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Reviewed By VSTj [read all by] on 31st May 2018
Version reviewed: 1.5 on Windows.
Last edited by VSTj on 31st May 2018.
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MiniBit : the spaghetti synth is back !

In the 80s, the Italian firm Crumar produced a cheap analog synthesizer with a digital interface, the BIT 01. 30 years later, another Italian, Carlo Castellano, brings us another hybrid making the way in the opposite direction.

I admit that initially, already owning Hypersynth's SIDizer, this umpteenth emulation of 8-bit retro synths, quickly tested in a limited edition for Computer Music magazine, seemed to me at first glance less successful and I didn't see much interest in adding it to my collection of plugins.

Nevertheless I was affected by the Gear Acquisition Syndrome when version 1.5 was recently released, seduced by the new skin and the promotional offer, and I decided to support this company that takes great care in the design and visuals of its plugins (I especially love the job done on the recreation of the Sound Master SR-88 and Latin Percussion drum machines) and its very reasonable pricing policy.

I don't regret my purchase: on the contrary, miniBit has become one of my favorite tools! Very easy to use, it looks like a small analog synth reduced to the essentials, whose controls you can handle with the mouse wheel by moving over them (they also display the value of the parameter being edited).

The secret weapon of miniBit lies in its very convenient step sequencer. In the full version, it has the ability to change the waveform of the oscillator while playing (wave sequencing) : there are 18 available, recreated from antique video-game consoles that the developer collects. This rather rare feature makes the humble miniBit a distant descendant of machines as prestigious as the Korg WaveStation, MS-2000 and Radias: not bad for a $20 synth.

The interaction of the different lines of modulation on each other, combined with this simplicity of use and the various randomization options available, make it easy to reach unsuspected sound territories that it becomes quickly addictive to explore.

The support is excellent, AudioThing fixed two bugs that I had reported within 24 hours. I would like afterwards the pitch envelope to become a modulation enveloppe that could shape the filter as well. Why not imagine a LFO – which can already alter the sample rate of the crusher – being able to change the time of the delay too? The addition of a reset switch for each sequencer line could also improve the exemplary workflow of miniBit.

Thomas Jaëck (aka VSTj) is a French musician inspired by the pioneers of electronic music from the 70's & early 80's. He loves vintage synths & computers, retro sci-fi movies & modern architecture. Enjoy the nostalgic hypnotic soundscapes he made over the years: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZritIdJGbgaAXXOStTFLMQ

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miniBit

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