Composer and audio wizard, Igorski offers HomeCorrupter, a free bitcrusher effect in VST and VST3 plugin formats for macOS and Windows.
HomeCorrupter is a bit-crusher/fidelity reduction plugin that takes us back to a time when computer monitors weighed more than your synth.
If you are familiar with Igorski’s plugins, you’ll know that saying they add a little grit is an understatement. Previous work like Regrader and Transformant can be absolute filth, in the best possible way, of course.
HomeCorrupter degrades the audio signal by reducing the sample rate and bit depth. The amount that you reduce either will set the foundation of your sound. Beyond the sample rate and bit depth, you can reduce the CPU clock speed, which in turn slows down the playback.
The clock speed of a computer determines how many operations it can execute within a set time. As an example, a modern laptop with a 3.2GHz clock speed performs 3.2 billion cycles per second, while the first IBM PC had a clock speed of 4.77MHz (approx 4.7 million cycles per second).
The parameters I mentioned are easily adjusted via dedicated sliders, or you could use a MIDI controller if you want to be more hands-on. You can also control each parameter through the built-in oscillators.
When set to zero, the LFO’s are not active, but beyond zero (max 10 Hz), you can start to introduce an LFO sweep to modulate parameters to create more movement in the effect. You can then shape your desired output by blending the wet and dry mix.
The playback rate function is creative, and it differentiates HomeCorrupter from the average bit-crusher. It adds a bit of a performance aspect by allowing you to slow playback, creating scratch or tape shutdown effects in real-time, and return to the original speed flawlessly.
We have most likely all used similar effects to make something sound really dirty or like an old video game. What I like about Igorski plugins so far is that they have a bit of a mad-scientist feel to them that I can’t explain, but I mean it as a sincere compliment. The destruction just feels authentic.
Keep in mind; it’s not just about chaos or sounding like a vintage arcade machine. Plugins like this are a great way to emulate old recording gear by mirroring its sample rate and bit depth. I use a bit-crusher on hi-hats sometimes to make them sound like they were recorded 50 years ago.
More info: HomeCorrupter (6.41 MB download size, ZIP archive, 64-bit VST/VST3 plugin format for Windows & macOS)