Cavern Driver setup guide
The screenshot below is how the Cavern Driver opens for the first time with default settings. On the bottom, the left side is the layout preset section, the environment settings are in the middle, and the manual channel setup can be opened from the right. The top right section contains feature links and visualization customizations. Switch to their tabs to learn more about each section.
Most people use Cavern for its room correction, QuickEQ. It has its own launch button on the Cavern Driver's main UI (at the top right). QuickEQ can be a single button experience for beginners, but it's also a very complex software, that's why it has a completely separate documentation category found on the left sidebar. If you don't see it, enlarge your window, rotate your phone, or just click here for the basics.
The most common channel layouts are available on this panel and don't have to be created by the user. PC-ready presets fit into operating system channel limits and using these layouts in real-time on the PC is possible.
- Stereo: Front left and right channels.
- Stereo headset: Side left and right channels.
- Quadraphonic: Front/rear left and right channels.
- 5.1 Surround Headset: Front/rear left and right channels with a Voice of God (top center) channel and LFE. This layout makes sounds coming from the front center actually come from the front on these headsets.
- 5.1 Surround: Left, right, center, LFE, side surround left/right.
- 6.2 Surround: Left, right, front/rear center, double LFE, side surround left/right. The rear left output will be the rear center and the rear right will be the second LFE.
- 7.1 Surround: Left, right, center, LFE, rear/side surround left/right.
- 5.1.2 Surround: A 5.1 with height left/right channels above the listener.
- Gaming 3D 6-way: A layout with 6 main channels and no LFE (you might swap the floor channel with it), optimized for best spatial coverage. Recommended only for gaming.
- Gaming 3D 8-way: A layout with 8 main channels and no LFE (you might swap the floor channel with it), optimized for best spatial coverage. Recommended only for gaming.
While Virtual presets can be rendered in real time, because of operating system limitations, they have to be downmixed for the available system output channels. This downmix works in a way where center and LFE channels will be downmixed to front left/right when the channel count is less or equal than 4, and simply overflow otherwise. For example, channel 9 on a 7.1 system will be rendered to front left (channel 1), channel 10 to front right (channel 2), etc.
So what are the uses of virtual presets? Visualization and conversion. You can see how a layout looks like, this is the easy part. This layout can then be used to upconvert content to that specific layout. These conversions can then be played back on systems that have enough channels and support WAV files with this many channels. Studio equipment should have no problems handling these.
- 5.1.4 Surround: A 5.1 with height front/rear left/right channels above the listener.
- 7.1.2 Surround: A 7.1 with height left/right channels above the listener.
- 7.1.4 Surround: A 7.1 with height front/rear left/right channels above the listener.
- 22.2 Surround: The Super Hi-Vision TV standard channel layout.
- Small Cinema: Small single-layer cinema layout with 3 screen channels, 8 surrounds, and 1 LFE.
- Large Cinema: Large single-layer cinema layout with 3 screen channels, 14 surrounds, and 3 LFE channels.
- Cavern Cinema XL: Optimal distribution of 32 channels in a cinema with 5 screen channels, 14 regular and 6 height surrounds, 2 in-stairs, and 5 LFE channels.
- Dome: 140 channels forming a sphere or a cube depending on environment. Designed to showcase how powerful Cavern's renderer is even on a cheap notebook.
Save your custom layout with a preset name here or reload a saved one. Presets can be transferred across systems, see the Save data locations page for details.
Add a new channel pair or remove the last one. The new channels are created at the front center, and can be dragged on the screen or configured on the Manual channel setup panel.
The environment type determines how the layout should be aligned and what renderer should be used. There is an environment for all use cases.
- Studio: For a single listener in the center with speakers placed around in a sphere. This symbolizes the best acoustic environment where hardly any renderer correction is required.
- Home: For a single listener or a few listeners close to each other on the center with speakers placed close to or on the walls. This environment fits most rooms.
- Theatre: For many listeners. Viewers at the sides or the back of the room will also experience 3D audio, unlike in Studio or Home environments, but this will reduce the overall effect quality, even on the center.
The exact renderer used depends on the environment and whether the channel layout is symmetric or not.
How renderers work
Point object sources are rendered in a bounding speaker box by the ratio between them. This is the most common rendering method, used by all major commercial formats. The only disadvantage would be the need to have matching layers or edge cases, but Cavern handles each layer separately, and only vertical symmetry is required.
Point object sources are rendered to all channels, and their gain is determined by distance. This is a solution that can apply to any system and has perfectly smooth transitions, but even when a source is standing perfectly on a single channel, close speakers will also render the sound, which reduces the soundstage. The renderer can't be used for large multi-listener environments, as gain proportions are only correct close to the center.
A renderer that works with every layout and has an accurate soundstage, but no in-room panning and limited object size capabilities. This is a good compromise for large asymmetric multi-listener environments.
Hybrid rendering mixes the directional and distance-based renderers to keep most of their pros and suppress their cons. Hybrid directional is mostly directional, while Hybrid distance-based is mostly distance-based.
There's a slider for room width, height, and depth. This is only used by the object renderer, and is not applicable to pre-rendered beds (like movies), 2D objects (like background music), Unity's audio engine, or QuickEQ.
Feedback about what renderer is being used. The toggle for forced symmetry makes one side of the room mirror the changes on the other. Enabling forced symmetry for an asymmetric layout immediately converts the layout to symmetric, close to the current one.
Manual channel setup
To add or remove channels, look for the +/-2 ch buttons under Presets.
When you open the Manual channel setup panel, a list appears with the angles of all channels and if they're subwoofers or not.
The columns are:
- Channel: The standard PC output for that channel, or channel ID for virtual channels.
- SW: Marks a channel as subwoofer. All subwoofers get the same signal, but can be EQ'd individually with QuickEQ.
- W/Y: Rotation around the horizontal axis in degrees: azimuth or width.
- H/X: Rotation around the vertical axis in degrees: elevation or height.
Channels can also be dragged with the mouse on the visualized layout. When the background is dragged while right clicking, the camera moves around.
Cavern Driver and API version information along with the creators and a list of key bindings for keyboards and all kinds of controllers.
Open audio file
Browse the drives for an audio file in any supported format (WAV, Vorbis (in OGG container), and LAF) and import it to the Demo player. It will become a moveable audio object.
Open Cavern QuickEQ, Cavern's audio calibration utility. QuickEQ is a complicated tool, and has its entire category in the documentation index.
Lite args to clipboard
Copy the current channel layout to the clipboard as command line parameters for CavernizeLite, a lightweight tool made to convert regular surround sound to complete spatial surround. That feature is also available in the Cavern Driver when you import an audio file, but CavernizeLite uses FFmpeg's format support and is much faster.
Show channel names
Display the name of each visualized channel on top of them.
Show channel levels
Display a draggable window displaying meters for all active channels.
Show channel array levels
Display a draggable window displaying meters for cinema standard bed channels (7.1.2). All active channels being part of one bed channel are summed.
Show channel activity
Channels that have any sound playing from them will turn white.
Use PC Jack colors
Tints each channel the color of the Jack output that contains its signal on a PC sound card painted with standard colors.
This feature requires Theatre mode. Opens a draggable window with checkboxes of all available seats. This is the demo of a feature that can reposition the soundstage based on occupied seats to appeal to the most possible listeners.
This is an advanced feature and is not required for the basic use of Cavern. This feature displays the polarity and phase of all speakers if they weren't different channels but a single channel divided across all speakers. The result is the recommended polarity when connecting multiple speakers to a single amplifier. Hovering the mouse on a white (in-phase) or red (out-of-phase) band displays its frequency and exact phase. Don't take these values as recommended wiring for any individually calibrated sound system, in those cases, the calibration can fix any phase issues.
SPL at seats
This feature requires Theatre mode. Shows the summed sound pressure level at every seat in the theatre if all channels are at reference level (85 dB).
Opening an audio file will add it to the demo player where it can be panned or converted to spatial audio. Drag an imported object (marked as a sphere) with the left mouse button to move it around.
By right clicking the object, the following menu appears:
- Seek - Playback position of the audio file.
- Volume - Linear object gain.
- Pitch - Pitch change by playback speed.
- 2D-3D - Transition between direct channel rendering and object rendering.
- Reset - Set all options to default and move the object back to the front center.
- Play/Pause - Change playback state.
- Move - Movement mode by dragging:
- Sphere - Move around on a sphere.
- Cam - Move on the camera's plane.
- H - Move on the horizontal plane.
- V - Only move vertically.
- Cavernize - Upmix the audio file to 7.1 and add spatial conversion.
- Remove - Remove this object from the player.
- Close - Hide this menu.
- Green - Playing in 3D.
- Yellow - Playing in 2D.
- Red - Stopped.
- Cyan - Playing while Cavernized.
- Pink - Stopped while Cavernized.
When an object is converted to spatial rendering with the Cavernize feature, conversion settings appear at the top left:
- Seek - Playback position of the audio file.
- Volume - Linear object gain.
- Effect - Height multiplier. Higher values move more sound to overheads.
- Smooth - Panning smoothness. Higher values adapt slower but reduce artifacts.
- LFE - LFE crossover strength.
- Matrix mix - Create 5.1 or 7.1 with a conversion matrix.
- Don't move front center - Don't move anything from the front center to overheads. This prevents wrong speech panning and is recommended.
- LFE separation - Disable crossover and only mix the original LFE track to LFE channels.
- Cavern 4D showcase - Display generated seat motion. Theatre mode only.
- Reset - Set all options to default.
- Export - Open export settings for the Cavernized source.
Cavernized source export settings
- Format - Use unmarked multichannel RIFF WAVE or Cavern's Limitless Audio Format with channel position information for export.
- Bit depth - Bit depth of the exported audio file. This is mostly unnoticeable by listeners, and drastically increases file size.
- Quality - Cavern renderer precision. This controls the features listed here. Higher quality levels increase export time.
- Passes - Single-pass export applies a compressor when the output would cause clipping. Double-pass export examines the peak gain first, then exports a second render with corrected volume to preserve dynamic range. This results in nearly double the export time, and should only be used when there are more rendered channels than output channels.
- Filename - The text box on the bottom is the filename.
- Cancel - Close this panel.
- Export - Start the export process. The file will be saved near Cavern.exe.