It’s sweet harmony as Korg and Nintendo come together at last.

A musician from lower Saxony named eVADE/duality micro has produced a cable to sync up Game Boys running popular homebrew software with Korg drum machines and synths.

On the Game Boy side, you need either LSDJ or nanoloop cartridges for music tracking. The cable then connects to the Gamelink Port or your Nintendo handheld.

On the Korg side, the volca series and monotribe can take that input via their sync port. (The Game Boy has to be the clock master with LSDJ, at least, for now; nanoloop appears to work both directions. A future LSDJ may also send.) I believe this should also work with devices like Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator line or some iOS apps – anything capable of responding to the Korg-style sync pulse, which has become something of an unintentional de facto standard.

Here’s a closer look at the arrangement:

Clever, nerdy stuff. But the best part is, there’s some rather lovely music coming out of these stupidly-inexpensive machines.

More music from Germany’s eVADE/duality micro, who’s been doing this stuff since the mid 90s.

eVADE is a nice left-field act:

duality micro is a side project inspired by “small machines”

And there’s this album:

Grab the cable for a few Euros here:
Korg Monotribe/ Volca Sync Gameboy DMG01 Cable (For Nanoloop/ LSDJ) [Bandcamp]

Or make your own, via instructions on the Nanoloop site (also in the RSDJ manual):
http://www.nanoloop.com/sync/

  • Mikkel

    You write gameboy has to clock master, yet in the video it doesn’t seem to be the case!

    • Added this clarification:

      “The Game Boy has to be the clock master with LSDJ, at least, for now; nanoloop appears to work both directions. A future LSDJ may also send.”

      • Kris Keyser

        The new Analog Sync mode in LSDJ ACCEPTS pulses from analog hardware, but doesn’t generate them (yet). The new mode requires you to set the number of pulses to line up the timing properly on the game boy, but that does allow you set it at one pulse per tick or per two ticks, effectively giving you a half-time mode if you set it right. I made a cable myself tonight and it works like a charm. I would love to see another mode where it sends the pulses too, but for now I love being able to turn the tempo knob on a volca and hear the game boy speed change ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mikkel

    You write gameboy has to clock master, yet in the video it doesn’t seem to be the case!

    • Added this clarification:

      “The Game Boy has to be the clock master with LSDJ, at least, for now; nanoloop appears to work both directions. A future LSDJ may also send.”

      • Kris Keyser

        The new Analog Sync mode in LSDJ ACCEPTS pulses from analog hardware, but doesn’t generate them (yet). The new mode requires you to set the number of pulses to line up the timing properly on the game boy, but that does allow you set it at one pulse per tick or per two ticks, effectively giving you a half-time mode if you set it right. I made a cable myself tonight and it works like a charm. I would love to see another mode where it sends the pulses too, but for now I love being able to turn the tempo knob on a volca and hear the game boy speed change ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mikkel

    You write gameboy has to clock master, yet in the video it doesn’t seem to be the case!

    • Added this clarification:

      “The Game Boy has to be the clock master with LSDJ, at least, for now; nanoloop appears to work both directions. A future LSDJ may also send.”

      • Kris Keyser

        The new Analog Sync mode in LSDJ ACCEPTS pulses from analog hardware, but doesn’t generate them (yet). The new mode requires you to set the number of pulses to line up the timing properly on the game boy, but that does allow you set it at one pulse per tick or per two ticks, effectively giving you a half-time mode if you set it right. I made a cable myself tonight and it works like a charm. I would love to see another mode where it sends the pulses too, but for now I love being able to turn the tempo knob on a volca and hear the game boy speed change ๐Ÿ™‚

  • mckenic

    Aaand… they are gone!

    • Heh, I think there may be more.

      You can also make your own – there’s information in the LSDJ catalog.

      • mckenic

        Thanks Peter!
        Will be keeping my eye on the site – for that price it saves scrounging around for a cable locally to mod!

  • mckenic

    Aaand… they are gone!

    • Heh, I think there may be more.

      You can also make your own – there’s information in the LSDJ catalog.

      • mckenic

        Thanks Peter!
        Will be keeping my eye on the site – for that price it saves scrounging around for a cable locally to mod!

  • mckenic

    Aaand… they are gone!

    • Heh, I think there may be more.

      You can also make your own – there’s information in the LSDJ catalog.

      • mckenic

        Thanks Peter!
        Will be keeping my eye on the site – for that price it saves scrounging around for a cable locally to mod!

  • oliver

    monotribe and volca (also POs) have different sync schemes: monotribe 4/4 (one clock per 1/16 note), volca / PO 4/2 (one clock only every 2nd 1/16 note). monotribe got a firmware update to support 4/2, too.

    nanoloop supports sending both schemes but only receiving 4/4. when synced as slave to a volca, it runs halfspeed.

    nanoloop 2.7.8 can also send MIDI sync via a similar cable.

    the good thing about these cables is that, unlike with MIDI or USB, no electronics are required, it’s just wire connections. details: http://www.nanoloop.com/sync/

    • Thanks for the link, Oliver! (and the great app)

      Yeah, should have posted the build instructions – added.

      Of course, it’s also a cool idea to start bundling creative chip music with accessories and hardware.

  • oliver

    monotribe and volca (also POs) have different sync schemes: monotribe 1/16 (one clock per 1/16 note), volca / PO 1/8 (one clock only every 2nd 1/16 note). monotribe got a firmware update to support 1/8, too.

    nanoloop supports sending both schemes but only receiving 1/16. when synced as slave to a volca, it runs halfspeed.

    nanoloop 2.7.8 can also send MIDI sync via a similar cable.

    the good thing about these cables is that, unlike with MIDI receive or USB, no electronics are required, it’s just wire connections. details: http://www.nanoloop.com/sync/

    • Thanks for the link, Oliver! (and the great app)

      Yeah, should have posted the build instructions – added.

      Of course, it’s also a cool idea to start bundling creative chip music with accessories and hardware.

  • oliver

    monotribe and volca (also POs) have different sync schemes: monotribe 1/16 (one clock per 1/16 note), volca / PO 1/8 (one clock only every 2nd 1/16 note). monotribe got a firmware update to support 1/8, too.

    nanoloop supports sending both schemes but only receiving 1/16. when synced as slave to a volca, it runs halfspeed.

    nanoloop 2.7.8 can also send MIDI sync via a similar cable.

    the good thing about these cables is that, unlike with MIDI receive or USB, no electronics are required, it’s just wire connections. details: http://www.nanoloop.com/sync/

    • Thanks for the link, Oliver! (and the great app)

      Yeah, should have posted the build instructions – added.

      Of course, it’s also a cool idea to start bundling creative chip music with accessories and hardware.

  • lazenbleep
  • lazenbleep
  • lazenbleep
  • Matias Rapacioli

    Download the New EP of Neurocracks – “Low Boost”

    https://neurocracks.bandcamp.com/album/low-boost

  • Matias Rapacioli

    Download the New EP of Neurocracks – “Low Boost”

    https://neurocracks.bandcamp.com/album/low-boost

  • Matias Rapacioli

    Download the New EP of Neurocracks – “Low Boost”

    https://neurocracks.bandcamp.com/album/low-boost