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This revolutionary FPGA synth provides chiptune faves (C64 SID/YM2149) in one Arduino compatible, musician and hacker friendly board.
This revolutionary FPGA synth provides chiptune faves (C64 SID/YM2149) in one Arduino compatible, musician and hacker friendly board.
91 backers pledged $12,557 to help bring this project to life.

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    1. Creator Jack Gassett on November 1, 2012

      Hey everyone, I have a date from Seeed Studio now. I'm putting together a big announcement and software release for tomorrow.


    2. Creator Michael Warnock on November 1, 2012

      An update on when the devices will ship would be nice.

    3. Creator Jack Gassett on July 5, 2012

      Thank you everyone! I'm really going to enjoy working on this project, and I can't wait to deliver the end result! When I posted this on Kickstarter I didn't really know if there was enough interest to make it into a product. I think 12K in funding makes it very clear that there is plenty of interest. :) So I look forward to making this as cool as I possibly can, and with the help of the open source community we can take it beyond what I ever imagined!

      Jack Gassett

    4. Creator Chand Svare Ghei - Moonknight on July 4, 2012

      congrats! looking forward for this one!!

    5. Creator Mark Knight on July 4, 2012

      Congrats. My first backed project. I owe you $5 as I'm international, but the system didn't give me the option to select that.

    6. Creator Gunnar Hemmerling on July 4, 2012

      From me tooo :)

    7. Creator andymanone on July 4, 2012

      Congratulations, Jack!!!!
      Nearly 12,6k USD is a really great result :)!!!


    8. Creator Jack Gassett on July 2, 2012


      Regarding the enclosure, I've been putting a lot of thought and pre-planning into the enclosure. I just finished the RetroCade MegaWing PCB design and made some changes to the Papilio Plus that should help reduce heat inside the enclosure. Please see the update that I just submitted for more information. Now that all the groundwork is in place I hope to start work on an enclosure this week. I really like this Open Source Raspberry Pi enclosure and hope to pattern the RetroCade enclosure after it:


    9. Creator Wojtek Sal - AGRM †гîΛηgłε dept. on June 30, 2012

      How's the status regarding the enclosure? There haven't been any updates for almost a week now....

    10. Creator Jack Gassett on June 25, 2012


      That's great that you want to get into the HDL code, I'm cleaning up the sources and should release them soon!


    11. Creator Peter Hall *FroggyMe* XSF 5 Vigil: (=>~ on June 24, 2012

      Wow, this is so great. And as an extra bonus, I have a Digital Logic text book, but no FPGA to practice the HDL on, and now I will! :)

      I wonder if there are any VHDL or Verliog descriptions of Yamaha's YMF-262 OPL3 "Adlib" chip. Because if so, I would definitely enjoy FM-synthesis being added to the mix.

    12. Creator andymanone on June 19, 2012

      Hi Jack,
      yes, I'm absolutely sure and I can hardly wait o.O!

    13. Creator Jack Gassett on June 18, 2012


      Thank you for backing at the Prototypter level! This project is going to be a lot of fun. :)


    14. Creator andymanone on June 17, 2012

      Hi Jack,

      so, in lack of Paypal :(, Credit Cards was arranged,
      and - like promised - Prototyper Pledge is done now :)!

      I´m really proud to support your project!

      The backround is:
      I´ve done (approx 5 years ago) some similar steps to combine different classic sound chips
      (e.g. 2149, Pokey and 8581) , to control them finally via MIDI,
      but unfortunately depend on missing spare time, this project died... so I´m absolutely happy, to find and support this cool project here!!!!
      Hope for lots of additional soundchips and synthesis in the near future!
      I´m absolutely curious for the next results!


    15. Creator Jack Gassett on June 15, 2012


      It looks like SID wavetable support would be controlled by C code running on the ZPUino so I don't see any reason we would not be able to support it.

      The priority of things I'm going to work on are:
      1) Working hardware with the things shown in the demo.
      2) Adding more chips that already have open source definitions.
      3) Making a digital effects library.
      4) Chip specific stuff like SID wavetables.

      The whole project is open source so someone might just jump in and add support before I get to it. I hope to be releasing a cleaned up version of the source code in the next week.


    16. Creator Jack Gassett on June 15, 2012


      There was a discussion about using ROCCC 2.0 for audio effects in the papilio forum. Maybe Faust and ROCCC could be used together? I just took a quick glance at both so I don't know how feasible that would be...…

    17. Creator Jeff Sandys on June 14, 2012

      RE: Your Ideas.
      At the Linux Audio Conference there were several talks about Faust (a DSP code compiler), one by Stanford professor Julius Smith, he wished that Faust could compile direct to a FPGA. I pledged for the Papilio Plus to explore this avenue.
      Faust URL:
      Julius Smith LAC URL:…
      -- Jeff

    18. Creator Mark Knight on June 14, 2012

      Are you supporting the SID wavetables? What about modulation, there doesn't seem to be a lot of control (modulators, envelopes and combiners) compared to something like QuadraSID.

      Great idea though!

    19. Creator Jack Gassett on June 14, 2012

      Thank you Chand! It's greatly appreciated. :)


    20. Creator Chand Svare Ghei - Moonknight on June 14, 2012

      you convinced me ;)

    21. Creator Jack Gassett on June 14, 2012

      The prototype level does not specify it very well. :) Sorry about that!

      Ok, so the prototype level will get everything from the Sponsor level:
      - Name on the sponsor list on the website and in the source code package.
      - RetroCade MegaWing
      - Papilio Plus LX9
      - Arcade MegaWing

      Plus, any prototypes I make I will be sending out an assembled version to the prototype backers as early as possible. So as soon as the RetroCade MegaWing arrives from the PCB manufacturer I will do my best to assemble prototype boards within a week and have them shipped out. I'm probably going to be making a new revision of the Arcade MegaWing as well and I would send out protoypes of that board too.

      I expect that the RetroCade MegaWing will be ready before the Papilio Plus boards are ready so I plan on shipping out a Papilio One along with the RetroCade MegaWing. Finally, backers at the prototype level will also receive a final production copy of everything as well.


    22. Creator Chand Svare Ghei - Moonknight on June 14, 2012

      Great to hear Jack, I am thinking about upping the pledge to Prototype level, exactly does the Prototype level mean? All the stuff +++?

    23. Creator Jack Gassett on June 14, 2012


      Thank you for funding us. :) The goal is to make this easy to use and hack. I intend to do everything I can think of to hide the really difficult and complex stuff from users and people who want to do simple hacks.


    24. Creator Chand Svare Ghei - Moonknight on June 14, 2012

      This project is totally awesome! Only thing I worry about is that I might not have all the skills to do all the dilly-dally, hope it will be easy enough to use, without compromising all the features. I hope this project will raise a lot of extra money so that you can implement tons of extra features.

    25. Creator Jack Gassett on June 14, 2012


      Great find! Maybe we can contact him and see if he would be willing to release his verilog code as open source. :)

    26. Creator Gunnar Hemmerling on June 14, 2012

      Sounds Nice it seem this Guy did it already maybe he can help :)…

    27. Creator Nathan Carter on June 13, 2012

      I think more different types of chips would be awesome. I would ultimately want SNES emulation, like load a ROM file for the samples, and then utilize open source emulations of it. I know there are some people who have made FPGA SPC playback modules. It would just be wrangling that code! If you made it have SNES sound emulation, I would buy like 8 of them.

    28. Creator Jack Gassett on June 13, 2012


      I just looked at the ym2151 on wikipedia and it looks like a really cool chip. We should put it on the dream features list! Speaking of dream features, I would love to start a discussion about what dream features people would like to see. I've got some ideas to start off with:

      * I'd like to be able to route the audio generated by the FPGA through VST plugins. I'm thinking that it should be possible to send the raw audio data over the USB port, into the Dashboard VST, through any other VST plugins that people have, and then back into the FPGA to be sent out the Delta-Sigma DAC. That way people can effect the sound with all the VST plugins they already have!
      * Speech Synthesis - It would be great to add a phonetic speech synthesis engine to the RetroCade's arsenal. The speech would be really old school sounding which could be really cool.

    29. Creator Jack Gassett on June 13, 2012

      I'm glad this is going to help out with your senior project. :) I can't wait to see what things people come up with once they have affordable FPGA/MIDI hardware in their hands! Please keep us posted about your progress, I will be setting up a RetroCade forum where people can post all the details about their projects. For now, I'd love to hear about your ideas here. :)


    30. Creator Gunnar Hemmerling on June 13, 2012

      Hallo Jack,
      is it possible to get in a later status of this project an core which emulate the ym2151? just a question or an idea i think it is a great soundchip too.

      best regards

    31. Creator bug on June 12, 2012

      You cannot believe how perfect this is for my senior project. I was preparing to make my own MIDI wing (with in/out/thru) until I found out about this. You have saved me much precious time!

    32. Creator Jack Gassett on June 8, 2012

      Ooops, I meant Control Change messages, not Change Control. :)

      I used to work at Rocky Flats where we had to do change controls for everything little bit of work so that terminology always pops out!

    33. Creator John Burton on June 8, 2012

      Excellent, thanks for the reply. Hoping this gets funded quickly :)

    34. Creator Jack Gassett on June 8, 2012

      Hello John,

      You ask, "To control this from a computer, is that done over the midi interface?".

      Control from the computer is done as Change Controls over the MIDI interface. For the demo I used a USB to MIDI dongle to accomplish that. But for the final release I will be working on a method that will send MIDI data over the Papilio's USB port so no MIDI dongle will be required.

      Additionally, since all the MIDI functionality is defined in the Arduino sketch running on the ZPUino it is very easy for people to hack in any behavior they desire. It's easy to link functionality to an analog slider, a serial message, a light sensor, or anything you can dream up!


    35. Creator John Burton on June 8, 2012

      To control this from a computer, is that done over the midi interface?

    36. Creator John Burton on June 4, 2012

      I have no musical ability at all and won't be able to make this do more than a tuneless bleep. But it looks like a fun excuse to play about with some fpga stuff too so I want one :)