in surround evolves. The following are two styles to consider when you’re imagining the listener and their perspective.

The Classical Style (sometimes referred to as the “Audience Style”) puts the music in the front speakers and the hall or club ambiences in the surround speakers, just as if the listener were sitting in a concert hall or club. This style is intended to represent the experience of having been at the performance.

In the Onstage Style, the performance is spread all over the room by way of the five speakers. This puts the listener in the center of the performance and literally surrounds them with the music – as if they were sitting on stage with the band, choir, etc. This style is not necessarily intended to be “authentic”, but it is dynamic and dramatic.

Again, these are two styles, or perspectives, to consider but in the end mixing is all about creativity.

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