hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Sun, Jun 19, 2011, 09:41

@ekwipt, thanks for the report. Be sure to try Aalto 1.2.1!

Fri, Jun 17, 2011, 09:25

The best thing here would probably be a diagram.

Anyway, the reverb dial is a reverb send for each voice, simple as that.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011, 09:20


My first reaction was "I have no idea..." but then I saw, what you're trying to do should really work. So I looked through the code and I think I may see a fix that would give the behavior you want.

I'm not going to push out another 1.2.x release before a couple of weeks though, unless there's some really bad problem in the meantime. So, I will get this working for you, just not right away.

To confirm, when you change a dial, your MIDI stuff does update, correct?

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 16:27

Fixed. Thanks for letting me know!

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 15:51

Good idea about alt... or something to get semitone steps. I'll think on this.

Not sure about the color idea, if only because I don't thin it would look nice, or be very readable, esp. with more voices. But keep 'em coming...

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 15:26

You can even get two totally different 8 note sequences... see the patch 2x8 seq or something in the "techniques".

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 15:15


you are right. broken build script = old version in there. I'm going to upload new mac versions now...

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 14:05


I do see CPU spikes switching presets in Logic . I don't know what I could do about that. I might work on it, but not soon. In my experience Logic is less efficient than other hosts.

I do not get crashing or any problems with more than one Aalto. I am on Logic 9.1.3 however.

Maybe this will be better for you in the 1.2.1 version.

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 12:26

create a different pitch sequence per voice

you can't exactly do that. Think of the modules as faceplates to 4 identical modules, like a polysynth. The signals going through them can change, but the settings of the front panel knobs can not. since the sequencer has only the 16 sliders, the same sequence goes to all the sequencer voices.

You can do some tricks with the voice signal from KEY though, like set "offset" or "rate" in the seq to a different value for each voice. or, you can set the pitch of the osc to a different offset for each voice for weird harmonies.

Thanks for the discussion, people, it's helping me finish the manual... :-)

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 10:17

I have plans to upgrade the existing site that we've done using Rails. But any additional forums are always welcome!

One day, I'd like to enable some kind of patch sharing from within the synth itself. One day...

Thu, Jun 16, 2011, 10:16

@jazztypewriter: THanks! I think that was a good explanation. I need to put an example in the manual there. I'm busy sending out 1.2.1 updates this morning...

Wed, Jun 15, 2011, 23:43

What's shown in the reverb dial is the amount of signal from each voice going to the reverb.

Wed, Jun 15, 2011, 23:24

This is a good question. Jazztypewriter is basically right. All the voices are actually combined after they are panned, though, and before the reverb. So, there is one reverb for all the voices. The reverb is a true stereo one, so the pan image of the reverb changes depending on the input.

An interesting point here is that it wouldn't make any difference if there were four reverbs or one. A reverb is basically a linear time-invariant system, and while that is a fairly technical-sounding definition, it basically means that if you mix the signals then send them through the reverb, you get the same result as if you had sent each signal separately through a different reverb, then mixed the results.

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 13:15

Aalto 1.2 FAQ

I'm wrapping up support work for the day. Here's a brief wrapup of the issues on peoples' minds:

Q:I'm a registered Aalto 1.1 owner, how do I get my version 1.2 upgrade?

A: We had some email problems, so not everyone got the email about the update. Please email me at support at madronalabs.com and I'll help you out.

Q: The press release mentions a $99 discount on Soundplane with Aalto purchase, but I don't see this on the site. Is it for real?

A:Yes, what the release says is good, and I will update the site to reflect that.

Q: There is a bug with the sequencer settings on Aalto 1.2.

A: I can verify, and I'm perplexed and embarrassed at how this crept in after so much testing. I will fix this in an update within the week.

Wed, Jun 15, 2011, 14:47

You have the blue values going to the pitch. These are just triggers. The pitch values are the orange ones. This is covered in the Quickstart.

Th patch you posted is messed up, maybe because of the sequencer bug I just fixed. I'm sending out an update in the next day or two.

I'm going to paste here part of the manual, under construction, about patching and voices.

Every module you see on the surface of Aalto is really a controller for as many copies of the module as there are currently enabled voices. When a patch cord is made, it is made simultaneously for each of Aalto’s voices. If you connect the output of the \textsc{lfo} to the oscillator pitch, for example, you are connecting \textsc{lfo} of voice 1 to pitch of voice 1, \textsc{lfo} of voice 2 to pitch of voice 2, and so on. You can think of the \textsc{key} module similarly, except that there is a copy for each note currently being played. When a note is played repeatedly, the \textsc{key} module makes connections to each of its copies in turn, so that the pitch of each note in a chord will be sent to a different voice.

Since they are controlled by the one and only patcher, the patch for each voice is identical. But what signals flow through the patch for each voice can be very different. Thus, each voice is separately controllable, in timbre, modulation, and all of its parameters.

Wed, Jun 15, 2011, 14:48

I suspect this was just a happy accident. I'm sending out an update with the fix soon.

Wed, Jun 15, 2011, 13:14

Hi Sam,

I fixed the sequencer issues and will do another release soon. I hope this will fix your crash as well.

Wed, Jun 15, 2011, 10:25

Thanks for posting! Moved to software forum.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 15:42

Well the gate level is turned up to 0.18, so yes, you will hear all the voices all the time.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 15:40

Before we try some weird things, what about using the VST instead of the AU in Live?

If that doesn't work, you can manually put your 1.1 component back along with its presets and everything should be fine. 1.1 will NOT load 1.2 presets. Though the reverse works, obviously.

I guess 1.1 and 1.2 wouldn't coexist well because of the presets issue unless you were very careful.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 15:09

Shee-it. I take it you were using 1.1 previously and it was OK? I can help you get 1.1 running again, with its presets, if you run into any problems.

I don't know if there were any update Live 7 release after the one you have, but you might try applying those if you haven't. And, of course, Live 8 is finally working OK... but I know that costs money.

I hate to say this, but figuring out Live 7 problems is not going to be a high priority. I want to help but I'm trying to be realistic about what I can do, and there's only one of me.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 12:31

Will be in the manual, coming soon. Mostly what is there is what you see though! I didn't bother with some things like a sustain pedal frankly because I didn't think of them. Let me know if you have any questions.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 12:31

The "real manual" is well underway. I've had some good help with writing it, and it's shaping up to be pretty awesome. Unfortunately I had to wrap up the software release without it, but keep an eye out-- it should be coming very soon.

Text in patches is another thing that I really want to add when I can find time. v.2 if not sooner.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 09:25

I am very glad to hear you are having fun making sounds!

@technomonkey, I think you are probably kidding about noisy vs. mellow... But just for the record, the difference is not enough so that one could be described any different from another... It's about the same as the difference between two copies of the same analog hardware synth... VERY subtle.

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 13:23

The sequencer bug doesn't show up right at first, but once you trigger it, by moving the seq controls around, none of the seq params change anymore. This explains why Rory's patches would turn silent.

Fri, Jun 10, 2011, 12:21

Mac Installer Issues

As you can see, Aalto 1.2 is out for Mac and Windows.

Unfortunately there seems to be a problem with the Mac installer affecting about half of the population. I am working on a fix---please stay tuned.

The Windows installer as fine as far as I know, so have at it, and enjoy.

I'll be fulfilling all orders as soon as I get the installer issue sorted.

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 11:41

I run Aalto under Parallels and Windows 7 quite often -- in fact, I did the bulk of the development there. Performance is basically the same as native, on Live's CPU meter.

So, I would expect Boot camp performance to be much better. Unfortunately I have not used Bootcamp, but hopefully someone can help you on the forums here.

Do other softsynths have the same reduced performance? If so, look into driver issues.

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 10:12

Hi guys, thanks for paying close attention and for all the comments. I have a million emails to reply to so I'm not going to respond to each point, but know that they are appreciated.

The sequencer bug is a real problem and I've no idea how it happened so late in the game. I'll have to push out an update soon.

GUI problems across hosts are part of the nightmare that is writing plugins, I'll see what I can do but frankly have to focus on the most popular hosts because I just don't have the resources to do otherwise.

@seppe, Thanks but I have no idea what you mean "pitch bend has strange results". It seems to work fine. You will have to be more specific.

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 10:06

I will look at the All Notes Off message. I don't think i'm trying to do anything about it now.

I know just what you mean about the lack of scaling options. I was trying to make a minimal set of controls that did a lot, but may have erred on the side of minimal. Some help will be in a future release. Thanks for your ideas! I am leaning towards adding a dedicated ring mod / scaling module.

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 10:02

It's planned, thanks for the input.