The Null Device

Plogue Chipsounds

Québecois music software maker Plogue have announced a software synthesiser designed for chiptunes. the Plogue Chipsounds plugin (Windows/Mac VST; price/release date unknown) will simulate not one but seven different 8-bit sound chips (from the SID chip to ones taken from the Atari 2600, Nintendo NES, VIC-20 and arcade machines), all to great authenticity, and even features "faithful DC signal leakage emulation" for added versimilitude. It'll also come with presets made by chip musicians 8-Bit Weapon and ComputeHer.

Of course, not everybody's pleased. Some chip musicians are unhappy that this means that dilettantes unwilling or unable to put in the hard yards writing 6502 assembly language will be able to get the same authentically 8-bit sounds they can. Why, Plogue could port it to Pro Tools and it could end up on the next Madonna record; for shame!

Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on whether one regards 8-bit sound chip sounds as worthy in their own right, or merely as a shibboleth for separating the truly hip and hardcore from trendies and hangers-on. I lean towards the former camp; surely there are other ways of distinguishing interesting music from commercial pabulum than by whether the composer knows assembly language. Then again, I would say that, not having written any 6502 assembly in about two decades.

There are 2 comments on "Plogue Chipsounds":

Posted by: gjw Thu Jan 22 07:03:47 2009

Well, pretty much all the chiptune stuff I've been exposed to has been either in the form of MOD files, or demoscene stuff that was mostly created on an emulator, and will probably be run on an emulator in 99% of cases. I imagine the people coding real assembly on a real C64 to create chiptunes are already a very minor faction. It is nice to see this software will handle the AY-3-8190, though.

Posted by: whormongr Tue Jan 27 08:31:15 2009

I use chiptune emulation vst's all of the time- (my favorite as of late is the basic64 sid emulation), don't get me wrong I love chiptune artists (hell it's what inspires me to use the damn sounds), but I like having the softsynths that I can throw into ableton and rip up with breaks and such, and tweak on the fly w/o the hardware

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