“I thought we might have to end up using Max-MSP due to the complexity of the patches we would need, but as I looked harder at Bidule and explored its capabilities fully, I came to see that it could do everything I needed to do, and furthermore, it was elegant and efficient, and its learning curve was gradual enough to be inviting to someone coming to it for the first time…”
Bidule: The new standard in modular audio software
The brainchild of Plogue Art et Technologie is a cross-platform application that is gaining recognition world-wide as the new standard in modular music software.
Bidule is used by thousands of musicians worldwide Bidulists from the all over the world have gathered on the forums at the Plogue Web site to get their questions about Bidule answered, as well as share their music and Bidule inventions.
Is this a familiar picture? Cables lead from a microphone input into a small digital effect. More cables connect the effect to a mixer. Elsewhere, a MIDI cable links a MIDI input to a synthesizer, which is in turn connected to a mixer. Old hat, right? Now, imagine this: the same single output socket sprouting no less than eight different cables connecting eight different effects.
It gets better: A sound is broken down into 256 individual bands, then each is tweaked one at a time in a unique way. As he performs, a musician decides to add an LFO to a synth’s filter cutoff knob, where no LFO existed before. Sound crazy? Not anymore. The new paradigm of computer audio can be summed up in two words: “real-time” and “modular” – both of which are embodied by one application…
What’s in a name? The word “Bidule” is French for “thingy” or “gadget”. Plogue is Québécois French slang for the verb “to plug”. Put ‘em together and what do you get? Software for plugging gadgets and thingies together. Got the picture?
“Bidule is simply amazing, and is one of the most innovative applications I have used this year. I love the real-time modular environment and the many varieties of modules that are available within its library. Much like other modular software you can connect modules up together to form completely customized working patches, but even with more ease and elegance here. I love the mathematical functions and FFT phase Vocoder. Running your own VST’s within the module structures is also a plus. Its becoming my new tool kit for sound design and radical sound manipulation.”
“Bidule fits a niche in the market between high-level and low-level software; it’s low-level ‘enough’, but is actually useable without an IQ of 200. For me, Bidule is the perfect match between doing what I want — trying out new ideas for my plugins — and doing fun stuff… like making noise at 5 o’clock at night. All my VST development is debugged in Bidule. Enough said.”
Connect VST/AU plugins and Bidule groups to your favourite ReWire-capable sequencer!
It’s easy to host any arrangement or layering of virtual instruments in Bidule, and connect these to a ReWire-capable sequencer application. Bidule can even synchronize plugins with the sequencer’s tempo.
Create unique textures using our spectral manipulation tools!
Transform audio in the spectral domain, with Bidule’s FFT modules. Time domain audio is split into two types of data, frequencies and magnitudes, which can be manipulated using a wide variety of spectral bidules.
Save Bidule constructs as groups for later re-use
Any collection of bidules together in a layout can be saved as a bidule “group”. A group can exist either within a particular Bidule file, or you can save it as an independent file to share with other Bidule users. Bidule comes with a great selection of pre-made groups: effects, synthesizers, stochastic MIDI note generators, and more! The online group catalogue (available inside the application itself) allows you to browse through a list of free groups for downloading, created by none other than the Bidule community themselves!
Mix multichannel audio files offline or online, for complex ambisonic / surround mixes!
Bidule can play and record multichannel audio files of up to 32 channels. These files can be manipulated in real-time (with multichannel audio hardware), or you can use Bidule’s offline mode to render ambisonic audio files at much faster speeds.
Use Bidule’s DSP building blocks to create your own custom effects. Each of Bidule’s many math and DSP building blocks can be used to “program” your own custom instruments and effects. The image below, for instance, shows a construct representing the famous open source FreeVerb algorithm, made entirely with building block bidules.
- Realtime Audio/MIDI/Spectral processing
- Completely modular architecture
- Runs as VST/AU plugin or standalone
- Runs as ReWire mixer or device
- Runs as OSC client and server
- VST/AU instruments and effects hosting
- Building blocks for FX/inst creation
- More than a 100 ready-to-use modules
- Supports multiple tempos at once
- Inter-module parameter linking
- Zoomable OpenGL-based canvas
- Multi-channel audio file streaming
- ASIO/CoreAudio low-latency support
- Offline mode (rendering) available
- Uses 32-bit precision throughout
- Online catalog of ready-made groups
Michael Riesman Interview
Michael Riesman is The Philip Glass Ensemble’s Musical Director and technological mastermind.
In this interview, he gracefully shared with us his experience with the Philip Glass Ensemble and their migration process to Bidule.