The aptly named 8Bitm8 by Midierror is a hardware bit crusher effect box that soaks your audio in digital lo-fi glory. Plug in any synth or other signal, hit the arcade smash button and use the knobs to dial in varying degrees of digital destruction. Now available on Tindie!
Tindie is a reliable source of quirky musical gadgets and DIY kits, and this one’s a prime example. According to the developer, the 8Bitm8 is a fully digital bit crusher designed to impart the sound of vintage samplers and digital effects to whichever signal you dare to run through it. This could be a great addition to your electronic live rig or hardware-based studio!
The device uses an 8-bit AVR microcontroller to sample the input signal at high speed. You can then use the rate knob to set the rate at which the signal goes to the DAC, for different levels of sonic degradation. A row of six LEDs indicates the output audio rate. Midierror says that the results range from “subtle glitchy overtones to supercharged distortion”. The 8Bitm8 also includes a simple low pass filter and a mix knob for the dry/wet balance.
True bypass with a smash button
According to Midierror, the 8Bitm8 features a true bypass controlled by a relay. Instead of a boring switch or footswitch, there’s a wonderful retro arcade button for controlling the bypass. This not only goes very well with the vintage digital theme of the 8Bitm8. Those buttons were also designed to withstand years of arcade abuse, so you can smash it to your heart’s content without worrying about breaking it. The button toggles the effect on and off, but you can also set it to momentary mode. This lets you tap the effect rhythmically, which should work very well due to the quick action of the gaming button.
The metal enclosure seems to be equally rigid and road-worthy. And you can even create your very own, personalized 8Bitm8 by choosing from a variety of paints, paint combinations and button colours. Nice!
Judging by the demo video below, the 8Bitm8 sounds really nice and versatile. It’s an awesome little box for anyone obsessed with vintage digital sounds and samples! I’m sure it would also go very well with the Beat Box!
Price and availability
The Midierror 8Bitm8 is available from the developer’s Tindie store for USD 185 plus shipping. There are nine colours and 13 button colours to choose from. Since every unit is individually painted to order, it takes “a couple of days” to ship.