Inphonik releases PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit, a freeware bitcrusher effect in VST, AU, AAX, and Rack Extension formats. The plugin is also available for iPad and iPhone devices.
PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit is a free bitcrusher effect. It is based on Inphonik’s previously released RYM2612 Iconic FM Synthesizer plugin, which emulates the Sega Genesis sound chip.
As a music student approaching production from a pianist/composer’s perspective, my early experience of effects plugins was very much trial and error. When you’re in that learning phase, subtlety isn’t usually on your mind, and plugins are cranked as far as they go to see what they do. So, in my mind, hearing a bitcrusher absolutely destroy a pristine track was a strange thing.
But, as you get further into music production, you learn that too clean is often too boring; a little grit goes a long way. When used in the right way, at the right time, a bitcrusher plugin is a delight.
Excuse the trip down memory lane, but I wanted to throw that in for any beginners out there.
Bitcrushing is a digital distortion effect that creates artificial aliasing and emulates vintage digital audio devices. Or, as I prefer to think of it, the sound of my misspent youth playing video games.
The PCM2612 is based on the PCM playback feature of Inphonik’s RYM2612 Iconic FM Synthesiser. The RYM2612 is an emulation of Yamaha’s YM2612 sound chip famously used in the Sega Genesis. Inphonik has taken the essence of that sound and condensed it into a small, easy-to-use plugin.
The PCM2612 has a large central knob that controls the amount of 8-bit decimation applied to the source. Below is a mono switch, a dry/wet mix knob, and an output filtering switch. The output filtering switch lets you choose between the Crystal Clear digital output and the Legacy line output of the Sega Genesis Model 1 output circuit.
A couple of nice practical features of the PCM2612 is that you can rescale it up to 2X without noticeably degraded resolution and switch between box and rack form.
So far, I’ve tried out the PCM2612 on synths, drums, and the mix bus with pretty pleasing results. As far as putting it on the mix bus, I stay closer to a subtle lo-fi sound than total decimation. Using it on synths has made me want to relive my Sega days, which sadly predate the Genesis, and go way back to the Sega Master System.
So far, I can say it’s a very cool plugin, and no issues downloading or in-use to report. Thumbs up, Inphonik.
More info: PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit (64-bit VST/VST3/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows/macOS/Linux, Rack Extension for Reason, AUv3/IAA app for iOS)