NES Poly, New Polyphonic Chiptune Synthesizer Debuts On Kickstarter

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NES Poly is a new 4-voice polyphonic chiptune Synthesizer that emulates the iconic sounds of the Nintendo NES/Famicon video game console. 

There is something for everyone on the Synthesizer market: analog, virtual analog, digital, wavetables, FM, etc. Also for those looking for something very special, but they often have to search longer. The latter also includes the new NES poly Synthesizer who is currently on Kickstarter. It’s a MIDI-controlled polyphonic chiptune Synthesizer that emulates the sound of the legendary Nintendo Entertainment System video game console.

This synth is mainly designed to create NES/Famicon style chipmusic by simply connecting a MIDI controller. Of course, it’s not a classic synth but one that makes the chiptune communities happy.

The developer says: “The synth is based on a powerful audio digital-signal-processor chip which implements a unique, bandlimited synthesis algorithm for accurate NES sound emulation without the aliasing, noise, and poor audio signal quality associated with synthesizers that use inexpensive microcontrollers and crude PWM / RC-low-pass-filter-based DACs to generate chiptune sounds”.

Successor Of the Arcano NES Chiptune Synth R3

However, the developers are not newcomers and have already gained experience in the chiptune area with the Arcano Synthesizer initially launched on Kickstarter in 2015. Since then, the Arcano NES chiptune synthesizers have been refined through several hardware and firmware iterations guided by feedback from the community of Arcano synth users. NES Poly is the official polyphonic successor to the Arcano NES Chiptune Synth R3 with many new features and improvements.

Synthesis Features

  • polyphonic synthesis (4-note polyphony on most patches, 2-note polyphony on patches that use detune effects)
  • Up to two-oscillators per voice (second oscillator used for detune effects)
  • 12.5%, 25%, and 50% duty-cycle pulse, 5-bit sawtooth, 4-bit triangle, and 8-bit sine waveforms
  • realtime waveform switching capability for NES pulse “pluck” effects
  • vibrato pre-delay, attack, and 4 vibrato low frequency oscillator waveforms for more expressive vibrato effects
  • 16 sound parameters that can be edited with MIDI CC messages
  • accurate, DDS-based NES audio waveform reconstruction
  • NES analog signal path recreation for authentic sound

NES Poly

New Features

  • more sound parameters
  • greater volume-envelope bit depth
  • full 128 MIDI note range
  • additional audio waveform (8-bit sine)
  • 3 additional vibrato LFO waveforms (triangle, square, and sawtooth)
  • quantized note slide effect capability
  • additional pitch bend depth setting (+/- one octave)
  • detune effects capability
  • rugged, die cast aluminum enclosure

On the backside, it offers a standard MIDI DIN input, a 1/4” TS jack unbalanced mono audio output, USB type B connector (power only), and two potentiometers on the interface. Since the synth only has two knobs, the operation is somewhat limited, which is a shame

The NES Poly Chiptune Synthesizer is a great way to create chiptunes in the style of the classic NES video game theme songs. Users can select from 8 waveform settings and 8 preset sound parameter settings for a total of 8 x 8 = 64 preset patches. Additionally, musicians can create their own custom sounds by editing the synth’s 16 sound parameters using MIDI CC messages.

In my opinion a compact, nostalgic looking digital synth that brings back the much-loved sounds of the Japanese cult consoles to your studio.

NES Poly Chiptune Synth is available for pre-order on Kickstarter for a starting price of $239 USD (early bird). Regular $249 USD and shipping starts in January 2021.

More information: NP 

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