MultiChannel files in Soundminer

The waveform area in Soundminer displays the streams of audio as they exist on disk. In other words, stream one will be first, then stream two, etc.

To confuse matters(!) ProTools displays multichannel sounds in its interface in “Film” mode, whose order is L/C/R/Ls/Rs/LFE, however, the format stored on disk(when interleaved) is what is known as approximately ITU format(approximately as its based on a microsoft standard not the SMPTE/ITU, it just so happens they match for some channel counts!). This is L/R/C/LFE/Ls/Rs.

When you import files exported from ProTools, Soundminer will try to read this identifier and if it exists it’ll put the L/R/C/LFE/Ls/Rs into the ChannelLayout field. Everything works, you may go “whoa” its weird seeing my files in that order, but to simplify things, its presenting the actual order on disk.


The ChannelLayout field is a field specific to Soundminer. It tells the program how to map those streams. If it get’s it wrong, change it in the ChannelLayout field, reselect the record and the labels should then sit on top of the streams correctly.

We made it this flexible so you could have files bounced in a different format, say L/C/R/Ls/Rs/LFE, and if they are labelled correctly in the channel layout, then Soundminer will swap the order around of the streams when transferring to keep ProTools happy.

There is a change that broke compatibility, however. If you scan split files in with an older version of Soundminer(pre 4.5v187) and try to use them in a newer version, the labels may not match up. The fix, is to right click on the file and rescan selected. You can do this en masse…(Do an advanced search for .L., sort on Channels field, select everything higher than 2 channels, and Rescan Selected). This will re-order the channel layout field.

The reason for this break… Split files used to be scanned in “Film” order, but to simplify things, and to give a consistant layout when going from Split to Interleaved, the scan order is now in this ITU format. Which means you can go from split to interleaved, with the remember channel selection toggle on and everything will just work. It was also necessary to support some future dialog editorial features.

Split files scanned in with newer versions(from v187 up) will be fine. And interleaved files weren’t affected.

If you want to experiment, in ProTools I created a 5.1 track, this is in Film Order (L/C/R/Ls/Rs/LFE)


When this file is bought into Soundminer, even though it looks weird it’s correct. The L plays first, then the 3rd stream which is C, then the 2nd Stream which is R, etc.


To demonstrate further, I’ve created a bunch of mono tracks in ProTools… This will play the sounds in ITU order, Left, then Right, Center, LFE, Ls, Rs.


And bounced…


And this is how the file looks in Soundminer.


Audacity also displays audio in the same order as it exists on disk… here is the exact same bounced file…


TL;DR; It doesn’t matter what it looks like in Soundminer, as long as you modify the ChannelLayout field so that the Channels appear over top of the streams correctly, then everything will work.

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