DirtyWave M8, Open-Source, Battery-Operated Handheld Synth & Tracker

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With M8, DirtyWave is developing a new portable groovebox that combines versatile synthesis, sample playback, and tracker sequencing in one battery-operated instrument.

With its Pocket Operators, Teenage Engineering has released exciting pocket synthesizer grooveboxes in the past that can do a lot. Timothy Lamb (Trash80) is currently developing an instrument that goes in the same direction but with significantly more power.

The DirtyWave M8 is an open-source music tracker and sequencer that is powered by a Teensy 4.0 and inspired the Little Sound DJ tracker. It features 8 monophonic tracks, 255 patterns, 128 instrument tables for advanced modulation, 64 instruments per song, live arranger mode, and MIDI in/out. At the synthesis level, there is a lot but also well-known to discover.

DirtyWave M8

3 Synthesis Engines For Long Fun

The developer has built-in three powerful engines into M8 that are capable of different waveform synthesis, FM, virtual analog, and sample playback. The first is a chiptune engine where also is his sonic home. This can produce classic, crunchy 8-bit sounds known from many chiptune synths. However, he did not stop there. Also onboard is a port of the Mutable Instruments Braids open-source Eurorack oscillator that brings 40 versatile synthesis types to the machine. Finally, we have sample playback with sample import support from a microSD card with no memory/length limitation. All this is rounded up with different effect processings including reverb, delay, chorus, and a master bus limiter. M8 is definitely not weak on the synthesis chest. There’s a lot on offer here and all this makes it a pretty powerful groovebox for your pocket.

On the connection side, it offers 3.5mm TRS MIDI (Type A) input and output, stereo audio input (effects routed) & Headphone/main output,  SDHC microSD slot, and an additional USB port for MIDI and audio. On top, this powerful engine can be powered with a 1200mAh USB rechargeable battery with up to 6 hours of use that makes this music-making machines even more interesting. With its dimensions (91.3 x 128.5 mm), it can even be used as an 18HP Eurorack module.

According to his Patreon artist page, he recently released a new firmware (0.9.9) and is working on the first 100 beta units. If the product series is ready, a Kickstarter campaign will follow. At first glance an exciting groove box with a lot of integrated sound power. I hope all is well and we will be able to pre-order the instrument shortly. I would wish it for Timothy Lamb aka Trash80.

Availability & Price TBA

More information here: DirtyWave

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