After building a computer/MIDI controller, synthesizer, sequencer and follow-me learning system around a novel musical note arrangement, French startup Dualo started shipping the intriguing du-touch in the latter half of 2014. Next month the company is set to hit crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to bring a smaller version to life – the du-touch S.
The idea behind the original instrument was to split a scale into two groups of notes that sound good together, arranged alternatively on the left and right keyboards. "As our keyboard is isometrical, a chord color (a Major 7th, for example) becomes a shape, unique and invariable, whatever the key (tonality) you are playing in," explained the company's Bruno Verbrugghe at the time the original du-touch instruments started shipping. "The shapes are easy to do because they are built with consecutive keys on the keyboard."
The du-touch features 116 keys with multicolor LED backlighting, three touch sliders and a few mode or function buttons. Sounds can also be produced from movement courtesy of the integrated 3-axis gyro. The device offers 112 instruments, four percussion kits, and 8 track sequencer and a learn-to-play-by-following-the-lights system.
The built-in battery is reported to offer 6 to 8 hours of continued use, there's wireless, MIDI, USB and headphone jack connectivity and it weighs in at 2.6 lb (1.2 kg). Its €990 (about US$1,130) price tag is a serious investment, though, meaning that it probably won't end up in the hands of budget-conscious families or cash-strapped students.
Though neither suggested pricing or Kickstarter pledge levels have yet been revealed, it's a pretty safe bet that the smaller size and the "designed for everyone" promo pitch will mean a lower cost of admission to the du-touch music-making universe.
The more compact du-touch S will sport a 52 pad, 3 octave pressure sensitive keyboard split left and right, three sliders and a 2D accelerometer. There'll be an LCD display up top, 1 GB of sound storage, 52 included sounds, cooked-in multi-FX and a one click, 7 track Dualo looper with 26 included songs. It will tip the scales at 1.2 lb (550 g), boast MIDI, USB, Bluetooth connectivity and a mini-jack audio out, and the creators are promising an 8 hour battery life for every 5 hours on charge.
The du-touch S is set to launch on Kickstarter on April 12. We'll update this post with links to campaign page then. In the meantime, have a look at the short promo video below for a taste of what's on offer.