Turn your old Game Boy into an analogue synth with Nanoloop Mono

Nanoloop Mono is an analogue synthesizer on a cartridge for the original monochrome Nintendo Game Boy.

The video above, from YouTube user James Chip, is an overview of the Mono and takes a closer look at some of the features.

Nanoloop Mono features a step sequencer with per-step control for all parameters, and there are eight banks of flash memory, each of which can hold 15 patterns per channel.

Oliver Wittchow from Nanoloop explains the technology behind the Mono cartridge: "On the original Game Boy models, one pin of the cartridge connector functions as audio input, connected to the built-in amplifier. This unique feature allows you to generate sound on the cart and play it through the headphone output on a completely analogue signal path.

"In the Nanoloop Mono cart, the analog components (op-amps, comparators, logic cells etc) of a PIC microcontroller are connected and configured in such a way that they form a hybrid sound chip with three analogue filters and a true random noise generator, using only a few passive external components."

Nanoloop Mono specs

  • Three channels:
  • r = Rectangular Wave
  • Dual oscillators
  • Variable pulse width
  • Low-pass filter with adjustable resonance
  • c = Click
  • Single impulses
  • Extra-resonant bandpass filter for 808-like drum sounds
  • n = Noise
  • True analog noise generator or
  • Dual square waves
  • Bandpass filter with medium resonance

While more than one version of Game Boy does work with the cartridge, it is the original Dot Matrix Game Boy that is recommended. Below are list of compatibility issues with the other versions.


  • DMG (original Game Boy): OK, clean and bassy
  • Game Boy Pocket: Works, but less bass, more hiss, whine
  • Game Boy Color: Works, but very little / distorted bass, a lot of hum and whine
  • Game Boy Advance: Doesn't work, cart won't even boot

Nanoloop Mono is available to preorder now from the Nanoloop shop for €69.

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.