[pullquote]What I love about the Synthboy+ is the ability to compose a chiptune anywhere, then take it into the studio with the dock, and make something magical. [/pullquote]As plenty of new synthesizers and peripherals hit the markets, it’s hard to keep track of what is being used, and what producers and beat makers like to use. Amidst the better-known brands of sequencers and beat makers sits Ninstrument – a company making its mark on the music industry with a unique and interesting product – the Synthboy+. Many game music artists and producers seeking interesting sounds in their tunes will no doubt have heard of LSDJ, but the synth by Ninstrument takes programming a Gameboy to the next level.
Originally only available to backers on Kickstarter, this promising synth project was realised, and reached backers and other studio owners within a few short months of the Kickstarter project ending. The options for the Synthboy+ are so many it’s hard to choose one! Everything from the colour of Gameboy, to the backlight screen and synth dock colour can chosen, giving you the ability to own a one of a kind model.
But don’t let the gimmick of this synth fool you. The Synthboy+ comes with a USB “Smart Card” cart, loaded with LSDJ – the program that takes the bips and blips out of a super Mario video game and lets you sequence it into your very own compositions. You essentially compose tunes by using chains of sequences. In any one chain, you can have up to 16 smaller sequences, each sequence with up to 16 notes in a phrase! Get your head around that! A phrase can include all 12 tones in the musical scale, and be represented by any of the programs many sounds, including JUMP, BLIP, FUMP, FLOAT, ARP and many more.
Controlling of the programming is easy enough once you get into it, with holding the “A” button and using the “D-pad” allowing you to navigate through sounds/notes. Being a synth you can change options such as the waveform, tempo, audio pan and have options such as transpose at your fingertips. Songs can be saved/loaded, but also save automatically, so you don’t have to worry about all your hard work going to waste if you lose power.
The base of the Synthboy+’s Gameboy is modded, to fit into the dock and fit comfortably. Here, you can take even more control of your sounds, and works well both on stage and in the studio. The dock is powered by either an (included) AC cable, or can run on the batteries (4x AA) from the Gameboy itself. LED’s either side of the dock provide a mini ‘light show’, responding to the position of the knobs. The dock essentially allows you easy access to manipulate the sound rather than navigating through the Gameboy’s options.
The midi in/out is great for producers who don’t’ want to learn the LSDJ programming, but want true, analog, authentic Gameboy sounds available to them. Audio and bypass also step this synth into the category of respectable studio gear, allowing clean recording and stage sound.
What I love about the Synthboy+ is the ability to compose a chiptune anywhere, then take it into the studio with the dock, and make something magical. The Synthboy+ features heavily in the sounds of 8 Bit Synthtown, with an audio sample below. Ninstrument can certainly be proud of their creation, the first branded and company produced of its kind. Although modding consoles has been done for a whole, Ninstrument offer a clean, crisp synth, worthy of a studio. With upcoming MODs available, as well as product support, if you’re looking for something a bit different for your tunes, this is definitely a synth you need to check out!
Here’s an example of what the Synthboy+ is capable of…