Chrome Experiment - WebSID Commodore 64 synthesizer

What is it ?

Having been tempted to test the WebAudio API's capabilities beyond the initial WebAudio experiment (the touch synthesizer listed elsewhere on this page), this experiment is built upon parts of the audio engine I created for Android's MikroWave (also listed elsewhere on this page) by porting the C++ code to JavaScript so it can run inside a web browser.

Rather than creating a "new" synthesizer, this experiment pays homage to the Commodore 64's SID chip, a synthesis chip with limitations that the musical programmers overcame in clever ways to create the most awe-inspiring sounds.

Let's put it this way: that rippling arpeggio sound (a fast note sequence) that is eternally linked to old-school video game sounds ? It was pioneered by the SID (as it could only play three channels of audio simultaneously, chords were mostly outlined by playing their notes in rapid succession in sequence, leaving the two remaining channels free for drum and bass sounds).

WebSID is an official Chrome Experiment.

Want to see it ?

You can view the experiment here. Note that Google Chrome or Safari 6+ is required, altough it works to an extent in FireFox 25+. It is also freely available for offline use in the Chrome Web Store.

Addendum:

By popular request, the WebSID project is now under continuous improvement. After the initial experiment has been posted online, several features have been added since:

  • Sequencer (including metronome) added
  • Ability to record and overlay recordings
  • Save and restore songs on your device
  • Share your songs online with friends
  • Offline support: play WebSID without an active internet connection
  • Play WebSID using an attached keyboard by using Web MIDI (Chrome only)

For more details regarding this project, you can view the dedicated case page.

Video for WebSID