Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fuzzy Beeps

My first computer was ZX Spectrum, it had the most simple possible sound setup, a buzzer connected to a chip, which was generating only two states on output. Initially it seemed limited to one channel square beeps, but people found ways to generate polyphonic music within its hardware limitations. If you search for "1-bit music" phrase, you will find that it is still an active niche of chiptune music. Multichannel 1-bit tunes could be created using some form of impulse trains, as series of short waveform spikes. They had specific, one of the kind flavor, fuzzy, quiet, soft and yet somewhat razor-sharp. See here for example.
I wanted to have this flavor available in sampled form to use with modern virtual instruments. I edited a set of 44,1 kHz samples, using one sample long impulses, looped to match the tune, then mapped them to sfz, so I've got a handy 1-bit, impulse train oscillator. Here's an example of the sound. And here's a look at the waveform, compared to sine.

You can DOWNLOAD it here. There are 61 wav files, one file per note, 44,1 kHz, 8 bit (for compatibility reasons). Included simple maps for sfz and Kontakt 2 (it's just one drag and drop to place them in, so it doesn't really save you any work).

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