M8 Headless Tracker

Here’s a cool thing I’m trying out currently, that is a throwback all the way to when I experimented with tracker software on my Nintendo DS using an R4 chip, probably circa 2003-2004.

The Dirtywave M8 is a handheld tracker which is highly regarded in the tracker community and constantly sells out (partially due to chip shortages and the fact that it’s a small operation at Dirtywave). Rather than deny people the joy of using the M8 Tracker, they have released a “headless” version – one that can be self-installed onto a Teensy 4.1 chip and run from a computer. From there, members of the community figured out how to run it on other hardware, including, in my case, handheld gaming devices like the Anbernic RG351 (or in my case – the RG353M).

I am just now playing with this and learning the work flow, and dropping samples onto my SD card… but the appeal of a full featured music production tool in a handheld form is *always* appealing to me, so I think I’ll have a lot of fun with this one. In total, it cost probably $40 outside of the handheld RG353M device: you’ll need a Teensy 4.1 chip, an SD card (i’m using an old 16GB microSD card), and I also bought a USB-C to MicroUSB cable for easier connection to the handheld device.