Donner Music has been releasing some interesting products across NAMM, even if they aren’t too hot on providing the nitty-gritty details of those products so we synth-heads can write about them.
Not to worry, let’s take a look at the Donner D1, which is supposedly aimed at more beginner / first-time ‘beatmakers’ who might be put off by the price and complexity of some larger devices. In fairness, plonk an 8×8 or larger flashing LED drum pad controller in front of a total newbie and you’ll likely get some confused looks, particularly when you have to pair it up and get it working with something like Ableton Live as well, or configure it for the DAW of your choice.
First impressions, looks wise at least: well, it looks kinda cool. Lots of multi-colour LEDs, a 4×4 set of pads, four sliders, two banks of 2×4 smaller buttons, and horizontally along the top, a small display and then eight rotary knobs.
The 4×4 pad looks as if it can have multiple functions including selecting samples, the type of drum, and some timing/quantising features. The lower buttons are for basic sequencer/DAW control, bank selection and clearing, the left have various functions which presumably will map to the DAW of your choice, while the sliders are labelled “level” and presumably can be used to change faders or other continuous values.
The knobs have similar labelling but again can presumably be remapped as required to a MIDI control change parameter or such like. The display is small but looks as if it will display the most important information cleanly as required.
Donner’s product page describes the features as:
- Blends two workflows into one little box
- Color Coded UI Design, Play Without Thinking Twice
- Vivid Graphical User Interface
- Touch Knobs to Read Parameters
- Versatile Sound Capabilities
- Sounds and Patterns from Leading Experts
- Import Your Samples to Add More Fun
- Extend Your Setup with Versatile Connectivity
The given specifications are:
- Maximum 128 Songs
- 4 Bars Step Sequencer (maximum 64 steps)
- Maximum 512 Beats
- 128×64 pixel LCD screen
- 1 clickable endless encoder (VALUE)
- 5 endless encoders with touch function
- 2 potentiometers (MASTER FX & MASTER)
- 16 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads
- 4 RGB backlit faders
- 16 backlit tactile click buttons
- HEADPHONE OUT3.5mm(1/8″) TRS
- AUX IN3.5mm (1/8″) TRS
- MIDI2x 5 pins MIDI DIN (IN, OUT)
- MAIN OUT2x 6.35mm (1/4″) TS
- USBUSB 2.0 Type-C socket (transfer MIDI data and remote control via Donner Control App)
- AC inlet100V – 240V, 50Hz – 60Hz, AC
- DC outlet9V 1A, center positive
Pricing and exact availability aren’t known at present. The product page will have more info when launched/available.