The awesomely named miniAtmegatron is an 8-bit synth kit built on the Arduino Uno. It comes with everything you need except a soldering iron and they reckon it would take an hour to build. Previous soldering experience would be an advantage in not making a right mess of it.
Soulsby are all about the 8-bit. I had a lot of fun playing with the larger Atmegatron at the Synthfest back in September. There’s still no sign of the Eurorack version but in the meantime we have the miniAtmegatron to add to our Christmas list.
The Arduino Uno is an open source microprocessor board, similar to the Raspberry Pi, that lets you design and build projects. The miniAtmegatron consists of a PCB shield that slots into the top of the Arduino Uno. The enclosure snaps together around it. It’s powered by USB and has a single 3.5mm mono jack output.
The miniAtmegatron is an 8-bit monophonic MIDI controlled synthesizer. It utilises a wavetable PWM synthesis engine with 16 waveforms. There are 16 LFO waveforms, 15 digital filter algorithms, filter and pitch envelope modulation, pitch, filter, phase, amplitude and pulse width LFO modulation, 2 envelopes, 8 wavecrusher and portamento presets, and some phase and distortion effects. There’s MIDI clock sync with the included Arduino Uno – if you are using your own then it must be “MIDI hacked”. Rounding it all off is a 15 sequence sequencer and a memory patch. That’s far too many features built into a tiny box.
The front panel offers 6 controller knobs, 5 buttons and 2 LEDs to let you know what’s going on. The source code is completely open source and so available to anyone who wants to do a bit of hacking.
The miniAtmegatron is capable of some crazy noises and it does a fair job of emulating its big brother. At £68 including VAT it’s an affordable way of getting some 8-bit sounds into your setup and you’ve got to love a bit of DIY.
For more information head over to the Soulsby website.