Take MIDI control of your NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) with the MCTRL (pronounced M-CONTROL) .  There are many homebrew audio/video titles for the NES that can’t easily be synced with your traditional DAW or MIDI keyboard/device, until now.   MIDI ‘IN’, ‘OUT’ and ‘THRU’ allow you to seamlessly add this to your existing MIDI setup.  We have built the MCTRL out of durable ABS plastic, strong enough for the hard rigors of live shows. We use an original NES Gamepad that retains its full functionality and use.  We add a full feature MIDI pcb from HighlyLiquid.com that is fully powered from the Gamepad and requires no additional power interface.  We insure full NTSC and PAL compatability for all of our MCTRL’s including the free Cartridges we include with every MCTRL sale.  You can resell your MCTRL and cartridge to anyone in the world and not have to worry about compatibility problems or issues.  The cartridges feature the Ciclone chip from RetroUSB.com.

The LED’s light indicating what your MIDI device has triggered.  This makes it very easy to see exactly what is happening.  You can still use the Gamepad buttons simultaneously.

The MCTRL has a ‘LEARN’ function.  This allows quick programming of the MCTRL.  Once put into ‘LEARN’ mode it will take the next 8 midi commands you send it and stores them.  There is also software for MAC/WINDOWS that will allow you to drill down into more features and set very specific parameters.


You can switch sides for the MIDI ports so you can easily customize your setup, or connect two MCTRL’s together to control both ports simultaneously on your NES.  We designed everything about the MCTRL with ‘off the shelf’ hardware and we will gladly release all of the information for the DIY’ers so you can build your own in your own enclosure. Fair warning though, a lot of soldering has to be done with patience.  If you would like more information about the internal electronics, please let me know directly.  I have started a DIY guide and will post it when I have worked out all of the details.  We just want everyone to have a chance to synchronize these great gaming sounds and graphics in their studios and shows without having to build and test the hardware themselves. Plus please realize we are not making any money off of any software and whatever money we make on hardware goes right back into development of both hardware and software.

What titles work great with MCTRL?

Well technically you can use it with any NES title, but we focus on the homebrew titles that we find useful from an audio/video standpoint, but if you want to control Mario from Super Mario Bros. to jump around to the tempo of your music, that is easily accomplished!

All of the cartridges we make will work with both NTSC and PAL systems.  This is made possible by the use of RetroZone’s Ciclone chip.  You can find more info about it here:  http://www.retrousb.com/product_info.php?cPath=24&products_id=37


Don Miller (no-carrier) has created an awesome glitch effect program that is a VJ’s dream to use.  His site is located here:  http://www.no-carrier.com/index.php?/glitchnes/  We have custom built tilesets for GlitchNES that have a variety of effect.  We have custom cut holes into the top of the carts so you can easily access the ROM chips, so you can program your own, or buy custom ROM sets to switch them out.  We can also make custom graphics like band name or custom pics that can be put directly onto the ROM chips . If you select a GlitchNES cart with your MCTRL purchase a donation will be made to Don Miller to aid in the efforts for designing the possibly upcoming GlitchNES 3.0 and beyond!


Shay Green (blargg) has created an unusual NES graphics program that can easily be synced to music.  With inspiration from Neil Baldwin’s similar NES program, he has worked on it through many revisions and has added features each time.  There are many transitions and patterns that can keep your audience interested in your show.   There are two battery holders so you can change out the battery and not lose your .sav files.  The usual security screws have been changed out with regular Phillips head screws so you can gain access to the internal board easily. We find it very useful to use Lightwall in combination with GlitchNES above.  The two combined are an impressive 8-BIT lightshow.  Blargg’s website is located here: http://blargg.8bitalley.com/  If you select a LIGHTWALL cart with your MCTRL purchase, a donation will be made to him.  Additional information on Lightwall can be found here: http://blargg.8bitalley.com/parodius/nes-code/litewall/litewall.html


Designed by Heavyw8bit, this synthesizer requires a four player adapter, but is very responsive with the MCTRL.  You can purchase Nesk-1 directly from his site located here: http://www.heavyw8bit.com/nes_synth.php


Neil Baldwin has been generous by releasing great NES sound programming titles. You can check out his site here: http://www.nes-audio.com/ If you select a PR8 cart to include with your MCTRL a donation will be made to the ‘Just Giving’ charity under his name, located here: http://www.justgiving.com/Neil-Baldwin


We are addicted to PR8.  Neil has done an amazing job with the layout and useability!  He says this about it on his site, “PR8 takes everything and turns it on it’s head. It’s a drum-machine-style synth but is also so much more. Uses 6 ‘virtual’ tracks and the drum ‘instruments’ are able to use any combination of all of the NES’s hardware voices SIMULTANEOUSLY!  Tons of features and 180hz refresh rate for fast pitch sweeps and other effects. And yes, it has Auto Echo too!”


If you use LSDJ on a Gameboy, then you will feel right at home with Pulsar. Neil describes it this way on his site, “Pulsar (rightly) gained the nickname of ‘LSDJ for the NES’. Features a very similar UI to LSDJ so LSDJ users will find it reasonably familiar. Highlights include Auto Echo (of course!), complex Table-based FX, a unique ‘multi-voice’ table effect, amplitude modulation ‘distortion’, scaleable 180hz refresh rate for higher fidelity.”



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