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EHX Mainframe Bit Crusher: retro video game tones for your pedalboard

The Mainframe Bit Crusher from Electro-Harmonix lets you create lo-fi digital sounds reminiscent of the early days of video games.

Electro-Harmonix has released the Mainframe Bit Crusher, an effect pedal that conjures up the sounds of the golden age of console and arcade games. It’s achieved by deliberately — and artfully — reducing the signal’s overall quality.

The Mainframe Bit Crusher intentionally reduces sonic fidelity in multiple ways. There is a sample rate reduction that ranges between 48kHz to 110Hz, meaning that the effect can either be subtle or severe, unearthing completely unrecognisable tones from your guitar.

Electro Harmonix Mainframe Bit Crusher

Another way the Mainframe Bit Crusher reduces overall sound quality is through bit depth reduction (as the name of the pedal suggests). Its bit depth reduction ranges between 24-bit to 1-bit. Increased bit reduction causes sampling errors to occur and produces a sound that brings the classic 8-bit soundtracks of ’80s video games back to life. 

A notable feature is the pedal’s sample rate turning mode, which analyses input as you play to match the pitch of your signal. There’s also a selectable high/low/band-pass filter to help shape the artifacts of the bit crushing and sample rate reduction.

To find out more head to the Electro-Harmonix website.