Paul Slocum has been hard at work creating more tools for musicians to generate music with old-school hardware, and his latest creation is the Cynthcart for the Commodore 64. The Commodore 64's SID chip can produce some amazing audio (especially considering its age!) and Paul uses it in much of his music (if you're not aware, Paul makes up one half of the band Tree Wave, definitely worth checking out if you haven't already). Paul created the Cynthcart to turn the Commodore 64 into a kickass synthesizer, and it's now evolved enough where he can share it with other musicians.
Cynthcart Version 1.2.4 Features:
- 3 Note Polyphony
- Works with the common C64 piano keyboard overlay
- No latency
- Adjustable vibrato
- Portamento effect (sliding notes)
- Can change patches and settings while playing
- Support for 2nd SID chip (stereo chorus effects)
- Filter, pulse width, vibrato, and bend control via paddle controllers
- Whammy (space) bar
- Control of attack, release, and many other sound parameters
- Tuning adjustment
- Psychedelic rave color patterns
- On-screen help
- SID hex editor for advanced users
- Can turn off video chip to reduce noise
- PAL and NTSC tuning tables with automatic selection
- Designed to be used easily without a TV/monitor
- Copies itself to RAM (cartridge can be removed after loading)
If you have an older version of the Cynthcart, here is a list of improvements since version 1.1:
- Added PAL note table for PAL consoles
- Autodetection for PAL/NTSC
- Full-screen video mode
- Auto-paddle-on for filter paddle
- Added support for second paddle (pitch, LFO depth, pulse width)
- Rearranged keyboard layout per user requests
- Added help screen (press RETURN)
- Added help for SID edit mode
- Added dummy SID register to edit 3 oscillators at once
- Fixed accidental patch changes due to C64 keyboard hardware
- Fixed odd notes in top octave
- Filter tweak for SID Symphony
If you are an existing Cynthcart owner and would like to purchase an upgraded Cynthcart, please follow this link.
These sound clips were recorded from a real Commodore 64 with a single SID chip:
The Cynthcart is available in TWO different configurations:
- Board with the EPROM installed in a socket
- Board with the EPROM soldered directly to the board (no socket)
Without a socket, you can put your Cynthcart
into a standard Commodore 64 cartridge shell (the ones made by Commodore). With a socket installed on the Cynthcart
, the board will NOT fit in a standard Commodore 64 cartridge without first cutting a hole in the top of the cartridge shell. If you opt for a board with a socket, your Cynthcart
can easily be upgraded when new versions of the Cynthcart
software are available. Please be sure to select above which configuration you wish to purchase.
The Cynthcart also includes a manual written by Paul Slocum. Be sure to check out Paul's Synthcart for the Atari 2600 while you're here!
i actually found the commodore 64 at annas attic thriftstore down the street from my house about 2 and a half years ago. i was going to try to sell it on ebay. then i thought, "hey, i wonder if i could turn this puppy into a synth!" so i googled it and sure enough, atari age and the cynthcart popped up. i was like "no way dude!" so i purchased it. i found the power supply at urban ore in berzerkely. i got the a/v cable and the overlay off ebay. it took me awhile to gather it together but when i finally started playing it, i fell in love. the cynthcart is awesome. i only wish it had more keys and more than 3 note polyphony. also, the signal output is a bit noisy but i heard it can be fixed. even so, it still rules. i want to learn how to piggy back 2 of them so i can get 6 note polyphony. i finally got the paddle control for the filters, but i have not recieved it yet. i can't wait to try it! i actually purcased another cynthcart this time in the socket, since they were out of production for a while and now they are in limited production. i just wanted to get another in case something happened to my first cynthcart. i use the c64 with my synthpunk band nonoxynol 9, along with a casio sk5. it sounds amazing. i heart cynthcart. do yourself a favor and buy it, you won't be dissapointed! up the punx!
Really good , and worth the Money. I use it in my band . its the best Commodore Music Program out there!
very usable. i would prefer if you could tweak all three (or 6, if you piggyback a 2nd sid chip)voices yourself and didn't have to deal solely with presets. but, he has found some good presets and it works well. i would advise you to put in a 2nd sid, run stereo (two) 1/4" jacks in your c64 (they're noisy) and ground the audio input to reduce noise. this is really a very good program and the maker has put some thought into feature layout that makes it very easy to work with and play live, or goof around recording, like myself. you can't beat the convenience of a game cartridge format.