Crumar Bit-99 with white panel, courtesy of Matrixsynth

A polyphonic analog synth produced by Crumar, as an update to the earlier Bit One. The Bit-99 looked quite similar, and used the same case and many of the same parts. The basic panel layout was the same, with a five-octave keyboard, pitch and modulation wheels arranged in the unpopular vertical arrangement at the left edge of the panel, a large panel graphic depicting the architecture and providing patch parameter numbers for the one-knob interface, and a ventilation opening at the right. Unlike the Bit One, the Bit-99 was available with either a white or black panel, and complimentary colors for the graphics.

Crumar Bit-01 with black panel, courtesy of VSE

The voice architecture was the same as for the Bit One, with two DCOs, two LFOs, one low pass VCF, two envelope generators, and one VCA. Some changes were made to patch parameters to address some of the complaints about the programmability of the Bit One. The white noise level and the detune amount between the DCOs, which were non-memorized hardwired controls on the Bit One, became patch parameters. The Bit-99 added the ability to route the LFOs to pulse width modulation, and LFO amount parameters allowed the performer to set the maximum LFO amount routed to DCO pitch when the mod wheel was advanced. Patch memory expanded to 75 memory locations for single patches, and added 25 locations that stored split/double combinations. One thing that was lost was the ability to route the VCA's envelope generator to DCO pitch.

The MIDI implementation was considerably improved. Using a set of parameter numbers, the performer could turn off Omni mode and set the MIDI channel number to be used, rather than being fixed on channel 1 as the Bit One was. The performer could also select whether to receive and transmit Pitch Wheel, Modulation and Program Change messages. A significant improvement was that it was possible to dump and load patch memory via MIDI, although the Bit-99 did retain the cassette inteface. Unfortunately, patch data tapes from the Bit One are not compatible.

The Bit-99 was introduced in late 1985, about a year and a half after the introduction of the Bit One. A few months previously, Crumar introduced a rackmount version named, confusingly, the Bit-01. Other than not having the keyboard or pitch/mod wheels, this was nearly identical to the Bit-99 and it accepted the same patches. It even offered both black and white panel choices, same as the Bit-99. Note that a Bit-01 does not have a MIDI Out jack, so it is not possible to dump patches via MID from a Bit-01.

With Crumar in financial trouble, all of the Bit models were discontinued by 1987. Much later, a company called tauntek.com offered an alternate firmware ROM set for the Bit-99 and 01. The alternate firmware considerably expands the MIDI capability, with a major addition being the ability to change the value of any parameter via a Continuous Controller message.

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