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Dr. Scientist Bitquest Multi-Effect
- Bit Crusher with Sample Rate Reducer
- Infinite Reverb
The BitQuest is a simple multi-effect pedal with no menus or presets, yet it has enough control to be pretty powerful and offers 8 various bizarre and fascinating effects like video games. This is a truly unique and experimental pedal with a wide range of sounds.
The BitQuest is a multi-effects pedal with 8 fun and adventurous patches and a built-in digital fuzz that may be used with or without the built-in digital fuzz. A full featured flanger, high pass and low pass filters, a bit crusher with sample rate reducer, infinite reverb, a deep notch filter, a ring modulator with reverb, a +/- 1 octave pitch shifter, and a wild glitch delay are among the patches available. The BitQuest, like all Dr. Scientist pedals, may be used with guitar, bass, synths, and a variety of other instruments. Dr. Scientist Bitquest is one of the Best Bitcrusher Pedals in 2023.
Malekko Scrutator Sample Rate and Bit Reducer Pedal
- Pre Amp control for effect input gain/attenuation
- Bit Rate reduction control from 16bit to 2bit
- Sample Rate reduction control from approximately 48kHz to 300Hz
Malekko crammed a lot of features and sound-shaping capabilities for guitar tones into a tiny package. Rate (sample rate decrease from 16 to 2 bit), filter, and Q are the three controls across the top (bandwidth and amplitude of the filter). Below that is a second row of three controls: preamp (gain), mix (dry/effect blend), and bit. Preamp (gain) contains an LED indication to show clipping (bit reduction, 48 kHz-300 Hz).
Malekko Heavy Industry, based in Portland, Oregon, is known for effects and synth modules that distort sound in both familiar and less subtle ways. The new DSP-driven Scrutator sample rate and bit reducer, on the other hand, offers a little bit of everything, with subtly strange and radical sounds, as well as relatively intuitive, synth-like interactivity and a surprising breadth of control in a compact stompbox.
Although the bitcrusher guitar pedal control knobs are close together, they are still quite simple to modify. They’re resistant to unintentional nudges into strange environments. A 9V DC jack power supply, input jack, and expression pedal/control voltage input are all located on the right side of the case. An output jack can be found on the left. All of this is contained within an MXR Phase 90-sized container. By holding the footswitch down while powering up, the filter can also be adjusted as a two-pole bandpass or lowpass. All of this adds up to a lot of flexibility and functionality in a small pedal—and Malekko’s design effort is laudable in this best bitcrusher pedal in 2023.
WMD Geiger Counter Digital Destruction Guitar Pedal
- High Gain Modern Preamp
- Dramatic Tone Control with Disable
- Super Hard Epoxy Powder Finish
In a 4.5″ x 3.5″ box, the Geiger Counter houses a high gain, contemporary preamp that drives an 8-bit computer. This robust metal enclosure, which is bright yellow in color and has a radioactive emblem warning of the extreme effects within, crams a plethora of controls into its small footprint. The unit’s five knobs, three LEDs, Control Voltage (CV) input, two toggle switches, and HEX display should not deter those fresh to the field of more advanced signal processing. The operation is thoroughly detailed in the pleasantly brief manual.
WMD describes the rotary switch-selectable wave tables as a stage that “takes your signal and ruins it with math.” The Gain and Tone Knobs are self-explanatory; the Tone is disabled via the adjacent toggle. Despite the fact that this raises the gain, I found that some wave table settings sounded better with the tone active and some without. The Bit reduction control can be placed before or after the wave table by rotating the Wave Table rotary switch for drastically different results. This is one of the best scrutator pedal.
MOOER Lofi Machine
- Wide range sampling rate/depth reducing effects
- 3 modes for using guitar, bass, synth or sound player
- Full metal shell
The Mooer LoFi Machine Sample Decreasing effects pedal has a wide range of sample rate/depth reducing effects that may sound like anything from a lovely 60s jangle tone to an 8 bit video game and everything in between. It has three settings for guitar, bass, and synthesizer, so no matter what instrument you plug in, you’ll get amazing sounds and effects. Its entire metal shell makes it sturdy and roadworthy, and it has true bypass footswitch, as do other superb effects pedals.
Are you disappointed that your band hasn’t been able to find a keyboardist with classic tonal sensibilities? Want to add some 1980s Atari or Nintendo bleep-bloop-bloop action to your tunes? In a space the size of a roll of quarters, the LoFi Machine puts both at your disposal.
The bit knob reduces sampling depth (5–16 bits) as you spin it, while the tiny mix and sample knobs manage dry/wet ratio and sample-rate reduction (60–31,250 Hz), respectively, and a 3-way toggle optimizes EQ response for synth, guitar, or bass. Because subtlety runs counter to the Machine’s nature, I favored maxing mix, while lowering sample all the way down let fundamentals break through without a lot of digital background noise. Set the bit knob between noon and 3 o’clock, then fingerpick moderately overdriven chords for Wurlitzer 200 or Rhodes electric-piano sounds. Or, with bit settings over 3, conjure sinister Metroid thoughts or playful Super Mario Bros. sounds.
Red Panda Bitmap Bit Map Bitcrusher
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Red Panda has released version two of their Bitmap pedal for 2023. To make lo-fi sounds, the bitcrusher uses fractional bit reduction and sample rate modulation, and the upgraded edition adds several new capabilities.
Waveshaping, wavefolding, and a window comparator are included in the Bitmap 2 for extreme digital distortion, according to the firm. “With a maximum signal level of +8 dBu and enough gain to sound like an overdriven mixer channel, a drive control handles everything from single coil guitars to synthesizers. Dynamic, responsive distortion and digital artifacts are created by modulation and envelope control.
This new version is additionally tuned for more sustain on staccato notes without spitting. The less extreme settings, according to Red Panda, allow you to add layers that interact in subtle ways for warmth in 8 and 12-bit samplers. At line level, the Bitmap 2 works on guitar, bass, synthesizers, and anything else. Despite the fact that it’s only shown on guitar, you can get the complete scoop from Nick Reinhart.
Waveshaping, wavefolding, and a window comparator for extreme digital distortion are among the additional features in the updated edition, which includes an extra footswitch, a totally new knob/switch arrangement, and numerous new functions. Presets are now stored in the pedal (4 on the pedal, 127 via Midi).
However, the Sample-rate modulation with triangle, square, and random waveforms, as well as envelope control over the sampling rate or mix, create a unique guitar effects that, when combined with an Expression pedal, adds nuance to a type of lo-fi effect that is all too often overly monochromatic. This is the best 8 bit guitar pedal.
Electro Harmonix Mainframe Bit Crusher
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The Electro-Harmonix Mainframe Bit Crusher pedal creates massive sonic soundscapes that are both playable and musical, from clever sample-rate conversion effects to gated fuzz-like tones. You can experiment with everything from minor aliasing to chiptune synth sounds and full-on gated fuzz by digitizing your signal and reducing the sample rate (with reductions ranging from 48kHz–110Hz). Bit depth can be adjusted from 24-bit to 1-bit, allowing you to utterly obliterate the original signal. A built-in filter smooths out the sound, and the Mainframe’s ability to follow the pitch shifter of your signal — and even tune it to the key of your song — ensures melodic results. The Electro-Harmonix Mainframe Bit Crusher pedal offers a broad soundscape of retro-themed effects, whether you’re playing guitar, bass, or synthesizer through it.
If you’re not careful (or if that’s what you want, of course), bit crusher effects can sound really harsh. The Sample Rate Tuning Mode on the Electro-Harmonix Mainframe pedal, on the other hand, demonstrated how musical this effect can be. To activate Sample Rate Tuning Mode, simply press the footswitch twice; at this point, Mainframe continually tracks the pitch of your signal exactly (or by intervals, if you choose) and adjusts the sample rate frequency to match. The music immediately conjures up memories of iconic video game sounds from the 1980s. Simply press the footswitch one more time while playing any note on your fretboard or keyboard to lock the sample rate to a certain pitch, such as the key of your song. You may create extreme effects while still working inside your mix using Sample Rate Tuning Mode.
Benefits of Using a Bitcrusher Pedal
Here are some of the unique advantages a bitcrusher offers for guitar tone shaping:
Lo-Fi Distortion and Overdrive
Bitcrushers excel at dirtying up your guitar tone in unconventional ways. From fuzzy pixilation to blown out oscillations, these pedals can add new flavors of distortion.
Unusual Sound Effects
Take your sound effects palette in random new directions. Bitcrushers let you warble and distort your playing to create bizarre robot voices, rumbling sub frequencies and glitched-out artefacts.
The biting crushed tones work great for emulating chiptune 8-bit synth tones. Stack with modulation for further animation. Bitcrushers add a retro digital edge.
Tightens Distorted Sounds
The sample rate reduction can help tighten up the low end of high-gain distorted tones by removing muddy artifacts and tightening up the notes.
Unique Tonal Options
Even at subtle settings, bitcrushing provides innovative new tonal possibilities. Add just a touch for interesting lo-fi fuzz or a gritty edge.
Bitcrusher Pedal Buying Guide
Purchasing your first bitcrusher pedal? Here are the key factors to consider when choosing the right crushing effects for your needs:
Type of Bitcrusher
Analog – Use analog components to manipulate waveforms for a warm, vintage vibe. Limited controls.
Digital – DSP chips provide extensive crushing algorithms and parameter tweakability for maximum versatility.
Amp/Multi-FX – Some amps and processors have bitcrusher effects built-in. Convenient but less control.
Plugin – Software bitcrushers for digital recording setups. Flexible but without the hands-on pedal feel.
For guitarists, standalone digital or analog stompboxes offer the best blend of tone and tweaking capability.
Controls and Features
Look for pedals that give you independent control over bit depth and sample rate reduction. Added features like:
Clip distortion switch
Gate or limiter
Filter and EQ options
Allow you to finely shape the crushed sound. Consider connectivity needs – some pedals offer expression and MIDI control.
Test out the crushing algorithms – how musical and responsive do the effects sound? Is the frequency range full and amp-like? Quality varies so focus on tone.
Solid metal enclosures withstand gigging abuse. Premium components improve durability and minimize noise. True bypass switching maintains signal integrity when off.
Established companies like Red Panda, EarthQuaker Devices and Meris are known for quality. But check out smaller brands too – you can find gems.
Bitcrusher pedals range from about $50 for basic analog stompboxes up to $300+ for advanced digital processing. Consider how extensively you want to manipulate crushing effects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Bitcrusher Pedal?
Bit crushing, along with its companion sample rate lowering, is a result of how digital audio works. Early digital recordings used very low Bit and Sample Rate values due to computational restrictions, but these values have expanded enormously in the last few decades, allowing audio to match the quality of the greatest analog instruments.
The easiest approach to explain them to someone who isn’t familiar with the subject is to use a digital picture as an example. Low-resolution digital recordings sound awful owing to low sample rate and Bit depth, just like low-resolution photographs display artifacts due to pixelation and a restricted amount of colors. As a result, those early recordings, which included far fewer ones and zeros than today’s hi-fi recordings, distorted the sound in ways that we find unpleasant.
Bit Crushing and Sample Reduction pedals mimic the audio artifacts left over from old digital recorders. Bit Depth impacts dynamics (low numbers make the recording sound compressed), whereas Sample Rate affects sound quality (at low values, the sound will sound granier and limited in the frequency spectrum).
How Do Bitcrusher Pedals Work?
Bitcrusher pedals use digital signal processing to alter the resolution and sample rate of the audio input. Here are the key techniques they employ to reshape your guitar tone:
Bit Depth Reduction
Bit depth refers to the number of bits used to capture the dynamic range of an audio sample. Standard CD-quality audio has a bit depth of 16. By lowering the bit depth, the dynamic range and fidelity is reduced. This quantizes the sound into fewer volume increments, adding rough graininess and distortion. Extreme settings can create a rattling pixelated effect.
Sample Rate Reduction
Also called downsampling, this reduces the number of audio samples per second captured by the bitcrusher. CD standard is 44.1 kHz. Lower sample rates remove high frequency harmonics and create aliasing artifacts. The tone becomes lo-fi and buzzy. At very low sample rates it becomes erratically distorted.
Some bitcrushers add symmetrical soft or hard digital clipping to the signal for more intense, saturated distortion. Soft clipping warms up the tone while hard clipping adds more jagged fizzing overdrive.
Applying an adjustable low pass filter lets you cut out high frequencies after the bitcrushing. This removes aliasing artifacts and focuses the raucous distortions in the lower registers.