Bitcrusher

Bitcrusher is a low-resolution digital distortion effect. You can use it to emulate the sound of early digital audio devices, to create artificial aliasing by dividing the sample rate, or to distort signals until they are unrecognizable.

Figure. Bitcrusher window.
  • Drive slider and field: Set the amount of gain in decibels applied to the input signal.

    Note: Raising the Drive level tends to increase the amount of clipping at the output of the Bitcrusher as well.

  • Resolution slider and field: Set the bit rate (between 1 and 24 bits). This alters the calculation precision of the process. Lowering the value increases the number of sampling errors, generating more distortion. At extremely low bit rates, the amount of distortion can be greater than the level of the usable signal.
  • Waveform display: Shows the impact of parameters on the distortion process.
  • Downsampling slider and field: Reduces the sample rate. A value of 1x leaves the signal unchanged, a value of 2x halves the sample rate, and a value of 10x reduces the sample rate to one-tenth of the original signal. (For example, if you set Downsampling to 10x, a 44.1 kHz signal is sampled at just 4.41 kHz.)

    Note: Downsampling has no impact on the playback speed or pitch of the signal.

  • Mode buttons: Set the distortion mode to Folded, Cut, or Displaced. Signal peaks that exceed the clip level are processed.

    Note: The Clip Level parameter has a significant impact on the behavior of all three modes. This is reflected in the Waveform display, so try each mode button and adjust the Clip Level slider to get a feel for how this works.

    • Folded: The start and end levels of the clipped signal are unchanged, but the center portion is effectively folded in half (halved in the level above the threshold), resulting in a softer distortion.
    • Cut: The signal is abruptly distorted when the clipping threshold is exceeded. Clipping that occurs in most digital systems is closest to Cut mode.
    • Displaced: The start, center, and end levels of the signal (above the threshold) are offset, resulting in a distortion that is less severe as signal levels cross the threshold. The center portion of the clipped signal is also softer than in Cut mode.
  • Clip Level slider and field: Sets the point (below the clipping threshold of the channel strip) at which the signal starts clipping.