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imitone lets you play any instrument with your voice.
imitone lets you play any instrument with your voice.
2,433 backers pledged $90,517 to help bring this project to life.


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Have you ever awoken from a dream with a melody in your head?

An idea might be vivid when it first comes to you, but if you can't express it, it fades away...

imitone is an app for PC and Mac which transforms your voice into musical notes, live.  As you sing -- or whistle, or hum -- imitone instantly converts the sound into "MIDI signals" which can control almost any music software or digital instrument.

Anyone can use it.  No set-up is needed: opening the program is just like plugging a musical keyboard into your computer.  To hear your voice transformed into a violin or flute, you need only start imitone, select that instrument in your music program, put on some headphones and start singing. It's that simple.

No ear for music?  Imitone has you covered.  It's designed to help you sing in tune, providing constant feedback on the pitch of your voice.  Additional tools like scale-snapping help it to correct your errors.

Works with everything.  Because it acts as a MIDI controller, thousands of music programs already work with imitone, including the popular (and free!) GarageBand for Mac.  You can control imitone with your voice or a musical instrument, and a regular laptop-quality microphone.

You can use imitone to compose music, perform it live, digitize recordings, dynamically control audio effects, train your singing, or tune your instrument. Other, still stranger uses exist, but those are for you to discover!

The best part: It's not just a promise. Imitone is fully-functional right now, and will be available to backers within a month after this Kickstarter concludes.

Think it's too good to be true?  Check out a review of the in-development version, or have a look at one of our demos:

To see imitone's special control modes in action, click here!

These demos are un-edited footage of imitone in development.  What you hear is the actual response speed of the program -- expect further improvements before release!

The main rewards for this campaign are digital copies of imitone itself.  Pre-ordering imitone or imitone prime gets you early access to imitone's beta, within a month after the conclusion of this campaign.

imitone is a "real-time, low-latency, monophonic audio-to-midi controller". It is designed to be simple enough for a child to use, elegant enough to do its job with no set-up whatsoever and powerful enough to compose a symphony.

imitone offers live pitch detection competitive with the best available, with superior latency and MIDI sequencing.  Its unique core technology, combined with a streamlined design, make it a tool with unprecedented potential for creatively empowering musicians of all experience levels.

Its features include:

  • Volume control (instant and continuous modes)
  • Scale selection
  • Vibrato detection
  • Pitch slide  (bend + glide)
  • Octave shift
  • Automatic scale/key detection (stretch goal hit!)
  • Percussion control mode (stretch goal hit!)
  • Hardware output
  • Audio / MIDI file support
  • VST Version (stretch goal hit!)

Want more details?  Feast your eyes on our interface breakdown, or your ears on our mode demonstrations.

imitone prime, an enhanced version of the program designed for professional use, will be a home for all the features I've developed that don't fit into imitone's tight package -- unnecessary for the vast majority of users, but capable of unlocking new worlds of possibility for the adventurous and technically adept.


  • All imitone features  (see above)
  • VST version
  • Voice timbre control  (brightness)
  • Multi-channel control  (map microphones to different instruments)
  • Polyphonic pitch detection  (experimental feature)
  • Adjustable tuning  (imitone uses A440 equal temperament)
  • Fully tweakable analysis
  • Advanced data visualization
  • More to come?
    I'm discovering new possibilities for imitone all the time; if I stumble upon anything special, chances are it will find its way into Prime.

Want to know more?  Check out our prime feature breakdown.

We have one very special physical reward available from this campaign:  3D-printed SoundSelf Charms.  These are your voice given physical form -- captured by imitone and rendered into a unique trinket using a harmonograph formula designed by Robin Arnott in SoundSelf's core technology.

imitone is powered by an unprecedented audio analysis technique: the self-attuning resonator cell, or "SAHIR", which allows it to detect tonal sounds with extreme precision and latencies on the order of 5 to 20 wavelengths.

By default, imitone detects a range of pitch corresponding roughly to the human vocal range: C2 to F7.  This will be configurable.


  • Windows XP or later (Vista, 7 or 8 recommended)
  • OS X 64-bit Intel 10.6 or later (10.7 or later recommended)
  • See FAQ for details on Linux

System Requirements:

  • Required:  Dual-core CPU, 1 GB RAM, OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU, laptop-quality microphone.
  • Recommended:  Intel i5 or higher, 2 GB RAM, OpenGL 3.0 compatible GPU, USB microphone, headphones, quiet room.

$20,000 (HIT!) -- Funding Goal Met!

This gives me the means to cover the costs of designing, marketing and developing this software.  I'm really excited to see what people make with it.

$30,000 (HIT!!) -- Automatic scale detection (all versions)

This feature will allow imitone to guess your melody's scale and key based on a few seconds of singing.  This should make scale-snapping much simpler for users untrained in music theory.

$40,000 (HIT!!!) -- Percussion mode (all versions)

I will research and implement an alternate mode which allows imitone to detect and identify percussive sounds in real-time.  In theory this will allow control over the program using drum-sets or beat-boxing.

$60,000 (GO!) -- VST plugin version!  (imitone and imitone prime)

An imitone VST plugin would operate inside rather than side-by-side with compatible music programs, allowing it to share low-latency inputs on Windows and more tightly integrate into advanced workflows.  The VST will be for Windows and Mac, including 64-bit flavors, and will be included with imitone and imitone prime for all backers.

$75,000  (BLAM!) -- iOS version

I will create a full-featured mobile version of imitone for iOS.   It will feature live feedback from a set of built-in instruments and a means of recording melodies for later use on a computer.  It will be able to control other iOS apps while backgrounded using Inter-Application Audio.

A new reward level will be added for pre-ordering the iOS version.

$90,000  (LAST HOURS!) -- Android version

An Android version of imitone, similar to the iOS one.  Due to the wide variety of hardware running Android, it can be a tricky platform to support.

An Android "add-on" will be available to backers after the campaign, via PayPal.

Counting PayPal pledges, all stretch goals have been hit!  We're done here.

Evan Balster is an independent game developer living in Ames, Iowa.  He is the inventor and developer of imitone, and the sole member (for now) of his company, Interactopia.

Evan's goal is to spend his life creating "software for a sense of wonder", stimulating the curiosity and creativity of its users and helping them to discover themselves.  His other projects include SoundSelf and Infinite Blank.

Richard Hogg is a magical Englishman with a touch for creating friendly and colorful artwork.  He is the visual designer of imitone.  His other projects include Hohokum and Frobisher Says.

Additional Thanks:

Robin Arnott, developer of SoundSelf -- This innovative meditation game, whose voice controls are powered by imitone, has been a way for me to keep afloat as my tone detection system evolved from a crude and deeply flawed system to the promising technology it is today.

Marlon Wiebe, videomancer -- Did an amazing job on the trailer above!

Robin Lomax Bjerke, video blogger -- A volunteer previewer who has put lots of time and effort into exploring imitone's possibilities.  Check out his YouTube channel!

Risks and challenges

My previous Kickstarter, years ago, was for a very ambitious project which shared much in spirit with imitone. Called "Infinite Blank", it was designed to help its users discover their creativity, through drawing.

However, Infinite Blank suffered from an over-sized scope, and was much more than I could tackle on my own -- particularly considering the game was designed with no way of making money. Eventually I just ran out of steam, and the project remains shelved to this day. I learned an important lesson about making promises I could keep.

For that reason I've waited until now, when imitone is nearly complete, to tell the world. At this point it just needs a lot of testing, tweaking and polish -- and I'll admit, that last 10% takes more than its fair share of time! But short of my sudden incapacitation or intervention by a patent troll, there's very little that could hamper that process.

imitone prime will take longer to complete as its interface will be much more complex, but the underlying logic is already functional. Several of its features, including polyphony and noise cancellation, are experimental at this time. For that reason I can't make guarantees about the quality of these features -- but I fully intend to keep working my magic!

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  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Early pre-order: A copy of imitone and early access to the beta. (Available until the project hits its goal)

    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 443 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Pre-order: A copy of imitone and early access to the beta.

    Estimated delivery
    1,050 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    (NEW) Pre-Order + iOS Copy: A copy of imitone and early access to the beta. A copy of imitone for iOS when it is released.

    Estimated delivery
    133 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Prime pre-order: A copy of imitone prime, a copy of imitone and access to the imitone beta.

    Estimated delivery
    597 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 70 or more About US$ 70

    (NEW) Prime pre-order + iOS Copy: A copy of imitone prime, a copy of imitone and access to the imitone beta. A copy of imitone for iOS when it is released. (iOS' prime version if there is one)

    Estimated delivery
    149 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    SoundSelf Charm: We'll use imitone and SoundSelf to render the unique harmonic signature of your singing voice into a unique 3D-printed pendant, plated in bronze or gold. Includes imitone, imitone prime and beta access. Details below.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)