MATRIXSYNTH: Crumar Bit99 synth demo - instant 80s

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crumar Bit99 synth demo - instant 80s

Published on Sep 7, 2015 Susan Gardener

An overview of the Crumar Bit99.

"This is the Crumar Bit99, produced in 1985.
It was marketed simply as the brand Bit with no mention of Crumar, presumably as a rebranding exercise. They were jumping on the digital bandwagon with the name, but apart from the oscillators and control circuitry this is an analog synth. The DCOs, unlike many of their competitors, are not digitally controlled analog oscillators - I understand the waveforms are digitally generated. After the oscillators, the signal path is pure analog with 6 voice polyphony and a bi-timbral capability. You can layer sounds - either in mono or stereo, or split sounds across the keyboard. The stereo is simply 2 outputs, one for each layer, or if a single timbre is selected it will split voices across the outputs. In the demo I have the lower output assigned left and the upper output assigned right.

The architecture was quite advanced for its day, with 2 oscillators and 2 envelope generators per voice. It also has fully assignable velocity sensitivity and full MIDI capability. The design philosophy was very much 'no knobs', but with the architecture and parameter numbers printed on the front, editing was actually pretty simple.

The Bit99 was the top of the range of Bit synths from Crumar, following on from the Bit One keyboard and Bit 01 expander. I'm not sure why it never really caught on as it's the equal of synths such as Roland's JX8P, which I also own."

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