Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dust off your NES

The current wave of 8-bit mania continues with this little find, the Midines from Wayfar. This retrofitted game cartridge turns any original Nintendo into a midi-capable tone generator by giving the user access to the console's onboard sound chip as well as a fully programmable midi connection via the midi cable mounted at the back of the cartridge. As the website states: Midines provides full access to the 2x Pulse, Tri, Noise and DMC (sample) channels. Including access to sweep, duty, volume and length sound registers. The sound routine is not dependent on the vertical screen refresh rate (vblank) allowing high speed MIDI CC modulation of all parameters. That pretty much sums it up in technical terms. Also included on the cartridge's ROM is a library of 256 all-star drum machine samples and other chiptune essentials, featuring the famous 707/808/909 series, the amen breakbeat, and others.

Each cartridge is made by hand, and reviews found around the web say this has a tendency to result in long wait times. Nevertheless, the unit can be had for $89 American plus $10 for shipping, a bargain considering what it is. Be sure to check the homepage's audio demos as well. Not recommended for midi n00bz, as an in-depth working knowledge of midi and a good sequencing platform are essential in order to program this unit effectively.

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