chipsounds :: 8-bit soft synth

chipsounds
” The most authentic emulation of C64, Nes, Vic20, Gameboy, and Atari 2600 sound chips I’ve ever heard!”
8 Bit Weapon

” I very much appreciate the openness of the chipsounds plug-in and the attention paid to the authentic “chiplike” features without letting that authenticity get in the way of practical production concerns. I’m definitely a Plogue fan, thanks for the awesome instruments!”
- Mike Morasky, VALVe Software

” I think this release is a major achievement for fans of digital sounds. “
- Peter Kirn, Create Digital Music

Overview

This software synth turns your VST, AU or RTAS host into a classic video game console, vintage 8-bit home computer and even an 80′s arcade.

Plogue chipsounds authentically emulates 15 vintage 8-bit era sound chips (on top of their variants), down to their smallest idiosyncrasies.

But more interestingly, it also faithfully allows you to dynamically reproduce the accidentally discovered sounds effect tricks and abusive musical techniques that were made famous by innovative chip music composers and classic video game sound designers, which for the good part of the last 3 decades, have pushed beyond the boundaries of the original chip designs.

In short, whether you are already versed into chiptune/chip music or just interested in those sounds, this is one unique instrument for you!

Screenshots



Controls Tab





Modulation Tab





Mixer Tab


The Chips

Arcades

::: 6 arcade circuits NEW in 1.6!
Arcade

DK, DKJR, Zxxn, S.Invaders, Phoenix & Galax

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Various recordings made from our private collection of arcade PCBs.
  • Most of these sounds are analog are not generated from dedicated ‘chips’ but by a series of electronic components in complex networks

Paula

::: Paula NEW in 1.6!
Paula

used in the Amiga 500, 1000 & 2000

listen in chipsounds:

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  • The sample playback chip inside the Amiga. It does not generate sound on its own, but accepts 8bit samples
    and plays them at variable rate with no interpolation.

uPD1771C

::: uPD1771C
Yeno

used in the Super Cassette Vision

listen in chipsounds:

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  • This ‘soundchip’ is not very well known, apart from the suspicion that it is in fact a microprocessor (NEC 4bit MCU) with embedded code on it. Since it runs a custom program that we don’t have access to (until this chip gets de-capped), we can only approximate what it generates using empirical tests.

M5232

::: M5232
Poly800

used in Poly-800 and Arcades

listen in chipsounds:

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  • A very interesting chip specimen which appeared in a few obscure arcade games (Splendor Blast) and some synthesizers. It generates tones by means of additive squarewave synthesis. Just like an organ, but using square pulses instead of tone wheels. (think 60′s Combo Organs). The chip also permanently outputs a constant frequency LFSR-based noise waveform.

TIA

::: TIA
TIA

used in the 2600 & 7800

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Accurate Multipulse/Polynomial bit pattern waveforms for those unique combat, engine drones and powerful mix piercing “fake-saw” sound

2A03

::: 2A03 (and its portable variant)
NES

Used in the Big N consoles

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Accurate pulse width settings (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4)
  • Drawable 4bit/32 step bandlimited Waveform
  • Tons of custom and classic waveforms to choose from
  • Including the unique triangle sound of the Big “N”
  • Short (93/127bit) and Long (32767bit) noise patterns accurately modeled.

AY

::: AY-3-8910 and its clones 8912/8913/8914/2149F
AY

used in Intv, ZX, ST, Arcades

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Emulation of Sync Buzzer Envelope Looping tricks.
  • Accurate logarithmic 4Bit DAC.

POKEY

::: POKEY
POKEY

Used in 400/800 series computer and Arcades

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Fat and accurate Multipulse/Polynomial bit pattern waveforms with clock desynchronization

SN76489AN

::: SN76489AN and its predecessor SN76496 & SN94624N
Coleco

Used in ColecoVision, SMS, BBC, TI99, PCjr, Tandy & Arcades

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Basic and RAW, the purest chip there is.
  • Different NOISE patterns for all variants, all emulated.

UVI

::: UVI
UVI

Used in the Arcadia 2001

listen in chipsounds:

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  • A rarity that can prove effective in the grinding department with its logical anding of pulse and noise patterns (As used in the Arcadia 2001 and MPT-03)

P824X

::: P824X
O2

Used in the Odyssey 2

listen in chipsounds:

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  • Obscure chip that oddly only plays the scale of E5 (slightly detuned)
  • And the subtle psychoacoustic sound of screaming at the start of its noise pattern

SID

::: SID including 6581 and 8580
SID

Used in the C64

listen in chipsounds:

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  • The most important sound chip of the 80’s gaming era.
  • Variable Pulsewidth, SAW, Triangle, 8bit noise and even combined waveforms.
  • Many waveforms are actually SAMPLES of the real thing for 100% accuracy, especially combined waveforms.

VIC-1

::: VIC-I
VIC-1

Used in the VIC20

listen in chipsounds:

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  • This chip is very underestimated gem with totally unique sounding waveforms.
  • Newly discovered “Robotic” waveforms are emulated.
  • Rough, nasty noise pattern too.

More

::: More
More chips

More chips


Some more chips included in chipsounds:

  • uPD65010G used in the PV-1000
  • D1867G used in the VL-Tone
  • 8360 used in the Commodore plus/4

Why all this hype about 8-bit sounds?

Sound chips from vintage computers, arcades and game consoles had unique sonic signatures that have been shadowed by recent and “better” technologies.

Their limitations in polyphony and timbre have forced musicians of the time to come up with a series of techniques which pushed the boundaries of what they originally offered.

Those special techniques, combined with each type of chip’s “imperfections” gave true personality to the music and sound effects of the 80’s.

Here is a few example techniques used by classic chip music authors that has been precisely reproduced in chipsounds:

  • Fast one-shot arpeggios with pulse width modulation and amplitude modulation.
  • Rapid waveform changes (also known as wavetables) for “drum-like” sounds and guitar-like leads.
  • Resynchronizing of envelopes and waveforms, through interrupt-based timers in order to create new evolving waveforms and odd ring modulations.
  • Fast sweeping glides of discreet pitch values.
  • Creation of a ‘poor man’s’ 4bit sampler using rapidly changing volume function of the chips.

Chip music artists were the first to give those sounds all the fame they deserved. But today, musicians of all genres praise the unique musical behaviors of these chips.

” Verdict: Chipsounds’ superb emulation of nine vintage sound chips makes it a unique soft synth and a must for 8-bit-lovers. “
- Computer Music Mag / Music Radar

“When we’re at the point in a track where we think “what sound can we use that will give us an edge” we always turn to Chipsounds. Quirky, fresh, initiative and always brilliantly usable. we can’t recommend them enough.”
- Rob Cass / Abbey Road Studios

” Quite simply put, it beats the s*** out of any other single chip emulation VST currently available.”
- nitro2k01, Gameboy Genius

“The first time a whole set of chips has been emulated by a team of “sound maniacs.” “
- Rob Beschizza, bOING bOING

” Bottom line is, if you’re going to cheat, you shouldn’t do it with anything else than Plogue chipsounds =P “
- XC3N, Toy Company

chipsounds vs. hardware

We love the original hardware, take our word for it. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have started this crazy endeavor. However making music with the original consoles is not for everyone.

chipsounds vs. hardware:

- You can actually use a standard MIDI controller to start composing chip music.

- You DON’T need to deal with a small and hard to read interface.

- You DON’T need to learn assembly language, or hexadecimal.

- You DON’T have to use a tracker, although it works fine with them as well.

- You can CHOOSE to be limited in terms of pitch and polyphony OR NOT.

- You DON’T need to spend years hunting garage sales, flea markets or online auctions to gather a collection such as this one. We have done it for you :)

Consoles are not eternal, they were mass manufactured consumer goods and are bound to fail sooner or later. However there’s NO risk of having a software have its capacitors dried up, its PCB rusted, and power supply catching fire.

If you are a seasoned chiptuner, don’t limit yourself to only one console’s sound, here’s your chance to creatively discover all the others!

chipsounds vs. other emulators

Many chip emulators came out to please the growing demand for vintage sounds. But with Plogue’s chipsounds, we reached a totally new summit of authenticity and playability.

4 years of intense research led to this one-of-a-kind software synthesizer. This level of fidelity to the originals combined with modern flexibility has never been done before.

Say finally goodbye to all those badly aliased square waves, and welcome purity.

We have all those chips and have painstakingly sampled and analyzed them ourselves.

We’ve revisited all known documentation of each chip and verified any technical allegations using our own custom tests on them. You can even pay a visit to our research blog for some unique published discoveries… and believe us the research goes ON. This is the sort of stuff that wake us up and makes us put our pants in the early morning.

The product is a self contained hybrid synth/sampling synthesizer based on our OWN flexible virtual instrument engine (ARIA Engine).

Synthesis gives you more modulation accuracy and freedom, while sampling allows to emulate the nearly unemulatable features of some classic sound chip like for instance, the combined waveforms of the SID.

In order to be most faithful to the each sound, we went with what was best for each type of chipsound.

System Compatibility

chipsounds can run either as: Win32 Win64 OS X 32 OS X 64
Standalone application YES YES YES YES
VST® Plug-In YES YES YES YES
Audio Units™ Plug-In - - YES YES
ProTools RTAS® Plug-In YES - YES -
ProTools AAX® Plug-In - YES - YES

Requirements

  • PC: Windows XP® or higher
  • Mac®: OS X 10.6.8 or higher
  • CPU: Intel®/AMD® dual core or more
  • RAM: 1GB or more
  • Disk Space: 100 MB