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Bad Contact is a free VST plugin that makes your synths sound like they’re broken

It’s one of the quirks of music technology that producers can end up spending a lot of money on plugins that downgrade the quality of their audio, but the good news is that you can also get them for free. 

Step forward The Bad Contact, a free VST plugin that emulates the distinctive noise and crackle that you hear when knobs and switches aren’t working as they should.

Often the scourge of audiophiles, developer Rawoltage saw potential in these ‘flaws’: “Get creative and try the 50/60Hz hum of the transformer, the harsh crackling while turning the big knob, or the popping sound of the power button,” is the company’s advice.

Increasing the voltage strengthens the crackling, and you can rest assured that all sounds are oscillator-generated rather than sample-based, so you won’t get any repetition.

The Bad Contact runs on Windows as a VST plugin. You can download it from the Rawoltage website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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