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Genesynth: A Sega Genesis-inspired synthesizer

My largest side project over the last year has been the Genesynth - an open-source hardware synthesizer inspired by the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive. It started with a crazy idea and amazingly ended up with a functional, incredible sounding synthesizer.

While I’m not totally done with the project, it’s close enough for me to really share it with the world. This post introduces you to this synthesizer and how I built it. Feedback is always welcome, and I would especially love to know which technical details you’d like me to go into in future blog posts.

The inspiration
As noted in my first build log about the Genesynth, I grew up listening to Sega Genesis music and it left a permanent impression on me. The Genesis was one of the last consoles to feature a synthesizer chip instead of the samplers and CD playback that later consoles would adopt. It used an (at the time) relatively advanced FM synthesizer chip from Yamaha, the YM2612. The Genesis gave us some of the most iconic game soundtracks, and they were all brought to life using this chip’s distinct voice.”

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