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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:16 pm 
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The Chip Maestro is a finished product up on Kickstarter, and it's seeking backers!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jarek/chip-maestro-an-nes-midi-synthesizer-cartridge

The Chip Maestro is a special NES cartridge that turns the NES into a synthesizer. You can play it using a MIDI keyboard or a USB to MIDI converter. By directly manipulating the NES CPU's sound circuitry, all sounds played through this cartridge are authentic NES tones! This is as realistic to the 8-bit era as you can get with live sound. Previous trackers have been able to play music, but all of them required pre-composition. This cartridge lets you do improvs and solos during live shows, or fiddle around with new tunes. I hope to get it into every chiptune artist's hands soon.

I wouldn't be able to do it without you guys, and a portion of the proceeds is going back to nesdev. Let your chiptune artist friends know about it as well!

-Jarek


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Awesome news! I just backed it up with 50$! Will there be any kind of visualization plugin included? Also, how does it stack up to MidiNES? Any notable differences/upgrade beside the more affordable price and the obvious possibility to order one and actually receive the cart without waiting for 3 years for it to arrive?:P Very excited about this project!


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:58 pm 
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I shied away from making visualizations, simply due to the price involved with adding a ROM to each board, the complexity of it, and the latency issue of sending video and sound data. My number 1 goal was making this thing rock solid, with a very small latency (almost non-existent).

I actually traded a prototype Chip Maestro (while it was still called TSUNDERE) for a midines for development, and I've been using it as a benchmark ever since.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 11:09 pm 
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I can see you put a lot of thought into that, visualization is not a big concern for myself anyway. Like you said, the important thing is how well it actually play music. As for benchmarking against a MidiNES, it's a good idea as many of the peoples who will buy this cart will likely be people that wanted a MidiNES and couldn't get one or people with MidiNES looking to compare and maybe replace it if it turn out to be more advanced (since price is also very good in comparison)


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 2:34 pm 
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Great project, man. I've had it in mind to create a MIDI-port add-on for NES, but I've definitely got more projects/ideas than I do time, heheh.

I moved the topic to the NES Music forum, so more soundpeople will notice.

I've been thinking of using Kickstarter too (had a account there for a while, never did anything with it). Let me know how that turns out as far as user experience and fees. You sure blasted through that goal instantly, not surprising though. :D


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 5:05 pm 
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Is there any sort of solution for the random-sounding use of square and triangle waves while playing?

I assume that the first two keys held down are square and when you add a third it comes out triangle. Are there built-in options for changing the order, or restricting triangle to the lower half of the keyboard and square to the upper to make more uniform tunes?

Are there any options for modifying the duty cycle, volume, tremolo, all of that?

It's definitely awesome, just want to know more about it. :)


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 1:57 pm 
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The sequence of which waves are played at which time will be a user set preference, so will things like duty cycle, arpeggios, and pitch bending.. If you've already pledged, see the tech docs for more info.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 7:17 am 
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jarek, I've put a post up on ChipMusic.org to see if I can drum up more support for you.

http://chipmusic.org/forums/topic/4294/ ... idi-synth/


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:24 am 
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When will these carts be released? Will they be be available on ebay? Also, I have a usb keyboard, that is powered through the usb, if I got this and an adaptor, will the Chip Maestro be able to power it? :)

_________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Just wanted to share this, in case anyone is considering getting the Chip Maestro and has any doubts. Sure, you could build something yourself, but I'll put it this way: I got an NES console for like 20 bucks on ebay, bought the Chip Maestro, and within a week I was able to work out entire sequences through Ableton Live (sending MIDI out into the NES). Works great, and it's a hell of an experience.

I don't know a thing about taking apart an NES or about making my own cartridge, but I'm able to make sequences with the damned 20 dollar NES. I have it sitting next to my Moog and other synthesizers. Love it!

Check it out :)

This was all done with an NES, using Chip Maestro:

https://soundcloud.com/auxone/aux-nes01

And that was just a practice run. Can't wait to make more!
You can geek out (trust me, I love to geek out), but if you just want to get to it, this is an option that works!

-aux


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:30 pm 
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Sounds like it's been put through software to edit the sound, those drums are too clear and long to be DPCM samples. And at the 00:32 mark, it doesn't sound like an NES at all.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:02 am 
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jimmay wrote:

I may not understand anything about the technical side, but this song is incredibly cool! Loved it!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:35 am 
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OneCrudeDude wrote:
Sounds like it's been put through software to edit the sound, those drums are too clear and long to be DPCM samples.

Sounds like two or three NSFs played at once: play one, record it, play the next, record it, mix and add reverb in post. And Tim Follin didn't need DPCM to make clear drums: look at Solstice or Pictionary. The point here is using the NES as an instrument, even in a multitrack setup.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:50 pm 
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It doesn't sound like a triangle kick, and they're obviously samples to some degree. They remind me of Ultimate Stuntman's samples, which were actually 7-bit samples.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:22 pm 
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OneCrudeDude wrote:
It doesn't sound like a triangle kick, and they're obviously samples to some degree. They remind me of Ultimate Stuntman's samples, which were actually 7-bit samples.

If it was made with Chip Maestro, then there are no samples; it can't do samples. Not entirely sure but I think the CM does have software echo/reverb effects as well as arps.
The sound engine is all on the AVR, so the frame rate is not tied to the NMI in anyway (in fact there is no 2A03 'code' on the cart, just a state machine that runs a tight LDA/STA loop; about 15 cycles long, if I recall); allowing for tighter note handling.
Yogi


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