February 25, 2006

midiNES mini-review...

by Chris Randall
 

So I got a midiNES cartridge today, as part of my long-range plan to force Peter Kirn to give me his Nintendo DS. First impressions are generally favorable. If you're not in the know, the midiNES, made by .:wayfar:. is a Nintendo cartridge that gives a normal run-of-the-mill NES a MIDI input, so you can play the synth portion of the CPU directly from any MIDI source.


What surprised me on first listen was how clean it was. If you don't plug it in to a TV at all, and run it in its MODE 1, the noise floor is much lower than other methods for making chip music. It's actually lower than other (much more expensive) synths I have, interestingly enough. You can play two pulse channels, a triangle channel, a noise channel, and the sample channel simultaneously, and each is addressed from a different MIDI channel.


It is entirely programmed via MIDI CC messages, so I'm in the process of making a device map for Nuendo/Cubase, so I can just grab a knob rather than having to go through the whole process of sending it a CC through other means. I'll provide this map to anyone that wants it once I have it done.


So, full review and sound samples coming. But at first glance, it is a nice piece of kit. I need to get a Par-Metal 1U rack and a couple switches from Mouser, then I'm gonna rack-mount this bitch and it'll be on.

 
 
 

7 comments:

 
 

 
Feb.25.2006 @ 9:33 PM
the harvestman
Awesome, I just wish he'd answer his goddamn email when I ask about upgrade options. The 1.0 version I have is unusable for live performance since it mutes the currently playing note if any other note-off message is received.

Convincing him to fix that "feature" was enough of an adventure in itself.

Rhombus Electronics is nearly done with development on its "greybox" synthesizer which is the NES sound chip in a knob-encrusted box with a decent MIDI implementation.

 
 

 
Feb.25.2006 @ 9:38 PM
Chris Randall
You have a link for the Rhombus thing? I can't seem to google it.

-CR

 
 

 
Feb.26.2006 @ 12:49 PM
thesimulacre
Yeah, you should post up that device map for me. Not specifically because I am using a midiNES, but just because I never got the hang of device maps at all. It's sad really, but having an example to look at would really help me take another whack at it.

And I'm sure someone will actually use it as intended, so it wouln't be a complete waste of time (like this sentence).

 
 

 
Feb.26.2006 @ 1:20 PM
brandon daniel
Nice. The guy who makes them sells them locally at a consignment shop. I've been debating about picking one up... if you post up a cubase device map, I'm likely to stop waffling. And yeah, greybox should be way cool, but likely a different beast.
 
 

 
Feb.26.2006 @ 1:23 PM
brandon daniel
link [web.archive.org]">link [web.archive.org]

but despite the total lack of internet presence or updates since 2003, it *is* still under development and nearly done, from what I understand.

 
 

 
Feb.26.2006 @ 4:52 PM
Chris Randall
That Greybox sounds like the absolute _business_, judging from the log. Any more info on this would be greatly appreciated.

-CR

 
 

 
Mar.02.2006 @ 9:59 PM
herrprof
link [games.groups.yah...]">link [games.groups.yaoo.co...]

Alt Cubase Def, Novation Remote25 Template, Windows Based Vst Editor

the current software revions is not compatible with version 1.0 hardware, so upgrade options are slim. Sell the thing and use that as a discount for buying the upgrade!

Peter

 
 

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