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Forums > C64 Composing > stereo sid standards
2016-08-03 19:00

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
stereo sid standards

recently i listened to a few stereo sid tunes and also started composing a few drafts on my own.

what bothers me a lot - there are no standards how a specific stereo sid tune should be played back. very few composers seem to really fully use the stereo possibilites here (heard an excellent hungarian style tune from hermit) whilst others seem to use it more or less as a 6 channel mono platform.

6 channel mono, meaning to say the arrangement of voices is somewhat off, where drums would appear left and bass on the right, like in early beatles stereo recordings.

as a composer the only universal solution would be to use one voice of each sid for one channel bass+drums and spread out the rest of the instruments in the spectrum, but you lose one voice that way and can use the second voice only for slight variations to have a wider stereo on drums.

meaning to say, wouldnt it make sense if a composer had a specific file ending or tag that clearly indicates if the tune should be played 6 channel mono or 6 channel L/R stereo?

this would maybe help the listeners to hear the tunes the correct way as the composer intented - as far as the composer is aware of the options.
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2016-08-04 10:47

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
if amplifiers would have a switch that routes both channels to mono i would not have an issue. most of the time i have to cut a cable and twist L and R together (i could use a mixer but i don't really want to).

but, those tunes that have weird panning, were they composed in mono? or the composer just didnt care about it? are there any slight psychoacoustic effects that really need stereo?

in the end its up to the listener, but i think it would be better defined from the composer, as on some tunes you simply cannot know.

on the other hand one could just assume, everything that is supposed to be a stereo tune and it drives you nuts when listened on headphones is a botch composition.

but on a second thought, maybe it would be a listenable if it was played back in mono.

since possibly only me has that issue, i will do my own thing, like usual, and upload the tunes with a [PANSTEREO] tag.
2016-08-04 11:20

Registered: Mar 2003
Posts: 1339
I think the reason most people use "stereosid" hardware is to be able to do more different instruments at the same time. They would not primarily aim at putting the "same" sounds in two different voices in order to achieve stereo effects (e.g. panning) since that would "waste" precious voices.

So, what I'm saying is that I think it is fairly logical that most "stereosid" stuff is actually supposed to be listened to in mono, although there are of course a bunch of exceptions.

(Perhaps one shouldn't refer to a 2nd sid in a machine as "stereo sid", but rather "dual sid" or so, since it is not necessarily related to the mono vs stereo distinction at all.)

Try this ;)
2016-08-04 11:47

Registered: Jul 2007
Posts: 353
Quoting onebitman
most of the time i have to cut a cable and twist L and R together

Noooo! Never twist together audio outputs. That could damage your equipment. At the very least, put each output through a resistor first.
2016-08-04 12:12

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
never bothered with resistors...

i guess the issue is the definition "dualsid" which not necessarily implies 6channel mono.

i would go for

2016-08-04 12:21

Registered: Dec 2001
Posts: 8517
"panstereo" is silly, since stereo implies panning anyway.

and "dual mono" (in terms of SID) is usually referred to when both SIDs play exactly the same (to get a richer sound).
2016-08-04 13:04

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
i guess no composer intends to write tunes that are played back on two sids with same adress, this is more a listener thing, but i see that there are not enough definitions and those that are there are misleading or are used wrong.

implies... people keep calling tunes stereo that are not supposed to be played back in stereo.

maybe i write a test tune first...
2016-08-04 18:26

Registered: Feb 2012
Posts: 45
I think Conrad set the standard with http://csdb.dk/release/?id=108397. ;)

On topic, yes, it would be interesting to more fully utilize the stereo possibilities. I can agree the easy route is to just see it as 3 more voices and more filter freedom (guilty here ;)).
2016-08-05 10:58

Registered: Jul 2009
Posts: 202
Quoting onebitman

meaning to say, wouldnt it make sense if a composer had a specific file ending or tag that clearly indicates if the tune should be played 6 channel mono or 6 channel L/R stereo?

that'd be nice to see but everyone seems to have a different taste of how it should be listened to. I go mono all the time, much like i do with amiga's audio. that kind of stereo isn't nice for me to listen to as there is no center. however, if the composer says: "best listened to in stereo" then I would. :)
2016-08-05 17:14

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 42
as Conrad used it [2SID / Mono / 8580] - that would be it for mono, so the standard has already been defined, i just didn't come across this yet.

what brought me into this cycle of thoughts, i came across some stereo sid mp3 recordings online and listened to them in my car on a cd i burned, partially really wondering if the composer intended the tune to be played back in stereo. all tunes were recorded in stereo but quite clearly some should have been 2SID / Mono. if they would have been tagged properly, they would have been recorded the correct way and my car ride would have been more enjoyable, possibly other peoples car rides as well - and in this situation i did not even have cables i can cut and twist together to fix it...

generally i think mp3 recordings of stereo sids are somewhat needed as not everybody has the possibility or nerves to play them back in an easy and fast way, be it real machine or sidplay etc. so if there would be a defining tag and one day we have thousands of .2sid's from the flourishing stereo-sid composer scene, they can be preserved and listened as the composer intended.

i mean afterall, what do people do with these stereo extensions that pop out like mushrooms recently? there must come a huge wave of stereo sid tunes and with that more acceptance for the 2sid platform.

ok that involved enough offtopic and contradiction for now.
2016-08-07 21:23

Registered: Aug 2010
Posts: 138
I doubt that I will ever compose a stereo-SID tune that sounds good in a headset, because I wanna use all 6 channels to the max if possible. Same goes with Amiga stereo tunes. Many of them sound terribly annoying with a headset.

But once I enable "fake surround" on my headset and it mixes left and right a little, its alright.

That's how I made Singularity (dual SID) - so if you play it on speakers, it actually utilizes the stereo, but with only 3+3 channels - I would rather not compose for "pure stereo" as I would have to waste 1 SID on echoing the other one.

A thought about dual SID that I think is a bigger issue, which I discovered with our SIDFX project, is that now we will also have a lot of people with a 6581+8580 ... so there are multiple combinations of dual SID tunes.

The obvious:
8580+8580 (which is my personal preference)
6581+8580 (which can give you the best of both... if you can match the revision)
6581+6581 (and what about this one... which revisions?)

Thats a much bigger issue to me.

I think from a "standard" point of view I will recommend that mixed dual SIDs has the oldest chip first.
So I would not compose a 8580+6581, but a 6581+8580 aka placing 6581 in socket #1 and 8580 in socket #2
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