Project image
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$10,826
pledged of $100,000pledged of $100,000 goal
77
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Oct 28 2018
Last updated October 28, 2018

Dark Arcade – a Low Cost Paraphonic Synthesizer Module (Canceled)

Dark Arcade is a $120 paraphonic synthesizer with digital oscillators and an analog filter, amplifier, envelope generator, and LFO.

Dark Arcade – a Low Cost Paraphonic Synthesizer Module (Canceled)

Dark Arcade is a $120 paraphonic synthesizer with digital oscillators and an analog filter, amplifier, envelope generator, and LFO.

$10,826
pledged of $100,000pledged of $100,000 goal
77
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Oct 28 2018
Last updated October 28, 2018

About

What is Dark Arcade?

Dark Arcade is intended to be an entry level hardware synthesizer for musicians looking to branch out from software synthesizer based workflows, as well as a distinctive addition to any hardware synthesizer collection. Its hardware features microcontroller-produced digital oscillators, an analog OTA band-pass and low-pass filter, an analog OTA amplifier, an analog ADSR envelope generator, an analog LFO, and MIDI input and output. External audio can be processed by the filter and amplifier section and external CV signals can be used to control the filter cutoff and amplifier gain. In addition to the hardware features, the software extends the feature list to include 4 voices of paraphony, 8-bit Karplus Strong synthesis, waveform blending, and many more. Below is a song produced with Dark Arcade in which all sounds (minus drums) are generated by Dark Arcade and then mixed with some basic effects (delay, reverb, and compression).

What features does Dark Arcade have?

The full feature list for Dark Arcade includes,..

  • Digitally produced oscillators including sine, triangle, square, and sawtooth waves
  • 4 voices of paraphony
  • OTA based analog filter including low-pass and band-pass output, cutoff control, and resonance control
  • OTA based analog amplifier
  • Analog ADSR envelope section with depth control
  • Analog LFO section with depth control and slew control
  • 8-bit Karplus-Strong synthesis mode
  • MIDI input
  • MIDI output
  • External audio input jack for processing external audio with filter and amplifier
  • External CV input jack for modulating filter cutoff (+/-9V)
  • External CV input jack for modulating amplifier gain (+/-9V)
  • Inverse envelope output for filter and/or amplifier modulation
  • Switches for choosing filter/amplifier modulation sources
  • Suboscillator volume and waveform control in monophonic mode
  • Waveform blending control between two separate oscillators on monophonic mode and paraphonic mode
  • Waveform blending LFO control
  • Waveform blending envelope control
  • Portamento with glide speed control on monophonic mode
  • Portamento triggering control (on every note press or only when a previous note is held)
  • Bitcrushing on paraphonic mode and Karplus Strong mode

What does Dark Arcade sound like?

The combination of digitally produced oscillators and an analog filter and amplifier give Dark Arcade an earthy tone with a cybernetic veneer. Distinctive, full-bodied sounds are easily created by tweaking knobs controlling both the software and hardware components. Below are audio examples of several patches created with Dark Arcade.  Each example includes the dry sound (no effects) first and then the same sound with reverb and/or delay. These examples were not mastered and were recorded directly by an Akai EIE Pro audio interface. 

How was Dark Arcade created?

Dark Arcade began as BITBA555, a personal project to design a simple analog/digital hybrid bass synthesizer using 555 timer ICs for envelope generators and an LFO section. Shortly after that goal was achieved, the electrical design was modified and the software was overhauled to push the limits of the internal hardware. The first mockup of the enclosure design was drafted and Dark Arcade was born.

First Mockup of Enclosure Design
First Mockup of Enclosure Design

Where does the name Dark Arcade come from? What is the design inspired by? These questions are best answered by knowing its designer.

Who designed Dark Arcade?

The person responsible for the electrical, software, graphic, and plastic part design is siike92, aka Stevey Yarusinsky. He is currently a graduate student pursuing his M.S. in Computer Science at Purdue University's Northwest campus and he holds his baccalaureate in Acoustics from Columbia College Chicago. He is a hobbyist musician and has been designing DIY audio hardware since he was in high school. Aside from audio and music, his other interests include CAD, 3D printing, graphic design, programming, and video games: all of which were utilized in this project. siike92's design for Dark Arcade was actually inspired from his childhood experiences in a dimly lit arcade that was located inside his local shopping mall.

"All of my influences, both in design and music, are rooted in video games. I remember my first experience in an arcade as being an overwhelming display of what the combination of sound and visuals could do. It was a dimly lit arcade in the local mall of my small town and each of the arcade cabinets called to me with their inspired visuals, music, and sound effects. And being the creatively inclined kid I was, their designs inspired me pursue my own artistic endeavors upon arriving home. What I wanted to do with Dark Arcade was project a bit of that same feeling. I wanted to provide musicians with a source of inspiration through my design and fuel their personal creative endeavors. Most importantly I wanted it to be set at an accessible price. I wanted the process from purchase to play to be as close as possible to the experience of entering a dark arcade and being inspired by your favorite video game, hence the name." - siike92

Why does Dark Arcade need crowdfunding?

Dark Arcade needs crowdfunding for the cost of manufacturing and verification. Since all development for both hardware and software has already been completed, the funding raised from the Kickstarter will go directly to manufacturing the circuit boards, verification of the circuit boards, manufacturing the injection molded plastic parts, manufacturing the other rewards, packaging, and shipping.

To achieve the low price point, volumes of at least 1000 units must be purchased from the injection molding vendors and the circuit board vendors. The circuit boards will be manufactured in Shenzhen China within the same company that manufactured the prototype boards. The injection mold will be tooled in Shenzhen China and will be used to produce plastic parts for both the Kickstarter production run and any production runs that may occur in the future. The assembled circuit boards and the injection molded plastic parts make up the entirety of Dark Arcade.

Front Plate of Dark Arcade (Colors Not Representative of Final Product)
Front Plate of Dark Arcade (Colors Not Representative of Final Product)

What are the other rewards?

We greatly appreciate any contribution in bringing Dark Arcade to life, so for that reason we have several other rewards at lower price ranges for backers who want to contribute but may not have the need for a Dark Arcade unit. The first of these rewards is a white or black graphic t-shirt displaying the Dark Arcade logo and enclosure design. It also lets people know you were a "2018 Kickstarter Backer" for this project. After the project is funded surveys will be sent out for sizing information.

Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirts
Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirts

The second reward is a vinyl of the album siike92 wrote while he was testing Dark Arcade and also features two songs from talented community members. The sounds displayed on the album (minus the vocals, most drum sounds, and the community members' songs) were generated by Dark Arcade. The same themes and inspiration that went into the synth's design are found within the album, as it is heavily inspired by video game music and imagery.

Vinyl Mockup
Vinyl Mockup

The last reward is a printed manual/artbook. While the manual portion of this reward will be available in PDF form on the.room.dis.connect website, this softcover version will feature production images, high definition promo stills, behind the scenes images, interviews, and more. It will also serve as great physical reference for all of Dark Arcade's features.

Manual Mockup
Manual Mockup

What changes will the final product contain?

The final product will have subtle differences to the prototype version seen in the videos. In terms of design, the color of the enclosure will change to a lighter shade that more closely matches the color in the original mockup. There will also be a small change to the enclosure design around the audio jack holes that allow for easier injection molding. Also, you may have noticed that the knobs on the front plate are of different shaft styles. This is because these differing styles were the quickest to attain for our PCBA vendor which allowed for quicker development. In the final version bulk quantities of potentiometers will be purchased and all shaft styles will be the same. There may also be small changes to the PCB and software of the final product, though they will be extremely minimal. Changes to the PCB may include changing a few resistor or capacitor values, while changes to the software will mostly be small optimizations to the UI (such as changing the button debounce times).

What does the timeline look like for backers?

Once funding is completed, prototype boards will be sent by our injection molding vendor to labs for EMC verification and the injection molds will be tooled. EMC verification is expected to take one to two months. After EMC verification is complete, production of the PCBAs and plastic parts will begin. The boards will be fabricated, assembled, electrically tested, then sent to our injection molding vendor for final assembly with the injection molded parts. The board fabrication and final assembly is expected to take one to two months depending on how many units need to be manufactured. The plastic part production is expected to take one month and can be manufactured in tandem with the boards. The other rewards will take less time to manufacture and can also be done in tandem with the board and part manufacturing, but will be shipped at the same time the Dark Arcade units have completed their production run. Finally, rewards will be kitted and shipped out by our order fulfillment service which is expected to take around 2 weeks. The entire process is expected to take five to six months.

Risks and challenges

Great effort has been put into minimizing risk for our backers. Most notably, none of the money contributed by backers will go into product development. The boards and plastic parts are finished, quoted, and ready to be manufactured. Our manufacturing vendors have been vetted and have worked with reputable companies without complaint. The vendors producing our other rewards have also been vetted. In addition, our goal is to communicate with our backers through each step of the manufacturing process and ensure their products are on their way.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Dark Arcade T-Shirt (White)

    A white graphic T-Shirt displaying a wireframe Dark Arcade design and "2018 Kickstarter Backer" text.

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    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (White)
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    Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (Black)

    A black graphic T-Shirt displaying a wireframe Dark Arcade design and "2018 Kickstarter Backer" text.

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    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (Black)
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade

    A 12" 33 1/3 RPM violet vinyl record featuring all synth sounds generated by Dark Arcade. The B-side also features two songs by talented community members.

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    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
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    Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook

    A softcover 6" x 9" manual/artbook featuring explanations of features, technical information, production images, high definition promo stills, behind the scenes images, interviews, and more.

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    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Promo Pack (With White T-Shirt)

    Promotional items including a white graphic t-shirt, a vinyl album produced with Dark Arcade, and a Dark Arcade manual/artbook.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (White)
    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Promo Pack (With Black T-Shirt)

    Promotional items including a black graphic t-shirt, a vinyl album produced with Dark Arcade, and a Dark Arcade manual/artbook.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (Black)
    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Promo Pack (With Both T-Shirts)

    Promotional items including a white graphic t-shirt, a black graphic t-shirt, a vinyl album produced with Dark Arcade, and a Dark Arcade manual/artbook.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (White)
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (Black)
    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
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    Pledge US$ 120 or more About US$ 120

    Dark Arcade

    The retail version of the paraphonic synthesizer module with digital oscillators and an analog filter, amplifier, envelope generator, and LFO.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade: Analog/Digital-Hybrid Paraphonic Synthesizer
    • Power Adapter
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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Dark Arcade with Manual/Artbook & Album

    The retail version of the synthesizer module with power adapter, a softcover 6" x 9" manual/artbook, and a 12" 33 1/3 RPM violet vinyl record featuring all synth sounds generated by Dark Arcade and a B-Side featuring two songs by talented community members.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade: Analog/Digital-Hybrid Paraphonic Synthesizer
    • Power Adapter
    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
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    15 backers
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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    Dark Arcade Ultimate Pack!

    The retail version of the synthesizer module with power adapter, two graphic T-shirts, a signed copy of the softcover 6" x 9" manual/artbook, and a signed copy of the 12" 33 1/3 RPM violet vinyl record featuring all synth sounds generated by Dark Arcade and a B-Side featuring two songs by talented community members.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade: Analog/Digital-Hybrid Paraphonic Synthesizer
    • Power Adapter
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (White)
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (Black)
    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Limited Prototype Pack!

    Own one of the original 3 prototype modules used for programming and testing purposes, as well as writing the Dark Arcade album. The prototype modules are seen in all of this Kickstarter's pictures and videos. These modules will come with all signed promotional materials, an injection molded case, two 3D printed cases printed in two different colors by siike92, and a third custom case printed in a filament color of your choice.

    Includes:
    • Power Adapter
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (White)
    • Dark Arcade Graphic T-Shirt (Black)
    • Vinyl Album Produced With Dark Arcade
    • Dark Arcade Manual/Artbook
    • Dark Arcade Revision 4 Prototype
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    Pledge US$ 3,000 or more About US$ 3,000

    Distributor! (30 Dark Arcade Units)

    For distributors who would like to sell Dark Arcade units in their stores. Contact siike92 for better deals on higher volumes.

    Includes:
    • Dark Arcade: Analog/Digital-Hybrid Paraphonic Synthesizer
    • Power Adapter
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Funding period

- (60 days)