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«Waves S360° software guide page 1 of 13 S360° Panner S360° Imager Waves S360° software guide page 2 of 13 Introduction and Overview Introducing ...»

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Waves S360° Panner, Imager

Software Audio Processors

User’s Guide

Waves S360° software guide page 1 of 13

S360° Panner

S360° Imager

Waves S360° software guide page 2 of 13

Introduction and Overview

Introducing Waves S360°, a Surround Panning and Imaging tool for 5 or 5.1

channels. It offers an alternative to surround X/Y panners, allowing better control

of Phantom images, and providing better localization as well as an enhanced

sweet spot. The S360° Panner lets you set the Rotation and Width for a Mono, Stereo, 5-channel or 5.1-channel, Surround source in the surround mix.

The S360° Imager is an enhanced panner, adding Room Model Early Reflections for distance panning and Shuffling for enhanced low frequency width.

These tools assure you get the flexibility and control you need for creating both spatial and discrete images in the common 5-channel and 5.1-channel formats, providing the best translation to the typical target playback scenario.

The Waves 360° Surround Toolkit follows the reproduction standards recommended by the International Telecommunications Union in the ITU-R BS.775 (1993) specification. It also provides the means to handle some common compromises and variations of this standard. The S360°’s versatility allows it to complement other imaging tools and X/Y panners. You will find it the tool of choice for working on soundtracks or music for the best reproduction in Home Theater systems.

We believe that, with practice, surround will become as easy to work with as stereo. There is, however, a potential problem with how the consumer’s actual playback system is configured and calibrated. Even if the playback system is fully calibrated and conformed to ITU recommendations, this is not the ideal array for playing a spatial 360° spherical sound field, but it is the common one in consumer electronics.

The general tip here would be not to rely on precision side Phantoms for stationary sounds. Discrete side rotation is bound to be heard as a general sideways event. It is, however, possible to reach beautiful, spatial, and atmospheric-sounding results if you follow a few basic rules.


S360° Panner:

The Panner is quite DSP efficient, and it is intended for multi-instance use. All source channels can be mixed into the surround image using this Panner rather than the default X/Y Panner.

You can set the Rotation angle for the Center of the source image. Directly under the Rotation control you can select a Rotation Pan Pot. The two Pan Pots Waves S360° software guide page 3 of 13 available in S360° are Pair-wise or Triple-wise. They use speaker pairs or triplets to calculate the required energy distribution for the indicated rotation.

You can set the Width Ratio to change the width of the image using one of the available Width Pan Pots located directly under the Width ratio box. The divergence will always be related to the rotation, so that, when widening an image, it will always spread sideways from its center or collapse toward a mono image.

Since the 6th, or the.1 channel, is not part of the 3/2 directional speaker array, you can send a sum of the input audio to the LFE channel.

The use of the Center speaker can be specified in %. From full hard center usage to a complete phantom center created from the L & R speakers. Any value in between can be used as a balance, defining how much Center should be used to create the current Rotation/Width settings.

The panning graph displays a splined-circle energy scope, which indicates the same information that the meters display.

S360° Imager:

The S360° Imager has the same Control and feature set as the Panner, plus Distance Panning and Shuffling.

Distance Panning generates Room Model Early Reflections, balancing the direct sound and reflections creates the “Distance” and the specified room size affects the sound of the reflections. Shuffling is used on low frequencies for control of low frequency width.

The S360° Imager uses more DSP than the Panner. You can maximize your DSP resources by starting with a Panner and, if you find the need, hot swapping with an Imager. Your Panner settings are imported into the Imager and you can further add distance and shuffling.

The Imager’s room Early Reflections are designed to work well with the rich, decorrelated Reverb tail of the Waves R360° surround Reverb, for a complete Room emulation. The virtual environment can work with an R360° on a multichannel auxiliary to which you send or bus all your imagers. Each imager will provide the Early reflections of the source calculating the reflections according to the rotation of the panned source. This enhances the possible localization compared to generating reflections for a multichannel source.

S360 PLUG-INS COMPONENTS Waves S360° software guide page 4 of 13 The Panner and Imager can be inserted on several sources with several

destinations as follows:

Panner and Imager

• Mono to 5 channel

• Mono to 5.1 channel

• Stereo to 5 channel

• Stereo to 5.1 channel Imager only • 5 channel to 5 channel • 5.1 channel to 5.1 channel Most of the controls are the identical, but sometimes the selection of width Panpots is restricted to what is relevant to the source. Mono sources will have a mono divergence width pan-pot but not an m/s-width (available for stereo and surround components).

All Panner components support up to 192kHz.

Imager Mono to 5/5.1 supports up to 192kHz.

All other Imager components support up to 96kHz.

Using S-360°


To enjoy the full capabilities of the S360°, use the M360° Surround Manager as an insert on the Master Surround output channel. It is recommended to go through the studio calibration routine described in chapter 3 before you begin to pan sources using the other components.

If your studio is not set up according to ITU recommendations, adjust your speaker angles in the Manager so that the pan-pots will perform optimally in this setup. Even if you are sure that your studio is well calibrated it is still recommended to insert the manager for further reference. We recommend that you create a custom work setup for your studio and use it as your default.

Arrange the source tracks to your preference. Open an S360° Panner on each track’s last insert. If you already know there are tracks which you will want to apply distance panning, you can immediately open an Imager. We recommended you use the Panner and Imager on the last insert for more efficient track processing with EQs and compressors. If you want to apply per-track, post positioning filters you can usually bus them to an auxiliary input or move your panner upwards and insert the appropriate multichannel process after it.

Waves S360° software guide page 5 of 13 For each track, use the panner’s Rotation to specify the angle of the center of your phantom image. Use the Width control to specify the divergence created from the source image outwards or inwards for stereo and 5-channel sources.

Use the Center % control to specify the amount of use of the center channel in the positioning of your image.

To add distance and room sound use an Imager component. Specify the distance in the ER section or by adjusting the distance marker in the graph. The actual and maximum distance will be subject to the room size. The Room Size and Distance are linked by default. This way the source is closest to the far wall.

Then the link can be broken to allow imaging closer inside the room or to adjust for unnatural settings of a source that sounds more distant than possible in that room. To complete the room emulation, send the channel’s output to a multichannel auxiliary with an R360° Surround Reverb and set your reverb tail preferences to satisfy.

So much for the basics. This is quite enough information to get started and make use of this toolkit. You are invited to continue reading it through or use it for reference.


Pan-Pots The Rotation control is controlled by a Rotation pan-pot and the Width control is controlled by a width pan-pot. The pan-pots are used to calculate the distribution of energy. The pan-pots are selected directly under the Rotation and Width controls.


The available Rotation pan-pots are Pair-wise and Triple-wise. The Pair-wise pan-pot distributes energy between speaker pairs to create the image for the specified rotation. This method is fairly straightforward and provides reasonably stable precision phantoms.

The Panning Graph will give an accurate indication of the sound’s position if the control room is well calibrated and the speaker placements conform to the ITU recommendations, or adjusted using the M360˚ Manager. The pair-wise pan-pot works well between two points, even if the listener is not exactly in the center of the sound stage. It also tolerates poorly set up sound systems. The phantom image will still appear between the two speakers.

The Triple-wise pan-pot uses 3 speakers to localize the phantom’s center.

Researchers have indicated that using 3 speakers can enhance the stability of the Phantom image. Indeed, this may be true, but you have to be more careful.

Achieving the extra stability relies on the speaker setup being similar to the one Waves S360° software guide page 6 of 13 on which the phantom was created. The front sound stage is usually set in a way that can indeed make a more stable phantom, but for rear or side phantoms, the reproducibility of the Pair-wise pan-pot will usually be higher.

The nice thing here is that you can start with Pair-wise panning, then toggle to the Triple-wise pan-pot, and use the best-sounding one. There is no conflict between the two panners. You can pan one source with a Pair-wise and another with a Triple-wise in the very same sound stage.


The Width pan-pots are used to spread the sound source. There are several different Width pan-pots available, depending on the number of source channels.

A Mono source Panner has one Width pan-pot for Mono Divergence: A Stereo source Panner has four: Mono Divergence, Balanced, Front-stage, and Focus. A

Multichannel source includes the four in the Stereo source panner plus a fifth:


Mono Divergence – available for all components.

This control spread the energy of the mono source outwards from its indicated direction. The sound will still be mono but it will be less localized at its indicated rotation and in the extreme width. It will be almost equally loud in all speakers but the rotation will still preserve direction, albeit much less coherently. Mono Divergence is available for stereo sources and multichannel sources. It behaves in a similar same way, except that it increases correlation of the sound between speakers.

Balanced – Available for Stereo and Multichannel components.

The balanced width pan-pot spreads the given image for a wider front while narrowing the rear. It’s very useful to get a Stereo source spread nicely over the surround stage; it will widen the stereo stage, effectively shifting the side phantoms further to the sides and backwards. On a Multichannel source, it will collapse the original rear stage and widen the front stage.

Front-stage – Available for Stereo and Multichannel components.

It widens the front stage by multiplying the directional image width by the specified ratio. For example, a track that has a phantom image at 20° should locate that phantom image at 40° when the width ratio is 2 or at 80° when the width ratio is 4.

Front/Rear-stage – Available for Multichannel components.

This pan-pot widens the front and the rear stages just like the Front-stage panpot widens the front stage.

Focus – Available in Stereo and Multichannel components.

Waves S360° software guide page 7 of 13 This pan-pot takes each speaker pair and extracts the M and the S signal. A value of 0 width focuses only the M signal and a width value of 4, only the S signal. This has the slight effect of ambience extraction having a value of 4 as all ambience and 0 as all direct.


Shuffling is a multichannel enhancement process which has few unwanted side effects, but which can add a sense of spaciousness and life to an otherwise ordinary spatial image.

Shuffling is particularly suited to recordings made using standard panning techniques made on most mixing consoles or their digital equivalents.

The stereo effect from two loudspeakers creates the illusion, in the ears and mind of the listener, of illusory phantom images lying between the loudspeakers.

This illusion, however, is not perfect, and one known fault is that for sounds panned to intermediate positions, the apparent stereo stage width is narrower at bass frequencies than in the mid and high treble. The reason for this is that the ears and brain determine sound direction by different methods below and above around 700 Hz.

Shuffling is a process that widens the bass frequencies so as to make the phantom bass and treble images seem to be of comparable soundstage width.

This generally occurs when the shuffling level is set at around 1.6 with shuffle frequency around 650 Hz. This setting is recommended for sharpest imaging.

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