$120 Paraphonic Synthesizer – Dark Arcade

Developer Steven Yarusinsky has launched a Kickstarter project to fund production of the Dark Arcade, a $120 hybrid paraphonic synthesizer.

The Dark Arcade offers some unusual features for an entry-level hardware synth, including 4-voice paraphony, 8-bit Karplus Strong synthesis, external audio in and CV inputs.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

Dark Arcade is intended to be an entry level hardware synthesizer for musicians looking to branch out from software synthesizer based workflows, as well as a distinctive addition to any hardware synthesizer collection.

Its hardware features microcontroller-produced digital oscillators, an analog OTA band-pass and low-pass filter, an analog OTA amplifier, an analog ADSR envelope generator, an analog LFO, and MIDI input and output. External audio can be processed by the filter and amplifier section and external CV signals can be used to control the filter cutoff and amplifier gain. In addition to the hardware features, the software extends the feature list to include 4 voices of paraphony, 8-bit Karplus Strong synthesis, waveform blending, and many more.

Audio Demo:

Features Overview:


  • Digitally produced oscillators including sine, triangle, square, and sawtooth waves
  • 4 voices of paraphony
  • OTA based analog filter including low-pass and band-pass output, cutoff control, and resonance control
  • OTA based analog amplifier
  • Analog ADSR envelope section with depth control
  • Analog LFO section with depth control and slew control
  • 8-bit Karplus-Strong synthesis mode
  • MIDI input
  • MIDI output
  • External audio input jack for processing external audio with filter and amplifier
  • External CV input jack for modulating filter cutoff (+/-9V)
  • External CV input jack for modulating amplifier gain (+/-9V)
  • Inverse envelope output for filter and/or amplifier modulation
  • Switches for choosing filter/amplifier modulation sources
  • Suboscillator volume and waveform control in monophonic mode
  • Waveform blending control between two separate oscillators on monophonic mode and paraphonic mode
  • Waveform blending LFO control
  • Waveform blending envelope control
  • Portamento with glide speed control on monophonic mode
  • Portamento triggering control (on every note press or only when a previous note is held)
  • Bitcrushing on paraphonic mode and Karplus Strong mode

Pricing and Availability

The Dark Arcade is available to project backers for US $120.

4 thoughts on “$120 Paraphonic Synthesizer – Dark Arcade

  1. Backed. For $120, it’s worth a shot. The 1-filter poly thing reminds me a bit of the korg poly-800… except in a smaller form factor, and with knobs to twist – I hope it reaches it’s goal!

  2. Likewise, backed it, the 8-bit sound + Karplus Strong through an analogue filter is unbeatable.

    That said, a Shruthi-1 with its KS wavetables comes pretty close (and I love it 🙂 ) but it’s only monophonic.

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