#plpheads

Deep in the modular trenches of bidule

1. Direct Cabling & Your Default Layout


When you first open Bidule you are presented with the default layout which more than likely contains your Default Audio Device connected to a Mixer and a Default MIDI Device.  In the lower right hand corner is a small square with orange rectangle.  This is the navigation area.  The square represents the visible space, the orange area represents the groups on the current level of your layout.

There are two blue cables connecting the Mixer to your Default Audio Device.  This is a direct cable connection.

• Use your mouse to make a line across just those cables you can select them.
• Pressing delete will delete the selected cables.
• By clicking your mouse over the output node at the bottom of the mixer and then dragging it to the input node of your Default Audio Device you can reconnect the cables.
• Alternately, if you hold down the command key while making the same connection it will link all of the available outputs to all of the available inputs.

The top of the mixer provides inputs for audio sources.  If you double click the mixer itself, it will pop open its GUI, where you can see the fader, pan, mute and solo controls.  Let’s send some audio to the mixer by adding an Audio File Player.  To do this we will need to go to the Palette.  There are two ways of accessing the Palette.  You’ll notice a “Palette” button at the top of the application, clicking this will open a drawer version of the palette where all the avaliable modules are available.  I prefer to use the right-click context menu as a shortcut to the palette.

• Right-click anywhere on the background of your layout to open a contextual menu which contains all of the modules in the palette.
• Go to Audio File -> Player, and select 1 Channel, to open a mono Audio File Player.
• Connect the output from the Audio File Player to the input of your Mixer.
• Double click the Audio File Player to open its GUI.
• Pressing the Eject button will allow you to select an audio file.
• Pressing Play will allow you to hear the file through your Default Audio Device.
• Double Click the mixer once again to open its GUI where you can adjust the levels.

You will probably want to change the default layout, by example if you want to always have the inputs from your audio device available as well as the outputs.

• Right-click on the Default Audio Device.   This will open the contextual menu relative to the module selected.
• Go to “Replace” where you’ll find all of the available modules from the pallet again.
• Follow the menu that says “Audio Devices.”
• There will be two options here, “Duplex” and “Output.”  Output will give you a single output module for the audio device you choose.  Duplex will give you the input and output modules for the audio device of your choice.

You may have already noticed the default Mixer one is mono.  A stereo mixer will be more useful in the majority of situations.

• Use a right-click on the mixer itself to bring up the contextual.
• Going to Replace -> Mixing, choose from the multitude of mixing options.

If you have more than one external MIDI device or controller you’ll probably also want to set up a group which aggregates those. Select your MIDI Devices from the MIDI Devices->Input section of the palette.  You’ll note the outputs from these are white not blue.  This is to indicate they are not audio connections but MIDI.  Once you’ve got all of your MIDI devices in your layout, you can create a group which holds them all.

• Click the background and drag across all of your MIDI Devices so that they are all selected.
• Right-click on any of those devices to bring up the contextual menu.
• Under Group there will be an option to “Group the Selected Objects.” This will open the Group Properties window where you can define what your group is going to look like.
• Change the sample inputs and outputs and the MIDI inputs to zero.
• The MIDI output count should be equal to the number of devices you have.
• Give your group a name and then click OK.

You’ll see all of the MIDI devices have now been replaced by a single group with white outputs corresponding to each of your devices, but you still need to connect them.

• Shift click the group to go inside of it, where you will find all of your devices.
• One by one connect each of the outputs from the MIDI devices to one of the white output squares of the group.
• Once they are connected, double click each of the output squares to open their naming window, and give the output a name to reflect which device is connected to it.
• Press Tab to go up a level, where you will see your group.  If you mouse over each of the outputs you will now see in the bottom left corner the name of the connected device represented.

Now you’ve got all of your Audio and MIDI connections, you’re ready to save your default layout.  Simply go to the edit menu and select the “Set current patch as default” option and you’re done.  The next time you open Bidule or create a new layout your custom default layout will be used.