Twisted Electrons has announced the MEGAfm MKII. On the outside, the second generation of the quirky FM synthesizer looks exactly the same. But Twisted Electrons has made a couple of important changes on the inside: The MEGAfm MKII is built around a pair of slightly different FM chips, and you can now swap the chips yourself. Great news for FM geeks who like to experiment!
Twisted Electrons MEGAfm MKII
The first generation of the Twisted Electrons MEGAfm, which came out around two years ago, was based on a pair of Yamaha YM2612 FM chips – the same chip that brought game soundtracks to life in the SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis gaming consoles. With a knob- and slider-laden interface that provides instant access to the inner workings of the FM synthesis, it quickly became a favorite among FM enthusiasts and chiptune aficionados. The original MEGAfm is now sold out, but the manufacturer has just announced that the second generation is around the corner!
The good news is: Everything that made the first MEGAfm so great is still there. In fact, the synth looks exactly the same on the outside; they didn’t even change the logo and didn’t bother to take new product photos. The synthesis capabilities with four operators, eight algorithms and up to 12 voices are also the same. So what’s new, then?
Firstly, the new Twisted Electrons MEGAfm MKII uses different chips. Instead of the YM2612, it’s based on a pair of YM3438, which is the variety used in the SEGA Mega Drive 2. It’s a very similar chip with an identical synthesis architecture, but comes with a couple of improvements like better DACs.
Secondly, Twisted Electrons had the genius idea to put the chips on sockets instead of soldering them directly to the board. This way, you can swap the chips for different ones yourself, for which there’s a door on the underside of the synth. According to the manufacturer, you could use the original YM2612, modern replacements, or even your own custom-made FM chips. Moreover, the chips in the two slots don’t have to be identical; it’s also possible to mix and match. If you like to experiment, this opens up the door to all sorts of wacky circuit bending.
The rest of the features remain the same. The two FM chips operate in four different voice modes. In addition to three LFOs for modulating any parameter, the MEGAfm MKII offers an arpeggiator and SH-style step sequencer. It also includes a comprehensive MIDI implementation with full MIDI control over all parameters.
Price and availability
The Twisted Electrons MEGAfm MKII will begin to ship around mid-September for an MSRP of €564.
More information about the Twisted Electrons MEGAfm MKII
There’s no video of the MKII version yet, but here’s a sound demo of the first-generation MEGAfm.
- Twisted Electrons MEGAfm MKII: Twisted Electrons