Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Audio-FX Distortion Wave-Shaping Saturation Mixing

Explaining the Saturator in Bidig Studio: How It Works and What It Does

Tutorial | May 10, 2021

In this video, I discussed how the saturator in Bidig Studio works and how it can be used to enhance sound. I showed how the wave shaper works by changing the yellow line, and how the DC offset device creates a sound when modulated at audio rate. I also discussed the transfer function and how it can be used to change the wave shape of the signal in the positive and negative ranges. I then demonstrated the folding function and how it can be used to create a gate effect. Finally, I showed how the saturator can be used to add harmonics and make a sound more present, such as on a kick drum.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What does the saturator do in Bidig Studio?

The saturator in Bidig Studio creates harmonics or harmonics above the root signal, which creates a distortion sound. It has a waveshaper feature which allows you to alter the waveform of the signal by sending it down a different path. It also has a DC offset device which can move the speaker cone or membrane in and out at audio rates to create a signal. Additionally, it has knobs to dial in the difference of how the saturator behaves in the positive and negative range. Lastly, it has a folding feature which takes the signal above a certain point and folds it back onto itself, creating a gate effect.

How can the saturator be used to alter real sounds?

The saturator can be used to alter real sounds in many ways. It can be used to create a gate effect by cutting out the tails of drums. It can be used to create distortion on bass sounds, and it can be used to add harmonics to sounds like kick drums to make them sound more present and fat.

What is the difference between the quiet knobs and the drive knobs?

The quiet knobs affect the bottom area


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] I thought maybe for today's video we dive into the saturator of Bidig Studio because for me and maybe also a lot of people
[00:07.200] It's not really clear what it does exactly to the signal and we trying to find this out in this video and
[00:14.320] Yeah, I would say let's go
[00:16.800] So this is how the saturator looks like in Bidig Studio and at the title
[00:21.320] It's a saturator destruction and for me also all these devices are basically just distortion devices and I mean devices like
[00:28.400] Fast or overdrive tape saturation and saturation, of course
[00:33.600] It's just creating harmonies or harmonics
[00:37.920] Not harmonies harmonics
[00:40.320] above your root signal and
[00:43.240] Yeah, create this kind of distortion sound in a more or less the same way
[00:48.600] and
[00:49.640] At the bottom here it says wave shaper and the wave shaper is basically where you send the signal to a kind of a transfer function
[00:57.120] Which is represented here by the yellow line and you can alter this line and can send the waveform or your signal onto a different path
[01:05.600] Which creates them or results in a different wave shape. This is why it's called
[01:11.760] Waveshaper and I can show you this here in a minute with the oscilloscope here
[01:16.640] You can also make this a bit bigger so you can see it pretty clearly on the screen here nice and
[01:22.160] And we have your DC offset device on the left side and DC offset device basically just creates positive and negative
[01:31.120] values and
[01:33.640] If you modulate this here at audio rate it basically creates a sound and
[01:38.960] This is also
[01:41.280] Representing what your speaker cone or your membrane at your speakers are doing
[01:44.920] So when you have the slider here at the positive range
[01:48.160] You basically move your speaker cone or membrane out and when you're on the negative range you're moving it back in and if you do this
[01:56.920] Pretty fast at audio rates then you create a signal and
[02:01.920] For this experiment you're basically I just used an LFO with super slow
[02:07.240] Speed so we can analyze what's what's happening with the signal and
[02:12.000] And you can also see that we have your transfer function on the saturator and it's basically doing nothing
[02:20.120] We have you just around it edge at the top, but it's not affecting the signal at all because it's not loud enough to reach this
[02:27.480] This curfew so when we bring up here the signal maybe more and see then the signal is becoming
[02:35.560] A bit flat at the at the top and barely notice it's it's it's not it's not that visible maybe you make this a bit slower
[02:48.920] But so we can analyze it better and also see it here at the bottom
[02:58.720] So we basically change now here the yellow line
[03:03.440] Bring this down. So all
[03:07.280] What this does is a threshold. So we apply this curve here basically
[03:13.400] Early on so the signal doesn't need to be dead loud to be on
[03:18.200] Or is affected by that and you can see here now our clean sine wave becomes like an
[03:25.160] rounded squarely waveform
[03:27.160] waveform this exactly what this line here represents
[03:33.600] When we go to a certain loudness or to a certain
[03:37.960] Value point here we bring the waveform to a rounded edge or to a range
[03:44.120] Rounded a path here and then we go to a straight line and you can see it's a straight line and the edges are rounded
[03:50.880] So it's exactly what we dialed in and you can see also that this is applied to the negative range to where if you are zero line in the middle and
[04:00.800] This applied to the positive range and to the negative range of the signal itself
[04:06.840] So when we look here at a saturator you can see we have a display at the left side here where we have an orange line and the yellow line
[04:14.280] And the yellow line is is the positive range and the orange line is the negative range, but in this display we only have a yellow line and
[04:21.960] the reason for that is
[04:23.960] that this one
[04:25.480] This line here is basically the negative and the positive range at the same time displayed on the same display on the same line
[04:32.880] So as you can see we go now on the back in the negative range and it goes back up here and when you go
[04:38.160] Or now it's to the negative range then it goes also back up, but it's basically positive negative positive negative and
[04:49.960] Yeah, it's pretty much hard to get in in the brain how it works, but if you look here at this at the
[04:57.000] Graph at the left side you can see it's much much easier to get
[05:01.880] But then again, we can change how the
[05:08.400] Waveshape of the saturator behaves in the negative range differently from how it behaves in the positive range and we have these knobs here at the right side and it says
[05:20.320] Loud threshold skew which basically changes how the signal
[05:24.720] Behaves in the negative range as you can see we have now here our orange line
[05:29.000] So we can say we want to have this transfer function happening
[05:34.280] Earlier on on the negative range then in the positive range and you can see this also displayed here in the
[05:39.800] In the oscilloscope, maybe we have to wait until it's it moves beyond my
[05:47.200] My
[05:49.200] Cam here, but you can see here the positive range is the same as before
[05:53.320] But in the negative range we break earlier on to us on to a straight line then in the positive range
[06:01.080] So you can alter how the saturator behaves in the negative range then in the positive range
[06:07.080] We can also change here the the knee which makes the the breakdown even harder and
[06:14.920] You can see it changes the positive in the negative range at the same time
[06:19.360] So these knobs are basically only knobs to dial in the difference
[06:26.040] What you want to have different in the negative range then in the positive range there are not kind of absolute
[06:32.800] Values you can dial in it's relative to what you dialed in on these big knobs here
[06:40.440] Then we have here
[06:42.440] Also this one here where we can kind of go back to negative and this is called I think
[06:50.760] maybe
[06:52.360] Write it in the in the comments if I'm wrong here, but this is called folding
[06:58.200] Because maybe go back here to this
[07:02.760] Because you can see it already here on the graph you take the signal above this line or above this point
[07:09.320] Maybe I freeze this down here above this this point here and instead of letting the signal pass and go into
[07:16.760] A nice arc here back to this point you fold it back onto itself. It's like
[07:26.120] It's like a piece of paper
[07:31.960] It's like a piece of paper like this one here and then you take the edge and
[07:36.520] And fold it back onto itself like this. This is why it's called folding more or less
[07:44.760] That instead of having this waveform this edge you think you are picking out you bring it back down to this and
[07:56.120] This is also why it's called way folding
[07:59.320] Okay, so we have this and we can also change her of course how it behaves
[08:03.040] Maybe in the negative range. So we have folding at the positive range and we have no folding at the negative range
[08:11.520] Maybe remove the freeze here
[08:15.680] So now we should see this folding only happening down here and at the at the top it should be pretty fine
[08:22.160] Oh, it's exactly opposite now. Okay
[08:36.720] Maybe put it this way
[08:38.320] Oh, yeah, now we have the folding at the orange part here, which is which is down here
[08:53.200] And at the top we have still the rounded sine wave letting completely pass without alteration
[08:59.920] Okay, that's basically the simple explanation for this
[09:07.840] For this graph here
[09:10.080] That's also these three knobs here, which is called quiet
[09:14.480] And this is called quiet because it only applies to
[09:19.360] this
[09:20.400] bottom
[09:21.680] area here
[09:23.200] and the bottom area are basically all the values
[09:25.840] Below a certain point and if we look at here at this graph here at the top
[09:32.800] We basically just
[09:34.480] Apply changes to this area here around the zero line. So the quiet parts and if you do stuff like this here
[09:43.360] You
[09:46.080] Maybe something like this. It's almost like you
[09:48.960] Create a gate a noise gate where you filter out everything
[09:56.320] Or you instead of letting here does the signals die out slowly and letting it die out into the quietness
[10:04.480] You bring it straight down to zero
[10:07.760] which then
[10:10.160] Results in in a gate effect or you remove the signal completely in an instant
[10:14.960] So maybe we use some real sounds and try out how this works in the real life
[10:21.360] so
[10:23.360] For instance, I could use here a
[10:26.640] Polysynth and the Polysynth has some noise
[10:30.240] And it can show you how this works with the gate I just explained here maybe get rid of here some
[10:36.320] Just these parts
[10:39.040] Okay, so we have noise dealt in
[10:41.040] Like
[10:52.560] They can hear
[10:55.280] Can remove the noise completely
[10:57.280] Just using all these everything that's below this point is basically completely muted
[11:13.280] um
[11:16.080] And this is nice when you have maybe some drums maybe let's see if I can find you some
[11:22.000] Some real real drums
[11:29.440] Oh, yeah, this is nice
[11:33.040] So switches to an audio track. Okay
[11:35.440] Can you hear it
[11:51.440] Yeah, I can can completely remove some of the tails of the drums
[12:04.960] But it also introduces some some kind of noise at the edge here probably
[12:35.680] And sometimes this is also nice on bass sounds
[12:40.000] Where you have a big fat bass sound and you have to re-burb on it and you want to cut out the re-burb
[12:46.880] But also want to have
[12:48.880] distortion so you can
[12:50.720] Basically do it in one step and maybe you can show you this here in a minute
[12:57.600] So maybe we use a phase four
[12:59.600] Um make some bass
[13:15.520] Okay, and then you put re-burb on it
[13:21.520] And then you use this uh the saturation device
[13:24.160] And then you
[13:33.120] Use your hard hard cut
[13:41.120] And then you can remove some of these re-burb sounds
[14:03.120] And the difference here is when you remove this
[14:06.320] It's slowly dying out and yeah, you can cut it off
[14:18.160] So it's kind of a gate effect and in distortion or overdrive effect at the same time
[14:24.080] So this is pretty handy sometimes
[14:26.640] Um
[14:28.080] And of course is when you use drums like we did to use the real drums
[14:36.400] And instead of gating we can also apply here nice rounded edge at the top
[14:47.520] And you can see when I use here the drive I basically raised the input volume
[14:59.600] Of the signal going into the saturator
[15:02.560] And it changes here also the curve because the scaling of the curve is then a bit different
[15:09.440] Um
[15:10.640] Because if you make it louder then of course this curve here is in a different scale to the input signal
[15:23.200] And you can also see here that when you have this linked on it the saturated tries to compensate for your input gain on the output
[15:30.800] So when you
[15:32.320] Basically
[15:34.000] Raise the input you lower that out the output
[15:44.000] I
[16:00.800] Okay, so speaking about harmonics
[16:03.600] I have your test tone which creates a clean Sine-Wave
[16:09.840] So there are no harmonics. It's just one frequency
[16:12.640] And when we bring in here the saturator
[16:16.640] You can see here the white line is at this position here when we change the gain of the test tone
[16:21.120] We can change the white line. We can also use here the drive to raise the input signal
[16:32.640] Maybe bring this bit down here make a heart me
[16:35.040] And
[16:40.800] And then we kind of create harmonics from this single sign shape here
[16:48.240] You can also see how does the odd and the even harmonics changing differently
[17:05.280] We've also got the slow pass filter which is only applied to the saturated signal
[17:11.600] We can tame the overtones or the yeah the harmonics a bit here bring them down
[17:16.880] And there's also that you can change the filter type
[17:22.800] And I would advise you to click to select the device hit f1
[17:30.240] Then look at the modes here and you can see a steepness pull count of the low pass filter G modes are gentler and our modes are a bit bumbier
[17:40.080] You can try out different settings here for the low pass filter and play around a bit and you know find the sweet spot for your current sound
[17:52.560] But in general you create overtones and you have to be aware of it and sometimes when you have a super clean sound like a bass drum and it sounds alone and
[18:02.400] Yeah, not not that fat. Then you use insaturator it creates overtones and then you have to smudge much richer sound in the end
[18:11.600] Maybe you can use your kick drum
[18:14.560] Show it is maybe
[18:20.720] Kick
[18:23.440] e kick
[18:25.440] Yeah, so let's move this
[18:46.800] So nothing happens to the kick sound
[18:48.800] It's like a sign
[18:56.400] Sine-Wave hitting just one frequency more or less
[19:00.480] And then you add harmonics with the saturator it sounds more fat and present
[19:11.840] So
[19:13.840] Yeah
[19:29.840] Like this
[19:39.840] So you can completely change the tonality of your kick drum, make it more fat and if you
[19:49.760] think about listening to kick drums on small speakers or small ear buds or headphones,
[19:57.440] you need these overtones to make the listener aware that there is actually a kick drum somewhere
[20:02.840] in your mix down.
[20:04.680] And also on bigger speakers, it's much much better to have some of the harmonics to make
[20:11.560] the brain notice that there is something below there.
[20:15.280] So that's basically my version of how the saturator works or how I think it works and you
[20:22.120] can still see I'm mostly a musician, not a technician, I'm also not a developer, so
[20:27.560] I try to explain it in simple words.
[20:30.480] If you have some questions about it or maybe some corrections, then please leave it in
[20:36.280] the comments, also leave a like if you liked the video and if you want to stay up to date
[20:41.160] then please subscribe to the channel.
[20:44.120] And if you have some hints, maybe at what I can do next video wise or maybe tutorials
[20:50.640] for, then also leave me some comments, it's always helpful.
[20:55.560] So thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video, bye.