What is 1-bit music?

(since I've originally posted this on an arduino forum, I made an introduction to 1-bit music, I assume most people here knows about this, but I've kept the introduction anyway, "just in case"...)

It's music made from the speaker of a computer (no dedicated sound card), the state of the speaker can be 0 or 1. Generally it sounds very crude, like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IOL4q5tDDQ (which can be cool too, this tune is so great)

But since the 80's it was possible to get a better sound through dedicated sound engines, made in assembly code, especially on the ZX Spectrum beeper (intro music for some game, it used so much CPU that is was not possible to have in-game music, remember, on ZX 48 there was no sound card):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRUQr457zkw (game is from 1987)

I've seen some 1-bit music project on Arduino, but none had gone very far. Until now!

Shiru, the grand-master of 1-bit music on ZX Spectrum, has ported two of his engines on Arduino, from z80 ASM to Arduino in C. And it sounds pretty cool!

Here are the links to these 2 threads on our 1-bit music forum:

you can just download the arduino code, plug an old PC speaker or buzzer on PIN7 and GND of your Arduino, and you'll get great music!

You can of course make your own music with some dedicated trackers, and convert it to play on your arduino!

Here is a link to a quick recording I made with one of the engine:

remember, it's not sampled music, it's generated in 1-bit from the arduino itself!

Last edited by garvalf (February 14, 2017 2:26 pm)

Interesting! Probably you could combine this with a MIDI shield and get a MIDI controlable 1-bit synth (or maybe that's already been done, haven't looked through the thread yet).

new engine, the famous QChan!

maybe it would be doable to create a synth out of those engines, who knows...

Last edited by garvalf (February 15, 2017 3:57 pm)

This is super cool. I was just reading something about this the other day.

Hope someone does make these into some kind of realtime synth, I love the idea but don't use trackers really smile

Cementimental wrote:

Hope someone does make these into some kind of realtime synth, I love the idea but don't use trackers really smile

Me too

Dope, I might get started messing around with this later this evening! If I can get anything interesting out of it, I'll come back and post for sure. If I don't get anything interesting, I'll try again wink

yeah, a synth would be cool. I know it's different from a real hardware stuff, but just for you to know, Shiru already made a 1-bit instruments VST you can use with your synth, here is a demo: https://soundcloud.com/theandroidvision … o-vst-demo and 1bit studio can be downloaded from there: https://shiru.untergrund.net/software.shtml

thank you for the "  What are 'duinos? I don't know 1 bit about the subject! " in the banner wink

and now Tritone engine on Arduino as well! Nobody can stop Shiru it seems!!