Igorski has announced the release of VSTSID, a freeware emulation of Commodore 64’s legendary SID sound chip in VST and VST3 plugin formats for compatible digital audio workstations on PC and Mac.
VSTSID is based on Igorski’s Chrome-based instrument called WebSID which you can check out here (you’ll need to use Google Chrome as the browser, obviously). The instruments share the same source code, the main difference being that VSTSID was compiled for use in VST and VST3 plugin hosts on Windows and macOS. The features of the plugin and Chrome-based versions of the instrument are very similar otherwise. One thing worth noting is that the VST plugin features a Ring Mod effect whereas the Chrome app features a delay effect.
Being a bit of a SID maniac myself (check out the page linked above if you need proof), I’m always eager to test new Commodore 64-inspired instruments. VSTSID was a pleasant surprise. It is a very limited instrument, with only a single timbre, but it nails that classic C64 PWM sound. I’m not sure if the OSC is coded or sample-based but it sounds very true to the original. The filter doesn’t sound like the hardware SID at all, but it’s good enough for some basic tone adjustments.
The instrument’s biggest flaw, obviously, is that it’s a one-trick pony. There’s no way to tweak the source timbre apart from adjusting the envelope and filtering out some of the high frequencies. The filter can be modulated using the built-in LFO and all control parameters can be automated in the DAW. The ring modulator in the plugin version is a nice addition, though, and way more useful for sound design than the web app’s rather basic delay module.
You can grab VSTSID in VST and VST3 plugin format for PC and Mac. Only 64-bit plugin hosts are supported at the moment. A Linux version is not available, although you can compile it using the provided source code. Igorski has also released a free piano instrument for NI Kontakt which can be found on the page linked below.
VSTSID is available for free download via Igorski (8.7 MB download size, ZIP archive, 64-bit VST/VST3 plugin format for Windows & macOS).