A fresh new little chip tunes synth caught my attention recently. The VXXY DCM8 is a blue table top synth with good ole wood side panels. It comes complete with and audio out and midi in / out. I’m personally not a big step sequences type of cat but the fact that you can use a midi controller with it makes it pretty dope in my opinion. I can imagine having these chip tune video game-ish crunched sounds in a hiphop context of beat making would be ill. Good work VXXY.
As always, it’s good to see a fresh new indie electronic musical instrument developer on the rise. That’s exactly what we have with VXXY. According to their about us page “Our first project was born from the want of a simple production of chip music sounds and the chance meeting with an engineer who had worked on previous iterations of TR-909 clones and a programmer of early video game sound engines.” Well, I’m glad these guys got together. I’m looking forward to the future of what VXXY has to offer.
More about the DCM8
The DCM8 is presented in a powder coated steel case with a CNC punched royal blue anodized aluminum front panel and white silk screen legend. The control layout has been designed to be compact and functional with eight main step editing and selection buttons, mode function buttons, an encoder knob for parameter adjustment and undo / redo buttons for ease of editing as well as live performance pattern modification. A 16 x 2 black & white negative LCD provides status information and menus for editing sounds and changing options.
A diverse range of chip tune sounds have been recreated by an old school programmer of commercial game sound engines from Gameboy and ZX Spectrum days, mixed with modern FM synthesis, digital filtering and adjustable DAC bit masking for manic distortion effects. Step sequencing also allows for pitch and decay parameters to be edited on a per step basis, and as the sounds are produced by formulas and micro-coded sequences this allows for greater sonic flexibility rather than just tweaking the pitch of a sample. Included is the ability to generate upto 32 custom sounds via a simple yet expressive editor and utilize the sounds within programmed sequences.
The oscillator has all traditional waveforms and a selection of 4bit wave tables, samples, generative algorithms and frequency modulation available. Noise source includes multiple different types of PRNG (pseudo random number generator) and wave formulations, and control is available over frequency, volume, and sweeping of those parameters. An LFO is also included which is routable to all parts of the synthesis engine, with selectable waveform, frequency, depth and re-triggering options.
Basic MIDI implementation allows for synchronization with an external source or operation as clock master, with triggering of sounds and selection of internal patterns also available.
- 64 Patterns in 8 banks of 8.
- Selectable 8, 16 or 32 steps per pattern with half, normal and double speed timing scales.
- Adjustable instrument volume, decay and pitch on per step basis.
- Dual channel architecture with wide range of retro and unique preset sounds generated by a scripted synthesis engine.
- 255 digitally synthesized chip sounds, consisting of 223 presets and 32 user generated patches.
- 8 Levels of live undo on each pattern.
- 8 Songs with 128 pattern selections.
- Clear, Copy and Paste 8, 16 or 32 steps between patterns.
- EEPROM based storage of all patterns and user data, with SYSEX backup.
- MIDI input and output.
Take a look at this video demo
Here’s a peak into the VXXY work space as they build DCM8’s