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TIA Atari 2600 Synth Cartridge Partial Kit

TIA Atari 2600 Synth Cartridge Partial Kit


The TIA 2600 Synth Cartridge is a Midibox Synthesizer Project that uses the sound chip from an Atari 2600 game console. 

This is a partial kit for Standalone format.

*The included atari TIA chip is the PAL version that sums the two channels to mono. For Stereo, an NTSC TIA will need to be used.

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The TIA is an MOS integrated circuit designed to interface between an eight (8) bit microprocessor and a television video modulator and to convert eight (8) bit parallel data into serial outputs for the color, luminosity, and composite sync required by a video modulator.

This circuit operates on a line by line basis, always outputting the same information every television line unless new data is written into it by the microprocessor.

When I started this project, there were two main structures of a MIDIbox, SEQ or SYNTH oriented.
My conclusion was that the skeleton and features of MB-SID version 1 were best suited to the TIA and its own possibilities.

Due to the TIA capabilities, the MIDIbox software provides almost the entire features of the synth engine. And it do it fine :-D.

  • Modulation Wheel.
  • After-Touch.
  • Volume for each Voice.
  • Waveform select for each Voice.
  • Transpose for each Voice.
  • Pitch Range & Pitch Bend for each Voice.
  • Delay for each Voice.
  • Portamento for each Voice.
  • Independents Constant Time Slide enable for portamento.
  • Arpeggiator for each Voice
  • Independents MIDI Sync Enable for LFOs/ENVs/ARPs.
  • Master Volume.
  • 2 independents Velocities (with CC# or/and Amplitude assign).
  • 2 full independents and dedicated Envelopes with Modulation Type, MIDI Sync and curve assign.
    One by Voice (No internal envelope in a TIA). Assignable to Amplitude or pitch.
  • 4 full independents LFOs with MIDI Sync.
  • 2 full independents ENVs with MIDI Sync.
  • 6*4 Matrix, LFOs/ENVs to amplitude or pitch.
  • Keyboard Extended Option with note offset and note length values.
  • GSA.
  • MIDI Send Clock.



There are two audio circuits for generating sound. They are identical but completely independent and can be operated simultaneously to produce sound effects through the TV speaker. Each audio circuit has three registers that control a noise-tone generator (what kind of sound), a frequency selection (high or low pitch of the sound), and a volume control.
Each audio circuit consists of parts described below:

Synthesis Schematic

Audio Output:

A few references of TIA have a separated output for each voice (pin 12 & 13).
In General, the two voices are added to the same output (pin 13), pin 12 became a special pin, is used for video carrier frequency modulation.
I think it's the oldest consoles(Six Buttons Model) which has separated outputs.

This partial kit Includes the cartridge drill jig, the insert plate to install into a 2600 game cartridge, PAL TIA IC, I/O dongle, and PCB w/ Microcontroller pre-soldered & pre-programmed.
See images to see what's included. 


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