Arcano NES Poly Chiptune Synthesizer User Guide
Chiptune Synth LLC
The Arcano NES Poly Chiptune Synthesizer is a polyphonic MIDI synthesizer that emulates the audio hardware of the NES / Famicom game console, allowing musicians to create NES-style chiptune music by simply connecting a MIDI controller.
The NES Poly receives power through its USB type B connector. The USB connector is for power only. It is not a USB-MIDI input.
The NES Poly is controlled via an external MIDI controller. The NES Poly connects to a MIDI controller through its standard 5-pin MIDI DIN connector. MIDI data is received on MIDI channel 1 only. MIDI data on all other MIDI channels is ignored.
The NES Poly outputs an unbalanced mono line-level audio signal through a standard 1/4" TS audio jack.
The NES Poly features a simple user interface consisting of two potentiometers. The left potentiometer is used to select one of eight possible waveform settings. The right potentiometer is used to select one of eight preset sound parameter settings. It is also possible to create a custom patch by adjusting the synthesizer's 16 sound parameters using MIDI CC channels.
Custom patch editing:
To create a custom patch, the user must first turn both potentiometers all the way to the right. Then the user may edit the sound parameters using MIDI CC channels 20-35. (Please note: a custom patch will not be saved when the synth is turned off.)
Most patches feature a maximum of 4 notes of polyphony; however, patches that use two oscillators per note for detune effects have a maximum of 2 notes of polyphony.
Below is a list of the relevant CC channels and their corresponding sound parameters:
CC 20 : initial waveform - waveform when note is triggered : 0 = 12.5% pulse, 1 = 25% pulse, 2 = 50% pulse, 3 = 4-bit triangle, 4 = 5-bit sawtooth, 5 = 8-bit sine (0-5)
CC 21 : final waveform - waveform after waveform-switch-delay threshold is reached : 0 = 12.5% pulse, 1 = 25% pulse, 2 = 50% pulse, 3 = 4-bit triangle, 4 = 5-bit sawtooth, 5 = 8-bit sine (0-5)
CC 22 : initial note offset - note offset before waveform-switch-delay threshold is reached : 0 = one octave below, 24 = one octave above (0-24)
CC 23 : waveform switch delay - time from when note is triggered until waveform switches from initial to final and note switches from offset note to actual note (0-127)
CC 24 : volume envelope attack - time from when note is triggered to maximum volume is reached (0-127)
CC 25 : volume envelope decay - time from maximum volume to sustain volume level is reached (0-127)
CC 26 : volume envelope sustain - volume sustain level while note key is depressed (0-127)
CC 27 : volume envelope release - time from when note key is released to silence (0-127)
CC 28 : vibrato pre-delay - time from when note is triggered to vibrato attack is reached (0-127)
CC 29 : vibrato attack - time from when vibrato begins until maximum vibrato depth is reached (0-127)
CC 30 : vibrato frequency - frequency of vibrato LFO (0-127)
CC 31 : maximum vibrato depth - maximum amplitude of vibrato pitch (0-127)
CC 32 : vibrato LFO waveform - waveform of the vibrato low frequency oscillator : 0 = sine, 1 = 50% pulse, 2 = triangle, 3 = sawtooth (0-3)
CC 33 : arpeggio frequency - (Initial note offset must be set to 0 for arpeggio to be enabled.) (0-127)
CC 34 : pitch-bend depth - maximum pitch-bend depth (The data value 0 corresponds to +/- two semitones pitch bend and the data value 1 corresponds to +/- one octave pitch bend.) (0-1)
CC 35 : detune – frequency of the second oscillator below the fundamental (When detune value is greater than 0, the maximum polyphony reduces from 4 notes to 2 notes, because each detuned note requires two oscillators.) (0-127)
Preset Waveform Settings (Left)
|Dial Color||CC 20||CC 21|
Preset Sound Parameter Values (Right)
|Dial Color||CC 22||CC 23||CC 24||CC 25||CC 26||CC 27||CC 28||CC 29||CC 30||CC 31||CC 32||CC 33||CC 34||CC 35|
An NES Poly Chiptune Synth user named Scott has created a color-coded chart to help users create Famitracker instruments that sound like NES Poly patches. Click the image below to download the PDF.