Music

Creating tunes is better with two

Creating tunes is better with ...
The Duo from Dato sports a synthesizer on one side of the wedge and a sequencer on the other
The Duo from Dato sports a synthesizer on one side of the wedge and a sequencer on the other
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The sequencer loops the last eight notes played
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The sequencer loops the last eight notes played
A two oscillator synthesizer one one side and an 8-step circular sequencer on the other
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A two oscillator synthesizer one one side and an 8-step circular sequencer on the other
The Duo can be connected and synchronized with other music gear, such as effects stomps, other synths or mixing boxes
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The Duo can be connected and synchronized with other music gear, such as effects stomps, other synths or mixing boxes
The built-in sequencer boasts a two octave (non-velocity sensitive) pentatonic keyboard to tap out melodies and numerous buttons to modify those tunes on the fly
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The built-in sequencer boasts a two octave (non-velocity sensitive) pentatonic keyboard to tap out melodies and numerous buttons to modify those tunes on the fly
The synthesizer packs a variable width pulse oscillator and a sawtooth oscillator and a digital low pass filter
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The synthesizer packs a variable width pulse oscillator and a sawtooth oscillator and a digital low pass filter
The Duo is powered by a micro-USB port
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The Duo is powered by a micro-USB port
The Duo from Dato sports a synthesizer on one side of the wedge and a sequencer on the other
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The Duo from Dato sports a synthesizer on one side of the wedge and a sequencer on the other
You can opt for solo tune creation, but melody-making with a friend is more fun
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You can opt for solo tune creation, but melody-making with a friend is more fun
Early cardboard prototyping
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Early cardboard prototyping
Early cardboard prototyping
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Early cardboard prototyping
Prototyping the Dato Duo
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Prototyping the Dato Duo
Dato's Toon Welling (left) and Rick Companje from Doodle 3D (right) getting hands-on with the Duo
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Dato's Toon Welling (left) and Rick Companje from Doodle 3D (right) getting hands-on with the Duo
The built-in sequencer boasts a two octave (non-velocity sensitive) pentatonic keyboard to tap out melodies and numerous buttons to modify those tunes on the fly
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The built-in sequencer boasts a two octave (non-velocity sensitive) pentatonic keyboard to tap out melodies and numerous buttons to modify those tunes on the fly
The synthesizer packs a variable width pulse oscillator and a sawtooth oscillator and a digital low pass filter
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The synthesizer packs a variable width pulse oscillator and a sawtooth oscillator and a digital low pass filter
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Bringing together different music creation modules and putting them into a single unit isn't exactly a new idea, as evidenced by such diverse examples as the du-touch S, Arpeggio and Kadabra. But where many are essentially geared towards the solo performer, the Duo from Dato works best when two pairs of hands take control.

The Duo is the first design from new Dutch startup Dato and is aimed at music-loving children of all ages, regardless of musical ability. "We believe synthesizers are too much fun to be left to grown-ups alone," said Dato co-founder David Menting.

It's been designed to be easy to play ("we designed the DUO so you can't do anything wrong"), and to be played by two music makers at the same time – one playing the melody while the other creates the sounds and beats. Inside the wedge-shaped metal and wood housing is a two oscillator synthesizer and an 8-step circular sequencer.

The synth, which occupies one side of the wedge, packs a variable width pulse oscillator and a sawtooth oscillator and a digital low pass filter. There's also a basic sound-shaping envelope, sample rate reduction with musical steps and noise-based percussion and crush sounds.

A two oscillator synthesizer one one side and an 8-step circular sequencer on the other
A two oscillator synthesizer one one side and an 8-step circular sequencer on the other

On the opposite side sits the sequencer that loops the last eight notes played. It boasts a two octave (non-velocity sensitive) pentatonic keyboard to tap out melodies and numerous buttons to modify those tunes on the fly. "We chose to limit the keyboard to five notes per octave so that any melody you play will sound in harmony," Menting revealed.

The 4 x 9.5 x 8 in (10 x 24 x 20 cm), 2.65 lb (1.2 kg) Duo is powered via a micro-USB input and can be connected and synchronized with other music gear, such as effects stomps, other synths or mixing boxes. There's a headphone-friendly audio out to help get your creations heard.

To get the Duo into the hands of tunesmiths young and old, Dato has launched on Kickstarter. Pledges start at €269 (about US$300) for the first 100 units, after which backers will need to stump up another €30. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in April 2017. Check out the pitch video below to see the Duo in action.

Sources: Dato, Kickstarter

Dato DUO – the synth for two

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