The Arcano MIDI NES Chiptune Synthesizer is a minimalistic, microcontroller-based synth, designed to emulate the classic chiptune sound of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s APU (audio processing unit.)
The synthesizer’s MIDI input allows musicains create NES-video-game-style chiptune music using a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI device.
It’s being made available via a Kickstarter project, which is already fully funded. Here is the official intro video:
The Arcano is being made available prebuild and as a DIY project.
Each Arcano MIDI NES Chiptune Synthesizer includes a preprogrammed microcontroller; however, each synth also features a 6-pin AVR programming header, allowing programmers to flash the embedded ATmega328 microcontroller with their own custom software. The programming header enables hackers to create their own custom waveforms, envelopes, software low-frequency oscillators, and PCM samples.
Unlike many other microcontroller-based synthesizers which use internal PWM peripherals to generate weak, scratchy, low-quality audio signals, the Arcano MIDI NES Chiptune Synthesizer uses an auxiliary digital-to-analog converter chip to create a clear, high-quality audio signal.
- 3-note polyphony
- 1/8” (3.5mm) jack mono audio output
- MIDI input through standard MIDI DIN connector
- 7-segment LED waveform mode indicator
- simple two-button interface
- embedded ATmega328 microcontroller
The Arcano is available to Kickstarter backers, prebuilt or as a DIY kit, starting at US $65.