The Atmegatron is an 8-bit monosynth that was released by Soulsby in 2014. It was their first product and definitely dared to do things a little differently. The Atmegatron excelled at delivering classic 80s Chiptune sounds, but Soulsby added some powerful new features for the time as well.
This 8-bit monophonic MIDI synthesizer features a unique Wavetable PWM Synthesis engine where many of the features are controllable by MIDI. Soulsby has also kept the controls very quick and intuitive, so you won't find any complex menu systems with this synth. It comes with 16 preset sounds, but even these can be overwritten with your own patches if you want.
The Atmegatron features a very stylish and unique look with two opaque dials dominating the front panel. These two knobs can switch in color between green and red, which further adds to the psychedelic look of the synth. To the right of these two knobs, there are "Volume" and "Bass Boost" knobs while the top of the panel features six more knobs and a color-changing button. It might not sound like a lot, but pushing the button can switch four of the knobs to their alternate modes. Parameters are selected with the left-hand dial while the right-hand one is used for changing the values. Everything is straightforward enough that you won't even miss the inclusion of an LCD.
Adding to the allure of the Atmeratron is the stylish white aluminum case with walnut side panels. The back panel holds the five-pin MIDI in and MIDI out ports along with the mini-jack headphone output, Audio Out, and the 12V DC connector. There's also a programmer header slot that can be used to connect the Atmegatron to a computer.
The Atmegatron makes use of the Atmel 328P processor, which is common for many Arduino development boards. Although small this synth is not lacking in features. It has 32 factory waveforms along with six user waves. Users can also choose between 15 digital filters as well as an LFO and an arpeggiator. Of course, all of these are 8-bit, which means it's possible to coax some lovely Chiptune sounds out of the Atmegatron.
By its design, the Atmegatron features harsh, brittle tones, so if you are not into 8-bit sounds and Chiptune music this is probably not the synth for you. It would definitely be foolish to expect the Atmegatron to sound like a typical monosynth too. What is great about the Atmegatron is how easy it is to hack with the open-source code, free Arduino development environment, and tutorials to help programmers all available from the official website.