hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Thu, May 25, 2017, 12:38

Nice to hear. Thanks for the update.

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,

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.

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?


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.


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…

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, 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!

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


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.

Thu, Apr 27, 2017, 10:00

You could use MIDI MPE, sending out a control on one channel to affect the pitch of just one voice. Then have a few of these controls for different voices.

It seems like you are starting with two sources of data, one from say a sequencer and one from a controller. In my view you want to first merge the sources into one, then send them to Aalto. You have some particular vision in mind for control and to get to it you are probably going to need control over that merging process.

I think of OSC and MIDI as different languages, French and English, say. I have one translator device that allows me to tune into either language and understand it perfectly. But if I bypass the translator and try to listen to input in both languages at once, it's very confusing. This is a good description of the architecture going on inside the plugins.

Thu, Apr 27, 2017, 09:33

Working on both-- the new detection takes a lot less expensive filtering. I'm excited about it. I'll be at beta within a week, I'm pretty sure. I'll clean it up for that release, so I'd wait just a bit. It will be very helpful if you can try compiling it for Linux at that point!

Wed, Apr 26, 2017, 16:36

You know the Soundplane Zones can send MIDI controllers out right? So Aalto should be able to take notes from a MIDI sequence and controls from the Soundplane at the same time, just as you suggest above, by using MIDI.

Also you can send out rhythmic patterns from the sequencer and at the same time use the Soundplane for pitch, in either OSC or MIDI mode. Unlike with most software synthesizers, pitch and gate are patchable in the matrix. You are free to use any signal you want to control oscillator pitch. So it's pretty flexible already.

Wed, Apr 26, 2017, 12:16

Hmmm. Big Hmmm. Thanks for the detailed info, this one is new to me.

When the dials get stuck, can you hear that the signals they control within Aalto get stuck as well? I think you are saying that's the case, but that's probably the most important clue for me to start thinking about.

Meanwhile I'll try to set my Windows 10 box up to run at 96k by default, and see if I ever run into this.

Also, if you can keep a list of the specific parts that get stuck and let me know, that would be helpful.

Wed, Apr 26, 2017, 12:11

Thanks for the info about Steinberg and u-he. I just don't have a timetable for this. There is no one more sad about it than me. I am the only programmer making instruments for this small company of mine and I don't have time to do all of the cool projects I would like to.

Wed, Apr 26, 2017, 12:04

Yes, I put a fix for this in the previous update 1.3.2.

Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 08:22

Can you describe how you want to use this in more detail? It doesn't make sense to get notes from MIDI + OSC at the same time because they would step on each other and create stuck notes. So I guess you mean other control data. What kinds are you interested in? Thanks

Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 08:14

Thanks for the reminder. I have been completely immersed in making a new Soundplane touch detector. Very soon I can get a beta of this out and then I'll look back at Kaivo.

Wed, Apr 19, 2017, 08:31

Sorry, I sort of hid this information. It's in the readme: http://madronalabs.com/media/kaivo/_read_me_first.txt
I use Audacity (free) to make the files.

Tue, Apr 18, 2017, 09:23

Thanks for the report, I'll try to duplicate this.

Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 19:56