Are you looking to create 8 and 16-bit music? Are you looking for the best 8 and 16-bit chiptune music makers?
Well, read on because in this article we will discuss and review the best chiptune music maker VSTs, sites, and apps.
8 or 16-bit music is famous because of the flavor it gave video games back in the day. Later mobile manufacturers started using them as ringtones. Some smartphones also have 8 and 16-bit ringtones.
Luckily there are many 8 and 16 music maker sites and VSTs available today.
You can load them on your browser, use them as a VST on your DAW. Or download their apps so that you can make amazing instrumental synths at the comfort of your phone.
Let's dive in.
BeepBox – Free chiptune maker
Beepbox is a great online site to make 8 and 16-bit instrumentals. Once your song is ready you can share it by copying the URL link to your song.
This site is available for free and gives you ownership of all the songs you create.
Beepbox is easy to use. You create instrumentals by clicking the grey notes.
If you want more information on how to use BeepBox, visit their site.
There is an online version of BeatBox that you can download and use when you don't have access to the internet.
BeepBox gives you access to a library for instruments and up to 20 tracks to make your melodies.
Another great 8-bit sequencer is the Scratch 8 bit maker. Imagine making nostalgic sounds like those from a Nintendo console. Well, Scratch allows you to make such melodies.
Apart from sequencing music with scratch, you can make animation, games, and interactive stories as well.
This site is a great way to challenge and improve your creative skills. It allows you to create projects with various settings. Although it was initially created for kids, people of different ages can use scratch.
However, scratch has two downsides.
- One, it's fairly difficult to learn, hence a tough nut to crack for beginners.
- Second, Their interface is quite small. Thus sequencing is challenging because you cannot see clearly.
Online Sequencer feels more like a DAW. So if you enjoy the DAW look, then this might be the sequencer for you.
The best thing about Online Sequencer is that it allows you to save your production and export them in various formats including Mp3, Ogg, and MIDI formats.
Online Sequencer has an intuitive interface. Plus, it's easy to use compared to other 8-bit music makers like BeepBox.
Music Lab – My favorite online sequencer
MusicLab is my favorite online sequencer. This is because it's easy to use and intriguing to look at.
Placing notes in MusicLab is a walk in the park.
Move your mouse around the boxes and press the notes you like and then press play to listen if you like the notes.
If you don't like a note, press undo. Also, drag the bpm knob to adjust the bpm.
MusicLab was primarily built for kids. But adults use it as well. If you're looking for free and high-quality music and experience visit MusicLab.
Chiptune music was originally created for gaming systems. Therefore, to emulate and recreate chiptune sounds you need chiptune VSTs.
Luckily, there are many 8 and 16bit chiptune maker VSTs available today. You can use them with your favorite analog DAW.
SAC – Compatible with Kontakt players
SAC in full means Super Audio Cart is a VST that comes packed with many classic video game samples and over 1000 additional sounds.
SAC emulates retro sounds from 15 old classic gaming systems and old school computers from the 70s and 90s.
This is my go-to chiptune music maker VST when I am looking to create an accurate chiptune melody. SAC is unparalleled inaccuracy.
SAC is intuitive and powerful. It gives you the freedom to create unlimited synths, sounds, and chiptunes. SAC is compatible with Kontakt players.
Super Cart Audio is available for $149.
Another great chiptune VST plugin is the Magical 8 bit Plug. Magical 8bit Plug is compatible with Windows and Mac and you can download it on your PC. This plugin is free, unlike SAC which is quite expensive.
This plugin was made to emulate the chiptune sound from 8-bit chip sounds. You can achieve a certain sound by manipulating waveforms.
The waveforms included with this plugin are square, pulse triangle, and low-resolution noise. This plugin is a great choice if you adore primitive sounds like the sounds from old 8-bit game consoles.
But it doesn't have a friendly user interface. Although, you get used to it with time.
Chipsounds – Best to use with DAWs
Chipsounds is a software synth that you can use to turn your VST into a classic video game console, the 70s or 80 computer, or arcade.
This plugin is intuitive and easy to use. It's a great tool for producers who like to explore sound and love the old-school chiptunes with a modern sound.
The reason why I like using Chipsounds is that it's well built and it barely crashes. The only downside to this plugin is few presets to choose from.
If you're looking for a smooth unique vintage retro chip sound, try Chipsounds.
TAL Noise Maker – Analog virtual chip sound
Another great chiptune plugin is TAL Noise Maker. TAL NoiseMaker is a great plugin if you're looking for analog virtual chip sound.
Unlike chipsounds, which have limited presets, this plugin comes with over 128 factory presets to choose from.
This plugin is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux.
Tal Noisemaker comes with amazing features like 3 oscillators, tune, transpose, filter, and ADSR. Also, inbuilt effects like reverb, delay, and filer and drive.
This plugin is intuitive and easy to use and it's free.
Synth1 – Free chiptune music maker
Synth1 software is a synthesizer software by Daichi lab. This is the most downloaded synthesizer of all time. Being so famous, there are many tutorials on how to use analog software.
There is information regarding this plugin online. Therefore, you shouldn't worry if you're a beginner getting into synth 1.
This plugin is easy to use and intuitive and you can customize how it looks using different skins.
Synth1 is easy to manipulate if you want to achieve a specific 8 or 16bit chip sound. It comes with great and numerous features like automation, oscillators, filer, and arpeggiator.
This amazing software is free and is modeled from the famous Clavia Nord Lead 2.
Thanks to new technology, today there are numerous chiptune apps to download on your phone. With Chiptune apps you create music on the go.
Starting off in this section is the outstanding Nanoloop mobile app. Nanoloop offers you a complete sequencer and synthesizer on your phone. This app is also a sampler packer that is optimized fully for mobile use.
The Nanoloop interface is user-friendly and is optimized to fit any phone screen resolution. The best part is that you can adjust the fonts and colors to your liking. It's compatible with iOS and Android.
This app is also great if you like to chop samples on your phone. The synth has a flexible modulator and comes with great sounds and effects.
This sequencer is great for creating both melody and rhythm. It's easy to use and to create patterns.
Buy it for $3.49.
Another great chiptune music maker app is TonePad. Tonepad is a cool and easy-to-use app. When you touch your phone screen on TonePad, notes light up. Cool right?
The good thing about TonePad is that it shows scales like the major and minor scales.
What's more, this app allows you to adjust audio. For example, you can adjust the song bpm and effects like delay, feedback, and reverb.
The only downside to this app is that you're unable to make longer songs.
Download it on your iPad iPhone and Mac.
This app is great for beginners who don't know about music theory but still want to experiment, enjoy and be able to create music. It's intuitive and easy to use.
8 bit Music Maker is a great app to create 8-bit music at the comfort of your phone. This app gives you two octaves and unlimited tracks to work with and it supports notes size from full to 16th. This fills a tact.
With 8 bit Music Maker you can save and revisit your previous projects anytime you feel like it. What's more, it allows you to export your music so you can share it with your fans.
Retro vintage 8 and 16bit computer music is nostalgic that's why it has lived for so long.
Using the amazing apps discussed above, you can emulate your favorite game consoles and achieve an amazing chip sound.
They are all great. Feel free to try each. But here are our top three recommendations.
The best online 8 and 16bit music maker we recommend is the Online Sequencer. It is intuitive and has a great DAW like look.
When it comes to VST chiptunes, we recommend TAL NoiseMaker because it's free and it comes with a ton of factory presets, features, and effects.
Lastly, the best chiptune app we recommend is Nanoloop. It's great for sequencing, synthesizing, and sampling.