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Old 14th October 2004, 20:55   #1  |  Link
ursamtl
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GUIDE: Step-by-Step Instructions for Plogue Bidule-based Stereo-to-Surround methods

Step-by-Step Instructions for Plogue Bidule-based Stereo-to-Surround methods

Many of the methods posted in this forum for converting stereo to surround use a software package called Plogue Bidule, available as a free beta version from http://www.plogue.com.

This thread presents instructions, tips and tricks for getting the most out of these methods. Individual steps may vary from one approach to another, but through time, some basic common steps have become clear.

The basic step-by-step structure is presented in the following messages. As time goes on, I'll edit the messages to update links to related messages or documents as well as to add new information.

For an excellent visual accompanyment, I invite readers to check our Daphy's excellent Shockwave animation of the basic process.

Most of the software and PDF versions of most guides with step-by-step instructions are available at Daphy and @ndy's server:

Server for Bidules
http://www.needfulthings.webhop.org/
If you have problems with this server, try ftp://daphy.mine.nu/.

If you have any suggestions for changes, additions, etc., please send them to UrsaMtl.

Updates
Because the system does not display an unread message icon when an existing message is updated, I'll post a message at the end of the thread whenever there are updates to the guide. If another update occurs, I'll delete the existing update message, and post a new one. I'll also list an overview of any changes.

This way, you'll always be aware when there are changes to the list.

Happy surrounding!
Steve.

Last edited by ursamtl; 21st October 2004 at 19:12.
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Old 14th October 2004, 20:56   #2  |  Link
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STEP 1: Install and configure all related software
This includes Plogue Bidule as well as any VST plugins, Besweet, and any encoding software.

Once you've finished the installation, open Plogue Bidule. Go to Edit > Preferences and in the DISK I/O tab, be sure to set use WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE to never.



This will help BeSweet recognize your files, should you decide to save them as 32-bit files.

Last edited by ursamtl; 29th April 2005 at 23:45.
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Old 14th October 2004, 20:56   #3  |  Link
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STEP 2: Plan your project
At this point, you have to determine your goal and your available software/hardware resources.
If you intend to produce a surround file for a DVD, you should plan to work with 48kHz files. For example, if you're converting a 2-channel movie soundtrack to 5.1, you'll want to do it this way. Also, if you want to create a DVD containing audio tracks and still images, convert your audio tracks to 48kHz.

If you plan to create a surround audio CD (an audio CD that will play in a DVD player), you should work with 44.1kHz files.

Set Plogue to the correct sample rate. If you're monitoring through certain ASIO soundcard setups, you also have to set the correct sample rate for the ASIO driver as well.
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Old 14th October 2004, 20:57   #4  |  Link
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STEP 3: Prepare your source files
This section is vitally important!

First of all, make sure your source file is in .wav format. Bidule does not support other file types.

Garbage in…garbage out...
Whenever possible, start with the best audio source you can find. This usually means fully uncompressed PCM audio from a CD. Obviously this is not an option if you're working from a 2-channel DVD soundtrack that you want to convert. If you start with a low-quality source file, you'll end up with a low-quality 5.1 project.

Avoid MP3s and WMAs
Most popular compression algorithms use something called lossy compression. This means that some of the data is changed or "lost" in the compression process. The actual audio effect of this may be impossible to really hear, but in a lot of cases, compression affects subtle details such as the clarity and definition of cymbals, the tightness of the bass, the crispness of the drums, etc. It can also affect the dynamic range of the audio, which means the difference in level between the softest and the loudest parts of a song.

Lossless compression
Recently, lossless compression technology has become popular. Such formats as SHN, FLAC, APE and others restore the original data without any change or loss. This kind of source should not pose any problem when converting 2.0 to 5.1 as long as you convert them to .wav first!

Ripping CDs
The first step is to transfer CD to your computer is to do what's commonly called "ripping" a CD. This consists of copying the audio data from an audio CD and storing it in a WAV file on your computer. This may sound simple, but audio CDs store data differently than computer data CDs and hard drives. Consequently, the audio data can get corrupted in the copying process. One of the best CD ripping programs available is Exact Audio Copy.

Removing DC offset
If you check web site discussions of EAC, you'll see a lot of references to "sample offset." There's another type of offset that you should deal with before going any further in the conversion process. DC offset is a problem frequently found in audio digital files. A simple explanation would be that the digital representation of the sound waves is skewed somewhat from center. This can cause problems such as added noise and reduced dynamic range. Even if it's a very small level of DC Offset, you should always remove it.

Although you can remove DC offset using other software packages such as Audacity or commercial programs (Wavelab, Sound Forge, Cubase, Nuendo, etc.), EAC features a built-in DC offset removal routine.
  1. Simply choose Tools > Process WAV and then open your target file.
  2. After the file opens, choose Process File > Correct DC Offset.
  3. 3. Click Autodetect and wait for the program to search the audio file for problems. If there are any offsets, they'll be displayed afterwards.
  4. 4. Simply click OK to correct any problems and exit the routine.
About 32-bit files
Some guides recommend converting your files to 32-bit floating point format because VSTs normally process at a depth of 32 bits. You don't need to do this in a separate step because Plogue Bidule automatically converts the source file to 32 bits.

Keep it clean!
The bottom line for this whole step is that you want to feed the conversion process with a file of the best possible quality. Many of these conversion methods will accentuate or amplify any flaws in the source material. I once tried running an mp3 of an old 60s song through a bidule. It sounded ok in 2 channels, but for some reason, the surrounds were full of audible digital noise. Yeechhhhh!

Last edited by ursamtl; 14th October 2004 at 23:47.
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Old 14th October 2004, 20:57   #5  |  Link
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STEP 4: Load the .bidule layout file and make any adjustments
Open Plogue Bidule and load the .bidule layout file for the method you plan to use. Check the layout's documentation for any settings or adjustments that may be required.

Last edited by ursamtl; 15th November 2004 at 18:21.
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Old 14th October 2004, 20:58   #6  |  Link
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STEP 5: Load your source file and use Bidule to create a 6-channel .wav file
Here's the procedure for automating the recording so the starting times are aligned:
  1. Make sure the button to the right of the Palette button at the top is set to Off (this button toggles Bidule's processing between On and Off).
  2. Click on the Tools menu and choose Parameters.
  3. In the Parameters dialog box, expand the Audio file Player in the left Source pane and select Play.
  4. Expand the Audio file Recorder in the right Target pane and select Recording.
  5. Click the Link button and see that the link is listed in the bottom pane
  6. Click X at top right of screen to close Parameters dialog box.
  7. Providing you're not planning to monitor your playback in bidule, go to the Edit menu and make sure the Offline Processing menu item has a check mark beside it. This uses as much of PC's processing power as possible to complete the conversion as fast as possible. Without this, the file is converted at playback speed; that is, a 5-minute song would take 5 minutes to write the file.
  8. Double-click on the Audio file Recorder object to open its dialog box.
  9. Set your bit depth (16, 24, or 32 bits).
  10. If you want to create six mono files instead of one six-channel file, click the box next to Create multiple mono files in Audio file Recorder (depending on your screen layout, you may have to scroll down to see this box). This will depen on your encoding software. Some programs require six mono files.
  11. Click the button on the right with three periods. This opens a dialog box for you to name and save your 6-channel file (although the dialog box title is "Select a file"). When you close this, do not click the Start button.
  12. Double-click on the Audio file Player object to open its dialog box.
  13. Click on the button at the lower right corner of the Audio file Player dialog box to Open your source audio file. Navigate to the folder containing your file, select the file, then click OK.
  14. Click the Play button on the Audio file Player. Notice that the Start button in the Audio File Recorder changes to Stop, but the Elapsed time counter remains at 00:00:00.
  15. Click the Off button at the top middle to toggle Bidule's processing on (the button changes to On). The Audio File Player starts playing the file at the same time as the File Recorder starts writing a file. Notice that in offline mode, the Elapsed time readout does not always increment smoothly. Instead, it jumps rapidly in chunks of several seconds, depending on your PC's power.

Last edited by ursamtl; 14th January 2006 at 14:09.
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Old 14th October 2004, 20:59   #7  |  Link
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STEP 6: Encode using AC3 or DTS encoding software
Use your encoding software to produce the AC3 or DTS file. If you're creating a surround CD, you can write the file or files to a regular blank CDR or CDRW just as you would a regular audio CD. It's a good idea to label this CD as for playback in DVD players only. An attempt to play it in a regular CD player could result in damage to your equipment.

You may want to use a utility such as johnman's wavewizard to help with this.

Last edited by ursamtl; 14th January 2006 at 14:14.
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Old 13th September 2005, 00:58   #8  |  Link
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Softencode uses a different channel order from the ITU standard for 5.1, on which I based the default channel order in the layout I created for V.I. You can either rearrange the channels in Softencode to, L, R, C, LFE, sL, SR using the icons on the left for each channel, or else you can change the connections in the layout to match SoftEncode's order. I usually just change the order in Softencode since it's a matter of a couple of mouse clicks.
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Old 20th September 2005, 12:21   #9  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamtl
Softencode uses a different channel order from the ITU standard for 5.1, on which I based the default channel order in the layout I created for V.I. You can either rearrange the channels in Softencode to, L, R, C, LFE, sL, SR using the icons on the left for each channel, or else you can change the connections in the layout to match SoftEncode's order. I usually just change the order in Softencode since it's a matter of a couple of mouse clicks.
Spliting 6CH WAV File to 6 mono wav's
Code:
BeSweet.exe -core( -input "C:\Audio\esotsm_audio.wav" -output "C:\Audio\esotsm_audio" -type wav -6chfloat ) -ota( -G max )
  • Is the above the correct command line to split the WAV to seperate 6 mono WAV's for SoftEncode?

6CH WAV file to AC3 with BeSweet
Code:
BeSweet.exe -core( -input "C:\Audio\esotsm_audio.wav" -output "C:\Audio\esotsm_audio.ac3" -logfile "C:\Audio\esotsm_audio.log" ) -ota( -G max ) -ac3enc( -b 448 -6chfloat )
  • I'm looking for the optimal settings [the correct command line parameters in reference to the above command line] to be able to Transcode a 6ch WAV file to 5.1 AC3 with BeSweet... anyone?
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Last edited by Jibreil; 20th September 2005 at 13:54.
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Old 20th September 2005, 17:18   #10  |  Link
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Spliting 6CH WAV File to 6 mono wav's:
BeSweet -core( -input audio.wav" -output audio" -type wav -6chfloat ) -ota( -G max )
* -6ch -> 6 mono PCM 16 bit
* -6chfloat -> 6 mono Float 32 bit (I think not necessary for this conversion)

6CH WAV file to AC3 with BeSweet:
BeSweet -core( -input audio2.wav -output audio.ac3 ) -ota( -G max ) -ac3enc( -b 448 -6ch )
* -6ch unique switch, ac3enc accept PCM 16 bit or Float 32 bit like input
* -audio2.wav(L,C,R,SL,SR,LFE) <> audio.wav(L,R,C,LFE,SL,SR)

To obtain audio2.wav you need a ord_ac3.mux:
audioL.wav
audioC.wav
audioR.wav
audioSL.wav
audioSR.wav
audioLFE.wav

And 6 mono wav to 6CH WAV
BeSweet -core( -input ord_ac3.mux -output audio2.wav -6chwav)
* -6chwav only PCM 16 bit

Of course better solution is directly
6 mono WAV to AC3 with BeSweet
BeSweet -core( -input ord_ac3.mux -output audio.ac3 ) -ota( -G max ) -ac3enc( -b 448 -6ch )
* ord_ac3.mux same than before

EDIT: Sorry, I say you the same in other thread, seems your problem is low volume of ac3. Is a know ac3enc problem, you must use the last version:
ac3enc.dll 2004-04-02
But for my test the max volume is -6 dB (50%). If you want 100% you need a commercial encoder or the old Sonic Foundry Soft Encode. If you want know the Soft Encode use I recommend you this guide http://spanish.doom9.org/Soft4/Docs/2to5channel.zip

Last edited by tebasuna51; 20th September 2005 at 18:15.
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Old 20th September 2005, 20:13   #11  |  Link
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Thank you tebasuna51

I have switched over to Sonic Audio Transcoder v3.0.1 which comes with Sonic Scenarist. I have read many articles which state that Sonic has the BEST Dolby Digital Transcoder compared to the rest.

Now I have used ursamtl Stereo-to-Surround Guide with Poluge Bidule + V.I + SIR VST Plugins. The output is a 6ch WAV file [L, R, C, LFE, sL, SR]

Should I be using BeSweet or BeSplit to into 6 mono WAV's ?

BTW, my 6ch WAV file is 8GB.

Sonic Audio Transcoder Input format is [L, R, sL, sR, C, LFE] Will BeSweet or BeSplit split the audio in the right format so that I can load them into Sonic Audio Transcoder?
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Last edited by Jibreil; 20th September 2005 at 20:22.
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Old 21st September 2005, 00:45   #12  |  Link
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If Sonic Audio Transcoder accept 6 mono wav like input you must use WaveWizard to split this 8 GB 6chan wav.
BeSweet only can split wav float 32 bit, if is PCM 16 bit only accept < 2 GB
BeSplit can do the job also, but with a error in wav header (BlockAlign)

If Sonic Audio Transcoder need a 6chan wav like input you can try WaveWizard to do the remapping, but a wav > 4 GB have always two header fields erroneous and can be a problem. Microsoft recommend use avi container for wav > 4 GB.
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Old 24th September 2005, 09:29   #13  |  Link
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HELP: Plogue Bidule V0.8501

Hi

My copy of this has expired to day
and i had it working great!

Is there any other prog that can use VST plugins ?
or maybe a keygen or whatever for Plogue Bidule V0.8501

Thanks
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Old 24th September 2005, 14:23   #14  |  Link
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Mentioning keygens is usually not tolerated on here. Besides, Plogue Bidule is an amazingly versatile program. How you considered buying a key to it legally? The guys at Plogue have to make a living too and they are providing tremendous software for a small price.
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Old 24th September 2005, 15:31   #15  |  Link
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Hi

Sorry about that......should have known
I only got it the other day, just used it about
4 or 5 times then it expired to-day.

But i do need a good prog that can also use
your vst plugin.

Thanks
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Old 24th September 2005, 15:33   #16  |  Link
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A program that can host vst's is called "vst host". I dont know if it can be used for your specifick task, but you might give it a try. To find it go to daphy's site or use google.
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Old 24th September 2005, 16:06   #17  |  Link
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Hi

Just tryed that prog...........don't think it will work with
V1 5.1 vst as its asking for files with .vsthost ext

What iam trying to do is the 2 chan wav to 6 mono wav to make
a 5.1 ac3 file, and i would like to use Ursamtl's vst to do it with.

Thanks for the help
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Old 24th September 2005, 17:20   #18  |  Link
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Radiomans, I don't know of any free vst hosts that support multichannel output to file. There is a free program called Kristal Audio Engine that you could use to generate V.I-type surrounds with the my companion plugin called II. It handles 2-channel VSTs (such as II) and works with 32-bit files as well as 16-bit ones. With a bit of work you could come up with basically the same thing as V.I. Use II for the surrounds. Leave the front left and right as the original stereo channels then create a center channel by mixing the left and right together and halving the volume. As for an LFE, you don't really need one. Kristal Audio Engine supports two VST plugins per "channel" and then two more at its output.

I'm still hoping some talented programmer such as johnman will come up with a free multichannel VST host.
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Old 24th September 2005, 18:38   #19  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamtl
I'm still hoping some talented programmer such as johnman will come up with a free multichannel VST host.
Im working on it . The next version of ww should have some basic vst-hosting (and some other stuff)

But currently im trying to finish an assignement of which the deadline expired yesterday .
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Old 24th September 2005, 22:38   #20  |  Link
Radiomans
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Hi

Johnman
So will this prog you are working on, work with Ursamtl's
v1 5.1 vst ?
If so when do you think it will be ready ?

Also do you know of a way i can get Plogue Bidule v0.8501
which has just expired(24-09-05) re installed back on my
pc for another trial ?

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