Turn your old Game Boy into an Analogue Synth

This is more on the fun side of music production but who knows, maybe you’ll find that perfect analogue computer sound your production has been missing. Nanoloop Mono is a cartridge designed so the analog components of the PIC microcontroller are connected in such a way that they form a hybrid soundchip with three analogue filters and a true random noise generator. Oliver Wittchow from Nanoloop explains, “On the original Game Boy models, one pin of the cartridge connector functions as an audio input, connected to the built-in amplifier. This unique feature allows you to generate sound on the cart and play it through the headphone output on a completely analogue signal path.” Pretty damn cool. Check out this video of the Nanoloop Mono in action:

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Nanoloop Mono features a step sequencer with per-step control for all parameters, and there are eight banks of flash memory, each of which can hold 15 patterns per channel. Using a USB-MIDI adaptor you are able to sync to a PC and update the Nanoloop software, and install two additional 32k ROMs on the cart. As well you are able to design your own software and put it on the cart. Mono’s specs are listed below:

  • Three channels
  • r = Rectangular Wave
    • Dual Oscillators
    • Variable Pulse Width
    • Low-pass filter with adjustable resonance
  • c = Click
    • Single Impulses
    • Extra-resonant bandpass filter for 808-like drum sounds
  • n = Noise
    • True analog noise generator or dual square waves
    • Bandpass filter with medium resonance

Nanoloop Mono is made for the Game Boy but is also compatible with the Game Boy Pocket and Color, however for the best quality of sound and performance, the original Game Boy is recommended. Nanoloop also offers the Nanoloop 1 and 2, as well as an iOS/Android compatible version. Check out there site HERE for all they offer. Also check out this dope video a performance with the Nanoloop 2:

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