Rated 4.53 out of 5 based on 15 customer ratings
(15 customer reviews)

3.00 1.50 plus VAT

Vintage chip music tone synthesiser


A grungy little chiptune synthesiser based on the onboard sound chip of the Sinclair Spectrum • Perfect for chip-based musical styles, or for blipping up your electronic tracks!

Spectrum 1First there was SpecTalk. Now SpecTone completes our obsession with Sinclair ZX Spectrum instruments, catapulting you back into the early 80s when making music “in the box” and making chip music were, basically, exactly the same thing. The Spectrum is no Commodore SID (though we have that for you, too – for free!), but dammit, it can make bleeps and bloops with the best of them, all grainy and shinily aliased.

Our SpecTone samples several “music” programs for the Spectrum: the truly, truly cheesy Wham! The Music Box (a primitive sequencer with only one tone, but a handful of Wham!’s greatest hits pre-programmed… what’s not to love?); some “drum” tones taken from the Wham! program and also from dk’tronics Sound Designer, which allowed very basic waveform editing on the Spectrum’s screen (we used it to create some different tonalities of noise); and, finally, some vowel sounds taken from the Currah MicroSpeech that we used to make SpecTalk. These have been looped and can be blended in with the Spectrum’s basic tones to give a wider variety of sounds: you can choose from Ahh, Arr, Ehh, Err, and Urr vowel noises, with or without vibrato, and either have them on their own or mixed with the Speccie’s onboard chip tone.

We’ve also grafted in some effects, including a low-pass filter which you can use to tame some of the vicious aliasing noise the Spectrum likes to generate (though for all we know this might be exactly what you want, which is why we left it in there. The choice is yours!) – plus an ADSR envelope to give you a bit of control over your tones.

The results are a one-stop-shop for 80s computer tones: basic and grainy in their raw form, but capable of being moulded into pads, leads and effects sounds (though, to be fair, they’re all going to sound a bit basic and grainy… that’s the fun).

The vocal waves from the Currah add a new and weird sonic element to the SpecTone‘s tonal palette, and lend themselves particularly well to blended pad sounds and to brief, blippy sound segments. And the drums – or should we say “drums” – are fun, characterful little reminders of what game soundtracks sounded like before Lara Croft and orchestral scoring libraries streaming from multi-terabyte RAID arrays. Let’s just say, don’t leave your 808 at home, okay? But for little moments of 80s colour, they’re great.

SpecTone: think of it as a black plastic wormhole taking you thirty years back in time…

(All our Kontakt instruments require a full copy of Native Instruments Kontakt v4.2.3 or higher (including all versions of Kontakt 5). Kontakt Player is not supported: instruments will load, but will time out after 15 minutes. See the FAQ for further information.)

15 reviews for SpecTone

  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    steflinux (verified owner)

    I’m rather pleased by the synth part (easily tweakable), but the drums part is a disappointment.

  2. Rated 4 out of 5 (verified owner)

    OMG back to eighties’ gaming. Well done!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    pbrmei (verified owner)

    SpecTone is probably the best-value-for-the-money instrument I got, and I didn’t even use the rhythm sounds yet! The Wave Circuit knob and the Vocal Wave Selector makes it quite versatile. One small request for a future release: a Mono switch with Glide time. Thanks again RR!

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    DON Chaffer (verified owner)

    Snotty, Spitty, Bratty. Sits in that “poke you in your nostril” range of the mix, and obnoxiously points out a melody for you, “Hey, Idiot, the melody’s right here!” Of course, it does a couple other things too, but this obvious feature is why I keep going to it. In general, I feel like this is what RhythmicRobot excels at: not the one plug-in that can do anything, but the many plugins that each do one thing SUPER well.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    brianedwardpoe (verified owner)

    Crunchy bits and pieces well worth the Hot Deal price. Wait, I get two MongoMonies back for posting a review, so this ending up being free? Too much input for my signal path – brain freeze!

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Stefano (verified owner)

    Very cool 80s Spectrum tones for a very low price!

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    renatoca (verified owner)

    Great product, with a great sound!

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jason (verified owner)

    classic! reminds me of the old days! great job!

  9. Rated 4 out of 5

    Fadi (verified owner)

    This particular instrument comes in handy when trying to fill the gaps with something interesting and unique. You can create very organic sounds and good quality. Another cool weapon in my musical arsenal!

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey (verified owner)

    Nice instrument for those hard to make effects. Perfect sounds and perfect price.

  11. Rated 4 out of 5


    Lovely wee quirk of a piece. Mess around with the vocal wave selector and out pops usability.
    Very cool.

  12. Rated 4 out of 5


    Has got a real nice feel to it. It’s off-tune in a good way.

  13. Rated 4 out of 5


    Definitely one of the more interesting chippy/8bit instruments i’ve seen so far

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Henry (verified owner)

    Fun to tweak and really expressive. Steal at this price 🙂

  15. Rated 4 out of 5


    Great Little 8 bit Synth with extra Drum beats – if you want a versatile little 8 bit creator this is great the formant section really changes the sound of the instrument and the knobs on the right hand side add grit and presence. Rhythm samples are a bit limited though – I don’t actually use them, Mongo couldn’t be expected to sample 88 drum hits just for this little cupboard unit and at this amazingly low price – this only minor issue I have and on balance amazing chip tune style synth for the price!!!

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