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Sonicware Liven Mega Synthesis: Resurrecting the Sega Genesis Sound in a Portable Synthesizer/Groovebox

Dive into the Retro Soundscape with Sonicware's Latest Entry into the LIVEN Series

NEWS  Musical Instruments  January 5, 2024  Reading time: 2 Minute(s)

mdo Max (RS editor)

The world of portable synthesizers and grooveboxes has seen a remarkable influx of innovative products, and Sonicware, a young Japanese company, continues to make waves with its LIVEN series. Their latest addition, the Sonicware Liven Mega Synthesis, takes a bold step into the realm of nostalgia, reviving the iconic sound engine of the Sega Genesis gaming console.

Rekindling Retro Sounds

The Liven Mega Synthesis is a portable synthesizer and groovebox that brings back the beloved YM2612-based sound engine of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. Comprising three FM synthesis tracks, 2 PSG synthesis tracks, and a PCM sample track, this instrument faithfully recreates the 4-operator 8-algorithm FM engine, the 8-bit PCM sound module, and the "SN76489" PSG (Programmable Sound Generator) part of the original gaming console.

Authenticity in Sound Design

To capture the essence of the original console, Sonicware implemented a legacy mode that faithfully replicates specific sonic characteristics, such as the grungy-sounding quirks of the YM2612 sound or the option to play PCM in 4-bit. The FM sound engine offers a full editing mode, 6-voice polyphony, legato, and 11 arpeggiator modes. Meanwhile, the PSG engine on tracks 4 and 5 provides 4-voice polyphony, 11 types of square wave, noise, and the same arpeggiator modes. Track 6 introduces the PCM module with auto-sampling functionality, allowing for creative manipulation of samples.

Sequencing Capabilities

The Mega Synthesis doesn't just stop at sound recreation; it turns into a versatile groovebox with a robust sequencer. Offering six tracks with up to 128 steps per pattern, 128 patterns, and independent step length, users can program the sequencer through real-time recording or manual entry. Creative features such as parameter lock, note play probability, randomization, stutter function, and more contribute to a dynamic music creation experience.

Connectivity and Portability

The top of the Mega Synthesis boasts a comprehensive set of connections, including full-size MIDI ports, 3.5mm sync jacks, line in and out, mains, and a headphone jack. With a built-in speaker, classic 9V DC plug, or battery power option, the Mega Synthesis offers flexibility for both studio and on-the-go use. The interface features 27 keys, a hold function, 15 physical control knobs, and more, providing a user-friendly and tactile experience.

Availability and Pricing

Sonicware Liven Mega Synthesis is available now for $239, inviting musicians and producers to explore the distinctive sonic palette of the Sega Genesis in a modern, portable format. For more information, visit Sonicware official site




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