hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Thu, Dec 02, 2010, 09:35

STICKY: Aalto Patch Thread!

I'm going to make this thread sticky. It should be a good place to find and share Aalto patches. I'll try to post one every day or two for a while.

It would be cool if we could embed Soundcloud links here, but setting that up will take some time.

Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 09:51

I'm truly sorry if that was unclear! Since this obviously wasn't intuitive to you, I'll try to think of how to improve it.

I think it's consistent that brightness equals presence, or more of something, in the dials as well as the toggles. I guess the disconnect was that you are used to seeing white as background—as we all are.

I could make the meaning of my interface more obvious, maybe, by darkening the actual background of the window. The reason I haven't done this is: light text on a dark background is generally harder to read (and IMO, less good looking) than dark on light.

I'll keep working to find a good balance!

Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 14:28

Hooray, it’s a spring all-plugins update!

All of our instrument plugins, (that's Aalto, Kaivo and Virta, for those of you listening at home) have received essential updates. Please download and enjoy.

If for some reason you skipped the previous release or two, note that back in December I rolled out a new registration system. Instead of the old "My downloads," there is now a "My licenses" link where you can get the license keys for all your purchased plugins. Just paste the key into the demo plugin to register it. If you have any questions, I'll be here.

My work the past two months has been on platform compatibility, bug fixes and optimization. The stuck notes in certain hosts including Reaper are no more. Audio glitches that popped up sometimes in Kaivo have been put to rest, I think. CPU use should be around 20% less across the board.

I'm particularly excited about the CPU improvement this time, because there's more on the way. The gains this time came from rewriting parts of madronalib, my DSP library, but the plugins haven't been completely converted to use the new code. When I can do that, there should be another big boost in efficiency.

First, though, the Soundplane app needs some much-awaited love, and I have a shop to put together so I can prototype instruments here again. Stay tuned for gripping wood shop action. Stepper motors! Sawdust!

Thu, Jun 15, 2017, 12:52

I'm pretty sure this is the longest I've worked on any single technical problem, aside from my thesis work. I think it's possible to do a great touch detector with the Soundplane A sensor, but, just barely. It will be a big relief to roll out this release and get your feedback.

Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 08:11

Sorry it's a bit hard to find now. I'll work on a documentation pass after this Soundplane beta coming very soon.

Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 08:09

OK, one more vote added—I'll definitely make the quad and/or individual outs version when I get a chance.

I am also planning to have 8 voices in a future version of Aalto. I could see wanting four individual outputs but not 8. So, are there going to be separate stereo, quad, octo versions? Having three separate plugins seems kind of messy. I'll try to find a way to provide the useful features without too much clutter.

Thu, Oct 08, 2015, 09:36

prototyping

Here are some images from my most recent prototyping work. I'm working on a surface with thick keys that should provide very consistent mechanical behavior and a nice tactile quality for the instrument.

Here are some pieces of birch with v-grooves routed into them every inch.

p1

With some fine router work on the flat sides of the strips, I made this profile with a 1/16" bump in the center.

p2

Now sanding, too much sanding. I don't like sanding.

p3

More sanding to get the profile I'm looking for. Maybe it's my years of C++ talking but these look kind of like curly braces.

p4

The individual key pieces are cut and laid out side-by-side to make a larger surface. A finished instrument would have the grain continuous but for this prototype we don't care.

p5

Next comes gluing to the sensor stack to test the feel.

Wed, Jun 07, 2017, 07:49

Yes, it's still planned. Sorry, I should never mention upcoming dates unless things are nearly done.

Mon, Jun 05, 2017, 09:41

Thanks for the report! Can't wait to try it out.

Mon, Jun 05, 2017, 09:40

First, can you confirm you look in the upper right of the plugin and it says version 1.3.2? There are a couple of location where plugins can hide, so you may have an old version around.

I just rechecked it with Logic 10.2.4 here with both stereo and mono inputs. I remember you wanted to use mono inputs so I'll give those steps:

  • make a new mono->stereo audio track. choose Input (for example) 1 and outputs 1-2.
  • put the Virta AU effect plugin on the track. The AU menu will offer only the choice for Virta Mono->Stereo.

Then the mono input turns into stereo audio within Virta.

You can try patching the oscillator direct to the output's AUX in and panning it, this should test to see if you have stereo outputs independent of the input.

Wed, May 31, 2017, 09:51

I messed around with a "both" mode when making the first version but didn't make anything I found really useful. I also felt like maybe having the three modes was veering too much towards emulating Buchla LPG as opposed to merely "inspired by."

Thanks for the feedback. I will revisit this for Aalto 2.0 and try some things. In particular there's been a good academic paper on the LPG and if that leads to a tastier sound all around, I may use a new algorithm.

Tue, May 30, 2017, 10:18

Aalto's modular architecture lets it play when it's not getting MIDI notes, so being "always on" and taking up CPU is the downside of that.

I wrote down some related info here: Getting the most out of Kaivo It's somewhat specific to Kaivo, but has tips that apply to Aalto also.

Fri, Feb 13, 2015, 14:32

Call for input: Soundplane to CV module

This year it seems desirable and possible for Madrona Labs to make a Soundplane to CV device. This would be primarily a Eurorack module, but the circuit could also be built into its own enclosure for use with vintage synths etc.

Normally I do most of my design work in private, and only announce a product when it's pretty much done. But we (Brian and I) are going to change it up this time. Because neither of us is that deeply into the Eurorack world, it makes sense to solicit input early on in the process this time. This is going to be a utility device (though hopefully an elegant one) — so before we get too far along, let's make sure it will be useful to you!

The basic idea

USB jack for powering the Soundplane. Module puts out CV / gates / mod outputs for individual touches. Like the Soundplane app, a zone map decides how the Soundplane surface is divided up into notes and what those notes are. You can switch between zone maps, and the name of the current one should be displayed somehow. Aside from this, visual feedback will be at least an LED per Z value. To keep costs low, probably nothing too graphical or fancy.

We're looking for input on things like:

How many voices?

Each voice of touch output will probably have 4 outputs for pitch, x, y and z. Setting up many voices on a modular is not the way most people use them, so I'm guessing that two voices of output will take care of 90% of what people want. We would probably add an expander module for more voices.

Any interesting modes?

A switch that changes z (pressure) into a strict on/off gate might be useful. Any other things like this?

Layout?

individual voice groups vertical or horizontal? voice outputs at bottom or top? I'm thinking top, because a USB jack on the bottom will go to the Soundplane.

Power?

The module will need roughly 250mA at 5v to power the Soundplane. Brian will correct me if I'm wrong. Then there's whatever computing and display the module needs to do, and the outputs. Do we need our own power supply, or a list of compatible Euro power supplies that we can point people to? Any choices in connectivity to make here?

Finally, we're still looking for a great name…

Fri, Sep 17, 2010, 15:44

READ ME FIRST: how to report bugs

If you are going to report a bug, please look at the topics in this forum to see if one matches your problem. If so, post in the existing thread. If not, please start a new thread with a title that describes the problem briefly. be sure to include your

  • Plugin (Aalto or Kaivo or... ) version, found at upper right
  • AU/VST host and version
  • OS Version

and then explain

  • what you did, in a way that I can repeat it
  • what you thought was supposed to happen
  • what happened instead.

I need this information to give me the best chance of doing something useful about your issue,

Thu, May 25, 2017, 12:38

Nice to hear. Thanks for the update.

Wed, May 24, 2017, 08:58

Is it possible that the new Cubase version comes with a much smaller default process buffer size? Just a guess, and something that would be easy to look for.

Does the new Cubase have a multiprocessing setting you can turn off? This is something else to try.

Aside from that I can't think of anything. Please keep me posted.

Sat, May 20, 2017, 09:22

Wow, that's interesting. I'll have to check in with Bitwig on this one. Thanks for the report.

Wed, May 17, 2017, 08:08

Very nice, thanks for sharing. Great work on your 3 songs a week practice. I started running again this spring, so maybe I can manage one piece of music a week...

Mon, May 15, 2017, 18:49

Thanks for following up, this is helpful!

Tue, May 09, 2017, 09:13

Very glad you are enjoying it! Thanks for the good words.

Tue, May 09, 2017, 09:11

Fuck off.

Mon, May 08, 2017, 14:08

Hiya, I'm planning to get Aaltoverb out again in a slightly different form—this has been a back burner project, so pardon the wait and please stay tuned.

Mon, May 08, 2017, 14:07

Sorted.

Thu, May 04, 2017, 11:08

Thanks for the feedback. Everyone wants to lock something different, so I decided an arbitrary parameter lock is the way to go. Lots of details to figure out wrt. UI but I'll definitely do this at some point.

Thu, May 04, 2017, 10:05

At some point I had a diagram with shielding between each column / row carrier. I have since determined that this isn't really needed because the capacitance between two thin plates side-by-side is very small.

I would start with carriers connected to outputs and pickups connected to inputs. The rest really depends on your audio interface. You can start with only the + connection to pickup or carrier. My guess is, you will want to connect the - connections of pickups and carriers together.

I look forward to seeing your project!

Tue, May 02, 2017, 08:14

Thanks for following up with the solution. I'll look into adding better error messages or otherwise improving the experience when this situation comes up.

Mon, May 01, 2017, 12:32

Sorry you're having trouble. The GIF didn't make it—you can email it to me at support if you'd like.

If pasting the license goes OK, but the plugin is not licensed the next time you open it, there was probably an issue with writing to the disk. Maybe you are running as some account that does not have permission to write to the license directory? You can try copying the license to the directory by hand to find out.

On Windows, license files are in C:/AppData/Roaming/Madrona Labs/Licenses. When the plugin starts up it looks for a file with its name “Aalto.txt” “Kaivo.txt” etc. in this location. The file is a plain text file that contains the license key. So, you can try looking there to see if there is an old license.

Unfortunately these AppData folders are now hidden by default in Windows 10. To see them, try this tip: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2690709/whats-in-the-hidden-windows-appdata-folder-and-how-to-find-it-if-you-need-it.html

Fri, Apr 28, 2017, 09:35

Thanks again. Great reportage! This is very helpful. I'll investigate ASAP.

Thu, Apr 27, 2017, 10:03

Please keep me posted. It's hard to imagine what the cause might be right now, because the LFO is such a simple and bullet-proof object.

What kind of CPU are you using?

Thu, Apr 27, 2017, 10:01

Thanks, will look at it soon.