Throwback to the 80s with the 7 best bitcrusher plugins in 2022:
Bitcrushers use distortion to recreate a unique character present in older digital hardware. It uses quantization to separate the sample into bits, allowing you to alter digital audio resolution by discarding some parts of the data. It is vital for achieving certain types of crunchy effects.
Music producers use bitcrushers to add a nostalgic element to their songs. You could automate its use as an intro, or you could even make one instrument stand out with a crunchy sound while the rest remain clean. However, bitcrushers tend to vary based on what algorithm they use. Hence, it is crucial to keep your needs and genre in mind when selecting a bitcrusher plugin.
Top 7 BitCrusher Plugins 2022
1. Denise Bite Harder
The decade-old sound character gets modern touch-ups.
Bite Harder is a distortion plugin that features a wide variety of sound mangling effects. It can do standard drive distortion, bit reduction, resampling, and more. What I like the most is its push-pull graph, where you can add distortion to specific frequencies using the EQ-like workflow.
Furthermore, the plugin is fully automatable. So, you could make intricate and creative sound designs merely by adding modulation on the graph. Another thing I recommend is adding distortion to basslines to make them stand out in the mix much better. Before we talk more about Bite Harder, have a look at My Crush by the same developer. It’s the free version of Bite Harder, featuring only the bitcrusher and resampler.
For mangling up sounds, the plugin features a resampler, bitcrusher, glitch, and drive distortion. The resampler changes the sample rate, while the bitcrusher reduces the bit depth. And glitch introduces ring-modulation into your sound post-crushing.
- Push, Pull, And Filter
The EQ graph at the top of the interface controls the level of the signal entering the plugin. Increasing the volume of a node boosts the gain and results in harder distortion. However, doing so increases the volume of that frequency too. So, you can use the Pull slider to reduce the output volume and achieve a sweet spot. And finally, the high-pass and low-pass filters in the input and output (pre and post) help tame the signal even more.
- Random, Repeat, And Stutter
There are five tabs below the EQ graph, and the first is Random. It randomizes the graph to give you some inspiration. And both Repeat and Stutter are automatable toggles and sliders. The slider controls the rate of repeat/stutter, while the toggle disables and enables it. You can also set the effect to sync with your host.
Bite Harder is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Bite Harder is an incredibly versatile plugin that lets you achieve sounds that are otherwise difficult to attain. Abusing the plugin will reap intricate sonic destruction. And for the price, it’s near unbeatable in terms of efficiency and ease of usage.
2. Tritik Krush Pro
Being the first bitcrushing plugin to feature complete stereo field tweaking, KrushPro is the perfect plugin for producers that want complete control of their samples.
The plugin offers an extensive list of features to help you create the best possible sound for your songs. The sleek modern design, combined with the easy-to-use knobs and buttons, is excellent for producers that just started working and the more experienced ones.
The plugin features modular effects, allowing you to tweak your sample with Bitcrushing, Wavecrushing, Ring mod, and Freq shift. For some dynamic audio signal, try using the integrated LFO presets that can be tweaked to be on your speakers’ left or right side. Krush Pro also contains filters and stereo modulations that will help you cut off some excess frequencies and expand or narrow the stereo field.
- 4 Filter Types
A good bitcrushing effect has to contain at least one filter type; Krush Pro has got 4. Choose between applying the classic Low-pass and High-pass filters, or try something new with the Comb and Bandpass filters.
- 2 Step Sequencers
The plugin features two step-sequencers with up to 16 steps each. You can create rhythms using step bypass and parameter modulation. The sequencers are a superb way of making each sample sound unique that other people can’t easily copy.
- Bitcrushing And Wavecrushing Effect
Bitcrushing allows you to configure the drive stage, crushing effect, and downsampling. Like the Bitcrushing effect, Wavecrush focuses more on a crunchier sound by pressing down on your audio wave and reducing its size. The effect also features three knobs: morph, sync, and width.
- Full Stereo Modulation
The Tritik KrushPro plugin allows you to apply the effect on only one channel or in the middle of the stereo field. For example, you could have a bitcrusher on the left side of your sample and a wavecrusher on the right, creating a weird symphony.
- Ring Mod
The ring modulation duplicates your signal and allows you to tweak their harmonics. In addition to that, it also offers you a frequency knob fine-tunes the exact frequencies you want to hear from the effect. This feature is excellent for creating exciting timbres.
Krush Pro is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Krush Pro offers you an exceptional, highly customizable experience, where you can fully tweak your sound to have that gritty, crunchy effect. Krush Pro also features dark and light modes for the UI. The plugin brings you simple-to-use effects such as the bitcrusher and wavecrusher while offering complicated tweaks like the full stereo modulation and step sequencers.
3. BeatSkillz SampleX V3
Referencing real-life circuitry and offering unique sample configuration abilities, this plugin is perfect for anyone looking to introduce hardware sampling in the mix.
The BeatSkillz SampleX V3 features great audio destruction and distortion abilities. It has four sliders: sample rate, bit rate, shift, drive, and width. For example, the width will enable you to expand or narrow the sound of the sample in your stereo field. SampleXV3 also employs a fantastic recreation of the vintage ladder filter.
- Resonance Controls
When you use low and high-pass filters on your sample, you can apply additional tweaks with the simple resonance and cutoff controls featured on the right side of the plugin. You have two knobs available for each filter, allowing you to fine-tune the resonance from 0 up to 1. For a more analog sound, try using the self-oscillation mode.
- 5 Parameters
The five parameters in the bitcrushing section do a perfect job at offering you complete control of sample alteration. The shift slider offers unconventional aliased sounds, while the Drive slider gives you a crunchy vintage sound that reminds you of old rock bands. The bits and sample rate sliders change the signal quality.
- Machine mode
If you’d like to emulate vintage samplers, try Machine mode. You choose between 6 modes, each with a unique, distinctive sound. The first three modes offer crisp audio, best used for rhythmic sections, while the latter three provide an interesting lo-fi, muted sound. The lo-fi sounding effects are probably best used in chill beats for intros and outros.
- Unique GUI
Rarely do plugin developers focus on providing an experience that feels like using real hardware for your song. SampleX V3 successfully captures that essence by having an outstanding UI that resembles old 80’s and 90’s hardware. The plugin features a cassette tape loader for your samples, on/off switches, and a simple LED display that gives you all the information you need.
SampleX V3 is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
SampleX V3 is a beautiful nostalgia tool that perfectly recreates the sound and design of vintage hardware used for audio sampling. From excellent resonance controls, interesting high and low-pass ladder filters, and full wet/dry controls, the plugin does its best to provide you with high-quality effects.
4. Cableguys CrushShaper
If you’re into a more hands-down approach to bitcrushing, have a go with CrushShaper by Cableguys.
CrushShaper features a unique way of reducing the sample rate of your audio file. Instead of an interface that only contains knobs for you to tweak, this plugin presents the whole audio signal to you, and you can tweak it by setting various values and drawing out the envelope for each effect you apply to the sample.
Choose between three unique crushing styles: Bitcrushing for that arcade sound, Resampling for that “Noah Shebib” lo-fi style, and Crunch distortion for a grittier and fuzzier sound. We will be diving into the key features of this plugin to show you exactly why it is one of the best on the market currently.
- Drawable LFO
CrushShaper thought of a way to visualize the whole process of audio editing. The drawable LFO system lets you map out the transients exactly how you want them. You can cut unnecessary signals or boost some much-needed quiet notes.
- 3 Bitcrushing styles
Cableguys included all three variants of bitcrushing, allowing you to choose from bitcrushing, resampling, and crunch crushing. Try combining them with the drawable LFO and discover new ways to use the effect.
- Multiband Bitcrushing
With a multi-band feature, you can choose the exact section on the frequency spectrum you want to affect. Choose between low, mid, and high configurations, and make a custom LFO for each. Each frequency range can also contain a different bitcrushing effect.
- Huge Preset List
Try using the plethora of effects from a large set of presets that are in the plugin. Choose between lo-fi sounds, various snare effects, or stuttering effects — the options are endless.
CrushShaper is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.8 or higher 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Offering a different experience, CrushShaper is ideal for people who like working with visual information. The wave sample you can see in the middle of the plugin helps you fine-tune the effect exactly how you want it to fit the sample. Features such as audio-rate modulation, draggable parameters, and a plethora of presets are just some of the things this plugin offers you from a long list of additional features.
5. D16 Group Decimort 2
Used by David Guetta, Dj Michael Trance, and James Sanger, Decimort 2 is a hidden gem in the bitcrushing market.
Developed by D16 Group, Decimort 2 brings the unique characteristics of older bitcrushing hardware. The plugin features the fuzzy, full, gritty sound of the ’90s, and it offers what you need to recreate some iconic Hip-Hop hits. Furthermore, it rocks an old-school UI design.
Settings such as the optional Anti-Aliasing filters, Dithering, and Adjustable jitter of your samples are some of the unique abilities of this plugin. Let’s explore the key features of this plugin your workflow could potentially be missing.
- Adjustable Jittering
Try using the adjustable jittering that creates slight random effect jumps in your sample. The plugin recreates the sound of a broken potentiometer in older hardware, where the applied effect isn’t constant.
After applying the jitter effect, you may find it a bit too constant or loud on your samples. To configure that, you can use the controllable dithering. Dithering allows you to minimize harmonic distortion errors, making sure the sample comes out clean.
- Two Anti-Aliasing Filters
You may find that some of the sounds the plugin offers contain slight aliasing. To address this, the D16 Group added two optional anti-aliasing filters. The anti-aliasing filter gives you maximum control of the aliasing above and below your resampling frequency.
- Analog Filters
Choose between simple filters that perfectly recreate the analog sound of real-life hardware. When the sample is resonating too much, easily tweak it with the resonance knob and have the option to fine-tune the cutoff for the applied filter.
- No Harmonic Distortion
As a recreation of real-life hardware, Decimort 2 features no internal aliasing. That means no distortion to your harmonics can occur unless you deliberately apply them.
Decimort 2 is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.7or higher 64-bit. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Decimort 2 offers a great “hardware-like” experience for producers, allowing you to recreate audio anomalies that occur in hardware. The jitter effect gives a unique touch to your sound, as well as the added dithering effect that corrects any errors. The plugin is easy to use and offers plenty of useful presets.
6. Klevgrand Degrader
Klevgrand managed to create an accessible plugin that is perfect for quick and straightforward sample degradation.
This plugin is suited for both beginners and the more experienced. It’s simple to use, has visual feedback, and is feature-rich. The plugin features knobs that allow you to tweak the jitter, sample rate, bit-depth, and saturation. Mastering options are also available if your audio needs some loudness.
- Large Resampling Frequency Coverage
Klevgrand Degrader allows you to manipulate your sample rate from 250 Hz to as high as 96 kHz, making sure you can come up with a truly unique sound. A lower sample rate will remove some of the high-end altogether, while a higher sample rate allows for a slight distortion effect.
- Bitcrushing Presets
Try using the several presets included, some of which do an excellent job at emulating old vintage sounds. The presets range from slight alterations of your sample to full-on destruction that is best for heavier genres.
Klevgrander Degrader is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Degrader offers you a simple way to destroy your sample by giving you great features such as the jittering effect, sample rate reduction, and saturation boost. The plugin features an easy-to-use interface that offers you just enough features to keep your music sounding fresh. You can also enjoy some custom presets to hear what the developers created using their plugin knowledge.
7. ToneBoosters BitJuggler
Featuring a fantastic unique experience, BitJuggler has got a little something for just about anybody.
When you need quality options for bitcrushing and sample distortion, ToneBoosters BitJuggler will undoubtedly help you obliterate your samples. From classic analog sounds to uniquely designed digital effects, the plugin fits any genre. It features quantization, resampling, preprocessing, and LFO settings.
- Digital Imperfections Effect
BitJuggler recreates vintage hardware, adding digital imperfections to your samples. Choose between lighter options that add character to your music or the iconic digital fuzz that appeared in the 80s and 90s.
- Creative Bitcrushing
Aside from offering a basic bitcrushing effect, you can alter your sound using quantization and the optional envelope follower. The envelope follower uses an audio signal level to control modulation.
- Integrated LFO
For a dynamic audio signal, you can use the integrated LFO system that allows you to make waves that move through the sample, creating an attractive “pumping” effect.
BitJuggler is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Aside from offering an LFO system and interesting bitcrushing effects, BitJuggler features superb cross-platform support and is exceptionally CPU efficient. The plugin also provides a wide range for sample processing and limitless internal headroom, making it the perfect addition for skilled producers.
The 4 Best Free Bit Crusher Plugins
1. Tritik Krush
When the pro version is too much for you, go with Tritik Krush, a free alternative for producers of any skill level.
Almost everything you want from a Bitcrusher plugin is available in the Tritik Krush. Featuring the same simple knobs and detailed information of the Pro version, this plugin will surely help when you need to alter your sample. It has much-needed simple features such as a resizable interface, sample rate reduction, and more advanced ones like the in-depth wave modulation system.
- Sample Rate Reduction
A simple way to shape your sound, sample rate reduction allows you to crush the audio signal by lowering the sample rate gradually. You can use this excellent feature for lo-fi beats and chill tracks.
- Modulation Depth
The modulation system in the Krush plugin allows you to apply an interesting LFO to the bitcrushing effect. Parameters such as drive, crush, and downsampling gives new changes to your already altered audio signal. Choose the wave type, set the wave’s rate, and see what you can come up with.
- Preset System
Try out different presets if you are out of ideas, or save your custom preset with the fantastic file-based system for later use. You can then later access the custom presets through a menu system or the preset browser.
Krush is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.6 or higher, both 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The plugin is simple, yet it has some great features that get the job done exceptionally well. The tempo-synced modulation and the incredible sounding resonant filters are an excellent addition to the plugin. I recommend this plugin for anyone who loves minimalistic, highly usable programs.
2. PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit
One of the simplest Bitcrushing plugins on the market currently, the PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit is what every lazy producer needs.
Similar to how simple plugins like the Soundgoodizer in FL Studio works, the PCM2612 offers just that, a basic, easy-to-use design. If you feel like tweaking sliders for hours is not your thing, definitely try out this free plugin by Inphonik. Note that this plugin offers only an 8-bit sound.
- Stereo/Mono Options
Choose between mono or a stereo sound for the final mix of your sample. The mono feature is best used with an equalizer to tweak resonating frequencies, as the sample is better heard when it doesn’t move around in the stereo field.
PCM2612 is available for Windows Vista or higher and macOS 10.7or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The basic design and extraordinary bitcrushing abilities make the PCM2612 a valid competitor in the bitcrushing market. Combine that with the zero-dollar price tag, and you end up with a plugin that is excellent for producers of any skill level.
3. Fabric 70 Crush
Do you prefer a minimal look and simple controls? Then the Crush plugin is perfect for you.
Developed by Fabric 70, Crush allows you to apply a bitcrushing effect to your samples easily. No complex knobs and sliders are present, as they wanted to focus on providing a simple to use, accessible experience for producers of all skill levels to enjoy.
- Minimalistic design
Nothing more than a high-quality sound is necessary to validate a good plugin. And Fabric 70 Crush sounds exceptionally well. The knobs and the background are simple, allowing you to focus solely on the sound configuration.
- Straightforward Bitcrushing
The plugin helps you by sorting the effects from left to right, and it makes it easier for you to understand what each process does and what it changes in your sample. You can apply Bitcrushing with only three simple knobs, which might be just enough for most of your songs.
Crush is available for Windows and macOS, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST3 and AU formats.
The plugin is simple to use and doesn’t require extensive knowledge to achieve a good sound. The interface is clean, and it provides just enough features to allow you to experiment and find new unique configurations.
4. Igorski HomeCorrupter
HomeCorrupter’s real-life counterpart might be something your grandparents used for their music, and Igorski wanted to capture that sound in this easy-to-use plugin perfectly.
We’ve talked about simple and unique designs, but nobody has come close to what Igorski made. Resembling an old Commodore 64, HomeCorrupter is what retro heads need. The plugin features elementary bitcrushing settings, such as the Sample rate, bit depth, clock speed, and wet signal sliders.
- Simple Controls
Unlike other plugins, the HomeCorrupter uses only simple sliders to help you create the sound you need. The sliders do not feature any exact value, so most of the work you do will be more by ear rather than actual values.
- Unique Sound
The plugin perfectly captures the essence of old computer hardware that older generations used for music mixing. Since the computers had low processing power, they often added weird artifacts to the final sound. Igorski perfectly recreated this in the HomeCorrupter, although you can choose the exact amount of that gritty digital sound.
HomeCorrupter is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3 and AU formats.
The HomeCorrupter is genuinely a unique experience. It gives you just enough controls and sounds excellent.
1. NI Crush Pack
Are you a rebel against society? Is one distortion plugin not enough for you? Try the NI Crush Pack and see if the funky design will appeal to you.
Explore a new way to alter your samples using three separate plugins made by the legendary Native Instruments. Choose the exact vibe that will fit your song and explore various settings that allow you to create a truly unique sound.
The Crush pack has all the essential features needed to make an excellent distortion sound while giving you wavefield distortion and stereo modulation options.
- Input/Output Audio Compensation
For finalizing your mix, it’s best to use the Input and Output compensation knobs that allow you to create some gnarly tones by upping the gain. Or, when the sample is overpowering other instruments in the mix, lower the output gain slightly.
- Noise Generator
Test out the included noise generator, which works by adding controllable, weird artifacts to your sample. Try using it in chill Hip-hop beats, and you’ll achieve fantastic results.
Wavefolding brings back peaks in signals by inverting them below the threshold limit of the effect. This feature produces some exciting timbers that make your sample sound fresh and unique.
Try using the sound-bending modulator for unique sounding vocals. It allows you to create a radio signal sound and offers a new experience, like a detuned signal and high-quality timbres.
Crush Pack is available on Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Native Instruments always provided the market with high-quality plugins, and the Crush Pack is no exception. The plugin offers you extensive Bitcrushing variations while also having an excellent fresh interface. The plugin lets you add sounds like the detuned vocals, crunchy guitar, and buzzing synths to your mix easily.
2. AudioThing miniBit (Lo-Fi Synth)
Emulate the sound of old arcade games and retro consoles. MiniBit gives you precisely what you were missing from your childhood.
Developed by AudioThing, miniBit is perfect for creating something that will probably suit a game soundtrack or nostalgia fodder. Although it makes a simple sound, it features extensive configuration options, allowing you to tweak your sample’s Delay, LFO, and Oscillation.
Featuring 128 presets and a preset randomizer, this plugin allows you to skip configuration steps and enjoy the sound it offers.
The miniBit features an excellent oscillator that offers up to 18 different waveforms for you to use. Each waveform produces some aliasing, so you will notice that distinct retro sound every time you use the plugin. The Oscillator also features a sub-oscillator.
miniBit features an integrated delay effect on the interface. Choose the delay rate, tweak the volume of the feedback, and sync it with the tempo of your song. After you’ve tweaked those configurations, finalize it by adjusting the wet knob.
- Custom Waveforms
The custom editor allows you to draw waveforms. The editor features 32 steps, and you can save new shapes for later use.
- Step Sequencer
The plugin features an 8-step sequencer. You can modulate parameters from the pitch and volume controls to custom waveforms and downsampling.
miniBit is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Aside from providing a retro look, miniBit gives a signature retro sound to your samples. When you try it out, you will see that it features various controls, ranging from simple crusher knobs to more complex effects such as the oscillator controls. The oscillator controls feature a well-thought-out system with simple knobs and a waveform display, allowing you to set the exact values for your mix to sound just right. The miniBit is an excellent tool for someone who likes experimenting.
3. Goodhertz Lossy (Low Bit Rate)
Goodhertz Lossy simulates the reduction of audio bitrate in file formats such as MP3.
If you miss the sound your old Nokia or blackberry made when you’ve played songs in your childhood, try using the Goodhertz Lossy. Use the built-in features to recreate the sound by altering the Packet Loss of your sample, allowing you to destroy your sound, although in a fun way. Choose from a set of presets and try out settings such as 32kb sound, 64kb sound, Detroit factory, and Bad video streaming. I also like it for film or game sound designs when a scene involves internet calls.
- Packet Loss Configuration
The Packet loss option offers you a great way to “destroy” your sample to recreate the low-quality sound. Use the loss speed slider for changing the speed of the data compression.
- List Of Unique Presets
Try using built-in presets such as Digital Garbage, Singing glasses, 32kb, and 64kb sound. They are designed to recreate the sound of pirated music or internet streams.
- Dry/Lossy slider
After choosing your desired sound, you might want to tweak it additionally; the Dry/Lossy slider should help you finalize the job. Choose the exact percentage of the processed sound, and find a balance between the new era and nostalgia.
Lossy is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Lossy offers a whole new experience in the bitcrushing market. The way it perfectly captures that sound of the early 2000s while keeping the settings to a bare minimum is incredible for such a low price. The added advanced controls such as Auto Gain, Weighting, Verb Decay, and Gate Threshold are going to make your mix sound even more unique. You can read the online manual for further information on how you can use the plugin.
For quick and easy controls, I recommend the Goodhertz Lossy, Tritik Krush, PCM2612, and the Fabric 70. Krush is the most complicated of them all, but it is still reasonably understandable. Lossy is great for an iconic retro sound, while the PCM2612 and the Fabric 70 are more focused on providing you with minimal controls.
For more detailed work on your samples, I recommend using the Tritik Krush Pro, Cableguys CrushShaper, and ToneBoosters BitJuggler. These plugins offer you the best controls for altering each section of your audio signal. The Krush Pro provides the best customizable interface and great stereo modulation features. Cableguys, however, focuses on a highly detailed display that shows you your sample and allows you to draw a custom LFO envelope right on top of it. BitJuggler also offers a similar experience to the CrushShaper, although with a different audio display.
You can use the Klevgrander Degrader for a middle ground, stable, and reliable plugin. But if you are looking for amazing retro recreations, check out the BeatSkillz SampleX V3, D16 Group Decimort 2, and the unique HomeCorrupter by Igorski.
The Crush Pack, developed by Native Instruments, contains three separate plugins that offer a different experience. And finally, the miniBit provides something different—a retro video game sound effect.
We hope that these plugins will help you create some truly unique tracks.
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Amps & Preamps:
Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility:
Processing & Sound Design:
K. M. Joshi is a multi-award-winning composer and sound designer, specializing in film, game, and TV audio. He enjoys making cinematic music, rock, blues, and electronica.