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Using Plogue Bidule and SPEC 4.0/4.21

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timbre4

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With a little sleep I see my error; opened in SF 10 just fine. The Firesign clip is great! Looking forward to the whole album, eh?
 

0tto

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as a basic start point, for home made MC, this technology is ok.
disappointment happens, when the people stuck with it, producing tonns of lifeless upmixes, in which on the second or third minute of the listening you already know how will sound all next songs of the album.
 

DKA

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as a basic start point, for home made MC, this technology is ok.
disappointment happens, when the people stuck with it, producing tonns of lifeless upmixes, in which on the second or third minute of the listening you already know how will sound all next songs of the album.
Otto...

Are you saying that you've utilized SPEC, and been dissapointed by something you've found, or are you just commenting on upmixes you've heard in the past? The former would be relevant. The latter has nothing to do with this thread and is an unfortunate generalization you are trying to make. If you are struggling with the method, I would suggest posting your question on SBU. Your description definitely does NOT resemble the experience many have had with SPEC thus far. When you've got Jon and Tim as converts, you're doing something right. :)

I would hope that this thread does not turn into a bunch of guys trying to bash what we're trying to do due to a couple of upmixes they got off usenet five years ago. There are plenty of other subject headers here for those guys to discuss whatever they feel they like.
 

timbre4

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I've prepared seven albums so as to have tracks to play with and I can't stop gushing about the discoveries. Much technique to learn and apply before I release anything myself, but already further ahead of where I'd thought I would be now that I'm over the hump as it were.

As for the generalization I have to think that is about older material, which produced a few minutes of joy compared to the higher yield techniques I've got to work with now. ;)
 

Wunlow

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Two quickie question for everyone:

1) From what I've gathered so far, SPEC sounds like it is a very effective Panorama slicer that can be configured in a variety of ways. Is this correct?

2) Can SPEC, or another Plogue Bidule processing function, also extract *just* out of phase infomation?

Thanks!

-Greg-
 

DKA

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Two quickie question for everyone:

1) From what I've gathered so far, SPEC sounds like it is a very effective Panorama slicer that can be configured in a variety of ways. Is this correct?

2) Can SPEC, or another Plogue Bidule processing function, also extract *just* out of phase infomation?

Thanks!

-Greg-
Greg......these are great questions. I think #2 is best suited for either SBU or the Plogue forum, and I'm not even going to try to tackle it.

My only experience with Panorama was working with the ambisonic-based methods on the dtsac3 site. the ArcTan mode does take the stereo soundfield and expand it to up to 360 degrees, doing so with what is definitely more separation than the methods I just mentioned. It's also just one of four modes within SPEC which all do different things.

You seem like a technically versed guy, Greg. You could probably get better answers out of Zeerround on the SBU site than from me. I'm more of a worker bee. :)

Tim, tell these non-believers how much fun you're having creating versus just listening...... :)
 

JonUrban

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Using this stuff is great fun, and eye opening. What I've found so far (with very little knowledge and time spent experimenting) is that the rear channel extraction is pretty awesome and easy, it almost does it itself. The difficult part is getting stuff OUT of the front channels and either into the center or into the back by itself.

It seems that a guitar part may be heard in the back very clearly, loudly, and exposed, however, it's still in the fronts. To get it right, you'd need to get that guitar out of the fronts, so it can shine on it's own in the rears. That's the part I have to play around with, although I'm not sure if it can be done.

DKA - How does this all compare to something like the Penteo process?
 

DKA

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Using this stuff is great fun, and eye opening. What I've found so far (with very little knowledge and time spent experimenting) is that the rear channel extraction is pretty awesome and easy, it almost does it itself. The difficult part is getting stuff OUT of the front channels and either into the center or into the back by itself.

It seems that a guitar part may be heard in the back very clearly, loudly, and exposed, however, it's still in the fronts. To get it right, you'd need to get that guitar out of the fronts, so it can shine on it's own in the rears. That's the part I have to play around with, although I'm not sure if it can be done.

DKA - How does this all compare to something like the Penteo process?
I don't know a whole lot about Penteo. I think the way he's promoted the process online has probably turned me off more to the process than it really should. Then again, there's probably a few guys who just read that from me and rolled their eyes. :)

There's a lot of tools at your disposal to try to do what you're trying to do. Obviously, if it's something hard-panned, it's going to be easier to get it out to the rears exclusively and, in the end, there's going to be source-driven limitations when working with stereo. If working with Slice, you may want to play with the panning features in ZPan a bit. ArcTan may mean some extra use of some of width sliders and rear blend features. There's enough sliders in this to drive you nuts sometimes. :)
 

zeerround

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Wunlow,

Someone told me there were some SPEC questions on this forum so I registered to find out. I'm the author of SPEC.

I'd like to keep most of the SPEC dialog on surroundbyus.com but I'll answer your above questions.

1) Yes, (so far) all of SPECs methods work off the Panned position of sounds in the original stereo. I'm starting to work with phase and frequency as well, but don't have anything ready for prime time yet.

2) SPEC isn't set up to extract "out of phase" information at this time, but you can certainly do that (an almost anything else) with Plogue Bidule. For instance, if you wanted to flip the phase of an audio signal by 180 degrees you would just use a multiply bidule and a "-1" constant.

Cheers,
Z
 
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timbre4

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I am having fun with this! Now I have 10 albums in prep stage to experiment with. I would comment on the last one I put up last night, The Doors (1st album) on DCC Gold. As we all know, The Best Of The Doors is a favorite of quad fans. The Perceptions box included DVD-A surround mixes for all the studio albums, but the first album was pretty much 3.1 since there weren't that many tracks (4 track with echo etc decisions printed to the tracks) to work with in the first place.

I'll just say this; it was readily apparent to me that with a little coaxing, this will end up being a more satisfying listening experience. :)

The newer version of SPEC (4.2.1) is easier to configure, sounds better and seems to get me to the fun zone sooner.
 

DKA

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I am having fun with this! Now I have 10 albums in prep stage to experiment with. I would comment on the last one I put up last night, The Doors (1st album) on DCC Gold. As we all know, The Best Of The Doors is a favorite of quad fans. The Perceptions box included DVD-A surround mixes for all the studio albums, but the first album was pretty much 3.1 since there weren't that many tracks (4 track with echo etc decisions printed to the tracks) to work with in the first place.

I'll just say this; it was readily apparent to me that with a little coaxing, this will end up being a more satisfying listening experience. :)

The newer version of SPEC (4.2.1) is easier to configure, sounds better and seems to get me to the fun zone sooner.
great minds must think alike. :) I actually did the first Doors album sometime last year with an earlier build of SPEC (3.0), but utilizing that very same source and for that very same reason. it came out very well then, and I'm sure your touch, along with the more advanced method, will result in an even better listen.
 

kap'n krunch

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OK. Some of you have asked to hear what this stuff all does and sounds like. Here's a minute (well, a bit over a minute) of the rear channels of a song you've all heard a million times, Aerosmith's Dream On - attached as a stereo MP3. This is the result using the above setup with NO TWEAKING, it's just what you get!!! You should be able to just play it right from here.

I thought it was pretty impressive. Please listen and comment as I'd love to hear what you guys think.
Wow I must say that it's VERY impressive!!!...like I need more stuff to do ...hehehe...but always great to know it's there...
 

DKA

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Wow I must say that it's VERY impressive!!!...like I need more stuff to do ...hehehe...but always great to know it's there...
We'll, I'll put myself out there and say that we would love to have someone like you, who's also experienced on the quad end of things, involved, Kap'n, and would be glad to help out in any way possible.
 

MC Maniac

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It's also getting easier to help someone new - I'm literally helping a guy right now - we started yesterday - he'll be doing his 1st conversion shortly - after he does a few from beginning to end then he can monitor and start tweaking the SPEC settings..
 

Wunlow

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Wunlow,

Someone told me there were some SPEC questions on this forum so I registered to find out. I'm the author of SPEC.

I'd like to keep most of the SPEC dialog on surroundbyus.com but I'll answer your above questions.

1) Yes, (so far) all of SPECs methods work off the Panned position of sounds in the original stereo. I'm starting to work with phase and frequency as well, but don't have anything ready for prime time yet.

2) SPEC isn't set up to extract "out of phase" information at this time, but you can certainly do that (an almost anything else) with Plogue Bidule. For instance, if you wanted to flip the phase of an audio signal by 180 degrees you would just use a multiply bidule and a "-1" constant.

Cheers,
Z
Thanks for the feedback, Z, as it really helps to understand the basic principles of how SPEC works. I've heard enough DTS torrents from SPEC conversions, as well as the similar PENTEO process to realize Panorama Slicing is a viable and exciting avenue to explore.

I hope your work with frequency and phase extraction (vs a simple phase flip) are successful, as for many on this forum, the idea of also extracting encoded surround information in quadraphonic music and Dolby Surround encoded programming as best as possible is a Holy Grail unto itself. It certainly wouldn't hurt for stereo to surround conversions either, as one could use Panorama Slicing to make a 180 or 360 wrap around effect on some occasions, or for other times retain the original upfront stereo spread (now in 3-channels) and have true out of phase ambience in the surrounds. Endless possibilities for sure.

Again - very exciting and interesting progress!

Best regards,

-Greg-
 

0tto

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Otto...
Are you saying that you've utilized SPEC,
no, i'm not.
but DL some releases and based my opinion on what i heard.
i didn't said anything against the use, only in the mixing of the music not enough technology only. also one need an imagination to make the picture of the sound alive and interesting.
seems like SPEC cannot give to user control over elements of the mix to tweak the location of the instruments, vocals and effects.
other than this i don't see problems. if someone like it, why not.
maybe some of those users will do more advanced experiments and will make more sofisticated releases.

It seems that a guitar part may be heard in the back very clearly, loudly, and exposed, however, it's still in the fronts. To get it right, you'd need to get that guitar out of the fronts, so it can shine on it's own in the rears. That's the part I have to play around with, although I'm not sure if it can be done.
you can't do this. for such tweaking you need to use more advanced sound editor.
honestly Audition has much more native tools which can do what SPEC and way beyond,
including extraction of the particular elements of the original mix.
 

DKA

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Otto: Your points reflect approaches to stereo-to-surround which have already been attempted. You are not the first person to think that extracting instruments from stereo is the way to go and, certainly, there are both programs like Audition and VSTs like Extra Boy Pro (among others) that do extraction and isolation. The issue is that no one really does it well enough to convince me that going back and re-attempting that will lead to better sound quality than what a good conversion with SPEC can offer. This is why a whole lot of SPEC is about panning, but doing so in a manner that creates more separation than past attempts at doing so. Part of doing well here is letting go of the fact that you do not have multitracks, are working with stereo, and aim towards doing the best you possibly can with your stereo source.

In my discussions with Zeerround, it's my understanding that he would love to move beyond platforms like Plogue, but is still in the learning process of how to do so. You mention Audition, and I call tell you that there's a whole lot more people behind developing at Adobe and there are developing SPEC. I'd still put my money on the guy doing SPEC.

Listening to a variety of upmixes over the years and commenting on quality is one thing, Otto, but taking an active role in seeing what you can do with SPEC is another. This is why I again applaud both Jon and Tim for taking the time to learn the method, and why I suggest you familiarize yourself much more before commenting further. These are experienced guys who aren't duped easily and know a good thing when they see it.
 

zeerround

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FYI,

I/we are not wedded to Plogue as the end all/be all of a DAW for upmixing/conversion. It's just that I haven't found any other FFT tools or source code that perform as well.

SPEC is based on doing everything in the frequency domain, and Plogue has FFT/iFFT "bidules" to convert to/from the time domain and their implementation not only sounds better than VSTs that do that, but also uses less CPU to do it. I need two FFTs and five iFFTs to make SPEC.

The other uniqueness I'm exploiting in Plogue is that they have a published SDK so I can make my own C++ plugins that work with the magnitude and frequency signals used by the FFT/iFFT "bidules".

One final note, Plogue's FFT/iFFT are actually misnamed, as they are actually Phase vocoders, giving you magnitude and (absolute) frequency per bin vs. magnitude and phase or even delta frequency.

If someone can point me to FFT/Wavelet/Phase Vocoder/etc/ software that is as or more highly optimized than what is in Plogue I'll be all over it, turning SPEC into a VST that could be used in any DAW, foobar, winamp, etc.

Having said that, there are a lot of other pieces we've built, beyond SPEC itself, that also asst in quality conversions, such as automatic channel to channel and track to track level normalization, that are also implemented as Plogue Plugins or groups of "bidules".

One can use the VST version of Plogue, to run SPEC et-al inside another DAW VST host, but then you are paying for two DAW programs.

Z
 
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