Today’s edition of BPB Freeware Studio features a list of the best free bitcrusher VST/AU plugins for Windows and Mac.
A bitcrusher is essentially a very straightforward type of effect – it simply reduces the bit depth of the audio signal, which leads to audible degradation.
However, I’ve found that there’s a big difference in sound between various bitcrusher plugins, probably due to different algorithms being used. Also, some plugins come with neat extra features like sample rate reduction, smoothing, modulation, and various other goodies. Thus, I’ve decided to make a big list of all useful freeware bitcrushers I know of and let you choose your own favorites from the bunch. There’s some well known stuff in the list, but also some gems I’m sure you’ve never heard of!
Follow the links for screenshots & download info:
- +decimate by SoundHack (Mac, Windows)
- BitTest by Shuriken.se (Mac, Windows)
- CMT Bitcrusher by CMT (Windows)
- D-BD/SR-D2 by antto (Windows) // No longer available!
- Delta Modulator by Xfer Records (Mac, Windows)
- dblue_Crusher by Illformed (Windows)
- Debaser by arcDev (Windows)
- Decimator by Tobybear (Mac, Windows)
- Degrade by mda (Mac, Windows)
- Elite Reducer 2 by Virtual Creations (Windows)
- FloatCrusher by Jonas Norberg (Windows)
- Float Crush by CamSR and ArkeCode (Windows)
- Geektronic by Novaflash (Windows)
- Hosebeast by arcDev (Windows)
- LOFI by E-Phonic (Windows)
- LoFi PLUS by Subtek (Windows) // included in Console DEMO!
- Multiband Bitcrusher I by Hilofi (Windows)
- Redupcer by Morfiki (Windows)
- SampleReducer by TbT (Windows)
- SicknDstroy by Inear Display (Mac, Windows) // No longer available!
- TAL-Bitcrusher by Togu Audio Line (Mac, Windows)
- TB TimeMachine by ToneBoosters (Mac, Windows)
- thrummaschine by de la Mancha (Windows) // No longer available!
If you’re looking for a cheap commercial bitcrusher plugin, I highly recommend the brilliant Super Angry Distortion by Rancorsoft LLC.
So, for some unexplained reason, my favorite bitcrusher seems to be CMT Bitcrusher. It’s not really better than all the other plugins the list, nor is it special in any particular way, but I somehow always reach for it first when I want a bitcrushed sound. Most of the time it works perfectly. Note that an updated version of CMT Bitcrusher is available in this thread on KVF Forums (many thanks to chuck death for providing info on this and Float Crush!).
If you want a more subtle effect, TimeMachine is a good choice. It was designed as an emulation of those famous vintage samplers like the E-mu SP-1200 and such. In fact, it works very well for this, try using it on drums and notice how it adds harmonics and makes the samples sound slightly more punchy. Of course, you can always push it harder and use it to bitcrush the hell out of things.
Ok, but how about a multiband bitcrusher? If you like that idea, check out Multiband Bitcrusher I and thrummaschine, both of which are 3-band bitcrushers with some pretty neat extra features up the sleeve.
Finally, a little known gem is the D-BD/SR-D2 developed by Anton Savov (aka antto). It’s a great bitcrusher unit with useful extra features like filters, band compreesion, white noise, etc. I also dig the pixel-perfect GUI.
As I said, all the plugins in the list have something unique about them, so I encourage you to check them all out and keep the ones you like. It would be cool if you could leave a comment saying which ones you liked the most. Also, if I’ve missed mentioning a good freeware bitcrusher, feel free to leave a link in the comments section!
And that’s pretty much all for today. Have fun bitcrushing, spread the word about this article and thanks for reading BPB!