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Is a 5.1 or 2.0 source better for a 2.0 handbrake track encode?

  • 5.1 mixdown

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • 2.0

    Votes: 2 50.0%

  • Total voters


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 17, 2009
Hey, all!
I've been using Handbrake and AppleTV to enjoy my library for years, and I don't know what I'd do without it--especially now that we can use Plex! I recently came across something that may prompt me to change my encoding settings, though, and was wondering if others here had any similar experiences:

My current H/T playback system:
Handbrake'd file on PC -> Plex Server -> AppleTV 4 -> TV -> Optical out to a soundbar.
The relevance of the above is that I have a stereo setup currently, rather than a true surround.

When encoding, I always include an AAC stereo file, and an AC3 surround. Until now, for the 2.0 track I've always just mixed down the 5.1 default track. When playing back one of my new videos the other day, though (both on my stereo PC and on my TV through the soundbar) I noticed the dialog is quiet, and many of the sound effects are deafeningly loud comparatively. I went back to the source, and noticed that there was a 2.0 (non-commentary) track as well as the 5.1. That 2.0 track has much (MUCH much) louder dialog, and appears to likely be a more appropriate source audio for a 2.0 track meant to play through a 2.0 system.

So essentially, my question is, do you find that when including a 2.0 track in your encodes it is better to mixdown from the core 5.1, or use an already 2.0 track as the source when present?

Thanks in advance!


macrumors 601
Jan 13, 2011
Use the 2.0 track, because it's been mixed by professionals for good stereo sound.
Unless you also want to hear good ol' Dolby ProLogic analog surround sound from your 1-st generation AVR over RCA wires. Then it makes sense to encode the ProLogic II mixdown from DD 5.1 into the AAC stereo track.
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