Been enjoying my Dato DUO for the past 2 months. But lately, I feel like I’ve hit its potential.
Which is, a good 2 hours of fun discovery, one hour of recording and resampling jams…and collecting a bit of dust in the end.
I love the Dato DUO. I really do. And I can’t wait for my baby daughter to be able to play with it.
But many children I work with already played with it. And its simplicity is also its shortcoming : it gets boring really fast.
So here is a list of possible future updates I’d love to see coming to the Dato DUO.
I mean, the Dato DUO is possibly the only gear I have so far that doesn’t seem to get updates.
And it could really help make the Dato DUO and incredible tool.
- the ability to play notes on the note pads, like a simplified synth
- custom options for the sequencer (shortening or lengthening the sequence, accents on steps, etc)
- a pitch bend of sorts
- maybe a new synth engine (or at least, new, preset versions of the existing one)
- new drum sounds
- better playability of the drum pads
- new options for the drum pads (such as pitch bend, FXs and such)
- the ability to sequence drums
- a way to syn delay timing
- adding a reverb as a secondary delay option
I get that the whole raison d’être of the Dato DUO is its simplicity. No menu dives. No sub menus. No non sense.
But at this price point (and having played with other offerings that are sometimes 150€ cheaper for 150 times the options), I don’t wanna see the Dato DUO as a luxury toy.
It is capable of much more.
It could retain its simplicity while allowing a deeper use if need be.
Future units could also benefit from a more sturdy build. There have been some cases where young kids almost destroyed the fiddly ports and/or buttons. The connections on my unit are way too fiddly and sensible to be operated safely by kids. And the interface, while genuinely well thought, is a bit too tiny and a bit too cheap for some of the most « exploring » kids.
This is not a rant.
Merely a way to try to get the Dato DUO to evolve into something more.
It deserves new updates.
It could be the next best thing - but currently, it’s just a pricey toy for big kids.
For the past two days, I’ve been trying to record the DatoDUO into my op1 Field.
The idea was to MIDI sync them so the op1 Field would be the master clock.
Setting this up was a breeze. It was all about connecting via USB-C and setting up the MIDI parameters on the op1 field.
Since the DatoDUO only takes power from the USB-C port and I couldn’t get MIDI sync from the MIDI-in/out ports, I ended up using the line-out (via an audio cable) to record the DatoDUO input.
And, in the end, I couldn’t. Some horrible digital hissing sound was present at all times when enabling the op1f line-in. Probably due to the fact that the op1f powers the DatoDUO via the USB-C cable, creating some kind of noise.
And since the DatoDUO’s MIDI set-up via the MIDI-in/outs is somewhat of a hassle to set-up and there is next to no infos about precise setups, I just put aside the DatoDUO and ended up playing with a Volca and a Pocket Operator - which I setup in a matter of seconds.
The very fact that the DatoDUO suffers from that kind of defect is a big downer. More so when Dato advertises it as a sturdy built/somewhat pro gear.
The more I use it, the more I start to kinda regret buying it instead of a Blipbox.
No updates, no upgrades, flimsy ports and non practical pots make for a cheap toy with some hefty price tag.
I wanna love it, but it’s getting harder by the minute.
I really do hope there are updates - even just bug fixes. Including - but not limited to :
- fixing the line-out noises
- better responsiveness of the drum pads
- a way to implement precise BPM
- getting rid of cracks and clicks when using FXs (delay and bitcrush)
Hi Heyes, thanks for your input, questions and feature requests. We take note! Some of them we’ve even already tried here (the pitch bend, for instance, is indeed a lot of fun).
But when designing the DUO our priority was, as you mentioned, to make it as accessible as possible. This informed all design choices: for example that every button and slider only does one thing. Or that the keyboard is pentatonic, so that what’s played is always harmonic.
We’re interested in exploring new features, but we notice they quickly come at the expense of ease of use. So currently there are no firmware update on the horizon. We do have open-sourced our firmware over at Github, in case you’d like to modify it yourself.
In any case, judge the DUO for what it is now and if you regret your purchase, you might check the return policy of the reseller. If returning there isn’t an option, please let us know at email@example.com, then we’ll see what we can do.
Regarding the price: we produce the DUO in comparatively low numbers, hand-assembling it in our own studio/factory in The Netherlands, using as many local components and materials as possible. Because of this, it’s more expensive than mass-produced synths.
As for the built: we aim for a sturdy machine! If you run into any problems, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. The DUO is backed by a generous repair policy.
Regarding the static noise when recording: this comes forth out of a ground loop. You can indeed solve this by powering the DUO from a different power source than your recording device – for example the adapter.
Thanks for the answer!
I know for a fact that my post is the kind of post that’s hard to answer to.
Didn’t mean to criticize, and happy to see you powered through it.
It’s still a bit sad you guys don’t plan on updates. It’s the one feedback people seem to have a lot about the unit (both online and IRL).
But as we both said : it’s its raison d’être. Simplicity.
The unit I have has the same USB-C flimsy port that other have. Just yesterday, a student of mine almost broke it when slightly moving it.
And it would be too much of a hassle to fix what is not yet broken. Been spending most of 2023 sending back flimsy products (looking at you, Teenage Engineering).
As for the ground loop, if you have a suggestion (what kind of hub, cables, set-up), I’d be glad to get the infos.
As I was saying, I tried pluging a hub into the USB-C port of the DatoDUO. Then, I plugged the USB-C charging cable into the Power Supply port of the hub and another USB-C cable from the hub to the op1field - in order to sync them both.
But to no aveil.
And since I can’t beatmatch the tempo because the DatoDUO doesn’t display the info, it’s a bit of a hassle (if not at times impossible) to record the DatoDUO properly.
Hence the « need for an update » post in the first place.
Thanks for the detailed answer.
I’ll definitely take you up on the extensive, comprehensive repair policy.
And I’m looking forward to some more infos on how to give the DatoDUO a new life…without a ground noise, for starters!
Ground loops are annoying gremlins that can pop up when creating more than one connection between devices. Make sure you’re powering the op1field and the DUO each from a separate source, so each their own wall adapter or power bank. We recommend not using a hub for powering the DUO if you want to record the line out.
The DUO syncs to external devices through the large MIDI ports or the SYNC ports. If you’re using these between devices there is no need to manually match tempo. If you want to prevent ground loops we recommend using the large MIDI IN port as the MIDI standard is specifically designed to prevent ground loops. For quick and easy syncing the SYNC ports work great as long as you’re not recording the DUO’s line out into one of the devices you’re directly syncing with.