Chiptune music is a musical genre that uses sounds from electronic chips, including video game consoles and early personal computers.
The genre emerged in the 1980s with the development of DemoScene, an art movement that involves creating computer demos, game intros, cracktro intros, demo intros and music intros in a competitive environment.
VST plugins such as “Plogue Chipsounds”, “Tweakbench Peach”, “Magical 8bit Plug”, “NES VST”, “ADLplug”, “YM2612 VST”, “VOPM”, “Basic 65”, “miniBit 8-Bit” and “FameBoy” will allow you to simulate the sounds of classic video game consoles to create Chiptune music.
Chiptune is also associated with video game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System(NES), Commodore 64,Atari ST and Nintendo Game Boy. These consoles have limited sound capabilities, but Chiptune musicians have learned to use these limitations to create music that is both melodic and rhythmic.
Fine, but what plugins should you use to simulate the sound of game console music? Let’s take a look.
What are the best Chiptune VSTs?
It’s possible to use VST plugins that simulate the sounds of classic video game consoles such as the NES, Game Boy, Commodore 64 or even old PC chips.
Here are some examples of the best plugins available:
Plogue Chipsounds is an 8-bit and 16-bit sound emulator that reproduces the sound effects of classic video game consoles such as the NES, Game Boy and Commodore 64.
The interface has many settings with a built-in arpeggiator and effects. Check out the interface
Tweakbench Peach is a frequency modulation (FM) synthesizer, a type of sound synthesis that allows you to create complex sounds using frequency modulated oscillators. This synthesizer is particularly well suited for creating 8-bit synthesizer sounds, such as those heard on the popular Nintendo(NES) video game system.
Magical 8bit Plug
Magical 8bit Plug is an 8-bit synthesizer emulator that can be used to create classic video game console sounds. It is available for free to all Mac and Windows users in VST and AudioUnit format.
This tool is very useful for musicians, producers or composers who want to integrate NES sounds in their creations. It will be possible to recreate sounds faithful to the original, but also to transform them and adapt them to your own needs.
You can explore the different sounds of the NES, such as the sounds of classic games like Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, or even those of the Mega Man series cartridges.
NES VST is a very interesting music creation tool for NES nostalgics and for those who want to add a retro touch to their productions. Ah.. and it’s free 😀
ADLplug is a free VST plugin for Mac and Windows available on GitHub and can be run as a standalone, meaning you don’t need to open it from a sequencer or VST plugin host.
It allows you to simulate OPL3 and OPN2 sound chips, allowing you to recapture the sounds of retro games from the 1990s (such as“Doom“,“Monkey Island” or“Sam & Max Hit the Road“, etc).
With ADLplug, you can easily create retro melodies and electronic rhythms that will transport you back in time and bring back memories of your childhood or youth.
YM2612 VST is an FM synthesizer emulator that recreates the sounds of the Sega Genesis video game console. With a graphical interface similar to that of the console, this emulator offers an immersive sound experience almost identical to that of the console.
YM2612 VST’s many advanced settings allow you to customize the sounds to suit your needs. You can experiment with different parameters such as frequency, depth and modulation to create unique and complex sounds.
You can explore the legendary sounds of video games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star IV, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe and Aladdin.
VOPM is a free FM synthesizer emulator that simulates the sounds of Yamaha YM2151 and YM2612 synthesizers. It is designed for musicians who are looking for vintage synthesizer sounds from the 80s and 90s.
The YM2151 is a popular synthesizer that was used in many retro video games, while the YM2612 was used in the famous Sega Genesis game console. With VOPM, users can recreate these legendary sounds on their computer.
Basic 65 is a wavetable synthesizer that can be used to create 8-bit and video game console sounds. It is a versatile electronic instrument that can be used to create a wide range of sounds and sound textures.
In addition to its sound synthesis capabilities, Basic 65 also includes a range of sound processing features, including filters, envelopes and modulation effects. With these tools, users can manipulate sound to create unique and interesting sound textures that can be used in a variety of different musical contexts.
The miniBit 8-Bit VST plugin is a tool for creating 8-bit sounds, which is sure to satisfy all electronic music lovers. It has a simple and intuitive interface that will allow you to modulate the sound easily. miniBit 8-Bit is available on Windows and Mac in VST format. It can be downloaded for €20 – $20 from the Plugin Boutique website.
If you are a GameBoy fan, FameBoy is the instrument for you! It includes all the sounds of the famous Nintendo handheld and has an interface similar to the console. However, it’s samples for Kontakt, so you’ll need to own a full version of Kontakt to use it 😢. You’ll need to pay just under $20 – €20 to be able to download this sample bank.
Chiptune music is a musical genre that uses sounds from electronic chips, especially from old video game consoles and personal computers. To create Chiptune music, it is possible to use VST plugins that simulate the sounds of these classic video game consoles. We have seen that Plogue Chipsounds, Tweakbench Peach, Magical 8bit Plug, NES VST, ADLplug, YM2612 VST, VOPM, Basic 65, miniBit 8-Bit and FameBoy are very interesting VST plugins to recreate the legendary sounds of retro video games. With these VST plugins, musicians can create unique melodies reminiscent of the video games of their childhood. Many of these plugins are free and are very convincing in their sound rendering.