I need to edit 5.1 audio files. That is, I want to see each individual track, apply effects, AND to preview it in my surround system (s/pdif output) as I work with the files, without having to export it to be able to listen to results.

Is there a way to do this in Linux?



Import the file into Audacity. The file should be imported as six mono audio tracks 1 to 6. They are usually in the following order:-

  1. = front left
  2. = front right
  3. = centre
  4. = sub bass
  5. = rear left
  6. = rear right

Then in Edit - Preferences - Import/Export, select the radio button for "Use custom mix".

Then in the output device, situated just below the play, pause, etc buttons in the top left, select "surround51"

When you have finished editing the tracks click file export as ac3 for example and set the correct sample rate. Click save, You will then be shown a graphic showing the six tracks and how they are linked to the six output tracks, this is usually correct, but you can change the track order here if you wish. then click save. Job done.

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In the first place, if you aim to edit sound in Ubuntu perhaps the UbuntuStudio distribution could be of help. It has a lot of sound-related stuff that the main version does not.

5.1 sound configuration should work out of the box, programs that can handle it should use it directly (videolan, audacity, ...). You may want to look into the JACK daemon if you need some specific connection setup (MIDI input, etc.)

As pointed out bu @Rohit, the Audacity sound editor is a multi-track recorder and editor that works quite well. If it is not yet installed, you can use your preferred package manager to do so.


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Follow these steps in Terminal command

  1. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kirkland/sound
  2. sudo apt-get update
  3. sudo apt-get install ubuntu-sounds

It should work with Audacity sound editor.

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  • How is this system sound profile related to audio editing? – LiveWireBT Dec 31 '15 at 0:50

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