Super Audio Cart: Is This Chiptune Software Worth It?

Super Audio Cart is the most comprehensive collection of retro game samples ever assembled. Learn more in our review.

There’s nothing quite like the vintage chip sounds of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. And with Super Audio Cart, you get the most complete collection of those sounds. 

In this review, we’ll cover the ins and outs of Super Audio Cart (SAC), and determine if it’s worth your time as a composer and producer.

Let’s-a go!

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Super Audio Cart - Retro Game Samples

Super Audio Cart includes sounds from 15 classic game consoles and computers spanning several decades. It's the most comprehensive library of retro game samples ever assembled.

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What is Super Audio Cart?

Super Audio Cart is a virtual instrument created by Impact Soundworks and OverClocked ReMix. It features a collection of sounds sampled directly from some of the most beloved retro game systems of all time.

In its current form, it consists of two main libraries: Super Audio Cart and the follow-up, Super Audio Cart PC. There’s also a demo version called Super Audio Boy.

The main interface for Super Audio Cart.

The Original Super Audio Cart

The original SAC focuses on classic home consoles. Altogether, there are eight collections:

  • Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
  • Famicom (FC)
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
  • Game Boy (GB)
  • Atari 2600 (2600)
  • Sega Master System (SMS)
  • Sega Genesis (GEN)
  • Commodore 64 (C64)

Super Audio Cart PC

As the name implies, Super Audio Cart PC focuses on vintage sound cards used in home computers. Here, you’ll find eight more libraries:

  • Atari Pot Keyboard Integrated Circuit (POKEY)
  • AdLib, Inc. (ADLIB)
  • Aegis Sonix (AEGIS)
  • Amiga 500 (AMIGA)
  • Amiga Tracker (TRACKER)
  • Microsoft MSX (MSX)
  • Commodore 64 (C64) (Yes, it’s in both versions.)

Altogether, you get thousands of sounds in one package. This makes it one of the most comprehensive collections of retro game samples. Period.

Listen to Some Demos

Here are some tracks I made featuring Super Audio Cart:

And here are the official demos from Impact Soundworks:

Getting Started with Super Audio Cart

SAC requires Kontakt or Kontakt Player to run. If you don’t have it yet, you can download Kontakt Player for free.

You’ll also need Pulse Downloader in order to download your copy of SAC (and any other Impact Soundworks product).

Kontakt 7 Player

The free version of Kontakt lets you create music with a wide selection of instruments from Native Instruments and other developers.

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Pulse Downloader

Pulse lets you download, update, and purchase digital music products from over 60 independent developers.

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Features in Super Audio Cart

SAC isn’t just a huge library of vintage game sounds. It has several features that make it compelling to use outside of chiptune music.

Sound Design and Customization Options

SAC offers near-infinite sound design capabilities. Throughout the UI you’ll find controls for these parameters:

  • ADSR controls
  • Volume and Panning
  • Pitch shift and fine-tuning
  • Poly or Mono
  • Arpeggiator
  • Vibrato
  • Low Pass and High Pass filters
  • EQ
  • Bit Crusher
  • Delay
  • …and more!

Four Sound Layers

You can play with just a single sound, or stack up to four different sounds on top of each other. Plus, each layer is fully customizable, giving you endless possibilities for crafting new instruments.

Presets and Randomizers

You can find inspiration with the included presets for leads, basses, pads, sound effects, and more. You can also use the dice icons in the global controls to randomly generate sounds.

Free SNESVerb Plugin Included

SNESVerb comes free with SAC. It’s a simple plugin used to create the signature echo effect found in SNES games. That effect is the secret ingredient to most 16-bit music.

It’s also capable of producing other lo-fi effects. Check out our SNESVerb review for a full breakdown of its features.

SNESVerb: Retro Game Console FX

SNESVerb is a lightweight plugin for creating the ping-ponging reverb effect used in 16-bit video game soundtracks. It's also useful for other lo-fi processing effects.

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Pros & Cons of Super Audio Cart

There’s a lot to love about this plugin. But I also have some minor issues with it. First, let’s go over the positives.


  • Thousands of sounds from the ’70s – ’90s
  • Near-infinite sound design options
  • Easy-to-navigate UI
  • Free SNESVerb plugin

When it comes to the sheer number of sounds, this library can’t be beat. There are thousands of sounds available from the 15 game systems represented. This covers almost the entirety of gaming from the late ’70s to the early ’90s.

The UI is easy to navigate and understand. Plus, there are plenty of ways to modify and customize your sounds. The free SNESVerb plugin is also a plus.

My personal favorite feature is layering sounds together. I’ve used it to create unique leads and pads that blend well in non-chiptune tracks.


  • Tiny GUI elements 
  • Expensive for beginners
  • Free alternatives available
  • Some notable console omissions

My only real nitpick with SAC is that some of the GUI elements are small. This makes fine adjustments more difficult when using a mouse — particularly the pitch-shift dial, which I use quite often. Sometimes it takes me a few tries before I can get it exactly where I want it.

The $149 price tag could also be a turn-off for some beginners. If you’re just starting out, you may want to stick with the free and cheaper alternatives (see our list below).

And as complete as this product is, some retro VGM fans might be disappointed by the lack of sounds from other vintage consoles. Systems like the TurboGrafx-16, Neo Geo, and older arcade cabinets are notably absent.

Impact Soundworks recently revealed they’re working on a follow-up to Super Audio Cart. So perhaps we’ll see TurboGrafx and Neo Geo samples alongside the planned N64, PS1, and GBA sounds.

Super Audio Cart Alternatives

There’s no shortage of free and premium software for writing chiptune music. We have a more expansive list of recommended chiptune software. But for now, here are some top picks:

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Final Thoughts: Should You Get Super Audio Cart?

Super Audio Cart is the definitive collection of sounds from the early days of gaming. This is a must-have instrument for anyone who writes music professionally. The sheer number of sounds and customization options gives you endless creative possibilities.

It’s been one of my go-to instruments for most electronic projects I work on. To this day, I’m still discovering new things about it.

While you can find alternatives for free or cheaper, Super Audio Cart has 15 libraries in one convenient package. You’ll save on visual clutter and simplify your workflow.

Top Pick
Super Audio Cart - Retro Game Samples
Buy Now Get the Demo Version
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Not Sure About SAC? Try Super Audio Boy

Super Audio Boy is a free instrument that runs in the Super Audio Cart engine. Think of it as the demo version.

The key difference is that Super Audio Boy only comes with the Game Boy sample library. Other than that, it has all the same features as the full version.

If you’re not sure about getting Super Audio Cart, give Super Audio Boy a try and see if you like it.

Super Audio Boy - Retro Handheld Samples

Super Audio Boy is the demo version of Super Audio Cart. As the name suggests, it comes with an expansive collection of Game Boy sounds.

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