Nanoloop have been doing weird and crazy things with the Nintendo’s Game Boy for some time. Their latest creation is the Nanoloop Mono cartridge that transforms the original Game Boy into a three-channel analogue synthesizer.
As ridiculous as it may seem, the sounds being generated are pretty amazing. When you consider the raft of small, quirky, chip-tune style boxes out there – Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators spring to mind, or maybe even Korg Volcas – then perhaps you’ll see how this is right on the money. Check out the sounds from this video made by James Chip:
I thought it would be a bit crap, but no, it’s actually remarkably good.
There are three channels of goodness on this little cartridge: a rectangular wave with dual oscillators, variable pulse width and a low pass filter; a “Click” percussive sound with single impulses and an “extra-resonant” bandpass filter; and a noise generator which can also generator square waves combined with another less aggressive bandpass filter. The cartridge connects to the audio input pin on the Game Boy, goes through the internal amplifier and leaves via the headphone jack.
The Nanoloop Mono software then provides all the sequencing. On screen you get a grid of 16 steps with per-step control over every parameter. There are 8 banks of memory each of which can hold 15 patterns and a song structure. There seem to be all sorts of control and performance possibilities using the joypad and buttons.
It’s slightly mad and has no right to sound so good. The Nanoloop Mono cartridge should be available for Christmas and is pre-ordering now for €69. Of course you’ll have to source your own working Game Boy (or Girl).
More information is on the Nanoloop website.