Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we continue in our analysis of how to distort, twist and manipulate a sound, analizing a particular type of plugin that takes a normal, clean sound and reduces its bit depth, obtaining an audible degradation of the signal that may remind the distortions of some old sound processor, like the ones produced by the primitive 8-bit Nes or Commodore 64 sound cards.
Today BitCrushers are used mainly for creative purposes, to give a sound a sligh touch of vintage/lo-fi vibe, and it can be heard often in some Muse and Linkin Park record.
Unlike the other distortions, this one is usually not applied on guitar, but it's more used for drums, vocals and sometimes bass, adding a touch of noise and digital glitch to the signal to give it more character.
Just beware to not overuse it, or you'll risk to ruin your sound!
Another creative use may also be to Automate this plugin, in order to make the tail of a song to become progressively degraded, until it ends in pure noise (not differently by how the Radiohead's Karma Police song ends).
Today many DAWs already feature an in-built bit crushing plugin, but if you want to try some free Vst (and in this case there may be quite big differences in terms of tone from one plugin to another), here are some good free ones:
- TAL Bitcrusher: an interesting and simple Bitcrusher with hi pass and low pass filters.
- DeLaMancha Thrummaschine: a multiband Bitcrusher, Distortion and Overdrive.
- ToneBoosters Time Machine: a simple Bitcrusher with a very nice interface.
- Cmt Bitcrusher: one of the best around, with a Gameboy-like interface
- Time Machine Vintage Sampler: this one reproduces a vintage C64 sampler