Decimort 2 is currently regarded as one of the highest-ranking bit-crusher plugins on the market. While many plugins can help reduce bitrate, only the best ones can deliver a sophisticated low-quality effect. In this Decimort 2 review, we've stress-tested the plugin to find out whether it's really worth your hard-earned music bucks or not.
Decimort 2 (Quick Review)
Is The Decimort 2 Worth It? (Quick Answer)
Windows: VST2, VST3, AAX ( Windows 7, 8, 10 running 32-bit or 64-bit)
Mac: AU, VST2, VST3, AAX (Mac OS X 10.9 or higher running 64 bit only)
Price: $55, or Rent-To-Own at $4.99 for 10 months via Splice.com.
Decimort 2 is a bit-crusher, using highly sophisticated signal processing algorithms to recreate the resampling routes and emulate the aliasing found in old-school samplers. Whether you want to create old-school vibes or modern lo-fi beats, Decimort 2 can do it instantly. With Rent-To-Own options at $4.99/month, Decimort 2 is worth it.
✅ Sophisticated low-quality effect.
✅ Resampler Freq. dial is very powerful, lending instant lo-fi mojo.
✅ Great for piano, drums and synths.
✅ Great for mixing harsh sounds.
✅Mid-riser and mid-tread quantization creates varied dynamic responses.
✅ A highly useful steep Approximation Filter for noiseless sweeping.
✅ Excellent filter section.
❌ Steep learning curve. Takes a long time to understand what each knob/parameter does.
What Is The Decimort 2 & What Does It Do?
Decimort 2 is a bit-crusher that recreates the aliasing and resampling from classic samplers to deliver a highly sophisticated low-quality sound. Along with a harmonically rich Jitter function and noise-masking Dithering, Decimort 2 also has an excellent filter section. You're bound to get grit and character out of any sound you pass through.
While only using emulated Aliasing from classic samplers, there are no residual artefacts left in the sound.
The two quantization methods- the mid-raiser and the mid-tread decimation algorithms layer a rich, dynamic sound. This can be further refined with the Approximation and Images Filter.
How Does It Sound?
The Decimort 2 sounds fantastic on almost anything you run through. It can add a classic, sampler-like character to your sound, which is instantly noticeable. Whether you want to fatten your drums or make your piano vibe better, the Decimort 2 can do it all. If used innovatively, it could be great for sound design too.
We've created some sounds and left the settings below so you can listen to how it sounds:
Drake Piano Before
Arp Pad Before
Hip Hop Track Before
Drake Piano After
Arp Pad After
Hip Hop Track After
What Features Do I Get With The Decimort 2?
Drake Lo-Fi Effects On Your Fingertips
The famous Drake piano sound is pretty straightforward to achieve in Decimort 2.
We've tried to achieve a similar effect on some grand piano chords. You can follow along by listening to the before and after in the sound samples section.
On Decimort 2, lowering the sample rate alone generates a kind of musical hiss, accompanied by a ringing tone. This is especially noticeable as you go below the 11kHz mark.
In our piano example, pulling down the sample rate from 44.1kHz to around 7kHz gives us a characteristic crunchy hiss sound that immediately dies due to lack of sustain. Behaving like it has been side-chained, the crunchy hiss is only prominent when the attack of the piano keys is short. Using a long attack on the piano might not work in this case.
Now that we have established the hiss, we can start reducing the cut-off frequency to around 400–800 Hz. This immediately dampens the tone, making it moody but with the resampled details.
You can choose to reduce the Resolution to around 6 or 7 if you like how it sounds. By raising the Resonance, you will expose the necessary harmonics that need to be heard. Somewhere around the 4th or the 5th dial on the Resonance should do the trick.
Converting Corrective Dithering Into A Musical Asset
Using a tool like dithering to be used as a sound design element is a highly innovative concept. While lowering your bit rate from, say, 24 bit to 16 bit, various anomalies like noise and artifacts are created in your audio.
This is due to the fact that when reducing the sample rate, you're quantizing or fitting in 24-bit information into a 16-bit slot. By doing so, we experience a kind of quantization error, which presents itself as noise or distortion. This distortion is the unpleasant kind of noise that can make your audio sound rougher, even if it exists in small quantities.
This is where Dithering comes to the rescue. Dithering helps distract you from the unpleasant noise by collecting and spreading it in an uneven fashion. Dithering converts this noise into a usable effect by converting it into a musical hiss.
The way that Decimort 2 uses Dithering is by adding an element of control to it. By acting as a noise-shaper, Decimort 2 allows you to dial in the level of musical hiss you want. So rather than sulking over the lost bits, Decimort 2 uses this anamoly into an asset by offering diallable musical grit at your fingertips!
Dreamy Distant Guitar Tones
As we're dealing with reduced bit rates in Decimort 2, Aliasing becomes absolutely crucial. Aliasing is a kind of anamoly that occurs when recording analogue sound into a DAW. The digital recreation of the analogue signal has to be precise. If not, we experience a form of distortion or noise.
This Aliasing can be completely wiped out below the frequency dial you set on the Decimort 2's Approximation Filter. The steepness of this low pass filter makes sure you still retain tone quality. You can listen to this feature in action in the guitar track in the sound samples.
We chose a guitar and ran it through the Decimort 2. We switched on the Approximation Filter and set the Frequency Deviation dial to -20%. We also bought the Resolution down to 4.
You can hear how the lower Resolution envelops the guitar tone, while -20% on the Approximation Filter makes the guitar lose its definition. Dialling in positive values like +20% on the Approx. Filter would accentuate the note attack more.
How Can You Judge The Quality Of Low Quality Effects?
Resampling is the process of changing the sample rate and bit depth of an audio file. Upsampling means increasing the sample rate from, say, 44.1kHz/16-bit resolution to 48kHz/24-bit, while downsampling means reducing the sample rate from 96kHz to 48kHz.
The Resampler section in Decimort 2 does exactly that. With sophisticated algorithm processing, the Decimort emulates the resampling process followed by high-quality AD/DA converters.
With all this happening in the background, you can freely manipulate the sample rate by moving the big circular dial in the middle.
You can hear this in action in our sound samples. The Arp pad is set to around 10kHz, and the Drake piano sample is set to 7kHz. The guitar sample goes all the way down to 5.5kHz. Going lower than 2.7kHz, without tweaking the Approx. Filter will give you a thunderous low end, which is highly usable in atmospheric sound design.
Aliasing Emulated From Old School Samplers
Since we're working in the field of Aliasing, which is primarily an anamoly, the plugin's quality can only be judged on how well it uses Aliasing.
Decimort 2 claims to have no internal aliasing of its own. Using this as a starting point, they've emulated the colorful Aliasing in old-school samplers and drum machines.
If all this technical jargon seems too much, you can start by browsing through the preset emulations. You'll find everything from the MPC to SCS440 to the 12-bit SP1200.
What About The Technical Stuff?
How Hard is Decimort 2 on The CPU?
We stress-tested the Decimort 2 on a Mac Mini M1 2020, running Big Sur 11.2.1 with 8GB RAM, an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores, and 4 efficiency cores. With 10 instances open on 60+ tracks, the Decimort 2 performed fairly well. But we experienced slight lagging while resuming projects on the Real-time Normal mode.
Unlike a Compressor or EQ, you won't be putting the Decimort 2 on all your tracks in a project. So, the slight lagging that we experienced can be overlooked.
What Does My System Need To Run It?
Sample rate tweaking can be pretty challenging on your computer. While we ran the Decimort 2 on 8GB RAM, the company does recommend a RAM of 16GB+. We've listed below the ideal specs to run the Decimort 2:
- Anything above MacOS 10.9 should work.
- 8 GB RAM is a must. 16GB+ should work comfortably.
- Intel 1.8Ghz of CPU is a minimum. 2.4Ghz should be considered optimum.
- Only 64 bit compatible.
- DAWs that support VST 2 and 3, AU, and AAX should do.
- Windows 7, 8, and 10 should work.
- 8 GB RAM is a must. 16GB+ should work comfortably.
- 2Ghz of CPU with an SSE is a must. 2.1Ghz would be optimum.
- 32 bit or 64 bit works fine.
- DAWs that support VST 2 and 3, and AAX should do.
What About UI & Utility? How Easy is It To Use?
With HiDPI being supported, the Decimort 2 is quite attractive to look at. With GUI resizing ranging from 60% to 200%, the screen sizes can be set to your liking.
There are dedicated Real-time and Offline quality options to choose from. From Draft to Normal to High to Ultra, you can set the plugin according to your computer's processing capabilities
With MIDI CC mapping available, you can also connect the Decimort 2 to other devices.
With the Filter, Resampler, and Quantizer sections being colored differently, it's relatively easy to navigate across the plugin.
Once you get the hang of what each knob does, it's a reasonably straightforward plugin to use, with few complications.
What Are Others Saying About The Decimort 2?
Countless reviews across the internet praise the Decimort 2 for its classic old-school sound. Surprisingly, many users praise its ability to help harsh sounds fit well in a mix. While users love the value-for-money component, some feel you could squeeze out these functions from Serum or Ableton's native bit-crusher.
We've listed some of the user reviews below (click to enlarge):
How Does The Decimort 2 Stand Up To The Competition?
The bit-crusher by Cableguys called CrushShaper is also a multiband sound design tool where you can draw LFOs as freely as you can sculpt lo-fi melodies. Though entirely different in design, they both lie within the same price range.
Choosing between these plugins comes down to what kind of interface you fancy. While CrushShaper feels like working on a modern synth, Decimort 2 gives you the classic hardware unit experience.
You can grab the Decimort 2 at Plugin Boutique.
Decimort 2 (Quick Review)
I purchased the Decimort 2 plugin, but I don't know where to start. How can I get it to sound like an old-school track?
With close to 30 presets, including old-school samplers, browsing through the preset window is the best place to start. Or begin by lowering the Resampler dial to less than 11kHz and the Resolution to below 7. Switch to the Lowpass and increase the Resonance above half. You can now add Jitter and Preamp to taste.
Is Decimort 2, The Bit-Crusher The Same As A Distortion Plugin?
No. Bitcrushing isn't the same as distortion. As bits get reduced, a ‘quantization error' occurs, which creates noise or artifact. Decimort 2 masks this noise by dithering. Since we have controllable dithering, we can perform noise shaping, which makes it sound similar to distortion.
Sai is a full-time music producer located in India, and is head of Faculty at D7 Media Institute. He is the most passionate music production guru I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Fantastic at sound design, mixing, and recording, Sai heads most of the review content, as well as dabbling in some mixing and mastering content too here at WCS. Give Sai any topic and he could write forever about it. He has over 10 years of experience working in the industry and has earned both Music Production and Music Composition & Piano degrees.