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How does a bitcrusher work?
Dirk95100
post Jun 30 2011, 08:29
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Bitcrushing is an effect that is used often in modern music.
But how do they work?
To my understanding the amplitude of the digital steps are the same no matter the amount of bits used. Iaw: more bits just means you can go further down before you enter the noise.
But if you chop of bits with a crusher, the signal level stay´s the same.
What´s going on?
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 30 2011, 12:42
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QUOTE (Dirk95100 @ Jun 30 2011, 03:29) *
Bitcrushing is an effect that is used often in modern music.
But how do they work?
To my understanding the amplitude of the digital steps are the same no matter the amount of bits used.


I never ever heard of a bitcrusher, but the Wikipedia article paints a pretty clear picture for me:

QUOTE (wikipedia)
Bitcrusher is a digital audio effect, which produces a distortion by the reduction of the resolution or bandwidth of digital audio data. The resulting quantization noise may produce a “warmer” sound impression, or a harsh one, depending on the amount of reduction.

A number stored digitally has a resolution given as n bits, where there are 2n possible values of the number. If one reduces the number of bits used to store the number, the number of possible values of the number is decreased, and thus the resolution decreases, leading to distortion. For example, a standard CD has a resolution of 16 bits, thus there are 216 possible values for any given part of the musical waveform. If this is reduced to approx. 8 bits, distortions can be noticed, reducing the quality. These distortions add to the original overtone in such a way that the wave shape becomes angular. This can produce a “warmer” sound impression than the original waveform, especially if the wave is rounded off in certain ways. Often this is used with techno or electronic music consciously, without regard to fidelity.

An example of a sound distorted by a bitcrusher is in the introduction to the song “Chemicals” from the album "Shrink" by The Notwist. The samples used in the Roland TR-909 drum machine, for example, has a resolution of 6 bits, leading to a similar sound.

In the musical genre Hardstyle, bitcrushing has become an essential effect in many tracks.


Any questions?

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Dirk95100
post Jun 30 2011, 13:48
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 30 2011, 13:42) *
QUOTE (Dirk95100 @ Jun 30 2011, 03:29) *
Bitcrushing is an effect that is used often in modern music.
But how do they work?
To my understanding the amplitude of the digital steps are the same no matter the amount of bits used.


I never ever heard of a bitcrusher, but the Wikipedia article paints a pretty clear picture for me:

QUOTE (wikipedia)
Bitcrusher is a digital audio effect, which produces a distortion by the reduction of the resolution or bandwidth of digital audio data. The resulting quantization noise may produce a “warmer” sound impression, or a harsh one, depending on the amount of reduction.

A number stored digitally has a resolution given as n bits, where there are 2n possible values of the number. If one reduces the number of bits used to store the number, the number of possible values of the number is decreased, and thus the resolution decreases, leading to distortion. For example, a standard CD has a resolution of 16 bits, thus there are 216 possible values for any given part of the musical waveform. If this is reduced to approx. 8 bits, distortions can be noticed, reducing the quality. These distortions add to the original overtone in such a way that the wave shape becomes angular. This can produce a “warmer” sound impression than the original waveform, especially if the wave is rounded off in certain ways. Often this is used with techno or electronic music consciously, without regard to fidelity.

An example of a sound distorted by a bitcrusher is in the introduction to the song “Chemicals” from the album "Shrink" by The Notwist. The samples used in the Roland TR-909 drum machine, for example, has a resolution of 6 bits, leading to a similar sound.

In the musical genre Hardstyle, bitcrushing has become an essential effect in many tracks.


Any questions?

I know the result of the process.
What I want to know is how does it get to the result?
Because if you only get rid of the lower bits, you loose level. Or am I completely missing something.
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