Nanoloop 2 Is A Handheld Synth And Sequencer With Game Pads, On Kickstarter Now

With an FM-based software synthesizer based on the Game Boy Advance’s 16 MHz CPU, a sequencer and plenty of I/O, this new synth looks like it will be a lot of fun.  

Here's something cool - a new handheld synth and sequencer, on Kickstarter now, that has smashed through its funding target. Priced at just 97 Euros, it's certainly a tempting proposition.With four voices, a sequencer and MIDI, audio and CV in and out it certainly packs a lot into its compact frame. Here's what its creator, Oliver Wittchow, had to say about it.

"After years of existence as cartridge for portable game consoles and smartphone app, nanoloop finally makes it into a dedicated hardware. Combining the casual game pad interface with beautiful LED dots and digits, this device forms the ideal platform for the proven nanoloop software and its iconic 4x4 matrix sequencer.

While the first version of nanoloop (still available as “nanoloop one”) relies on the Game Boy’s internal tone generators, subsequent variations have their very own sound:

Nanoloop two implements an FM-based software synthesizer on the Game Boy Advance’s 16 MHz CPU and the latest version nanoloop mono embeds a complete synth with true analog filters inside the cartridge.

The new nanoloop device merges these two approaches and combines FM with analog for maximum flexibility."

Specifications

Synthesizer

  • 4 channels
  • dual square wave with true analog filter (mono)
  • 4-voice polyphonic FM (stereo)
  • monophonic FM (stereo)
  • noise & clicks (stereo)

Sequencer

  • 4x4 matrix
  • per-step control for all parameters
  • pattern transpose for all parameters
  • "meta step": play note only every 2nd or 4th loop
  • variable pattern length per channel
  • individual channel tempo
  • ping pong and random modes
  • shift pattern in four directions
  • randomise all parameters

Display

  • 8x4 bi-color LED dot matrix
  • 5 LED digits
  • 8 menu icons
  • various color combinations available

Interface

  • silicone rubber buttons with plastic caps:
  • d-pad + 4 buttons
  • volume dial

Connections

  • 3.5 mm  mini jack stereo headphone/line out
  • 3.5 mm mini jack input for CV an MIDI sync
  • 3.5 mm mini jack output for CV an MIDI sync

Power

  • 2 x AAA batteries, micro USB (power only)
  • physical power switch -> zero "standby" power
  • battery life: 50+ h

Memory

  • 99 banks à 4x8 patterns each
  • song 999 patterns length
  • backup / restore via audio cable
  • micro-SD slot for near infinite projects (SD-card not included)

Sync

  • MIDI sync in & out
  • analog 1/24, 1/16, 1/8 in & out

Hollin Jones was classically trained as a piano player but found the lure of blues and jazz too much to resist. Graduating from bands to composition then production, he relishes the chance to play anything with keys. A sometime lecturer in videographics, music production and photography post production, Hollin has been a freelance w... Read More

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