Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chiptune Array: 128 Hardware Channels

A critical mass of simple things, combined. 

An array of sound chips, yielding 128 channels of chiptune hardware:
• 32 SN76489 sound chips addressable via 8 USB MIDI connections
• Uses the quad flavour of the SN76489 USB MIDI synth
• 96 square wave channels and 32 noise channels
• 8 audio channels
• Each audio channel carries the summed analog output of 4 SN76489 sound chips (or 16 voices / sound chip channels)
• Every channel of every SN76489 sound chip is controllable via MIDI, and includes sample playback via amplitude modulation, noise channel control, pitch bend and velocity control

 Currently, every SN76489 chip is clocked at 1.8432 MHz. I would like to experiment with different clocks for different chips, giving a wider pitch range over all. Currently, every group of 4 SN76489 chips is summed and then digitised via a Focusrite ADAT preamp and RME interface. I would like to (possibly) carry each audio channel from every SN76489 as a discrete digital input, however this may be stretching my resources. I am also working on a set of tools that are designed to help generate MIDI data en masse for such a setup. Stay tuned!

I am loving how thick and overflowing 96 square waves sound...