hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 15:53

I figured out the problem. I switched from Logic 64 bit to 32 bit mode and alto validated.

OK, super. Thanks for the report. I'll make a thread so people can find this answer more easily.

Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 15:11

@bobbyrich the validation bug reported before is fixed on both versions now.

Did you put your component in ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components? Restart Logic? Sorry I haven't heard of this problem before.

Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 14:55

Hi Clarke,

Aalto is currently an Audio Units (AU) plugin for Mac only. So, you will need to find a host that can host AU plugins. These are like VST, but a different incompatible format.

For starters I might recommend Numerology. It has a lenient demo mode that actually allows you to save your work, within limits.

Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 14:50

@heath you can do it by patching any signal that is different for each voice to the sequencer rate or offset inputs.

The preset "adorable gleeps" has a clear example of this.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010, 17:46

Aalto: Parameter Automation

This is a thread for anyone having trouble with parameter automation. i have tested it in Live 8.1.5 and in Logic Pro 8. it works fine on both of these platforms for me. Some of you have reported issues with Logic. Let's collect some info so I can figure out what the problem might be.

If you have have problems, please list:

  • Mac OS version
  • Application version
  • Detailed description of what to do to cause the problem.
Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 10:08

@walker: I'm going to start a thread about parameter automation.

@sensi: One day, yes. For now Aalto has a low memory profile so a 64 bit version would not give any improvement.

Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 09:43

I'm going to leave the thread up so people can find it if they have the same problem. But I'll go ahead and make a bold note


Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 09:41

@dsk but of course! There will be a special version for Aalto with x, y and z inputs to the patcher. In fact, I initially designed Aalto to be used with the Soundplane.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010, 17:48

@kaput, sorry i missed your post earlier.. . Automation works fine for me in Logic. I made a thread for this issue. Please reply to that thread with a more detailed description of what goes wrong and let's figure it out.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010, 13:49

Try patching the pitch or voice or vel outputs to the sequencer rate. You will hear that each voice's sequencer runs at its own rate. in fact there is a SEQ module within each voice, but all of them share the same patch inputs.

The offset input also affects each sequencer independently. You can understand this if you study the factory patch "adorable gleeps."

have fun!

Tue, Sep 14, 2010, 11:05

Hi Kosi,

Sorry about the problem. I'm going to try to figure this out soon to get a fix in the next update. I don't have access to an Intel Mac Pro so I might ask to send you some debugging versions to try if you have time.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010, 09:06

Hi Gus,

For now, making your watermarked copy is a manual process. I'm doing them within an hour or so this morning. Thanks for your support.

Mon, Sep 13, 2010, 16:19

@yasha, thanks for the report. I'll look into what could cause this.

I know it's a big CPU hog and hope to improve it lots over the next month or so.

Mon, Sep 13, 2010, 16:17

Logic validation is fixed in the demo version now.

Mon, Sep 13, 2010, 14:44

With the update and sequencer host synchronization, will that include DAW >automation of parameters? If so I'm totally sold.

Thanks for the feedback.

Have you tried parameter automation? It should work now. I tested it mostly in Logic. If it's not working for you, what's your host?

Mon, Sep 13, 2010, 14:40

failed AU validation:

blast! of course i checked validation but this was the result of a last-minute bug fix that made another bug.

the problem is with parameter settings and should be totally benign. Will make a new version soon, probably tomorrow.

thanks for your support.

Sat, Sep 11, 2010, 14:07

@davedove, later this fall is my plan.

Sat, Sep 11, 2010, 10:33

What about Soundplane?

Our first product, Aalto, will be released this coming Monday the 13th of September. Exciting news! But I know Aalto's introduction has left a few people wondering what happened to the innovative hardware we announced. Let me explain.

I started Madrona Labs to make the Soundplane, developed as part of my Masters work in Computer Music at the University of Victoria, into a reliable, portable instrument. The prototype required a bulky and expensive external audio interface, and had low resolution. But it felt great to play and generated enough excitement that I took a leap of faith and started working on it full time. I luckily found a great hardware engineer who wanted to help me make a self-contained version, and borrowed money to fund six months of development.

Six months later we had a great case and mechanical design and a mostly working main board built around a fast DSP from Texas Instruments. But it was clear we wouldn't have a working prototype for at least a few more months.

I had already started working on Aalto, which I had planned to release along with the Soundplane in order for folks who aren't Max/MSP wizards to have something fun to play out of the box. So I decided to release Aalto as a standalone product in order to get some income. Supporting it very well, as I intend to do, will necessarily slow down Soundplane development, but you gotta do what you gotta do! It has been a long road, but we get ever closer to working Soundplanes. Soundplane is still the center of our business model and a driving passion of mine. I badly want to play one. Expect more news soon.

Fri, Sep 10, 2010, 21:04

@ignatius: partly CPU efficiency, partly a few tenacious bugs. There was a stuck note happening every once in a blue moon. Hard to fix if you can only reproduce every 15 minutes! I think it's gone now.

Fri, Sep 10, 2010, 21:01

@asquare: it's a great idea to share patches here somehow! I will look into how we can embed files here... after Monday.

Eventually, I think it would be great to share/browse patches on a server from inside the plugin.

Wed, Sep 08, 2010, 23:10

Yes, Monday the 13th. I really should update the front page.

Sun, Sep 05, 2010, 12:55

The work I'm finishing up, mainly optimization, took longer than I'd hoped. I have now set the 13th as the definite release date. Sorry to make you wait another week.

I do plan to do Mac VST quite soon. The decision to do AU only at first came about because of patch management. Hosts like Live, for example, have very usable management for AU patches. But once I started putting the VST version together I realized that I needed to do my own patch mgmt. to make it something I would want to use. And this is a project that could take a little while. So, AU version now, AU/VST update with integrated patch management in ... well, a month would be my guess.

And I'll add your vote to the list of people who want RTAS. I will do this eventually if enough customers want it.

Wed, Sep 01, 2010, 08:36

It won't be too far from $100.

Sun, Aug 29, 2010, 18:53

Thanks for the support! Currently I am planning for an AU release on Sept 7. It could always slip a bit if something goes wrong but right now it's looking good.

Sat, Aug 28, 2010, 14:42

From the knobs in.

If you're a synth head, it's probably clear that Aalto is inspired by Don Buchla's work. I think that Buchla's 100 and 200 series designs are high water marks of what can be achieved by focusing on the experience of playing rather than on the technology. Design not from a feature set out, but from the knobs in...

Above you see the 259 Complex Oscillator, which is the closest cousin to Aalto's algorithm from among the Buchla modules. If you want 259 sounds, of course you need to get a 259. It is more complex than my oscillator, both in sound palette and interface. What I tried to do was capture the qualities of its sound that made my ears particularly happy, where that was technically possible in a real-time algorithm. I also took cues from how Buchla's designs do more with less, and distilled the interaction down to make a few knobs that did a lot.

For example, having only one scale control per signal input on Aalto (except for the oscillator pitch) was a conscious decision I made with simplicity in mind. It seems to cover around 90% of the sound making possibilities (designers might call them "use cases") with 50% of the UI.

Who else besides musicians needs precise and intuitive UI? Airplane pilots, that's who. These gauges were another inspiration. Note that when you look at a number, your gaze is also taking in the filled-in area of the dial, not darting back and forth to some number box across the screen. I'm assuming these designers knew what they were doing.

Another musical device that works really well is the Weiss DS1. Note all the breathing room around the knobs. Simple, uncluttered and a joy to use. That it sounds phenomenal doesn't hurt.

Check out the Tone Board for the Yamaha GX1. If you spend your year's development budget making a $60,000 synth, you can put some time into UI. See the clear layout of signal flow and how the knobs connect to it and are grouped by the panel graphics. Also, precise markings in seconds on the sliders as opposed to an arbitrary range of 1-10, or no range at all. If only those drawings of envelope shapes were able to move... you'd have something a lot like Aalto's envelopes. It's no coincidence.

In my view the best way to respect the innovators is to innovate. So instead of trying to reproduce some elusive and hyped "analog magic" I am combining all of the influences above and more into the best design I can make for today's technology. I look forward to sharing this work soon.

Photo credits: from my "inspirations" folder on my hard drive, attributions long gone. If they are yours, please let me know and I'll give props.
Tue, Aug 24, 2010, 08:44

coding coding coding

Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 15:41

Nope, just as an AU and VST plugin. If you just want to play it live, you can find a free host program that will host the plugin.

Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 15:39

The beta is closed now. We'll do one for Windows in fall so stay tuned if that's your platform.

Sat, Jul 31, 2010, 17:29


Wed, Jul 28, 2010, 10:33

I have thought of it. I'm going to wait and see. I'm using the JUCE framework which supposedly allows compiling on Linux, though I'm not sure anyone has tried making a plugin with it on Linux.

The thing I'm most concerned about is support. When I sell a copy of the software to someone I'm making a personal commitment to help make it work for them on any system I support. I'm not sure that I could do this well enough on Linux because of the many versions out there and my lack of experience with them.

So it's not a high priority but I'm interested and appreciate your offer. If you have any ideas about the support thing let me know.