DSP56300 Emulation Blog brings you the sound of the iconic Access Virus C (and more) for free.
The Access Virus C first appeared in the early 2000s, and, like many vintage synths, it’s perhaps more sought-after now than it was early on.
The synth became a favorite of many musicians creating any kind of industrial or dystopian sound. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who went on to score numerous films, TV shows, and video games, was a fan of the Access Virus C.
These days, you might be able to find a few hardware units for sale, some well under £1000 but not typically in great physical condition.
As a free alternative, we have the DSP56300 Emulation Blog, which perhaps offers the purest form of emulation available.
The team behind the website is a group of people dedicated to reverse-engineering and emulating the DSP56300 series of processors.
While we’re talking primarily about the Access Virus C here, these Motorola processors powered many classic synths from the 90s onwards, like the Nord Lead 3, Novation Supernova, and Waldorf Q.
After listening to some demos, the emulation sounds pretty incredible at times. The reason the emulation sounds so pure is that you have to feed it with the ROM file from the original hardware, which you’ll have to acquire by yourself, and it’s at this point the waters get a little muddy.
To keep things incredibly simple, for my own sake, rather than yours, we have an original ROM file running the original code, and a reverse-engineered DSP, meaning we should get the real thing in some ways.
The developers provide a test program to ensure your system is capable of running the emulator. The website also includes install/setup instructions since there are a few additional steps concerning the ROM file.
If we see and hear the end result, it’s pretty impressive. The emulation sounds incredible, as I said, especially the grittiest sounds that create an almost uncomfortable feeling. The interface looks good, too, it’s not overly modern, which stays true to the original hardware, and it seems easy to use.
BUT, before you get to all that good stuff, you have the issue of acquiring the ROM file, which technically might be a simple process, but it does raise some legality concerns.
The DSP56300 Emulator is available in AU, VST2, VST3, and CLAP formats for macOS, Windows, and Linux.
Download: Osirus DSP56300 Emulator