If you’re looking for a synth to make 8-bit sounds there’s no shortage of options.
As well as basic software and hardware synths there’s a Eurorack module that gives you 8-bit sounds, but the Arcano MIDI NES Chiptune Synthesizer is one of the more minimalistic options you’re likely to see.
The sound is provided by a microprocessor programmed to emulate the sound of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s audio processing unit, and features a MIDI connection and 1/8″ jack input. Arcana Systems also claims that the digital-to-analog converter chip it uses is capable of creating a “clear, high-quality audio signal” compared to other chiptune synths.
The synth only launched on Kickstarter a few days ago, but has already met its modest $1,000 goal. It’s not much to look at, but keeping things to a simple circuit board means the cost is low – $60 for a self-assembly kit or $85 for an assembled model. It probably wouldn’t be difficult to build you own case for it if you wanted.