KORG is a synthesizer company (no shit! hehe) that has truly embraced modern computing platforms. The company has made both top notch clones of their legacy machines like the MS-20, as well as new innovative apps like the KORG Gadget. Bandai Namco, on the other hand, has been very slow in bringing their massive games legacy to the app stores, but has more recently stepped up in pace and we now have access to most of the amazing 80’s arcade games on all game platforms, including iOS and Android.

Now these two Japanese forerunners in their respective fields has joined forces in something that sure will trigger some sweet flashbacks to those of you who spent most of your weekly allowance in trading in quarters for the arcade machines hungry stomachs. So, Korg has teamed up with video game publisher Bandai Namco to create a new chiptune synth for its Gadget app. The new synth faithfully reproduces all those retro sounds in an awesome looking games type UI.

Korg’s Gadget app for iOS was released in 2014, and features a number of virtual synths and drum machines loosely based on classic electronic instruments such as the TB-303. It also features sequencer and mixer functions for recording full tracks. And although KORG Gadget already contains a chiptune synth – Kingstone – it is not hard to understand why this addition was a given for both companies. The chiptune scene has evolved tremendously during the last couple of years and the growing app market has added to its appeal with a number of good synths and drum machines for chip music, including fine clones of Commodore 64s and Ataris etc.

SidTracker 64, one of our favorites, is both an emulation of the SID sound chip on the Commodore computer line, plus a workstation for arranging your own songs. And it’s already got some songs to get you started, like the classic “Commando” by Rob Hubbard, which you can play or remix. The app emulates the later 8580 chip. The 8580 chip may not be what hardcore players are looking for, but apart from some very specific glitches on the original 6581, the two are capable of producing basically the same sounds.

SidTracker64 is a retro-style music creation tool and synthesizer combined with modern features such as midi keyboard and controller input, Audiobus 2 and Inter App Audio for recording in your favourite DAW-app. Midi clock in lets you sync to other apps and hardware drum machines and synthesizers, such as the Elektron Analog Four.

SidTracker 64 can be used for live looping, making complete songs, and the minimum latency makes it suitable for live use. Export your music to Dropbox and e-mail as audio or .sid and even .prg files which you can run on a real Commodore 64. More info here >>

Now back to KORG and Namco


Each Gadget available contains carefully constructed parameters to bring you the sounds you want. They’re ideal for producing all forms of electronic music. Even inexperienced musicians can enjoy the app as each synth offers a Scale function that makes it virtually impossible to play the wrong notes.

So, version 2.5 of the app is out now and Kamata is joined by two other additions to the app: Gladstone, which features real drum sounds, and Madrid, an instrument for creating acoustic and electric bass with a selection of amps.

And if the new version of the KORG Gadget isn´t enough for you – you may also want to check out the recently released Ming Micro, with inspirations from NES or why not the PO-20 from Teenage Engineering to get you started. The Ming Micro is a portable 8-bit video synth described as “the ultimate pixel art instrument,” allowing you to generate chiptune sounds and NES-like video from a small circuit board. It’s the younger sibling of Ming Mecca, a voltage-controlled video game console for modular synths.


Korg Gadget is available for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. It’s on offer for £14.99/$19.99 until July 15 but Kamata is only available through an in-app purchase costing £7.99/$9.99.

Here’s the background info pack from KORG and Bandai:

An unprecedented collaboration between KORG Gadget and BANDAI NAMCO Studios! Find out more at KORG Gadget and Kamata: http://gadget.korg.com/

The mobile music creation app ”KORG Gadget”, which won best mobile music app at Europe’s musical instrument show, Musikmesse 2016, has another major update! The new version 2.5 (codename: Kamata) developed in collaboration with BANDAI NAMCO Studios adds the synthesizer “Kamata” which features a reconstructed “Waveform Memory Sound Generator”, the sound engine that produced so many legendary game sounds in the eighties!

In addition, we have added two more gadgets: “Gladstone”, with genuine drum sounds you can really feel, and “Madrid”, featuring acoustic bass, electric bass and 6 different amps for creating dynamic bass sounds! We have also installed 8 new effects, making it possible to create powerful bass tracks with more flexibility than ever before.

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