Onto Kickstarter, we have the Dark Arcade hybrid synthesizer tempting us to get on board with the first production run. Created by Stevey Yarusinsky initially as a labour of love but it has now taken over his life and wants to make it into the outside world.
Update: This project has been cancelled on Kickstarter. Stevey says in an update that it became clear that they are not going to reach the goal without masses of marketing on a zero budget – and he has important life things to be taking care of. He hopes to regroup and try again at a later date. Read the whole statement here.
It was intended as an entry-level hardware synthesizer but the feature set suggests that it could be a very useful box for anyone wanting analog processed digital flavour in their sound. The oscillators are digital, producing sine, triangle, square and sawtooth waves and it can handle up to 4 voices of paraphony (meaning that the voices route through the same signal chain). On the analog side there’s a multi-mode filter, amplifier, ADSR and LFO. One extra bit of unexpectedness is that there’s also an 8-bit Karplus-Strong synthesis mode for some plucked string type sounds.
But that’s not all. There’s an external input for running other signals through the filter and amp. There are CV inputs for both the filter cutoff and amplifier gain. We have an inverse envelope output for filter and/or amplifier modulation. Waveform blending is available between the oscillators which can be controlled via the LFO and envelope. In mono mode you can also make use of a sub-oscillator. And it’s all finished off with portamento and bit crushing.
Check out this video as it walks through the features:
You can get a lot of interesting possibilities out of this little box. Features like the 4 voices and the Karplus-Strong really give it a wider space to play in. The analog sections give it that earthy texture while the bit crushing brings the cybernetics. The box has an interesting and not unpleasant 80’s vibe to it and although it’s not particularly elegant it does put everything on hand while keeping the price under control.
The Dark Arcade is ready for manufacturing, all they need is preorders. In order to keep the price down they’ve gone for quite ambitious numbers. $120 is a great price for this synth, but could they have asked for more and given themselves a slightly more achievable target. We shall see. They’ve given themselves time, but they have a long way to go. Go and preorder one on Kickstarter now and you should receive a very cool little synth by June next year.
- Dark Arcade Kickstarter page.