Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
This is the Dato DUO, an instrument for two. A gritty sounding synthesizer paired with a flashy sequencer. For kids aged 3 - 99 and up!
This is the Dato DUO, an instrument for two. A gritty sounding synthesizer paired with a flashy sequencer. For kids aged 3 - 99 and up!
This is the Dato DUO, an instrument for two. A gritty sounding synthesizer paired with a flashy sequencer. For kids aged 3 - 99 and up!
Created by
321 backers pledged €77,777 to help bring this project to life.

About

Dato DUO – the synth for two project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Dato DUO – the synth for two

€77,777

321

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! 

What the press is saying

"Dato Duo is a unique concept, in that it offers two playing surfaces for collaboration within the same hardware." – Sonicstate.com

"Dato DUO is an intriguingly playful, simple synthesizer for two, aimed at kids (3-99+)” – Everyday Listening

"I know the Dato Duo synth is for kids, but wow it's pretty" – The Verge

"Honestly, if someone left this lying around FACT HQ we probably wouldn’t get much work done for the rest of the day." – FACT Magazine

Musicians playing the DUO

 

 

 

The Dato DUO

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. Now, we need your help in bringing it to life.

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

What is the Dato DUO? 

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.

Specifications

Synthesizer

  • 2 oscillators: 1 pulse (variable width) and 1 sawtooth
  •  Digital low pass filter with resonance
  •  Amp envelope (note length and release time)
  • Sample rate reductor
  • Noise-based percussion synthesizer  

Sequencer

  • 8-step circular sequencer
  • Pentatonic keyboard. Two octaves

Inputs and outputs

  • Audio out capable of driving headphones
  • Sync input and output, compatible with Korg Volca, Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators
  • MIDI IN and MIDI OUT on full-size DIN connectors
  • Internal speaker
  • Micro USB for power and firmware update. 5V, 2A max.

Sequencer

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. 

Synthesizer

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.

kids figuring out how the DUO works on one of our early prototypes
kids figuring out how the DUO works on one of our early prototypes

Who are we?

Toon: Ever since graduating with honors from the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, Toon has kept on developing unique and unusual designs for his clients at Studio Toon Welling. This search never stops and the out of the ordinary shape of the Dato DUO is a direct result of this. Recently he was selected by the Dutch Association of Designers (BNO) to participate in their Driving Dutch Design program for young talented Dutch designers. 

David: is a designer by trade and inventor at heart. He loves applying technology to make complex things simple. He received his Master's degree in Industrial Design at the Technical University of Eindhoven before starting his own consultancy bureau for interactive product design, Nut & Bolt, six years ago. He is skilled in electronics design and knows enough about microcontroller programming to get himself into trouble (and out of it again).

We are both parents and share a love for electronic music making machines.

Quinten: made our Kickstarter video, helps us with the visual identity of Dato and the graphics on the DUO. He received his Master’s degree in Media Design at Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam and has since been working as an independent designer and animator. Quinten also really likes optical toys – both enjoying and building them.

Timeline and budget

The largest part of our funding budget will be spent on getting the DUO production ready. This includes setting up a production line, getting molds made and finalizing the firmware. We have already established a good relationship with our production partners and advisors and have a solid plan for getting it made.  

Prototypes  

We started prototyping the Dato DUO in December 2015. We’ve gone through many iterations already, and have tested them with adults and children on many occasions. This has taught us a lot about the ease-of-use, functionality and reliability.

We soon switched to a smaller metal housing. It is laser cut and coated.
We soon switched to a smaller metal housing. It is laser cut and coated.

 

The sequencer looks very nice even with the cover removed.
The sequencer looks very nice even with the cover removed.

 

The percussion synthesizer and headphone output are still in development. Part of the funding will go towards finalizing these features.  

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube Channel

Liked this? Help us out by sharing on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Risks and challenges

While we have years of experience designing things for our clients, taking a project into production is a new endeavour for us. We are well-informed and have great people helping us, including people who have successfully delivered a Kickstarter project before.

The delivery date mentioned with each of the rewards is an indication, not a promise. Every Dato DUO consists of many components. If any of these components becomes unavailable or has stocking issues, we might have to push back the delivery date. We have a list of alternative distributors for most of the components to avoid this issue, but there are still parts for which we rely on one source. We will make sure the Dato DUO is a high-quality product that meets (and hopefully exceeds) your expectations and we will do our best to get it to you on time.

The Dato DUO will be manufactured in batches. This means that if we surpass our funding goal, some DUO’s may not be shipped before the estimated delivery date. We will try to scale production so that you will get your DUO as soon as possible.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About $6

    Thank you for supporting us in creating musical instruments for future generations.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    59 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge €42 or more About $47

    Dato DUO acapella:

    a poster that you can cut out and fold into a 1:1 paper Dato DUO. You will have to provide the sounds yourself, though. Or you can hang it on the wall.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €269 or more About $301

    Early bird Dato DUO:

    We are setting aside 100 DUO’s for you early birds. Help us reach our goal and get a € 30 discount.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 100 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge €299 or more About $334

    Dato DUO:

    Get a Dato DUO.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 126 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge €399 or more About $446

    Dato DUO Black edition:

    Get a Dato DUO Black edition with glow in the dark graphics on the faceplate!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 6 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €899 or more About $1,005

    Be among the first to receive a pre-production prototype (September 2016 delivery) and development support. Plus you will receive a final Dato DUO once we ship them.

    Free worldwide shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 6 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)