It's game on with the Sega Mega Drive Synthesizer
He's previously made music mobile with a synth bike, and built a nightmarish noise-maker called the Furby Organ. Now Brit sonic scientist Sam Battle has tapped into the sound synthesis guts of a Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis) and created a monster synthesizer ready to get its music-making game on.
Some of Battle's recent builds have used games consoles as the starting point for his synth madness, including a Nintendo NES and lots of Gameboys. Responding to fans of his YouTube channel, he's now given Sega some frequency modulation love.
The console has been mounted to a metal sheet drilled with holes for numerous potentiometers, which are used to adjust the synth's parameters. Mounted to the back are Arduino Nanos running custom code and multiplexers connected to the buttons and dials out front. The cartridge slotted into the console is a custom MIDI interface.
After a lot of soldering to connect up a bunch of wires, Battle connected the Sega Mega Drive Synthesizer to a keyboard controller and let rip. And the results are impressive. Battle gives a zany project overview in the first video below, and goes into more detail in the second. Worth a look at both.
The frequency modulation chip inside the Sega console does have six channels, so polyphonic output should be possible – but as of writing this functionality was still being worked on.
Source: Look Mum No Computer