TERMS AND BIDULE USAGE EXPLAINED
With converting stereo to surround you'll see a lot of terms that you don't hear daily and
need some explanation here.
First you can distinguish two ways of surround, Soundfield and Separation.
Imagine being on a very loud live concert. The music is far louder than all other noises and
doesn't seem to come only from the stage, but it's just there everywhere in the space. We
call this the soundfield. Although you can say the sound from the guitarist is coming from the
stage, we're actually fooled by our brains. Because you see the guitarist our mind assumes the
sound of the guitar is coming from him. But when you close your eyes and forget a while the
position of the guitarist, you cannot tell where he stands on the stage. It just seems like
the sound is coming from everywhere ! In other words : you are surrounded (!) by sound !
Our brains is very good in fooling the contact between your eyes and ears ;-)
This effect is used in studio's to make the voice of a singer coming from the mid of the left and
right speaker. Walk to the left speaker and you hear the singer in the left speaker. Walk to the
to the right speaker and you hear him from the right speaker. Now take some distance from both
speakers and you hear him in the mid !
The same difference is even stronger when listening through headphones. The singer seems to
somewhere inside your head in the mid and in the left and right phone speaker you hear depth
between instruments that you didn't notice before. It seems the guitarist is sounding more in
the front, while the flute in the same channel seems more in the distance. Even height can be
distinguished. A good producer knows that our ears are more sensitive in saying where a high
tone comes from than a low tone and he will use this in his productions.
We will use the term "Soundfield" in several guides.
The best way to make surround as soundfield is developed in the early 70's on an university in
England. They used the fact that there are 4 main factors in spreading sound in a space. Sound
is spread horizontal (from left to right),vertical (from front to rear), by height (down and up)
and by weight, the pressure towards the listener of different instruments. For example a
bassdrum gives more pressure than a flute. With these 4 elements in mind they created
surround with a very natural sound. All speakers work together to get a good soundfield in
which you still can distinguish where every instrument is located in the space. This method is
called Ambisonics and we use it in several methods. This should have been the first ever
surround, but back then in England it was forbidden to use theories invented on universities
commercially. A few years later Dolby jumped in that gap with their Dolby Surround system.
This lead to most people thinking that Dolby was the inventor of surround.
The other term is separation. Here it's the main goal to put as much as posibble separate
instruments into separate speakers. This is also called "discrete channels" For instance the
sologuitar form the left front speaker, de singer from the center,the rhythm-guitar from right
front, the bass from the subwoofer, drums from leftrear and sax from rightrear. All these
instruments form again a soundfield, but because of the discrete channels you have far more an
idea where the instruments are, compared with Ambisonics methods. This is the way most
people see and think of surround.
This also began end60's/beginning of the 70's with the invention of quad albums. 4 Speakers
instead of two gave you more separation. Unfortunately some productions went too far with
this and the sound became very unnatural because of the lack of some kind of interaction
between the separate speakers. Or in other words : good separation, bad soundfield. You could
hear an instrument in every speaker, but where the heck was the band ? ;-) An other disadvan-
tage of quad was the very limited listening space. Moving 1 meter to the left and the left
channels were far louder heard than the right ones. Compare this with a liveconcert where
there would be hardly any difference if you move 5 meters to the left or right. Of course
not all quad suffered from this, it was mainly the job of the producer to get it into a
good soundfield. Luckily with the coming of 5.1 and producers became more used to
produce into surround, the results became far better. Nowadays most surround productions
sound very good, but unfortunately there are still bad ones too. Compared to Ambisonics we
can call Ambisonics the natural way to reproduce surround and Separation the artificial way.
That is : if you don't want to be in the middle of the band ;-)
A lot of our methods also use separation because of the high demand from people and because
that's still the way they identify with surround. It must have separation.... years and years
the indoctrination by Dolby and the fact that movies with a surround channel give you some
awful good effects, makes people believe this should also be the case with music.
But this is for sure not realistic for all kinds of music. Imagine you have a solo singer with a
single piano as other instrument. Would you like this more in separation than in a soundfield
method ? After the above explanation you can give that answer yourself ;-)
Run the installer of Bidule and use the suggested folder : c:/program files/plogue/bidule
After installation it should look like this :
For us the following folders are important :
- groups : in this folder we place routines made with internal code of Bidule,
extension is .bgrp
- layouts : here we place the layouts of a method we create, extension : .bidule
- VSTplugins : here we place VST's. Be very careful with this folder, because VST is
invented by German company Steinberg and a lot of installers of VST's assume a Steinberg
program on your computer. If this is the case and the installer ask you where you want to
put the VST, change that to c:/program files/plogue/bidule/VSTPlugins
But what kind of program is Bidule ?
You can compare it with a drawing program, in which you draw by hand, can import another
drawing into yours and use internal routines for instance for drawing a circle. The end
result is your drawing as you wanted it. Translated to Bidule, you could say the drawing
is a layout (.bidule), the imported drawing a VST (.dll) and the circle a group (.bgrp).
After installation, Run Bidule and first it will scan all folders on plugins, groups and VST's
When that process finished, you will see :
First put the "on" button to "off"
Go to "edit/preferences/
Go to Disk I/O make sure "never" is selected
Then go to DSP and change the values to this screen :
Close the program and next time you start it with the changed settings. Other possible settings
will be discussed when needed in other guides.
The next chapter is very important, because that one teaches you how to work with Bidule.