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chipsynth C64 is an emulation of the SID so good, it may change {hardware}

chipsynth C64 is an emulation of the SID so good, it may change {hardware}

2023-12-07 07:53:06

At present, Plogue is launching chipsynth C64, an AAX/AU/VST3/CLAP plug-in recreation of the Commodore 64/128 and its legendary 1982 SID chip (and successors). Nobody else may create an emulation this obsessive. After only a few minutes with it, it appears like encountering a wholly new instrument that fell straight out of a previous decade. It’s prone to enchant each nostalgic C64 followers and people discovering chip music for the primary time.

Launch trailer:

To rejoice, there’s additionally a C64 demo working on the true PAL machine (not in software program) created by 4mat. (Seize particulars within the description.)

And right here’s what went into the recreation: limitless measurements of the chips, gigs and gigs of measurement knowledge utilized in analysis (the plug-in itself is all modeled and simply 30MB), and mind-boggling consideration to voltages and variations:

If you wish to mess around with this as “simply one other” software program synth, you completely can. The device has a pleasant interface, tons of assist for MIDI (together with MTS-ESP and Scala tuning assist), and a bunch of fantastic-sounding presets. It actually does maintain up as a synthesizer, not simply an esoteric instrument since you need to make “chiptune.” And the presets mirror that; they’re musically voiced and playable and I can simply think about these popping up in varied genres. You even get presets designed by chip musicians like Goto80, Fade Runner, Ne7, Xenos Soundworks, and 4-Mat.

That’s true to the historical past of the MOS Know-how SID, the chip developed by engineer Bob Yannes (who went on to discovered Ensoniq). By constructing a whole, high-quality instrument into an built-in chip, full with options like envelope turbines, precision management, ring modulation, and programmable filters, the SID simply deserves to be talked about in the identical breath as different digital synths of the 80s.

(Picture: MOS Know-how 6581. CC BY-SA 4.0 Taras Young.

However after we discuss minute variations, properly, it’s best simply to point out you the menu. We’re not simply speaking in regards to the 6581 and the later 8580 (from the 64-II and steel C128), and even that, plus a number of revisions. We’re speaking about each single variation you may consider. From simply the chip menu:

That features this fundamental menu with totally different chips and revisions – already extra exhaustive than what you’ll discover on most wiki pages on the SID:

Plus, from the underside of the chips, aliases and particulars exhibiting the place the chips had been fabbed and even on which day. David tells CDM that they’ve a number of duplicate chips from the identical fab and day “and so they don’t sound the identical.”

After which there are banks of latest waveforms to make use of rather than the originals, for much more sonic variation:

Something you are able to do to hack a C64 chip with code or circuits, primarily, you are able to do right here simply with a GUI. It’s a rabbit gap to finish rabbit holes.


  • 3 oscillators plus PCM with a number of mounted waveforms, pulse width, and noise
  • MIDI, multi MIDI (separating channels), MPE (with per-note modulation and wide-range pitch bend
  • As much as 12-voice polyphony
  • Genuine ring mod and pulse width
  • Arpeggiator
  • Refrain (primarily based on the Roland Dimension D)
  • Atmosphere reverb (utilizing Magnus Jonsson’s Atmosphere)
  • Stereo delay (new repeating sample of 4 delay made only for chipsynth)
  • Modulation matrix with math choices
  • Step sequencers (together with complicated modulation) and host sync
  • Envelope turbines with graphical modifying
  • Emulation choices: set totally different AV/RF jack output varieties, envelope bugs and filter pops and oscillator leak tweaks
  • Scala, MTS-ESP settings
  • Colour themes (primarily based on basic Commodore fashions)

You may load up any recordsdata you need as PCM and blend them as an extra sound supply, which opens up its personal artistic potentialities and alternative for creative abuse. There’s even built-in slicing:

After which there’s a whole EMU tab, which can play SID recordsdata and even interface with exterior SID {hardware}, plus analyze any modulated be aware in SID music and switch it right into a patch within the plug-in.

You may even load ROMs from a C64 when you personal one. (For authorized points, unofficial and open-source ROMs are used within the plug-in, so – breaking copyright is dangerous, okay?)

Modulation matrix.

Extra extras: settings.

See Also


Right here’s David noodling round within the EMU tab:

And hearken to some stunning demos:

It’s an enormous day in chip sounds. Get pleasure from this one!


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