If you’re into chiptune, you’ll know the community around it is like none other – giving things away for free is an innate part of the culture surrounding the genre.
When it comes to making chiptune, it is no exception.
Here are 10 of the best free chiptune VSTs and Plug ins on the interwebs!
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An authentic Commodore 64 emulating synth – right down to the old school interface. Difficult for beginners, but it’s a powerful synth – relatively speaking, of course.
A sweet little synth where you can draw your own wave – nice and simple and gives some nice retro effects. Worth a play!
8. Basic 64
Another commodore 64 emulator, this time a little more user friendly with a nice layout and some easy to follow knobs. The arps on this thing are awesome too, with some buttons to quickly change the length of the wave giving lots of control over their sound.
Representing for the Atari ST is ymVST – a plug in developed by one Gareth Morris for the world to enjoy the old school sounds of the Atari! Good for percussion and has everything you’d need for chip – but again, not so easy for beginners, and you have to click on the little blue lights at the side of the buttons, a little counter-intuitive, but that’s a minor gripe considering the awesomeness of the plug in.
Another nice wave-making synth, this one has Kaoss-Pad-esque panels giving even more intuitive and fun kontrol… I mean control over the synth! Some nice lo-fi accordion and harpsichord-y, yet still old school game boy-ish sounds.
5. CMT Bitcrusher
It’s not all synths! The CMT Bitcrusher plug in is a powerful tool for bit reduction, downsampling and in general reducing the quality of the sound to 8 bit. Or to 1 bit if you’d prefer – then you get some seriously glitchy sounds!
If this isn’t authentic, I don’t know what is. Made by a Swedish genius going by the alias “Pontonius”, pooboy2 is more than a silly name – this VSTi is a faithful representation of the Poo… I mean, Gamy Boy, giving a few choices of oscillator types, chorus, filtering, and all kinds. Authentic in that it has a minimalistic interface once you get past the smile-inducing graphical surround of the plugin.
The power! Two simultaneous oscillators and a noise producer makes this one of the more heavyweight game boy-ish chiptune VST synths about. As with most of tweakheads’ stuff – it’s still nice and simple. Link would be proud. Coarse refers to octave by the way – just so you know.
A sample bank of all your favourite video game sounds – from Sonic to Zelda to a certain red-outfitted plumber, you can find all the ring, jump, slow down and coin noises you could possibly need here.
And in first place… it’s a tie!
1. Magical 8bit Plug
Here we go. Freakin’ quality – simplicity, usefulness and authenticity all in one. Brilliant for percussion like kick drums due to the fantastic sweepswitch and sweeptime parameters giving the kicks some pitch-bend-y attack. An amazing free plug in Made by a Japanese 3 piece 8bit act called YMCK. Sweep away!
My favourite – so simple and as soon as I opened it up, I was greeted with a lovely 8bit preset. All the presets are amazing, it’s so simple and there’s so much variety – couple this with one of the percussive VSTs and you’re away – in fact, you might consider downloading the whole tweakbench suite – there is so much quality stuff there for chiptune it’s unreal. They are all free VSTs, but don’t forget to consider donating if you find it useful!
Any Chiptune VSTs / Plug ins I missed? Point them out in a comment!