Game on: From Game Boy cartridge to hand-held synth, the Nanoloop is here - Tech - Mixmag
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Game on: From Game Boy cartridge to hand-held synth, the Nanoloop is here

The Nanoloop is now in production after a successful Kickstarter campaign

  • Edited by Gavin Herlihy
  • 26 April 2019

For a whole generation of computer game addicts, Nintendo’s Game Boy presses the brain’s nostalgia button like no other device. Its eight-bit chiptune sound has been burned into their brains and has resulted in a thriving scene of hackers who modify Game Boys into music-making devices.

Nanoloop began life as a music-making cartridge for the Game Boy in the late 90s and has recently evolved into a fully-fledged, hand-held music-making device.The Nanoloop 3 went four times over its original funding target on Kickstarter and is now in production. It was designed by Hamburg musician Oliver Wittchow, who programmed the original Nanoloop music sequencing software for Game Boys with a friend while studying for an art degree in the late '90s.

The new Nanoloop device employs the familiar game pad-style interface, LED screen and four x four matrix sequencer. The sound engine combines FM and analogue synthesis, firmly taking the concept out of the gaming world and further into the realm of serious music makers. The four-channel synth has a dual square wave oscillator, four voice polyophonic FM, monophonic FM, noise and clicks and an analogue filter. The sequencer has per stop control for all parameters, ping pong and random mode, and the device has CV gate inputs and outputs, and is powered by batteries or micro USB.


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