basic64, free Windows plug-in emulation of Commodore 64 SID

basic64 is a free (donations accepted) VST plug-in for Windows. You can see the full specs on the developer site, but let’s skip straight to what sets this one apart:

  • Oscillator sync
  • Ring modulation
  • Pitch envelopes
  • Tempo-synced arpeggiator
  • MIDI learn on everything

Pretty powerful for free. It’s not a full SID emulation, but then, I think an “inspired” version is better anyway. Now, enough blogging, I’m off to go play with this thing. And yes, lots of weird and wonderful plug-ins is one excellent reason to use Windows, even if just a justification for throwing XP Home on Boot Camp on a MacBook.

basic64 on de La Mancha
and lots of other free/donationware plugs from them

Via the good peoples of Sonic State

  • awesome! Will be giving this a whirl after work.

  • This looks like real good fun. I have been finding a lot of the free synths and effects a lot more stimulating than their commercial brothers recently.

  • Teh awesome.

  • cool! complex sounding 🙂 made a short track:

  • thesimplicity

    I've been using Unknown64 for a while and it's the closest I've come to full on SID emulation.

  • SH*T SH*T SH*T SH*T SH*T!!!

    (Mac user)

  • Anyone know a good Mac alternative? (other than, naturally, the BEST alternative — a Commodore 64.)

    Yeah, lots of reasons to use Boot Camp, even if just as a plug-in testbed. 🙂

  • Steve, the creator of basic64, is a great case in point about freeware: it is typically more creative than that which you can purchase for astronomical prices.

    Wise up! The freeware world is better than you could ever imagine! 🙂

    I love your CDM blog and read it every day, so I laughed a lot at the fact that, while I'm spending hours creating patches for de la Mancha's upcoming morphing-waveform synth, he's succumbed to the "Jack Dark syndrome" – a well-known phenomenon whereby your most inventive efforts are ignored, but your download bandwidth will be crushed by people grabbing the Commodore 64 chiptune synth you created! This hasn't happened to just de la Mancha or Jack Dark of Darkware/Novuzeit fame, either…

    I'm glad that my favorite blogger is starting to take notice of my favorite developers.

  • Dave D

    Oh maaaaan. No mac version! This looks really cool, really cant stand the interface on quadraSID, its not very intuitive, this look smuch better….

    I love the sid chip sound!

  • I want some people to develop free plugins for mac. Actually, I guess I have one that I developed using SonicBirth, but its kinda bulky since its a convolution reverb that requires IR files. Is there a place to submit free plugins?

  • Anyone with free plug-ins is certainly welcome to send them our way; definitely for publicity but also potentially for hosting if you need it.

  • @runagate:

    Let us know about that morphing synth. We'll be happy to crush bandwidth on that, too. 😉

    (PS, if anyone needs bandwidth for free software, again, we may be able to help… the least we can do, after crushing it. And I know some other sites have gotten involved with that, as well.)


    I have tested, recorded with and read the help/manual of about 1500 freeware VSTs. I am more than happy to point out the links to freeware VSTs of any sort anytime, just email me or PM me on KVR. I'm not the only one; we're a helpful group, we VST-obsessed nutjobs but we owe a lot to the freeware developers who enable our addiction in the first place so a lot of us are available every single day. I just wrote an essay about the bleeding-edge sound design concepts about an unlistenable entheogenic whorl of a track I "recorded" last night and have no reason to believe anyone's going to read it anyways 🙂 Damn my do-gooder heart.

    @Bryan Tewell: the reason I switched from being a Mac-tech to owning a PC (back in the Win ME days, if you can believe that) is because of the insane proliferation of software available to PC-users. That alone, but that is more than enough. Just the freeware plug-ins DtBlkFx and Lost Technology alone will keep me in Gate's evil clutches til the revolution in VST-enabling on Linux is complete (sooner than you might think…).

    As to metamorph… it's unreleased as of yet, but xoxos ( just released the freeware isnonnu which is at least roughly similar and is in need of some patch designers' contributions, too. A wonderland of physical modelling synthesis freeware instruments and a bunch of other amazing freeware VSTs. Check out the physical models of wind, thunder and insects, the struck, tuned plates, the strings or the "impulse clusters"…

    Ok I've ranted enough for the time being. Sorry bout that.

    I'll ask around and see if anyone would like to contribute a freeware VST to be hosted here as I certianly am interested in more people finding out about my favorite blog.

  • PetitZozo

    Xoxos has some really nice stuff, although the physical weather models have been done and redone, and even a lot better. Check his other stuff, like breathcube, which is pure genius.

    From the KVR developer challenge this year there is also Grapheed which is pretty nice.

    And of course that damn Blip, which stole a lot of my evenings recently. This thing brings the fun back into the music creation. I plan on using it for a performance later this year because it has an immediate relation between the music and the graphics, and people understand it right from the start. That, and it's so #?%$ fun :-).

  • Basic64 is a lovely versatile instrument.

    de la Mancha offers great plug-ins at no cost. I love his multi-effect truc plug-in.

  • Aren't there ways of creating and designing plugins that can be compiled in multiple operating systems?

  • @ Keith Handy

    No, but having heard a lot of developers talk about this I'll try to explain why it rarely happens in a sort of non-technical melange of what seems to be the consensus:

    It's apparently bad enough having to know programming and DSP theory (think about it: how many genuine musicians are there in the programming world?) but then having to know the OS of Windows, Mac and Linux is rather extreme. The amount of time it'd take to know all that could more valuably be spent making more new plug-ins. Or having 2 jobs.

    Then, with Mac, they break backward compatability all the time. Right now we've got the new split between the old and the universal binary. Plus the Audio Units standard has it's backward compatability broken without warning much more often than the OS whereas Steinerg's VST software development kit rarely changes and allows more wiggle room. Remember: they get bug reports from all the PC DAW platforms and there's probably many more than you realize, not all of which deal with the VST standard the same way. Just because it works in Bidule doesn't mean it'll work in Reaper or FLStudio or Tracktion.

    So even when you think of one plug-in on one OS and one DAW platform it's already something I shudder to contemplate doing. Apparently porting a VST to be a Mac UB is a non-negligible task and, once done, you've got a whole new user-base demanding tech suppost and feature requests (freeware developers are generally much more responive to their user base than those who sell $500 plug-ins strangely).

    So it's sort of a conditional no. You can develop a VST for one OS, and then port essentially the same thing for another OS with a lot of work, but it's just not worth the effort unless you already happen to be anexpert on both. They can't exactly be made to be compiled on each of the big three OSes from the same code.

  • Hi,

    Now that looks like a really kewl program or plug in.

    I always loved the music on the c-64 it was awesome and still is.


  • B33D13Z


    I have been wanting to start making some chiptune music of my own after listening to it for so long!

    Please have patience, but, how do you open the dll plugin file?

    sorry + much thanks 😛