How to use Dato DUO's MIDI ports

The Dato DUO has two full size MIDI ports: one MIDI in and one MIDI out. You can use these to connect the DUO to other MIDI gear, such as synthesizers, MIDI keyboards or a MIDI interface on your computer.

MIDI transmits note data and timing data but not audio. You can use MIDI to play and record notes and to synchronize devices. On this page you will find various ways of using MIDI on the DUO. If you have any questions or other cases, feel free to comment.

Syncing the DUO and a drum machine

DUO as Sender

Connect the MIDI OUT from the Dato DUO to the MIDI IN in on the drum machine. Make sure the drum machine is set to accept an external clock (refer to the drum machine manual on how to do this). The tempo knob on the DUO will determine the tempo and the DUO will automatically send clock and start/stop signals.

DUO as Receiver

Connect the MIDI OUT from the drum machine to the MIDI IN on the Dato DUO. Make sure the drum machine is set to be clock master (refer to the drum machine manual on how to do this). The DUO will automatically sync to the drum machine.

Playing the DUO with a MIDI keyboard

Connect the MIDI OUT from the keyboard to the MIDI IN on the Dato DUO. Make sure the DUO is set to the correct channel (see below). You can now play notes on the keyboard. Depending on whether the DUO’s sequencer is stopped or playing the notes will be entered into the sequencer or played one by one as an arpeggio.

Selecting the MIDI channel on the DUO

Long press on the Play button of the DUO to turn it off. Press a keyboard key corresponding to the MIDI channel you want to select on the DUO and keep it pressed while turning the DUO on with the Play button. The leftmost keyboard key is channel 1, the one next to that channel 2 etc.

Using the DUO with an external sequencer

Using the DUO with an external sequencer often leads to unexpected results as it will try to compete with the built-in sequencer. If you want to sequence notes on the synth side of the DUO, make sure your sequencer does not send a start/stop message.

I have a Duo and I really enjoy it. However, today I’m trying to use it with an external keyboard controller (Arturia Keystep) but without success.

I can control the sequencer tempo from the Arturia connecting the sync out of the Arturia to the sync in of the Duo.
But I didn’t manage to send midi notes to the Duo.

Following your instructions here, I connected the midi out on the Arturia to the midi in on the duo. Then I switched that off and switched it on again while pressing the first key on the Arturia to select the ch 1. But then nothing happens, the duo doesn’t get any note apparently.

Could you please give me some hints for the setup?

Hi Ric,

If you have connected the devices the way you describe and the Keystep and the DUO are both set to channel 1 it should work. The fact that it doesn’t could mean a few things:

  1. Your devices are not set to the same channel
  2. Something is wrong with your wiring, or
  3. A setting on the Keystep is preventing it from sending any notes

To set both instruments to the same channel do the following: Press SHIFT + KEY1 on the Keystep to set it to channel 1. Press KEY1 on the DUO while powering it on to set it to channel 1.

Does the DUO sync to the tempo of the Keystep when connected via MIDI? This should even work when the devices are set to a different channel. If so, the wiring is correct.

As for point 3 it might be worth checking the Keystep manual. The only MIDI setting the DUO has is the channel, so if you’re certain it’s set to the right one there is not much that can go wrong there.

Thanks a lot! Your suggestions helped me to solve the issue I experienced.

Actually, from the first sets of instructions I had wrongly understood that I had to select the MIDI channel only on the Keystep and that the DUO would somehow “listen” to that. My bad, sorry; this is my first experience with MIDI.

Everything is working fine now, I can play the DUO by controlling it from the Keystep!

Thanks a lot for your kind help, and I wish you a very good day.

— Ric.

Hi. This is very helpful, and I have another question.

In MIDI Monitor, I noticed that the synth controls are generating midi CC values, so I tried to send changes to the DUO from my DAW, but that didn’t seem to have any effect. Is it possible to send MIDI CC changes to the DUO? If so, how?

If not? Is there another purpose for the CC messages?


Hi little-island,

You’re right: the DUO sends out MIDI CC messages for use in software or other synths. However, it does not receive CC messages so there is no way to automate the DUO via MIDI. We want the buttons and sliders on the DUO to always reflect the current settings, so you will have to use your hands or get creative to automate the DUO :slight_smile:

Thanks for your reply. That answers my question! I had also started wondering if they could be used to sync the synths in 2 DUOs, but if they don’t receive the CC messages, then the answer would be no :slight_smile:

Hello! I would like to know which are the CC’s numbers that we can send with the lovely Duo, please?

The Dato DUO sends the following CC’s:
MIDI CC 7 Volume
MIDI CC 65 Glide 0 to 63 = Off, 64 to 127 = On
MIDI CC 70 Pulse width
MIDI CC 71 Filter Resonance
MIDI CC 72 VCA Release Time
MIDI CC 74 Filter cutoff
MIDI CC 80 Delay 0 to 63 = Off, 64 to 127 = On
MIDI CC 81 Crush 0 to 63 = Off, 64 to 127 = On
MIDI CC 94 Detune amount

It won’t respond to incoming CC’s because the front panel controls are always leading

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The other day, when trying out various ways to connect stuff together, I used my computer to power the Duo just to save one socket of 230V. To my surprise I found it’s also doing MIDI through the USB port (that’s a feature you’ve hidden pretty well). :grinning:

My first question: Are there more “hidden features”, like maybe special boot up button combinations to bring out different behaviours? :yum: As a geek and especially as someone who wants to connect all equipment to my DAW from time to time, I feel I could have had good use of a complimentary manual with more in-depth technical information. For example like the above about what CCs are transmitted, how to change MIDI channel, and that the USB also handles MIDI.

And another, much more narrow question: The drum sounds, they aren’t possible to play by MIDI?

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Hi guys my wife recently got me the duo. I have a small home studio at home. I have two interfaces, one of them does have midi options in the back. What would be the simplest option to play in real time the dato and have sound come from my studio monitors. Cheers in adVance .

Hi @L.A_Maldonado . You should be able to hook the headphone output to your studio monitors with a suitable cable. The DUO has a stereo 3.5mm jack output, so a cable that splits that signal into two connectors that plug into your studio monitors should work fine.

Hi - Could you please let me know if the 2 drum pads are are controllable via MIDI and, if so, what MIDI messages are recognized that trigger the various drum sounds available?


Hi Charles and Heather. Unfortunately the drum pads are not controllable via MIDI. Finger drumming only!

Hey, Dato Duelists!

I’m sorry to barge in on this topic, but had a few questions. Here goes :

1 - How do you use the sync in/sync out outputs on the Dato DUO? I want to start using the Dato DUO in my everyday workflow but couldn’t figure out what’s the best way. What kind of cables? What need do these ports serve?

2 - I intend on connecting the DUO to my UA Volt276 audio interface or my Arturia Keylab 49 mkII (both have the needed ports, and of course, the DUO would be connected to one machine at a time). Both would be connected to Logic Pro via USB. The goal here is to make the DUO a slave so it can receive tempo infos. And I couldn’t find a complete workflow - although the previous posts here help a lot. Are there things to be wary of in doing so?

3 - I own an OP1 Field from Teenage Engineering. It is MIDI capable but lacks any MIDI dedicated ports aside from USB-C. There again, the aim would be to make the DUO slaved to the OP1f so I could record it to the OP1f’s tape with the right tempo info. Does anyone have any idea as to how to make that happen?

I’m fairly new to the modular type of things but I’m fluent in DAWs and music production in general.

Thanks all!

Hi Heyes, good to have you on board! I’ll try to answer your questions one by one:

1 - The sync in/sync out ports are for syncing with other gear that has the same type of ports. Another Dato DUO, for instance, or Korg Volca’s and Pocket Operators.

2 - In this case you can use the undocumented USB MIDI connection on the Dato DUO. Connect the DUO directly to your Mac using the USB port. It will show up as a MIDI interface and you should be able to send tempo info and notes to the DUO.

3 - I’m not sure about the OP-1. You might be able to use OP Sync as mentioned here in the OP-1 manual and run that into the sync input of the DUO with a stereo minijack cable.

Good luck!

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Thanks for these answers! It means the world to me!

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