The Dato DUO combines a synthesizer and sequencer into one fun electronic instrument that is aimed at children and adults alike. It doesn't matter whether you already know how to play an instrument; anyone can create their own sounds and melodies on the Dato DUO. And while most instruments are designed to be played alone, we designed the DUO to be playable by two!
We believe synthesizers are too much fun to be left to grown-ups alone. But existing synthesizers are often too complicated or precious to be used by kids. Also, jamming with each other is better than making music alone. We started developing the Dato DUO in December 2015 and have been user-testing and improving it ever since.
The Dato DUO is designed to have fun making music, together! While one player plays a melody on the sequencer side, the other creates its sound and adds percussion on the synthesizer side. By carefully controlling the possible parameters, we designed the DUO so you can’t do anything wrong. The result may be as clean or noisy as you want it to be, but it’ll never be out of tune. If you want to know how it sounds watch our video again – we recorded the soundtrack directly from the output of one Dato DUO.
This is the circular sequencer. It loops the last eight notes that you play. There are further buttons and knobs to change the melody on the fly. You can turn notes on and off, speed up the sequence, play notes at random or change the pitch.
You play notes into the sequencer using the pentatonic keyboard. Using a pentatonic scale is like only using the black keys on a piano. This makes any combination of notes you play sound in harmony with each other, making it a lot easier for non-musicians to compose catchy tunes.
This is the synthesizer. We've put the things we like most about other synthesizers into it. Two large sliders control the two digital oscillators and the filter-cutoff frequency, with basic envelope controls to shape the sound. We've added two touch pads – one for percussive bursts of noise and the other for an aggressive bit crusher effect.
What else can you do with the DUO?
The DUO has no screens and menus, so it’s impossible to get lost in settings or presets. What you see is what you get. That doesn’t mean you can’t make serious music with it though. The Duo has plenty of power and potential for musicians, and it feels right at home with most other music gear. You can hook it up to external effects like guitar pedals. We’ve also added a sync input and output, so the DUO plays very well with gear like the Korg Volca or Pocket Operators. Full-size MIDI ports are included as well.
The synthesizer generates sound digitally and has a nice gritty 12-bit sound. We're using Paul Stoffregen's awesome Audio Library for Teensy as the basis for our synthesizer. The DUO's firmware will be released under an open source license.
Synthesis: Virtual Analog
Waveforms: Pulse Variable, Saw Up
Osc Modulation: Keyboard
Evelope Paramerters: Decay, Release
Types: 24dB Slope (4-pole), Low Pass, Resonance
Polyphony & Tuning
Patches RAM: 1
Noise-based percussion synthesizer
8-step circular sequencer
Keyboard: 25 keys, Buttons, Plastic
Controls: Buttons, Knobs, Sliders, Switches
Display Type: LED
Audio Output Connections: 1/8" Phone Jack, Stereo Main
MIDI Ports: IN, OUT
Control Features: Korg sync input and output
Year Released: 2017
Manuals & Documents