Tag Archives: Lo-Fi SES

Play 8-bit chiptunes with the AVR powered Lo-Fi SES

Ah, chiptune music. For those young whippersnappers out there who may not recall the days of ’80s gaming and its coinciding 8-bit tunes, these iconic synthesized electronic sounds were produced by chips (hence the name) of vintage computers, video game consoles, and old-school arcade machines.

Designed by the Assorted Wires crew, Lo-Fi SES is a hackable 8-bit chiptunes device that has recently made its Kickstarter debut. Consider yourself warned, the open source instrument will spark up some NES nostalgia!

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“The Lo-Fi SES is all fun with no practice. It may look like a game controller, but it’s actually a music controller. You might’ve never learned to play piano or guitar, but I’ll bet you rocked at more than a few video games. Lo-Fi SES lets you turn those hard fought skills into musical magic,” a company rep writes.

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Based on an Atmel AVR MCU, the Lo-Fi SES replicates the shape of a good ol’ SNES controller, whose buttons are used to trigger samples, change tempo, as well as play, record and delete tracks. The controller, which is the heart of the Lo-Fi SES experience, comes equipped with a default playlist of onboard sounds including a lo-fi drum set. (Bring back attack sounds from those childhood video games!)

Built around the open-source Arduino platform, a user can also swap out those samples with actual sounds from an NES or other retro console — this includes remapping the buttons and configuring it to serve as an actual game controller. The team also notes that a user can upgrade their Lo-Fi SES experience with a three different cartridges to mod their “musical journey.”

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The devices features a slot for these cartridges: Final Sound Adventure (introduce a series of different sounds), a Smasher Bros. (adjust the bass and dirty up the sound), and a USB link to hack (connect your Lo-Fi SES to your Mac, Linux, or Windows computer).

“If you like to tinker or you’re into [Atmel based] Arduinos, this [USB link to hack] is a must-have cartridge…There are infinite possibilities once connected: swap out the sounds with some wavs you designed, tweak the timing of things to match your style, upgrade the software, or make it control your favorite sequencer.”

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If this is the hackable 8-bit instrument you’ve been waiting for, head on over to the project’s official Kickstarter page here. If the team is able to achieve its $5,000 pledge goal, assembly and shipping to early backers will begin this December.