It’s hard to believe what web browsers are capable of these days, even on smartphones and tablets.
Igor Zinken’s WebSID puts a synthesizer based on the vintage Commodore 64 “SID” module into supported web browsers on any computer, smartphone, or tablet. In our experience, it was most fun on a device with a touchscreen. Bookmark it on your iPhone or Android, and you’ll be ready to play ridiculous, vintage digital basslines through any sound system you might encounter.
Here’s how it works, according to Zinken’s email:
In WebSID, two keyboards provide control over the synthesizer. The upper keyboard keeps the limits of the original SID in mind (try hitting three simultaneous notes for getting that trademark 80s videogame sound), while the lower keyboard provides modern polyphony. For further sonic manipulation the sound can be routed through resonant filters and echo leading to either a subtle enhancement of the overall tonal quality, or a descent into complete mayhem.
He tells us that WebSID, which creates all of its sounds mathematically (i.e. no samples), works in the Google Chrome browser and mobile Safari. It also worked for us on FireFox and desktop Safari too, so whatever your browser of choice, feel free to give WebSID a shot.
If you enjoy the dirty, low-fi, caveman-digital sound of WebSID but crave more sophisticated compositions than what you’re capable of, you could do worse than this extended DJ set of SID music, consisting of later-era SID videogame soundtracks: