Bitcrusher is a digital audio effect produced by the reduction of the volume resolution of digital audio data distortion. The effect is often combined with a reduction of the sampling rate.

A digital recording has a resolution of the level of n bits, ie there is (also) possible states of the level. If you reduce the number n, thereby reducing the number of possible states and thus the resolution. Standard CDs at a resolution of 16 bits, ie possible states. At about 8 bits and fewer can be distorted and thus perceive a decrease in recording quality. These distortions add to the output signal harmonics in such a way that the wave shape " square " is. In contrast, the waveform is an analog distortion pedal, which also uses harmonics are generated, but rather rounded, giving a warmer sound impression.


Often applied the effect in electro and similar varieties of electronic music that consciously avoid sound quality ( " lo-fi" instead of Hi- Fi). Typical Bitcrusher sounds are also utilized in current pop music. An example of a distorted sound through the Bitcrusher can be found in the opening sequence of the song Chemicals of the band The Notwist. The samples of the drum machine Roland TR -909 have eg a resolution of 6 bits. Even your own drum samples can with the help of a Bitcrushers " crisp " and made more concise. The effect is included by default in many music software. In hardware, it occurs, for example, in the Nord Modular / Micro Modular Clavia or Korg Electribe EMX, the effect is called " Decimator ".

  • Musical effects unit
  • Sound Editing