Relive those 8-bit game soundtracks with the NES Poly Chiptune Synthesizer

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Chiptune NES Poly

With more than a passing resemblance to a games console cartridge the NES Poly looks like a classic box of chiptune noise. Hours left on Kickstarter – grab one before they’re gone!

NES Poly Chiptune Synthesizer

You can’t get much simpler than a pair of knobs, an audio output and a MIDI and USB input. Inside the box is a DSP running a NES sound emulation which keeps the bandlimited synthesis algorithm while bypassing the awful sound quality, noise and aliasing usually associated with the microcontrollers and crude PWM/RC lowpass filter based DACs used to generate chiptune sounds. The analogue signal path has been designed to resemble the NES architecture as closely as possible.

And how does it sound? Perfect!

The NES Poly comes with 64 preset patches and room for 16 of your own. The knob on the left selects one of the 8 waveform settings and the knob on the right selects one of the 8 preset sound parameters. There are 16 other parameters hidden inside the box that can be accessed via MIDI CC numbers.

The polyphony goes up to 4-voices with two oscillators per voice. If you are using the oscillator detune function then the polyphony drops to 2-voices. You have pulse width waveforms, 5-bit sawtooth, 4-bit triangle and 8-bit sine waveforms. It has waveform switching pluck effects, vibrato pre-delay, attack and 4 LFO waveforms. They’ve gone all out on recreating the most authentic NES chiptune synth ever.


The NES Poly was created by Chiptune Synth LLC and they are on Kickstarter to fund the second production run after selling out of the small number they initially manufactured. Their goal is a very modest £2,265 and they only need to sell another 1 or 2 to reach it with 3 days left in the campaign. It is significantly more expensive than most chiptune synths but the NES Poly is the highest quality of this sort of synth I’ve ever come across particularly when it comes to addressing the problems of noise and audio quality.

A NES Poly Chiptune Synthesizer will cost you $249 (£188) and aims to be delivered in January 2021.

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