hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Sun, Apr 03, 2011, 15:30

really?

Sun, Apr 03, 2011, 15:30

@piebald80, did you ever get it working?

Thu, Mar 31, 2011, 10:30

I finished a big step yesterday! Now I'm knocking down Windows bugs and really expect to get to beta soon.

Thu, Mar 31, 2011, 10:27

Hi Markus,

Thank you for the report. Having no Maschine unfortunately I can't investigate this. I am hard at work getting the next release out which will include a VST version. Hopefully the VST will be a workaround for this problem.

Mon, Mar 28, 2011, 09:07

then you're in the right place...

Thu, Mar 24, 2011, 14:27

It's "paste from clipboard" you want. Should work, even if you grab extra characters...

Tue, Mar 22, 2011, 08:40

getting closer...

Wed, Mar 16, 2011, 07:52

Yes.

Tue, Mar 15, 2011, 15:40

I mean, if you just use the default patch without changing any patch cords, and let it run while you compose notes, or go to a movie or something, can you ever get the audio to cut out? The bug I found would only manifest for more complicated patches.

Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 17:43

I found an oscillator out-of-range bug that may be causing your problem. Something needs to be patched into the oscillator in order for it to happen.

If you stick to the default patch, can you ever get the audio to quit?

Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 12:08

We have kicked around a few product ideas for the post-Soundplane world; one of them is definitely some kind of Soundplane->CV converter.

Hear you about the Aalto GUI . Some changes are implemented for the next release that should make your life better.

If you have stability concerns please send me specific issues!

Wed, Mar 09, 2011, 09:01

I'm working on it. As soon as possible. A very small number of weeks.

Sun, Mar 06, 2011, 16:35

If I zoom in as much as possible to the filter freq. automation in Logic, I get the first few steps as 20, 108, 187, 275... not exactly high resolution. I think that there is a restriction to 127 steps in place from way back in Emagic Logic days.

"So why is it"? Because nobody currently maintaining Logic cares enough to make something better I guess. If you read some online forums, you'll find that Logic's automation is a deal-breaker for a lot of pro recording people.

Thu, Mar 03, 2011, 19:27

Hi Seth,

As far as I can tell this is Logic's problem. Log scale parameters work properly with Aalto in Live.

I think you mean 1-110 for the LFO range in Logic, which means the range is working correctly, but the log mapping is not.

This has nothing to do with the fine/coarse adjustment which is a UI improvement coming soon.

Wed, Mar 02, 2011, 10:05

It's definitely something I'd like to do but it's not at the top of the list. The next release will have VST support and I'll try to make sure it works with the VST/RTAS wrapper.

Tue, Mar 01, 2011, 19:47

@synthi Thanks for your vote of confidence. I will definitely post the beta announcement right here.

Mon, Feb 28, 2011, 10:09

Aalto is 800 by something. someday i would love to make it (and my whole framework) resolution-independent. Might take a stab at it for version 2.

Fri, Feb 25, 2011, 10:31

Hi all! There are around 200 Aalto users now (including all the press NFR copies). I guess this is not a "big" userbase, but to me it's a lot of people I want to make and improve tools for. And having the income means that I can spend a day a week on Soundplane again, and not do other consulting, which is huge.

Toksin, if you have any more specific feedback about GUI stuff, now's the time. What I'm doing is finishing all these visible changes so that the manual and demo movies will be useful on both platforms.

Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 17:51
  • wider range: OK, easy.

  • cc control: I try not to add features that are probably covered elsewhere, and it seems like every host has a way of doing MIDI learn. No?

  • gate / waveguide: again trying to keep it simple, this seemed like the best order for the two. Aalto 2 might have options.

  • finetune: yes, some help is needed here

  • velocity: added to aalto 2 list...

Sun, Feb 13, 2011, 20:41

Do you see the "factory" scales? The Aalto installer should make a folder /Library/Audio/Presets/Madrona Labs/Scales. This is where the defaults are. You can add your own folders here inside Scales.

Mon, Feb 07, 2011, 13:03

Three new audio demos.

Here's a little something for your Monday morning, three short demos designed to show off the wide range of sounds you can make with Aalto...

The first two were put together by me and my friends tea and cough syrup last week. No compositional brilliance here, just a collection of sounds leaning heavily on the presets. All sounds by Aalto. (really.)


The third one is by noise and synth fiend Surachai, a mix of his presets that come from a different and more aggressive perspective that some people will find extra-musical, and others will find right up their alley. Check out Surachai's new noise/synth/metal work Plague Diagram on glorious vinyl and convenient digital.


All these files are downloadable as WAV audio if you want to check the sound quality out for reals. My demos were mixed in Logic Audio with no effects, compression or EQ. So you won't hear the "punch" you are used to in a finished mix, but you will hear just what Aalto sounds like, which I like to think of as solid and unhyped.


What do I mean by unhyped? Aalto is designed to be approachable, but also to be a solid tool for sound makers at any level of expertise. So it always does what it tells you it's doing, without adding any processing to the result that might make it immediately more appealing but less flexible over time. Experienced producers have their own favorite tricks and machines for glossing up a sound or shaping its dynamics, so Aalto doesn't EQ or compress its output--- that's up to you. Instead, I put the effort in on making the raw waveforms and the audio-rate modulations sound as good as possible.


pads and textures:



beats and percussion:



noise and terror:

Mon, Feb 07, 2011, 11:05

That LFO level control is clearly needed and will appear soon.

Sun, Jan 30, 2011, 16:41

Writer's-block-breaker.

Hi there from Madrona HQ. It's been a while since I posted an update. There's been no shortage of activity here, but it's the kind involved in porting software, a hundred little chores each of which are totally uninteresting to talk about unless we have come to that wonderful time when they are all done. So the train moves forward. Chooooo. In the middle of all this scut work I love to get a note like this out of the blue:

Hey Randy, I don't want to sound too fanboish, but aalto saved my this week. Was working on the first single from our upcoming EP for months now, and that song was a real bugger, because I wasn't satisfied with the direction it took. Bought the aalto thursday evening, played around with it, and voilá, all the pads and squeeks and sequences I was missing came in a rush. Haven't had such an inspirational rush since I bought the MS 20 several years ago. I'm actually planning to use your little beast as our signature sound source on the album.

Just wanted to share that story. Have a listen:

Thanks for bringing up such a good sounding writer's-block-breaker.

Cheers from germany

marco / hearhere

Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 18:05

I just tried saving and reloading my preset from GarageBand and it worked here. I'm hoping your preset file got corrupted somehow. If this keeps happening, let me know and I'll look into it ASAP.

Sat, Jan 22, 2011, 16:53

Open protocol and open source config software. I think open source is the best way to guarantee that the controller will be supported for a long time.

I'm thinking along the lines of a fairly simple app that lets you define areas on the Soundplane and set what OSC or MIDI messages they send.

Sat, Jan 22, 2011, 16:48

Yes, wouldn't that be great? I can't wait to use a monome + soundplane setup.

Sat, Jan 22, 2011, 16:46

nice! I used plastic cups for making this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foZ0k_kJfJI

Fri, Dec 03, 2010, 11:43

Where are all the fantastic new software instruments?

There are a bunch of software environments in which you can make instruments. Max/MSP, Kyma, AudioMulch, Reaktor, Vaz Modular, Tassman, Plogue Bidule ... and that's just the graphical ones I can think of, leaving out SuperCollider, ChucK and so on. How many times have you read that with tool X you are "limited only by your own imagination?" But not everyone has the ability, or the time, to think up a new instrument and then spend a year working out the details. For players and composers, limitations are essential. So where are the instruments themselves?


With computer audio, there are so many possibilities available that I think the idea of an instrument is getting neglected. A traditional musical instrument usually has a small number of controls that lead to many possibilities, because you can physically interact with it in different and subtle ways. Take a single string and stretch it over a box with a hole in it. You just made an instrument that you could spend years practicing and getting better at. There aren't many parts, but the variety of physical interactions they offer gives you lots of sonic possibilities.


Contrast that with a computer, which has billions of parts that can go into more states than the universe has particles, most of which make no sounds at all. It's hard to configure these systems to make sound dependably---recall only ten years or so ago, when just a handful of brave musicians were willing to rely on computers for live performance, and crashes were pretty common.


Once you do make sound with a computer, you have entered an exciting world where it's arguably possible to make any sound we are capable of hearing. Where to begin? It's natural that the environments people have built for harnessing all this power look like the technology they are based on: component-based systems where simple building blocks are connected to make larger components, and so on. This kind of approach has been used by every music synthesis language or environment that has ever been made, as far as I am aware. It makes sense when you don't have much computing power, or you do want to express musical ideas in terms of algorithms.


But physical instruments are not algorithms. We don't send commands to them, we play them, using vibrating surfaces to exchange information with them more subtly than symbols can. With the amount of computing power available today, it's possible to make fantastic new computer instruments that are more like physical objects than programs, expressive enough to be worth learning.

This has been a Madrona Labs mini-essay. Thanks to M-Goldie on Gearslutz.com for asking the question.

Wed, Jan 19, 2011, 12:18

Hi,

Think of Aalto's synthesizer and its UI as two different things. They are actually two completely separate pieces of code---when you have Logic's generic view running, for example, you are not running the Aalto interface at all.

The values you see in the XML are the ones stored in the synthesizer, that Aalto is really using. The values you see in the interface are rounded so you can manipulate them easily. But Aalto saves the internal values.

This may get confusing because of floating-point vs. decimal inaccuracies. Most decimal values do not have an exact floating-point representation. 1.01 for example is 1.009999... in floating point.

There shouldn't be a lot of rules to set up-- every parameter has a minimum and a maximum value, just make a random value somewhere in between and you should be fine. Again they are all floating-point internally, it's just that the display is different to make the UI most useful for each parameter.

Tue, Jan 18, 2011, 09:40

The LFO has no sync. but the SEQUENCER does. so, you can draw any wave you want with any number of steps and use that as LFO. each step is one 16th note. So, you can draw your quarters, halfs, etc. and more complex shapes.