Donner MEDO, new portable battery-powered sampling groovebox, now on Kickstarter

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Donner MEDO is a new portable battery-powered sampling groovebox playable via touch; it’s now on Kickstarter. 

Music production has become increasingly affordable and mobile in recent years. In software, thanks to various music apps for mobile devices (iOS/Android). In hardware, this trend was characterized by instruments such as the Novation Circuit, Korg volcas, and others.

The recent Wooovebox or Orba 2 shows how compact it can be. All these are instruments that you can put in your pocket and invite you to make music anywhere. Donner has now also discovered this market with their new MEDO groovebox.

Donner MEDO

Donner MEDO

MEDO is a new compact, portable groovebox. In terms of design, it is a small cube equipped with touch buttons controllable with touch gestures. The concept reminds me a lot of the Artiphon Orba 2, which goes in the same direction.

According to Donner, the engine consists of a sampler, Synthesizer, and looper. Alternatively, you can also use it as a MIDI controller. The hardware offers different modes/channels: scale, drum bass, chord, and lead.


Sounds can be imported via the MEDO synth app, where you can toggle between various preset sounds, including 15 sets of drum kit sounds from Loopmasters. Live Sampling is also possible. You can also create your custom instruments by sampling up to five seconds using the built-in microphone. 

The engine combines subtractive synthesis and samples, says Donner. So, I assume that MEDO also has a built-in subtractive Synthesizer. Or does the developer here mean you can modify samples using classic synth parameters like filters and envelopes…? It’s not clear in the press release and Kickstarter campaign.

If you have a sound, you can play it with touch and it will be saved in loops with up to 128 bars with a quantization option. These can be beats, melodies, so everything you expect from a groovebox. The same touch concept for setting sounds etc. 

Donner MEDO


Whether you’re adjusting parameters, adding effects, or modulating sounds, all of this is done via MEDO’s gesture-controlled play. The little Donner cube also has MIDI onboard. You can seamlessly connect it to DAWs and other hardware units, promise the developers.
To make it a 100% mobile groovebox, Donner also has a built-in 2000mA battery ensuring long-lasting fun.

First Impression

The idea that Donner has here with the MEDO is not new. See Orba 2. The concept and features are very similar. So it’s more like Donner’s take on a super portable groovebox. 

Donner MEDO is available now to support on Kickstarter starting at $150 (50% OFF super-early bird), later for $169… and will have a retail price of $298. The Kickstarter will run until November 10, 2023. 

With MEDO, Donner will also exhibit at the 2023 Music China in Shanghai, China. To experience MEDO, visit the Donner booth # W5C52 and Tech+ Music Lab in the Shanghai New International Expo Center from October 11-14. Shipping will start in December 2023. The campaign is 100%+ funded. 

More information here: Donner / Kickstarter 


    • So with Kickstarter even a successful company is able to reduce the risk of putting money in developing a product which nobody wants. If not many people are interested and the Kickstarter goal will not be reached so no further development resources will be wasted.

  1. Interesting.
    Agreed that comparisons with Artiphon’s Orba (and Chorda) are unavoidable. Two important differences, to me: the MEDO will sample directly and it’s possible to change scales directly on the device.
    It also has 16 pads compared to the Orba’s 8.
    Otherwise, it lacks the Orba’s MPE support (including as a hardware synth!) and gestures (which aren’t as well-supported as we all expected).

    As always, with such devices, the key will be in the software support. There’s a lot that I really like about Artiphon hardware… which is hampered by software. Got Orba 1 and 2 devices as well as the Instrument 1. Thought that Orba software would eventually support features they had promised (like allowing us to change chords). Never happened. So I didn’t back the Chorda project.

    The SEB pricing for Medo makes it tempting, in the same range as Orba 2. Not sure it’ll sell that well at the full price.

    As for why they went with crowdfunding… It has several advantages for Donner, I’m sure. It gives them access to quite a bit of data about early adopters in a new product category. It’s also like an interest-free loan. Plus they have a bit of an out which they wouldn’t have with a bank loan, though it might damage their reputation.

    I did pledge on this one, because I care a lot about “casual musicking” and I don’t have a negative experience with Donner (or any experience with them, actually). I still might cancel my pledge before the campaign runs out.

  2. It seems very strange to me that Donner are crowdfunding this.
    If it was a smaller company or an individual then I could support it. Donner however have released a lot of hardware before without crowdfunding.
    As for the actual MEDO itself, meh. I’m sure it’s very capable, just not my thing. I’m sure many people will enjoy it and be very creative with it.

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