Bitcrushing is an instantly recognizable sound effect.
Its signature digital tone can sound like a broken sound card or a corrupted audio file.
Even so, it’s a unique sonic texture that can be used creatively to create interest and variety in your sound.
In this article, we’ll break down the basics of bitcrushing, suggest different ways to use it, and list five of the best bitcrusher plugins and how we do it at our music production course and sound engineering academy
WHAT IS BITCRUSH?
Let’s get started.
What is bitcrush?
Bitcrushing is a form of digital audio manipulation that reduces the quality of an audio file for musical effect.
Bitcrushing, sometimes likened to distortion, works by reducing the sample rate and bit depth, creating artifacts, aliasing, and other imperfections.
Bitcrushers produce a jagged and sometimes unpleasant sound that resembles a damaged file or damaged audio disc.
But when used in context, bitcrushing can draw attention to audio by giving it a unique digital flavor.
The answer to this is not a simple one. First it’s important to understand what the difference between a sound engineer, a music producer and a musician is. Most enthusiasts come to me with the idea that they want to build a career in the field of sound, but are unaware about what these fields are to begin with.
(What’s Bitcrushing? 5 Best Bitcrusher Plugins for Music Production)
BEST 5 PLUGINS TO GET THE BIT-CRUSHED EFFECT FOR MUSIC PRODUCERS
It may seem like reducing the file quality is a simple operation, but there are plenty of specialized plugins to give you more control over the effect.
Check out these 5 plugins that would be useful for any music producer and for other music production tips
D16 is known for its excellent set of creative plugins that include great shots of all classic effect types.
But their Decimort 2 goes above and beyond the competition when it comes to bitcrushing.
Capable of emulating many different classic hardware units, Decimort 2 can take your sound into aggressive digital decomposition.
Softube’s OTO Biscuit is a plugin modeled after an obscure French hardware device introduced in the late 00s.
She has found a following among DJs and electronic producers for her bold bitcrushing and lo-fi multi effects.
Not only that, the Biscuit included an excellent analog filter for even more tone-shaping possibilities.
Softube’s digital recreation brings you all the unpredictable magic of the original in your DAW.
If you’re looking for the next generation of bit crusher effects, Cableguys Crushaper offers a unique approach.
It offers flexible bit crushing effects that sync with your DAW with a unique pull-out LFO.
If you love creating rhythmic patterns with effects, you’ll love Crushshaper’s approach to beat crushing
While it’s nice to have a great workflow and editable parameters, sometimes the simplicity of a native DAW plugin is just right.
Most DAWs come with a set of built-in plugins including some bit depth and sample rate reduction features.
For example, Ableton Live’s Redux plugins are a straightforward bitcrushing processor that can reduce sample rate and bit depth with adjustable jitter, shape and filter controls.
Xfer Deltamodulator is a free bitcrush plugin that takes a unique approach to sample rate reduction.
It uses a technique called delta modulation, which is similar to the retro effect of the Nintendo NES sampling channel.
Best of all, Deltamodulator is available for free on the Xfer legacy download page.