I'm working on a videogame soundtrack for mobile devices (smartphones and such) where size matters, so I'm using midi format for the music.

For style reasons, I'd like the midi files to sound 8-bit/chiptune, like being played by an old console/computer sound chip.

Besides the obvious, like using instruments like square and sawtooth waves (and maybe flute as sine), and keeping the number of tracks and polyphony down to a minimum, I wonder if there is more I can do, specially with the MIDI controls, like reverb, echo, etc...

I'm looking more for the 'quality' of sound rather than any kind of musical arrangement, hence why I ask this here, instead of Music Stack Exchange.

I am aware of programs like GXSCC, but this converts the midi to wav, mp3, etc, and the final file must be a midi.

2 Answers 2


It's really the sound of the digital to audio converter in old computers that give it that lo-fi 8-bit sound. There are bit-crusher style plug-ins (like you've mentioned) that can do that to audio files, however, unfortunately there's no way to emulate that with MIDI.


As mentioned above, something like a bit-crusher or a distortion plug-in but these usually process 'audio' and as far as I know. Also as you mentioned using square waves and saw tooth. Perhaps something similar could be made by messing with how the volume cuts in and out.

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