The “Fisher Price deep house” sub-genre is just around the corner.

Remember when you could go down to Radio Shack (Tandy, for anyone in the UK) and pick up a cheap, tiny Realistic-brand knock off of a Casio SK-1? These inexpensive keyboards were the first opportunity many of us had to see the potential of electronic music, whether it was through sampling your voice and pitching it down so you sounded like Unicron, or just fiddling about with the rhythms and presets.

These days there’s a gap in the market – most synthesizers are far too valuable or far too complicated to provide the new generation of budding Jean-Michel Jarres with the same level of enjoyment, so two Dutch parents have come up with a viable alternative.

The Dato DUO is an innovative two-person synthesizer that’s easy (and fun) enough for kids, and sounds so good that it could viably fit into the arsenal of any number of curious producers. It combines a fairly basic two oscillator digital synthesizer with a fun, easy to learn circular sequencer that can loop up to eight notes, and there’s a simplified envelope generator (allowing control of the basic shape as well as the “release”), a filter and two touch pads for noise bursts and a nifty bitcrusher effect. Here’s the kicker though – it’s not only got MIDI in and out, but there’s a sync input and output which allows the Dato DUO to play nicely with not only Korg’s Volca range of teeny tiny synths, but Teenage Engineering’s popular Pocket Operators.

What gives the Dato DUO a unique edge is the fact that two people can sit opposite each other and work on patches in tandem, which is ideal when you’re potentially jamming with young’uns who might not have mastered the intricacies of a sequencer (yet!). It also opens up the conversation about collaboration yet again – electronic music production can be such a solitary affair, and the DUO is firmly angled towards sharing. Honestly, if someone left this lying around FACT HQ we probably wouldn’t get much work done for the rest of the day. On the plus side, we’d probably have cranked out a cassette or two.

The Dato DUO is currently on Kickstarter, and backers can expect a variety of rewards, from a cheaper “early bird” version of the synthesizer (which is currently priced at a competitive 299 Euros) to the Dato Acapella, which is an amusing paper model of the Dato DUO (“You will have to provide the sounds yourself”).

Read next: The 13 best affordable, pocket-sized, hackable, off-the-wall synthesizers



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