Bit One
Digital/Analog synthesizer



This black beauty is one of the many semi-unknown Italian synthesizers of the '80s.  It is a typical digital/analog hybrid, sporting two DCOs, VCF, VCA, and two LFOs.  The programming on this synth can be a little cumbersome - it was the era of knob-gone digital after all...  so programming is similar to other synths of the time:  a keypad to change the parameter, and two up-down buttons to alter the value of the parameter dialed.  The parameter list and flow diagram are stenciled on a large graphic in the middle of the front panel.

Several keyboard modes are provided;  you can split the keyboard, or layer two sounds (double).  There's even a very cool Unison button that makes for some excellent, fat sounds.  The pitch and mod wheels are above the keyboard, and on top of each other, as opposed to a more traditional side-by-side - for this reason, the Bit One is a nice, compact five-octave synthesizer.

The Bit One is a "stereo" synth, providing Upper (left) and Lower (right) separate outputs.  The notes will come out of each channel at random.  I'm not sure if it is a problem with my machine in particular or if all Bit Ones are like this.  Best to stay in mono (Upper) if you don't like the resulting effect.

There are four two-character displays:  (parameter) value, address (the parameter selected), Lower Prg and Upper Prg.  A compare button is also provided.


Crumar Bit One factory patch lists

Here's a .pdf of the original Factory Preset Name List, kindly provided by Don Turnock - who used to sell Crumar synths in the '80s- thank you very much, Don, for providing all of us with precious, rare information on this synth!

And here's a .pdf of the original Factory Preset Name List of Version II and III of the Bit One, plus MIDI information on the Bit 01, also provided by Don Turnock - thank you, Don!

Crumar Bit One audio demos


Stream all audio examples below:

Preset name with audio demo My comments
01  PIANO 1 A grand piano emulation.  Not bad for analog
02  PIANO 2 Another piano sound.  A brighter variation and a very good sound.
03  DIGI PIANO 1 An electric piano of some sort.  A very haunting sound, actually.
04  ELECTRIC PIANO 1 Very nice electric piano with tremolo.  Easy to obtain with the Bit One's two low frequency oscillators, one for the filter, and one for, as in this case, the amplifier.
05  ELECTRIC PIANO 2 Excellent sound!!!  A Fender Rhodes Suitcase with tremolo.
06  CLAVICHORD Standard harpsichord sound, well programmed.
07  DIGI PIANO 2 Great 1980s sound!
08  SEQUENCER BASS Another piano-like preset, with a woody quality.  Excellent tremolo.
09  DYNAMIC PULSE Killer analog synth bass!  These are the '80s, my friends.  Works also for the right hand, as you can hear.
10  FUNKY BASS/CLAVINET Similar to above.
11  DYNAMIC PULSE + 1st HARMONIC Nice synth sound with tremolo.  Notice how it is possible to control the tremolo speed with the dynamic keyboard (press harder, faster tremolo).  Hey, in 1984 this was a cool, very expressive feature, and they are showing it off in the presets.
12  DYNAMIC PULSE + 2nd HARMONIC Staccato synth
13  SHIFTED DYNAMIC CLAVINET Analog!  Reminds me of Howard Jones a bit.
14  SHIFTED "Dirty" accompaniment/pad synth
15  SAW + PULSE SHORT DECAY Outstanding, FAT synth bass!  Works also for the right hand.
16  HIGH RESONANCE BASS Very cool resonant synth - funky and expressive!  Moog-like.
17  DIGITAL BELL 1 Detuned bell sound.  Very hypnotic and cuts through the mix. (DOUBLE WITH PRESET 18 TO OBTAIN "DIGITAL BELL" (last two octaves)
18  DIGITAL BELL 2 Another bell sound  (DOUBLE WITH PRESET 17 TO OBTAIN "DIGITAL BELL" (last two octaves)
19  BRASS 1 Great example of typical '80s synth brass.  This synth is powerful!
20  BRASS 2 Awesome patch!!!!!!!  This isn't coming from a Jupiter-8, folks... this is a Bit One!
21  FAST BRASS 1 Variation of the above - great '80s synth brass sound.
22  FAST BRASS 2 Yet another variation of the synth brass sound.
23  BRASS 3 Gentler, muted synth brass sound.
24  STRING 1 String ensemble.  Typical analog.
25  STRING 2 A warmer example of string ensemble
26  DYNAMIC STRING 1 (fast attack) Emulation of a string orchestra.
27  DYNAMIC STRING 2 (fast bowing) Darker strings.  Great for pads.
28  TOUCH VELOCITY CONTROLLED MODULATION Fabulous synth sound!!!  Showcasing the dynamic keyboard controlling the LFO
29  SAWTOOTH RESONANCE STRING THE 1980s!  Silky, chorused synthesizer sound
32  BACKGROUND SAWTOOTH Dark pad synth
33  SOFT BRASS + RELEASE Long filter resonance synth
34  GUITAR 1 find sync Synth-Pop 'R Us
35  GUITAR 2 find sync Gentle, classy synth sound.  Reminds of the band "Berlin" and their songs for that famous '80s film "Top Gun"
36  CLASSICAL GUITAR find sync Jazz guitar sound.  Warm and expressive
37  SHIFTED GUITAR/CLAVI find sync + open Modulation Comp synth
38  SHIFTED GUITAR/CLAVI + Large Sawtooth - find SYNC. + open MOD. Warm, detuned pad
39  FUNKY GUITAR Remember the song "I can't wait" by Nu Shooz?  This synth bass could be a good choice for it.
40  POLY DECAY 1 Synth-meets-organ sound
41  LEAD TRUMPET Great horn sound!  This would be even more expressive using a breath controller.
42  FLUTE (add NOISE) Well-programmed flute sound with breath noise.
43  JAZZ ORGAN Hammond organ sound.  With lots of "key-click" effect.
44  INVERTED ENVELOPE SQUARE Square wave synth sound.
45  DYNAMIC PERCUSSIVE ORGAN A percussive organ.  This preset is a great one to show off the Bit One's unison effect - Note how it changes the character of the sound.
47  WOOD + METAL PERCUSSION 1 Wooden mallet, gentle sound.  Nice.
48  WOOD + METAL PERCUSSION 2 Variation of the above
49  SQUARE SPACE CELESTE A steam-pipe organ sound
50  SQUARE GHOSTS Similar to the above, a Calliope sound
51  NORMAL GHOSTS Very analog string-ensemble
52  MODULATED GHOSTS Special synth effect.  Spacey and UFO.
53  SINUS TONE Great for ambient, or film-scoring (DOUBLE WITH PRESET 54 TO OBTAIN "DOUBLE VIBRAPHONE")
54  HARMONIC (Bell) Icey, digital tinkle bell sound (DOUBLE WITH PRESET 53 TO OBTAIN "DOUBLE VIBRAPHONE")
55  HARMONIC Similar to the above, with a more wooden quality (DOUBLE WITH PRESET 56 TO OBTAIN "DOUBLE DIGI PERCUSSION")
57  BELLS/SISTRON Haunting staccato sound
58  BACK TONE FOR DOUBLE 1 Dark, low synth
59  BACKTONE FOR DOUBLE 2 Great detuned, honky-tonk sound
60  HARMONICS Chinese-like percussion sound
62  WOOD TONE Hollow, mysterious, dark synth pad (DOUBLE WITH PRESET 61 TO OBTAIN "DOUBLE MARIMBA")



Crumar Bit One photos (click on thumbnails to enlarge)



Crumar Bit One features

Bottom line:  If you want the "Sound of the '80s", this is a good choice.

Year of release: 1984
Polyphony: 6-voice
Sound generation method: analog, 2 DCOs
Preset memories 62
MIDI: in, out, thru
Keyboard modes: Lower, Upper, Split, Double, Unison
Sound expansion capabilities: no.  Presets can be loaded/saved from/to tape.
Sequencer no
Arpeggiator no
Effects no
Touch sensitivity yes
Aftertouch no
Other features: Detune, Noise

The "Song made only with this instrument" trial: _________  The Bit One sounds great.  Note in particular... X

Crumar Bit One manual




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