Strictly under 16 (bit)

Turns out that a lot of the digital gear that catches my attention is 12-bit.

So I thought I’d open this thread to discuss all things under 16 bits - hardware synths, FX, VSTs, etc.

I’ll start by asking: do you know any synth plugin that has 12-bit oscillators? I’ve been looking for one but couldn’t find any

Machinedrum sampling is 12-bits.
I really love resampling a beat with it, then set the replay with a short time retrig and a filter on top (+LFO on filter width).

Isn’t this 12-bits thing mostly for samplers/romplers?

Maybe all you need is a bit reduction pedal ^^

Syntakt does BR btw. Octatrack too.

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Two that spring to mind. OTO BIM, Volca Sample, though the latter is SRR rather than BR.

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You could try renoise!

you can create (if you want) very low bit and samplerate single cycle waveforms with it.
it’s fun :wink:

and it has reduction fx too.

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TAL-DAC and TAL-Sampler are obvious software choices that can produce your desired sound. You’ve had some good options for BR pedals for close to 20 years now. I have a Frostwave Sonic Alienator which was one of the earliest, if not the 1st. It’s nice because it also does wave folding and has an analog filter.


I really dig bitcrushers. The Red Panda Bitmap 2 and the Meris Ottobit Jr. are the ones I’d love to try.

Until then, I’m happy to use the Bitcrusher on my SP-16.

There are some digital synths that have 12-bit oscillators, like ALM/Busy Circuits Dinky’s Taiko and Tyso Daiko.

Yamaha DX100 is also 12-bit, although I don’t know if it’s just the DAC.

Actually, I don’t understand if there is such a thing as a “12-bit oscillator” or if it’s just samples and DAC that have a bit depth/bit rate.

Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus is a dual 8-bit looper. Sounds nice and crispy.

Bastl Instruments MicroGranny samples are 16-bit, sounds super lofi, plus it has a bit crusher effect which sounds super creamy.

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M8 tracker has a lot of options for lo-fi crunchyness for samples like converting to 8-bit, downsampling and degradation(samplerate reduction effect).

It’s built in wavsynth has a size parameter which reduces / increase the bit rate of the oscillator.


Not synths, but the SP303 and SP404 are good for low fidelity sound. I’d also second the TAL-Sampler. Inphonik RX950 (plugin) is also one to look at.

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The Dreadbox/Polyend Medusa has a 12 bits FM mode :wink:

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My fav fx plugin for this is Klevgrand’s Degrader, can go as low as 3bit, which can make things really crunchy :slight_smile:

Plogue have done a very accurate VST DX7 clone. Apparently it comes real close to the original DAC’s 12 bit sound.

I haven’t used it (scared of computers) but my DX7 sounds fantastic, I’d describe its sound as heavy crunch. If they’ve pulled it off, it should sound great.


Polyend Tracker can reduce bitdepth as an fx and has the ability to turn off the anti-aliasing filter.

But it doesn’t sound as good as my Roland s-10 sampler i’ve bought years ago. (12-bit) because of it’s old adc/dac and ancient pitchshift algorithm.

Also TE pocket operators sample in 8-bit. Just like an old Casio sk-1 or Yamaha Vss-30.

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Not 12-bit, “only” 8, but I´d like to mention the OTO biscuit / DER OTO.
One of my favourite boxes ever.

It´s full of bitcrushing magic and can be switched to
an 8 bit synthesizer (DER OTO - mode),
it has full MIDI control and sounds really good, at least to my ears.

I´m not even a big fan of heavy bitcrushing,
but this box can do so many things,
it never gets boring.

It´s very expensive on the used market, but from time to time
there are “fairer” prices than others.

D16 Decimort 2 is a fantastic bit crushing VST effect. I love their plugins.

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I bought the ESPI SP1200 software. before i receive the Rossum SP1200 reissue as a stopgap. I can tell you its very very accurate to that 12 bit sound. Being playing some old school boombap on the Akai LP68 drumpad and its great fun. Sold the SP2400 which went all the way down to 1 bit(i kid you not).

I have, and the emulation is really good to my ears. As is their emulation of the YM2612’s funky DAC in their mega drive plugin. They usually do a Black Friday sale, and I recommend anyone (not scared of computers) to take a look at their stuff.

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