Building An Arduino Chiptunes Project Inside An FPGA

From time to time we find ourselves in the mood for some Chiptunes. You know, the music that accompanied all of the best 8-bit console games? These days there are a lot of projects that use the audio chips of yore to recreate the sounds, but you’re always faced with the issue of sourcing those parts. [Jack Gassett] took some inspiration from one of those projects, but solved the rare hardware dilemma by building his own Chiptunes MIDI device in an FPGA.

He saw one of our features on an Arduino controlled YM2149¬†programmable sound generator. He realized that you can already find FPGA libraries out there that mimic this sound generation hardware, and he’s already done extensive work with an Arduino soft processor. Why not combine the two?

He’s using a Papilio FPGA with a wing that includes a MIDI connector and audio-out jack. As you can hear in the clip after the break this sounds just like the real thing. And he’s got plans to roll as many different types of sound generating chips into the mix as possible. You know, one FPGA synth to rule them all.

2 thoughts on “Building An Arduino Chiptunes Project Inside An FPGA

  1. I just wanted to add a quick note.

    This would not have been possible without the ZPUino Soft Processor and help from Alvaro Lopes. Alvaro Lopes had already done the heavy lifting of integrating the YM2149, POKEY, and C64 SID audio chips into the ZPUino. I only did the much easier task of writing a sketch, all the magic comes from the ZPUino Soft Processor. It is Open Source at its finest people helping each other out and building something that wouldn’t exist otherwise. :)


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