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NAMM 2020: MEGAfm packs two Sega Genesis sound chips into a “beautifully dirty” hardware synth

The Sega Mega Drive is definitely having a moment. In the past year, its sound has been brought to the Nintendo Switch version of Korg’s Gadget and recreated in a desktop plugin, while Look Mum No Computer used the console as the basis for a custom FM synth.

Now Twisted-Electrons - veteran of NES-inspired instruments - is after a piece of the Genesis action, announcing the MEGAfm synth. This is built around the Mega Drive’s YM2612 FM sound chip, and promises “unprecedented hands-on FM control”.

Rather than the clean and digital sound that you’d usually expect from FM, this is an instrument that’s designed to deliver “beautiful dirt”, with the sound palette covering everything from plucked strings to growling and distorted basslines.

It does this by dispensing with the tiny LCD screens and menus that FM synthesis is known for and replacing them with 32 operator faders, 14 knobs and 15 buttons. What’s more, every knob can be modulated by the LFOs.

The YM2612 chip offers six voices of FM goodness with four operators per voice and eight algorithms. The MEGAfm features two of these little critters, giving you 12 voices that can be spread across two outputs or summed to one.

MEGAfm can be pre-ordered now for €474 and should ship in March. Find out more on the Twisted-Electrons website.

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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