Dark Arcade Is A 4-Voice Hybrid Synthesizer With Karplus-Strong Synthesis For Just $120 USD!

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Dark Arcade is a new affordable 4-voice paraphonic Synthesizer with digital oscillators, karplus-strong synthesis, analog filter/envelope/LFO which is now available on Kickstarter!

More and more affordable Synthesizers are coming onto the market. One of these new instruments is the Dark Arcade, a new entry-level hardware hybrid 4-voice paraphonic Synthesizer with a very unique and unusual design designed by Stevey Yarusinsky. It features digital oscillators with waveform blending + sub-oscillator, a 8-bit karplus-strong synthesis mode but an OTA analog filter, envelope and LFO. On the backside, it has external CV inputs for modulating the filter cutoff and amp gain with (+/-9V). Also good to see is a full MIDI In/Out interface.

To add more character to the sounds, it comes also with a bitcrusher in the paraphonic and Karplus Strong mode. From the first impressions, I can say that the synth has an interesting timbre where especially the digital side get a nice touch with the analog filter. It sounds digital, harsh and a bit like a modern 8-bit synth. For $120 USD, you get here a nice feature set from an independent developer.

Dark Arcade Hybrid Hardware Synthesizer


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. Below is a song produced with Dark Arcade in which all sounds (minus drums) are generated by Dark Arcade and then mixed with some basic effects (delay, reverb, and compression).


  • 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

What Does Dark Arcade Sound Like?

The combination of digitally produced oscillators and an analog filter and amplifier give Dark Arcade an earthy tone with a cybernetic veneer. Distinctive, full-bodied sounds are easily created by tweaking knobs controlling both the software and hardware components. Below are audio examples of several patches created with Dark Arcade.  Each example includes the dry sound (no effects) first and then the same sound with reverb and/or delay. These examples were not mastered and were recorded directly by an Akai EIE Pro audio interface.

Dark Arcade is available now for pre-order for a starting price of $120 USD from Kickstarter.

More information here: Dark Arcade 

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