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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I would like to make a speaker system where voices seem to move around an area. As people walk up the driveway voices travels around them. Back in the bad old days I had an 8 track player and quadraphonic speaker system that played Dark Side of the Moon. I always loved it. Today I'm thinking a 5.1, 6 channel surround sound setup will work well. I can make a 6 channel file in Audacity but I'm not sure what to play it on. I'm not up to date on the systems. I would like to keep it cheap so the quality doesn't have to be great. Can someone give me some ideas on what player and or converter to use?

Thanks,
 

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I think you are going to have trouble finding a "cost effective" 5.1 system. I am a big fan of good quality audio for my Halloween props and tend to go overboard. I would recommend something that has at least 50 watts/channel. Unfortunately a 5.1 audio system like this is not something that the "normal" person :) uses for a Halloween prop so you may need to investigate getting a regular 5.1 home theater receiver. Here is one on Amazon for less than $200: https://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-SR373-Channel-Receiver-Bluetooth/dp/B06XVGCBZ4/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
 

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Getting the file to "travel" from channel to channel is not something I've been able to do successfully in any audio editing software. I'm sure I'm doing it wrong, but all I've ever been able to come up with is stereo panning from left to right, and that was with Sony Vegas Pro a few years ago.

JW is right, getting it to play back in surround is another hurdle that is usually only doable with an AVR (audio/video receiver). I have a 7.2.4 home theater system at home, but I still wouldn't be able to make a custom sound travel all around me without VERY expensive surround processing equipment, which is typically only available to cinema industry professionals.

If you have a friend or family member with a 5.1 system, create a sound effect, load it onto a thumb drive, and play it through their set. See if the sound travels like you want it to. Only then should you invest in an AVR.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
These are great amplifiers but what do I play my files on and how to I get it to the amplifier. Should I put the file on a DVD and use a surround sound DVD player and connect using HDMI or put it on an SD card (is there a sd card surround sound player) and connect using the optical cable or USB?

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey Jaurhead,
I've had success with Audacity so far and it's free. I'm pretty cheap when it come to software. I usually try to build my own first before I shell out money on other peoples SW. I guess I should invest in a good home system instead of using the widescreen TVs speakers. But, I'm soooo cheap.
 

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I don't own any Behringer products but I believe you would be able to play your custom files right from Audacity and into the multi-channel output Behringer. The down side is this gets a bit cumbersome outdoors with a PC and all the wires.
 

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I don't own any Behringer products but I believe you would be able to play your custom files right from Audacity and into the multi-channel output Behringer. The down side is this gets a bit cumbersome outdoors with a PC and all the wires.
How do I play a multi channel Audacity file through the computer? I would need a specialty sound card or can I go through HDMI or USB? I've only ever done stereo through the PC built in sound connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Found a sound blaster card for the PC. But for most laptops it looks like you have to go with the HDMI out.
 

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How do I play a multi channel Audacity file through the computer? I would need a specialty sound card or can I go through HDMI or USB? I've only ever done stereo through the PC built in sound connections.
I believe the Behringer is USB input and then splits the channels.
 

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Yes, the Behringer can split the channels. I've only been able to get 2 of the channels to work at a time, but there's a possibility of 4 different. Just need to figure out what software I need in order to do this.
Have you tried playing a 4 channel file directly from Audacity to the Behringer?
 

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Yeah, I just did some research, looks like currently Audacity can record up to 8 channels but can only playback in 2.
 

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Currently any multi-channel audio file will only play back in Audacity as 2 channel stereo. Like I said, it will record up to 8 channels but it can't play it back, pretty dumb but that seems to be the case.
 

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Fyi - looks like you can create a 5.1 audio file with the new version of Sound Forge Audio Studio v13. ($60)

Fyi - I have been messing around with the multi-track capability of Audacity. Here is a YouTube video that shows how to do it. I have been able to create a 6 channel file (in several formats) but have not net been able to get it to play on my Denon A/V Receiver correctly yet. It either goes not recognize the file at all or it plays as only a 2 channel or 3 channel file. I have attempted to stream it from my iPad and from the USB socket on the front panel. Have not tried to burn it onto a CD yet.
 

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For my audio, I have picked up a few home stereos from goodwill or pawn shops that are 5.1 and used them as amplifiers. You can connect MP3 players or computers to get you the multiple surround sound amplification you are looking for. I just run speaker wires from my garage to all the speakers around my front yard. Works great and is verry clean.
 

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Hi,
I would like to make a speaker system where voices seem to move around an area. As people walk up the driveway voices travels around them. Back in the bad old days I had an 8 track player and quadraphonic speaker system that played Dark Side of the Moon. I always loved it. Today I'm thinking a 5.1, 6 channel surround sound setup will work well. I can make a 6 channel file in Audacity but I'm not sure what to play it on. I'm not up to date on the systems. I would like to keep it cheap so the quality doesn't have to be great. Can someone give me some ideas on what player and or converter to use?
I have done this several ways.

The first time I tried to synchronize audio, I used to a dirt cheap media player called the NBOX. They were $20 and could play from USB or SD card. They'd power up and play audio files or video files and repeat endlessly. We created synchronized audio by having a few of them on the same power strip, going into cheap Pyle $50 amps and cheap $33/set marine speakers, and they'd play mostly in sync. There would be a bit of a drift, so during the evening we'd just power cycle and sync them back up. Not great, but cheap.

Next, we used a 5.1 surround sound USB sound card and a cheap $199 netbook running Windows. I used Audacity to create a multi-channel WAV file, and it would play them from each speaker. We had a stack of cheap Pyle amps powering the speakers, so it was prolly around $500 to do it.

At home, I used a cheap "surround sound" DVD player. It had rear left/right, front left/right, center and sub. I used Final Cut Express on my Mac to create surround sound audio and played it on the DVD. I could get discrete audio from each speaker. (I put different Disney Haunted Mansion tracks in each speaker.) You might be able to pick up one of those pretty cheap -- I've seen surround sound setups at Costco for $199. I just sold that DVD unit for $25, so you might just see about picking up a cheap used one to experiment with. Mine could play off DVD or a USB flash drive.

That said ... if you just want synchronized audio, a dirt-cheap Raspberry Pi and a USB hub loaded with cheap $2 (yeah, $2!) USB "sound cards" can do it. You still need amps, but much to my surprise, people are having much success with this. But Linux is a hassle and there's a learning curve.

I hope to offer a turnkey kit for doing synchronized audio. There's some good stuff available today that wasn't around ten years ago when I was first experimenting.
 
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