These are the best free 8-bit VST plugins to use with your favorite music software. I have included 8-bit plugins that work with Windows and Mac.
This collection of free 8-bit plugins includes lists of features, screenshots, and videos.
What Is An 8-Bit VST Plugin?
An 8-bit VST plugin is a virtual instrument that mimics the sounds of the instruments found in vintage video game consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System. 8-bit VST plugins can be used to create chiptune music that often has a retro feel and can create nostalgic effects in modern films and video games.
There is a very LoFi feel to 8-bit music, reminiscent of early video games. The instruments used are mostly synth sounds that have been created to mimic the sound chips found in older arcade games and home consoles.
I’ve tested hundreds of free VSTs, and these are some of the top free 8-bit plugins you can get.
Best 8-Bit VST Plugins
I have included 8-bit plugins that work for Windows and Mac.
- Basic 64
- Nintendo VST
- basic 65
- Retro Boy
- 38911 Bytes
- BiT BOX
- 8-Bit Treats
- Plogue Chipsounds ( Trial )
- Magical 8bit Plug
Instructions: Click the links below to visit each 8-bit plugin. Look around each website for the download link or button. Do not install any suspicious software.
Related: Best Free Synth VST Plugins
1. Basic 64
Basic 64 is a powerful and versatile synthesizer that takes its cue from the classic Commodore 64. With 16, 8, or 6-bit sound options, three oscillators, and the ability to sync and ring modulate them, this synth plugin allows you to create a lot of sounds.
Add in pitch envelope modulation, pitch wobble, and two tempo-sync LFOs, and you can really start to get creative.
The flexible routing to the state variable filter allows you to shape your sound further, while the envelopes can be reset or continuous with a retrigger.
- 128 Presets
- 3 Oscillators
- ADSR Envelope
- Pitch Envelope Modulation
- Pitch Wobble Option
- LFO Attack
- Release Curves
- Tempo Sync Arpegiator
- MIDI Learn
- MIDI CC Support
Basic 64 | PC
Basic 64 Preview
2. Nintendo VST
The Nintendo VST plugin is a must-have for any fan of classic 8-bit video games.
This powerful plugin faithfully emulates the sounds of the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System, allowing you to create authentic retro game soundtracks or have some fun messing around with classic video game sounds.
The plugin was built with the Outsim SynthMaker to allow for an advanced user interface, and sounds were evaluated against the output of FamiTracker, which uses the Blip Buffer library to generate “perfect” alias-free primitive waveforms.
This project minimizes the aliasing with conventional techniques available in SynthMaker.
View Plugin | PC
3. basic 65
The Basic 65 is a monophonic synth that takes inspiration from the classic 80s home computer, the Commodore 64.
Building on the sound waveforms and signal path of this famous chip, the Basic 65 adds further features and options to create even more interesting sounds.
The double arpeggiator allows for complex versions of that retro 8-bit game sound, while the modulation options inspire experimentation. You can tweak the sound with the mod envelope and two LFOs.
Pulse width modulation, ring modulation, and oscillator detune/sync are key ingredients in the signature sound of the Basic 65 plugin.
- Monophonic Synth
- 3 Oscillators
- Noise Waveforms
- Pulse Width
- Modulated by Envelope
- Ring Modulated
- ADSR Envelope
- Low Pass & High Pass
- Band Pass
- Notch Modes
- 2 Tempo Sync Arpeggiators
- Range & Note Length
- Modulation Envelope
- Pulse Width Oscillators
- Tempo-Sync LFOs
- Individual Oscillators
- LFO Controls
- Pitch Drift Models
- Variable Depth & Frequency
- 128 Presets
- Windows Only
- Overwhelming Interface For New Users
basic 65 | PC
The IceCream is here to give you all the 8-bit sound goodness you could ever want.
This powerful little synth can generate some truly fantastic sounds, perfect for theme songs and other compositions in the style of classic video game music.
The IceCream VST features two oscillators, each with a range of four octaves.
You can tweak the pitch of the second oscillator for added versatility and create some really unique sounds by playing with the bitcrusher and filter ADSR settings.
- 8-Bit Chip Synthesizer
- 4 Octave Oscillators
- Step Sequencer Pitch
- Filter Section
- Amp & Filter ADSR
- Harmonics Switch
- Reverb & Delay
- Glide & Glide Rate
ICECREAM | PC
5. Retro Boy 8-Bit VST
This lightweight single oscillator chiptune synth is designed with retro gaming in mind. It loads fast and plays even faster, so you can jump right into the action.
The Retro Boy features a subtractive synthesis engine for that classic 8-bit sound.
Choose from seven different waveforms, including pulse, saw, triangle, sine, and noise.
You can also add vibrato and decimation effects to your sound. And with the simple envelope, it’s easy to create those signature chiptune sounds.
Retro Boy | PC
6. 38911 Bytes
Give your music a retro feel with this plugin. This powerful software is based on the Commodore 64 system but can do so much more.
Create rich, diverse sounds using one oscillator synth with four waveforms.
You’ll have control over PulseWidth, noise cutoff, and noise level. Octaves range from -3 to 4.
Or program one of the 3 BPM sequencers with ten rates, 2 to 16 steps, and end/loop modes.
The filter, pitch, and PW modulation envelopes have stages from 1 to 8, 13 curves, and a sustain point from 1 to 7.
Envelopes can also be turned off when unnecessary, saving you CPU power. Choose from 3 different filters
- 1 Oscillator Synth
- 4 Waveforms
- Pulse Width
- 3 BPM Sequencers
- Modulation Envelopes
- 3 Filters
- 2 LFOs
- 19 Waveforms
- 14 BPM Speeds
38911 Bytes | PC
With this plugin, you can easily create 8-bit video game music and sound effects that will blow your mind.
It’s perfect for anyone who wants to create retro-style video game music or have some fun making crazy noises.
Bitboy is extremely user-friendly, with a brilliant GUI that makes creating 8-bit sounds a breeze.
Bitboy | PC
8. BiT BOX
The BiT BOX 8-bit drum rompler is a device that anyone can use to create classic video game sounds.
It comes pre-loaded with over 500 sounds to create your favorite 8-bit tunes easily.
The BiT BOX also has randomization functions, so you can create new and exciting sounds every time you use it.
BiT BOX | PC
The NESTri is an excellent way to add some extra 8-bit flair to your music.
It’s a faithful emulation of the sound chip used in the classic Nintendo Entertainment System and can be used as a virtual instrument in your DAW or as a plugin effect.
NESTri | PC
This VST plug-in emulates the classic YM2149 sound chip, giving you all the 8-bit goodness you could ever want.
With a graphic user interface that is both easy to use and powerful, mVST is the perfect tool for any ST fan looking to create chiptune music on their PC.
ymVST | PC
Bleep is inspired by the MOS Technology SID chipset but takes things in a new direction.
You can create all sorts of sounds with three oscillators and four waveforms.
Each oscillator has its own detuner, ADSR envelope, and multimode LP/BP/HP filter.
There’s also a multimode LFO synced with BPM, a modulator envelope generator, and a pseudo arpeggiator.
Bleep | PC
12. 8-Bit Treats
8-Bit Treats is a series of plugins that emulates the classic sounds of retro game consoles.
Resident Tracktion programmer Roland Rabien has created accurate emulations of some of the most iconic sound chips from consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Game Boy, and the Commodore 64.
These simple yet effective plugins are a fun way to add some vintage flavor to your music production tracks.
- Emulates Nintendo Game Boy
- Square Wave Channels
- 1 Noise Channel
- 2 Square Wave Channels
- 1 Noise Channel
- Emulates The Commodore 64
- 3 Oscillators
- 4 Wave Shapes: Square, Noise, Triangle, Saw
- ADSR Per Oscillator
- Ring Modulation
- Sync Between Oscillators
8-Bit Treats | PC & Mac / Linux
Chip32 is a simple wave table synthesizer that produces chip sound.
Chip32 | PC & Mac
bLO-FIsh is a versatile and powerful LO-FI synthesizer that brings classic 8-bit sounds to life with more traditional synth elements.
With three wave oscillators, extensive modulation options, and a 16-step gate, bLO-FIsh is great for creating musical and rhythmic tracks.
- 3 Wave Oscillators
- Graphic Amplitude ADSRS
- Output Routing Options
- Sync Feedback Loop
- Graphic ADSRs
- Pan & Volume Controls
bLO-FIsh | PC & Mac
This powerful synth boasts two oscillators with custom pulse waveforms, making it capable of producing some truly massive sounds.
And with adjustable pulse width, you can create all sorts of wild and crazy sonic effects. The Tempo-sync LFO is also great for creating pulsing, rhythmic textures.
PULS | PC
The LowBitMonoSyn is a monophonic low-bit oscillator synthesizer that is perfect for creating eerie and atmospheric sounds.
Its two oscillators create haunting, otherworldly tones that will send shivers down your spine.
The pitch control and envelope modulation allow you to create exactly the sound you want, while the portamento feature gives your music a truly ethereal quality.
The LowBitMonoSyn is also perfect for creating background ambiance for movies and video games.
LowBitMonoSyn | PC & Mac
The Unicycle is an 8-bit wave synth that gives you access to 300 four-cycle waveforms.
The ADSR drawbars are connected to the amp, pitch, filter, and badness controls, making it easy to create complex soundscapes and rhythms.
The double LFOs can be tempo-synced or left to run free. For added dirty goodness, there are also sample-rate and bit-rate reducers, as well as a great decimator.
Unicycle | PC
If you love the sound of classic video games, the Piconizer is the perfect device for you.
This unique little gadget transforms any sound into the 8-bit sound of the NES, giving you a truly authentic gaming experience.
There are six different types of sounds to choose from, so you can find the perfect one to suit your mood.
Piconizer | PC
19. Plogue Chipsounds ( Trial )
Plogue chip sounds authentically emulate 15 vintage 8-bit era sound chips, down to their smallest idiosyncrasies.
This gives you access to all the classic sounds used in early video games and computers.
It dynamically reproduces the sound effects and musical techniques made famous by innovative chip music composers and classic video game sound designers.
Plogue Chipsounds | PC & Mac
20. Magical 8-Bit Plugin
The Magical 8bit Plug is the perfect tool for anyone looking to reproduce the classic sounds of early video game consoles.
This software synthesizer generates primitive electronic sounds reminiscent of the 8-bit gaming era. You can use it as a plugin for various host applications that support Audio Units or VST.
This new version introduces 1-bit noise, which can emulate the sound of original consoles even more closely.
With its precise controls for 8-bit style expressions, the Magical 8bit Plug is the perfect way to bring those classic video game sounds to your music projects.
- 8-Bit Style Waveforms
- ADSR Envelope
- Pitch Bend Capability
- Depth Control
- Auto Bending
- Vibrato Expression
- Custom Envelopes
- Portamento Notes
- Arpeggiator Polyphony
Magical 8bit Plug | PC & Mac
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is 8-Bit Music?
8-bit music is a type of chiptune music that is often used in old video games. The music is created by using sound chips from old arcade games and home computers. 8-bit music usually has a retro feel to it and can be used to create nostalgic effects in modern films and video games.
What Does 8-Bit Music Sound Like?
8-bit music generally has a very Lo-Fi sound to it that is reminiscent of early video games.
The instruments used are mostly synth sounds that have been created to mimic the sound chips found in older arcade games and home consoles.
There is often a lot of electronic hiss and noise in the background as well, which again adds to the old-school video game aesthetic. Despite its rough, around-the-edge sound, 8-bit music can be quite catchy and melodic.
And even though the instrumentation is fairly basic, there is still a lot of room for creativity. A lot of the time, 8-bit songs will have simple yet unforgettable melodies that will stay stuck in your head for days on end.
I hope you found this list of free 8-bit VST plugins helpful.