Even though it is not the first time a C64 virtual clone ends up in the market it is always nice to compare and match the level of detail the creators has managed to mirror the iconic sounds of the C64. InSIDious and Drum Studio are other examples of great attempts to bring those old vintage sounds back to life. And of course it doesn’t hurt that this one is free (download link at the bottom of this page).
BPB 64 is a sample-based virtual synthesizer that brings the sounds of the legendary Commodore 64 home computer to your DAW. The included patches were sampled directly from three different Commodore 64 units, all boasting different SID chips. I used the MSSIAH cartridge to program the patches and trigger the Commodore 64 via MIDI.
If you used BPB’s free Commodore 64 Synthesizer Sessions DELUXE library for Kontakt, you’d already be familiar with these sounds. However, the BPB 64 plugin takes the included patches one step further, with built-in effects and some clever Maize Sampler programming by SampleScience.
The sounds and the GUI design were handled by Bedroom Producers Blog, while SampleScience took care of turning the concept into a usable VST/AU plugin.
BPB 64 includes 37 multi-sampled patches, covering bass sounds, pads, leads, and the inevitable fast-paced arpeggios that make the SID chip so legendary. All sounds were captured raw, directly from the SID chip, so you’re getting the same infamous grit and lo-fi crunch that you’d get if you hooked up a C64 directly to your audio interface.
For those unfamiliar, the SID chip is Commodore 64’s audio chip. Unlike today’s sound cards and audio interfaces, the SID chip is a monophonic synthesizer with digital oscillators and an analog filter. The goal of this project was to use the SID chip to recreate some classic synth sounds as well as to sample iconic C64 leads and arpeggios.
That said, BPB 64 lets you tweak the included raw Commodore 64 presets to your liking. It includes a low-pass filter, an ADSR envelope, four built-in effects (delay, reverb, distortion, and chorus), and modulation. The modulation wheel controls the pitch modulation amount.
Use small amounts of pitch modulation to get the classic SID chip sound. Or, experiment with the built-in effects and modulation to customize the presets.
BPB 64 is available in VST and AU plugin formats for 64-bit digital audio workstations on Windows and macOS. You can download it for free by entering $0 at checkout (or donate any other amount to help BPB develop more plugins).
Download: BPB 64