Q: Where can I buy one?
A: They're $25, available at Atariage.
Q: Do you have the manual online?
A: Download here in PDF format.
Q: Which controllers work with it and where do I get them?
A: Keyboard Controllers, Video Touch Pads (Star Raiders controller), and the
Atari Kid's Controllers
I usually use the Video
Touch Pads which you can get on Ebay
or at 4Jays. The
Kids Controller is also good and
looks great, but is usually a bit more expensive (about $20-$30 for a pair.)
Q: What all do I need to use it?
A: An Atari 2600 w/ power supply, TWO keyboard controllers, and a TV (or a VCR that includes a TV tuner and audio out).
Q: Which Ataris will it work with?
A: It will work with all Atari 2600's including the Junior model (black and
silver). It also works on the Atari 7800. However, the 7800 doesn't have a
switch. So the 7800 will not be able to access all the sounds unless the B&W
switch mod is done (install a switch/toggle in place of the 7800's momentary Pause button).
There are PAL and NTSC versions, but not a SECAM version.
Q: Is there a sequencer or drum beat editor on the Synthcart?
A: The beats cannot be easily edited. There are 33 beats and they are hard coded in the cartridge. There's not
enough memory to have any proper sequencing. The Atari only has 128 BYTES of RAM which is already filled.
However, since I've released the source code (see above), if you like to hack,
you can modify the beats and re-assemble the ROM into a version with your own beats.
Then you can run that on an emulator, krokodile cart,
or cuttle cart 1 or 2, or get Atariage
to make a custom Synthcart.
Q: What generates the sound?
A: The sound is generated by the Atari 2600's built in sound chip (the TIA). The
cartridge doesn't have any special sound
generating hardware -- the Synthcart is just software for the Atari 2600.
Q: How do I get a direct audio out?
A: You can do the modifications yourself: you just solder two wires to the Atari board and then connect them to
a RCA or a 1/4" connector.
Check out Ben's how-to page
to figure out where to solder the wires.
On Ben's page go to "How do get composite video from [whichever Atari you're using]?"
and it'll show you where to solder the audio wire (just do the audio mod, ignore the video portion).
Solder the other wire to any ground point.
this mod to get audio-out with a stereo option (one output per oscillator).
also the new A/V mod kits from 8bitdomain which are quite a bit cheaper than
the Cybertech mods that I use (which are no longer in production). I haven't tried these A/V kits
yet, but I've heard good things about them.
Other easier options are to get a VCR and use its tuner and A/V outputs or
get a video demodulator.
Q: Do I have to have a modified Atari to use it?
A: No, you can just use your TV. Or you can hook it up to a VCR with
A/V out to get the audio.
Q: Can I build my own keyboard controllers?
A: Yes! And it's not too difficult. Check out Tim's instructions on how to build them,
and there is a schematic of the controller on Atariage.
Q: Is there a way to sync the Synthcart to my gear?
A: Not automatically, but if you set your gear to the same tempo as the Synthcart
them at the same time, they will stay in sync since the 2600 clock is very
A: Highly Liquid produced MIDI kits in the past which are discontinued, but the design is open source.
Q: I have another question that wasn't answered here?
A: Join the Synthcart yahoo group and ask there.
I read all the messages there along with 120+ others, so somebody will probably be able to answer it.