How to Mix Ambisonics in Audition

Let’s look at a few different ways you can edit and mix ambisonic audio in Adobe Audition.

Editing ambisonic audio isn’t that much different than editing stereo and mono audio files. You just need to set up a few preferences and understand some ambisonic basics. In this article, we will cover a few ways to mix ambisonic audio in Adobe Audition.

Opening Ambisonic Files in Audition

First, you’ll need to open your ambisonic audio file in Audition. You can navigate to File>Open and select the file or drag and drop the file into the File Panel.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Opening Ambisonic Files
An ambisonic audio file will usually have four audio channels.

When you select your ambisonic audio in the File Panel, four different audio channels appear. (Some ambisonic files have more than four channels, but four channels are the most common.) You can then playback and preview your audio. However, you will likely only be able to hear two of the four channels. This is because the 3rd and 4th audio track channels haven’t been mapped to a speaker yet.

Audio Channel Mapping (So You Can Hear Every Channel)

As mentioned, you will most likely only be able to hear two of the four audio channels of your ambisonic audio when you preview them. This is because, generally, you’ll only have a right and left speaker you are listening from. (Or headphones, which also have a right and left speaker.) So we need to “map” the 3rd and 4th audio channels to speakers, so we can hear all of the channels that are part of the ambisonic audio file. To do this, navigate to Edit>Preferences>Audio Channel Mapping.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Output File Channels
To map the 3rd and 4th audio channels to speakers, navigate to Edit>Preferences>Audio Channel Mapping.

Under Output, you will see File Channels. Set Channel 3 to one of your speakers, and set Channel 4 to another speaker. (If you only have two speakers, I usually set Channel 3 to Speaker 1 and Channel 4 to Speaker 2.)

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Channel Mapping
Select a speaker you have available for Channel 3 and Channel 4.

Secondary Note: Some ambisonic file types will actually import under a different channel set. Instead of having channels labeled as 1, 2, 3, 4, they will be labeled as: W, X, Y, Z. These files work effectively the same way. So it is a good idea to go ahead and map those channels to speakers too. Just scroll down under Output, and you will see channels W, X, Y, Z. Then you can map those channels to your speakers.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - WXYZ Channels
It is a good idea to map channels W, X, Y, and Z to speakers since some ambisonic files have those channels as default.

Mixing and Applying Effects to Ambisonic Files

You can mix and apply audio effects to ambisonic files the same way you would mono and stereo files. Simply select an effect, and it will apply it to your ambisonic audio. Remember that by default, Audition will apply the effect to all four channels of your ambisonic audio.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Applying Effects
By default, effects will apply to all four audio channels.

Mixing Single Ambisonic Channels

If you would like to mix and apply effects to single channels on an ambisonic audio file, you will first need to “turn off” and disable the channels you do not want the effect applied. You can disable a channel by toggling the number of the channel, located just to the right of the audio channel.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Disable Channels
You can disable a channel by toggling the number of the channel located on the right.

Doing this allows you to disable those channels, so you can mix and apply effects to the remaining “enabled” channels. For example: if you disable all channels except Channel 2, any effects you apply will only be applied to channel 2.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Applying Effects to One Channel
To apply effects to a single channel, disable the other three channels.

This allows you to isolate various channels while you are mixing. Just be sure to enable them all back on before you export your ambisonic audio.

Exporting the Ambisonic File

Exporting your mixed ambisonic file from Audition is easy. Simply navigate to File>Export>File. Then on the Export File Settings, make sure the Format is set to Wave PCM.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Export Format
Set the Format to Wave PCM.

Then next to Sample Type, select the Change settings box.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Sample Type Settings
Click the Change button next to Sample Type.

This will open up the Convert Sample Type settings options. Under Channels, make sure it is set to Same as Source.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - Channels Export
Make sure the Channels are set to Same as Source.

Click OK and then click OK again to export your ambisonic file.

Convert Ambisonic Sounds to Stereo

Another way you can edit and mix ambisonic files is by exporting them out as a different audio type, such as Mono or Stereo. This is one of the best uses of ambisonic audio because ambisonic audio records four different audio channels. This can give you many options in post for mixing those channels down to one or two channels for Mono or Stereo. You can do this in several ways, but one of the best methods is by using a free plugin called SoundField.

Mix Ambisonics in Audition - SoundField Plugin
Use the free audio plugin called SoundField to mix ambisonic audio files.

SoundField Plugin

SoundField is a free audio plugin from RØDE that works with Adobe Audition. (It also works with many other Digital Audio Workstation apps.) Since ambisonic audio is essentially a 360° audio recording, you can use the SoundField plugin to redirect a virtual microphone and change how the audio output sounds. You can even change things like the microphone type, microphone angles, and the output audio type. To learn more about the SoundField plugin, check out: How to Edit Ambisonic Sound Effects.

Where To Find Ambisonic Sound Effects?

Ok, so you know how to use ambisonic audio, but now you need ambisonic tracks to play around with. On PremiumBeat, you can find over 16,000 sound effects, all available in stereo, 5.1, and ambisonic. These high-quality, immersive SFX can be used in a variety of projects, like AR/VR, game streaming/development, immersive films, ad videos, documentaries, and events. You now have the lowdown on using audio in sonic space, so you just need the sound effects. Check them out here.

For more on audio, check out these articles:

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