I'm new to the forum! Perhaps you can help me out...I wanna make chiptunes with real hardware. I've heard a few demos from the Twisted Electrons hapiNES which seems to copy the original NES, but I would prefer to work with a real Nintendo NES controlled with midi.

I have 3 questions:

1.) For controlling the NES with Midi there seems to be only two possibilities: the Midines (wich is quite expensive and used) or the ChipMaestro.  Are those really the only 2 possibilities to control it with Midi?

2.) In a lot of games they have great drum samples on the DPCM-Channel. I assume that some of these sounds are on the midines, is there any other hardware which can load the drum samples into the NES?

3.) Are there any modifications on the audio-line-output available so that you could get 4 different mono outputs (one for each channel)?

Thanks a lot!

Last edited by mons (May 10, 2019 3:07 pm)

Rhode Island


1. is another option but also expensive. I am not sure if anyone has one here or if there are comparisons between the three of these. I only have a midiNES so I can only speak to that.

2. AFAIK for the midi controlled options there is no sample loading. The midiNES has 2 banks of samples on the DPCM channel with a good variety. There is a way to push audio into the midiNES through midi but I have only managed to make some rudimentary sounds with it.

3. There are mods you can do to create line outs but there are only 2 channels of audio that you can separate. One has the two pulse channels on it and the other has the DPCM, tri, and noise.


O.K., thanks for the information!

Montreal, Canada

Depends on how your current workflow is, and how 'faithful' the tunes are.

Personally I have a MIDINES (among many other hw boxes) and MIDI sequence everything old style using from Logic X. I simply prefer to compose with MIDI, drums and all. To gain extra isolation and control the final pass I solo each voice and multitrack. The MIDINES takes the drums / rhythm role on pretty much every track I do.

Yes as noted above, the MIDINES has a very good midi implementation, all those CC controls, and those awesome DPCM samples!

Twisted Electrons newest "hapiNES L" has a MIDI implementation so you don't have to use its sequencer which makes it somewhat comparable to MIDINES (not quite).

If you're just after leads & fills another hw box for consideration is "Arcano NES Chiptune Synthesizer". I also own this and for doing env and vibrato stuff, it is much so easier than programming a bunch of CC in the MIDINES case.

From your description both might be a good fit.