Build your own arpeggiator synthesizer/MIDI controller in the form of a fight stick/piano keyboard mashup! It's perfect for chiptunes. You'll use LED Arcade 1x4 boards, MIDI FeatherWing, Feather M4 Express, and lots of shiny buttons to build this retro-style synth.

Play root notes with the light-up arcade buttons, adjust tempo and octave with the joystick, and use the front-panel function buttons to start/stop the arps, adjust arp range, and to select different patterns.

Output square wave synth sounds over stereo headphone jack, and/or send MIDI over USB or classic DIN-5 MIDI cable to your software and hardware synthesizers.

This project is inspired directly by the amazing Pianocade.

On-board synthesis using Audio Library:

Arcade Synth Controller controlling Game Boy via MIDI:


Angled shot of a Adafruit Feather M4 Express.
It's what you've been waiting for, the Feather M4 Express featuring ATSAMD51. This Feather is fast like a swift, smart like an owl, strong like a ox-bird (it's half ox,...
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Four 30mm arcade buttons in order of color: blue, green, clear, and red. A white hand with a white painted manicure presses each of the arcade buttons.
The only thing better than a glowy arcade button is, perhaps, FOUR glowing arcade buttons - and that's what the Adafruit LED Arcade Button 1x4 QT I2C...
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4 x Adafruit LED Arcade Button 1x4
STEMMA QT I2C Breakout
Angled shot of a Adafruit MIDI FeatherWing Kit.
Turn your Feather into a song-bird with this musically-enabled FeatherWing that adds MIDI input and output jacks to just about any Feather. You get both input and output DIN-5 MIDI...
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Small Arcade Joystick with red ball
This snappy 8-way joystick beckons you to play with it! It is rugged, and not too large, reminiscent of a Pac Man arcade cabinet. Unlike the potentiometer-based 2-axis and mini...
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13 x Arcade Button with LED
30mm Translucent Red
3 x 30mm Translucent Clear
Arcade Button with LED
Triple prototyping feather wing PCB with socket headers installed
This is the FeatherWing Tripler - a prototyping add-on and more for all Feather boards. This is similar to our
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Angled shot of a green round 16mm illuminated pushbutton.
A switch is a switch, and an LED is an LED, but this LED illuminated button is a lovely combination of both! It's a medium sized button, large enough to press easily but not too...
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Angled shot of a yellow 16mm illuminated pushbutton.
A button is a button, and an LED is a LED, but this LED illuminated button is a lovely combination of both! It's a medium sized button, large enough to press easily but not too big...
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1 x Through-Hole Resistors 1.0K Ω
5% 1/4W - Pack of 25


You can use two or three sets of aluminum bumper feet for the base if you're feeling highly extra!

Angled shot of two gray aluminum bumper feet.
Keep your electronics from going barefoot, and give them sleek cyberpunk metal feet! These aluminum bumpers are originally designed for keyboard enclosures that are made of anodized...
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Enclosure Materials

To build the enclosure you'll need 3mm thick (~1/8") acrylic stock in gray, black, and white:

You'll use M4 screws and nuts to secure the case, as well as the joystick:

This guide was first published on Jan 26, 2022. It was last updated on Jul 23, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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