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Good sounds for playing along with chiptune/synth stuff?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Chicory Blue, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Hey all. I've found myself recently involved in a ridiculous recording project that will basically see me playing bass (both traditional bass and lead bass) against a synth background with heavy chiptune elements, and I'm wondering what effects might fit in well with that sound? We're going for sort of a silly, video game-themed funk/soul kind of thing.

    I've heard a lot of varying opinions on 8-bit style pedals with the general consensus that a decent one hasn't really been invented or was invented forever ago and is no longer available, so I guess I'm not so much looking to pass for chiptune myself so much as to complement it with something curious and digital-sounding, like a synth-style pedal, bit crusher, or other weird little delight (this may be one of the only situations where the Korg Miku stomp is a viable option).

    Any suggestions? I haven't got a lot of money to devote to this project so I've been looking into the likes of the Boss SYB5, Digitech Synth Wah, Mooer Lo-fi Machine or Hotone Krush, so opinions on those would be appreciated, but I'm very open to any and all suggestions.

    So, whaddayagot for me, TB?

  2. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass

    Apr 10, 2009
    BIG97BEN likes this.
  3. BIG97BEN


    Sep 12, 2011
    Richmond VA
    That sounds like a really cool project. The pedals you already mentioned would be a great inexpensive start. You should definitely try any bit crusher you're interested in before you buy it. That is one of those effects that you just won't know until you give it a try.
    A couple of guys on here use the Zoom B3 (?, might be 2.something) to get similar sounds.
    I'd also recommend an octave, a gated fuzz, and an envelope filter. That is a good basic set up to get synth tones from your bass, and you can play with it some and get some great chiptune sounds. I used OC-2>SA Manta (I would highly recommend the Manta, great first filter) to get the Mario theme sound, and it was pretty convincing. The other benefit of going that rout is those effects are easily used in other genres.
    I think anything that can get you in the glitchy territory can do the trick. Are you handy with a soldering iron? Check out the Arcadiator and Into the Unknown from Parasit Studios. Both kits together can be had for less than the group above, and if you watch those demos, they will get you super close.

    You should also check out lofi delays and reverbs. Melekko makes a cool lofi delay which IIRC isn't very expensive.

    I hope maybe some of that is helpful.:D I have a whole lot of fun making video game noises. If you're just looking to record, there are some great plugins that can manipulate your bass sound to get your there too, and a lot of them are free.
  4. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Thank you! I'm really looking forward to it.
    I'd definitely love to try some of those pedals out, but most of my local retailers don't have any of them. It's always a roll of the dice, alas.

    At present I've got a reliable octaver, and while I haven't got a functional dedicated envelope (my Mooer Sweeper hates my active bass), I've been trying to coax some fun sounds out of a BP90 multi-effects pedal, which includes a surprisingly functional envelope, and mixing and matching its effects with various distortion models has gotten me some interesting results, but it's a flimsy thing overall.

    I'm not a hundred percent certain I could successfully identify a soldering iron if showed one, so while I've enjoyed listening to demos of the Arcadiator, making one isn't in the cards for me. Malekko's stuff has a lot of promise, though the one that caught my eye the most- the BIT micro- seems to have ceased to exist on this physical plane. Ack.

    Can you tell me more about these plugins? It is going to be a straight recording affair, so this may prove useful ground to explore...

  5. Check out Adam Neely's bass playing in Sungazer. I think his main effects are a fuzz and an octave pedal. The octave pedal is how he gets that deep synth sound.

    knumbskull, Blu bro and BIG97BEN like this.
  6. BIG97BEN


    Sep 12, 2011
    Richmond VA
    Sure. I'm not near my computer right now, but I can get some recommendations for you tomorrow.
    I think when it comes to Bit crushers, the computer plugins are better than individual pedals (generally, not all the time). I've also got a couple of other cool glitchy programs I really like as well.
  7. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    fxdoctor Super Bass Bit fuzz is a good one and looks the part, to boot =0)

    I also liked the bitcrusher in the Zoom B3. (which is a whole lot of effects for the price of one pedal)
  8. I used to make chiptune music and play bass to it. The only effects I had at the time were a chorus and fuzz, so I might start there. Gated or velcro fuzzes like the Dirt Transmitter or Carcosa can get some really gnarly synth-like sounds. A chorus or envelope filter after that can add to the synthiness too.

    The Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander could also be a cool pedal to try.
  9. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    I had the privilege of trying a Bit Commander at a Sam Ash and succeeded in thoroughly embarrassing myself with it. It sounded incredible on guitar and lulled me in with its chippy stylin's, but hates bass and tracks very poorly on it, in addition to sounding pretty ugly.

    If chorus and fuzz sufficed for you, then I'll absolutely look into how that sounds. Thank you!

  10. Really? The demos I've seen have sounded pretty cool, particularly Nate Latona's on pedalsandeffects. I'm assuming you were playing high up on the neck and everything?
  11. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Mmhm. I dunno, maybe there's a magic setting that just works wonderfully, or maybe it sounds better on some basses than others, but for mine, the whole thing just sounded like an unusable mess. The gent on guitar using it before me, on the other hand, coaxed some dead sexy NES tones out of it- I melted a little upon hearing them. Fickle mistress, I suppose.

  12. BIG97BEN


    Sep 12, 2011
    Richmond VA
    Hey @Chicory Blue sorry I didn't get this out earlier.

    So first up is an instrument of sorts. It's an actual program to emulate the tracker synth, and copies (pretty faithfully) most of the chips that you would want. I've got it, but I am seriously amateurish when it comes to using the tracker style, so I'm having a bit of a learning curve, but this is similar to what most of the chip-tunes musicians are using on different platforms. It cost exactly as much as you want it to cost, so if you get it and can't figure it out, it doesn't have to cost you anything.:thumbsup:
    DefleMask Tracker

    Alrighty, cool free plugins. I love Audio Assaults Defacer. I use it on bass and Sax pretty regularly. it gives you a lot of control, and can get you some great crushed sounds.
    Audio Assault

    Stagecraft Software has some super cool stuff. It's geared more towards DJs but I love the bit crusher and the delay. definitely check out both.
    Free Plugins - Stagecraft Software

    This one is super awesome, and honestly I had kind of forgotten it since I started playing with the newer ones I downloaded. That's going to change going forward, but definitely check out Tritik Krush. It's got more control than any of the others.
    Krush - Tritik

    The last recommendation is the only one that has a cost to it. It's Plogues Chipsounds. It's a plugin instrument and from the demo I have, it sounds amazing. It's 99$, but is chip in a can if you're comfortable using a midi keyboard (or something else) to play it. They also have a chip crusher, but I've never heard it.Plogue | chipsounds :: 8-bit soft synth

    Hope some of those give you something fun to play with. I'm still kind of trying to teach myself Deflemask, but I am finding it a bit easier to make my bass sound like chiptune, that actually make it the way it's supposed to be made.:D
  13. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Thanks so much! There's definitely a lot to work with here... Time to get experimenting!

  14. ChubbyJerk


    Apr 23, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Plogue Chipsounds is awesome. I recorded a bunch of Christmas music with that a few years ago.

    BIG97BEN likes this.
  15. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    So, I owe this thread big for pointing out the Zoom B3 to me. I don't know how I managed to go this long without realizing it existed, but when I gave the thing a look, it was love at first sight. So many options, so many possibilities, and such glam digi style... This thing is going to blow the project wide open, I can feel it.

    Bonus points for adorable pictures of the simulated pedals. Really feels like I just added a righteous mess of cute little cyberpedals to my board.

  16. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    if you can score a DOD FX33 Buzz Box, it's total spitty ridiculous sub-octave madness - really not a very useful / usable pedal in most settings, but would fit well with what you describe!

    they were going for crazy money at one point but things might have calmed down. there are clones out there too.

    EDIT ah sounds like you've solved it :)
  17. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Nothing's ever solved- as long as there are ways to be weird as hell out there, I wanna hear 'em! :D

    BIG97BEN and knumbskull like this.
  18. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Yeah buddy. I've had a couple B3s, keep going back to it whenever I have a need for a lot of options without spending a fortune. Good luck with it; LOTS of the effects in there are really nice.
  19. BIG97BEN


    Sep 12, 2011
    Richmond VA
    That is really cool. Chipsounds is definitely high up on my to get list. There really are some great sounds in there, and I like being able to play them with a keyboard versus the tracker system (not that I'm much better with keys, but I already understand them some).

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