Okay, so I've been fighting this incredible head-cold for like 3 weeks now. My sister brought me some bad-ass Belgian strain of sinus trouble when she came to visit, and I just can't shake this shit. So, knowing when to say when, I went to the grocery store and put up with the "are you sure you're not a meth dealer?" questions to buy some serious sinus shit. (For those of you that don't live in America, you can't buy anything with ephedrine in it off the rack any more, part of the War On Meth, which is entering its 20th year or so.)
The net result of this serious sinus shit, and my ingestion thereof, was that I was up 'til 3 in the morning, bouncing off the fucking walls. Which leads me to the following: the above screencap is of my now-completed Nuendo/Cubase MIDI device map for the Wayfar MidiNES cartridge. It allows full control over every parameter from one window. (On a side note, the program that Steinberg provides to make these things is really fucking lame.) If you own a MidiNES, you might want this, so here you go. Drop the XML file in /program files/Steinberg/Nuendo 3/Device Maps/ (or Cubase SX or whatever) and load that bitch up.
In use, the cartridge itself is actually rather limited. The triangle wave can't be edited at all, and the envelope features of the pulse waves are counter-intuitive to people used to normal subtractive programming. And, of course, the sounds it is capable of making in any case are chippy, so there's that to consider. But that said, this unit is still fun as hell, and quite useful. Once I rack it up, I'll be using it often for my Scanalyzer and Micronaut projects.
I whipped up a little demo that doesn't sound like the hell-for-leather chipfest stuff that is on the .:wayfar:. site. You can grab the MP3 here. This track has all five channels of the MidiNES playing, recorded in one pass. The triangle channel is doing the bass. The hi-hat is the noise channel, and the kick and snare are from the built-in samples on the sample channel. The melody and rhythm part are the two pulse channels. (And boy, does this shit rock or what? Sorry, Herbie.)
I squished the result with Waves RComp, and added a touch of Princeton 'verb (because audio without reverb is like cornflakes without milk), but otherwise it's straight MidiNES. You can plainly hear the noise that is omnipresent in the beginning. If you multi-tracked all five channels, this would have to be dealt with, either with gates or some noise-killing plug, as it would quickly build up in to a chorus of hell-spawned whistling.
So the verdict? Fun as fuck. Can you live without it? Sure, but why would you want to? $89 for the cart and like $5 for an NES, and you've got a chip-tastic synth that really doesn't sound like anything else, and has quite a bit of depth. That's a bargain by anyone's standards.
Now, to rack-mount it.