hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Tue, Jan 10, 2017, 15:17

Kaivo takes up more CPU because of its DSP algorithms that are really intense. This is more expected. So I'm focusing on Aalto which should be having no problems on these computers.

Tue, Jan 03, 2017, 11:38

Aalto 1.8.1, Kaivo 1.3.1, Virta 1.3.1 updates

Hi all, and happy new year. i've just released a .1 update of all three plugins to address some things that were broken in the recent extensive updates. I think of these x.0.1 release as the little cut scene after the credits—now we're all sitting around eating shawarma or whatever and everything makes a bit more sense.

The updates are all on the product pages. I've changed the web site to explain the new license keys a bit better as well.


There was an installer glitch putting these up. If you are still having issues with Kaivo's body module not working properly, try downloading the 1.3.1 installer again. The file name will be
KaivoInstaller1.3.1.exe (no .zip).

Mon, Jan 09, 2017, 20:53

I've spent most of today running tests with Aalto on the MPB 13 and squinting at the results. Here are some observations.

There's no smoking gun. I thought maybe my code was creating a priority inversion or something else esoteric and bad on this hardware. But I'm not seeing that. Really, performance and behavior per core is a lot like my 15" MBP. With half the number of cores, glitches happen a lot more often.

Logic tends to glitch a lot more out of the gate than other hosts for two reasons. First, its default signal vector size is 128, which is fairly small. Second, it wants to redraw the screen more often than other DAWs, which is a big hit to the CPU. If I set Live's signal vector to 128, it behaves a lot like Logic on this machine.

All my plugins are based on a modular library internally that launches a lot of small DSP objects. It does seem like this particular architecture is doing worse on Mac OS Sierra for some reason, because the part of my software doing the dispatching of modules is itself taking up more time than it used to.

I could spend time tracking down exactly what changed, but regardless I have to make the code work well going forward, so I'm just going to focus on optimizing it. There's no quick fix but by combining some modules and getting rid of some to reduce the dispatch overhead, I should be able to make the plugins more efficient and update them soon.

Meanwhile, making the plugin window smaller and increasing the process buffer size to 256 or 512 should reduce glitches on Logic for users with 13" MacBook Pros.

Mon, Jan 09, 2017, 11:09

OK I see. Try dragging over the text to copy it instead. There is a problem with the clipboard icon thingie and Safari.

Mon, Jan 09, 2017, 10:43

Thanks @thetechnobear for your investigations—from what you say it looks like there is something I can configure better in the plugin's settings when it's a MIDI controlled effect.

Meanwhile it sounds like adding a stereo effect is an OK workaround? If I recall right, Logic has an M/S processor plugin that could do this without affecting the sound.

Mon, Jan 09, 2017, 10:37

@geremy, I haven't made time to look at that because I'm working full time on this more severe issue that is affecting a lot of people. Meanwhile I bet we can find you a good workaround but let's discuss it in the other thread, OK?

Sun, Jan 08, 2017, 11:41

When the plugin is not yet licensed it will say "click to paste license" in the upper right. Click there to paste the license.

Sat, Jan 07, 2017, 16:27

Updated the OS to the latest 10.12.2, no issues there.

Downloaded Logic Pro 10.2.4. Make an empty Software Instrument project. Add one instance of Aalto—and boom! crazy CPU spikes and glitches. I am seeing all the symptoms that @enparticular has been reporting. It's worse with the plugin window open, but plenty bad without it as well.

So now I'm downloading Xcode. I'm real curious about what's going on with these machines. It may take a little time to figure it out but I'll sort out an update when I do.

Sat, Jan 07, 2017, 14:28

I have the Early 2015 MacBook Pro on my desk now. It came with MacOS 10.12.1. I've done the following:

  • downloaded and installed Ableton Live
  • downloaded and installed Aalto

pulling up Ableton and making one instance of Aalto, the builtin patch "aalto default" comes up with four voices, taking 20% of CPU as measured in Live's meter. I can play some notes on the computer keyboard and I'm not getting glitches. Playing notes or resting, the meter is at 20-22%, which is what I would expect. Turning the number of voices down to 1, the meter is at 6–7%.

I'll try downloading Logic, updating the OS and doing some more tests, and see what I can do to reproduce the glitches.

In any case, I like this notebook alright. It has two USB-A ports and an escape key!

Fri, Jan 06, 2017, 09:43

You can use the "needle" or dial indicator to see the actual value after modulation. So if it's at 0 you won't see the indicator.

You can use the SEQ range to send greater values for more modulation. This will work to get LFO rate to 0 in this case.

In general if you want a thing to be 0, it's probably easier to set it at 0 and then modulate to something else, than to set to something else and modulate to 0.

Fri, Jan 06, 2017, 09:33

Yes. I made a mistake—Aalto is 1.8.1.

Thu, Jan 05, 2017, 14:23

So yesterday I was seeing these freezes. But today I can't reproduce them with the shipped 1.3.1 Kaivo. I don't have a good theory about this. I wonder if you could try downloading and installing the Kaivo 1.8.1 again, then restarting, to double check.

Thu, Jan 05, 2017, 07:26

It's still coming—hard to say when.

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 18:12

I'll check into this ASAP. I can get a freeze here again and i don't know why yet. If you notice a pattern, or can make a particular preset that always causes the problem, please let me know.

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 18:10

Probably the easiest thing is just to use a tuning table inside Kaivo. You can make it in Scala format. It can be any arbitrary list of frequencies.

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 11:47

welcome aboard @dawbakhos and thanks for the nice words, they brightened my day, truly.

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 11:41

This is fixed in the new installer. If you are still having issues with Kaivo's body module not working properly, try downloading the 1.3.1 installer again. The file name will be
KaivoInstaller1.3.1.exe (no .zip).

Sat, Aug 01, 2015, 21:15

Aalto on Linnstrument, via MPE

And apparently the MPE implementation works! Thanks for sharing, Roger.

With Aalto 1.7, aftertouch is implemented in an MPE-compatible way—all of the factory Aalto patches will play expressively with Soundplane, LinnStrument, and other MPE-aware controllers over MIDI. And adding pressure, x or y control to any of your existing Aalto patches is just a virtual patch cable away. I’m excited to see more of the fruits of this cooperation.

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 10:05

Hi, Kaivo 1.3.1 is online now and has the convert presets menu option. In 1.2 it's in the same place, in the main patch menu.

Please note if the presets have been moved to the new location you will need to move them back to ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Presets/Madrona Labs/Kaivo to get the preset converter to see them. I have heard one report that the old presets somehow made it to the new location without getting converted. I'm not sure what went on there, so if that happened to you, sorry for the inconvenience.

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 09:55

Thanks for sharing your work! I've got no Ultranova here but it is more tempting now!

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 09:54

@hyperscientist thanks again for jumping back in. I'm glad things are better. You may have seen in the "Retina MBP glitches" thread: I'm getting a MBP 12,1 this week so I expect things will improve more on this machine soon!

Wed, Jan 04, 2017, 00:12

oh derp, it looks like something went wrong with the installer—i'll take care of this in the morning.

Tue, Jan 03, 2017, 12:27

Fixed, thanks!

Tue, Jan 03, 2017, 10:25

I have the "convert presets" option restored in Kaivo 1.3 now and will be releasing it shortly.

Tue, Jan 03, 2017, 10:24

The second one is pretty different ! :-)

So... MIDI and MIDI MPE will indeed produce really different signals out of the KEY module, which in turn will make really different sounds. You can see that the mod outputs change their labels, because they turn from mod cc outputs into dedicated x and y outputs for MPE. So now the x and y information is going to the patch and it sounds completely different as a result.

You can consider the MIDI / MPE choice as a fundamental part of the patch that you probably won't change afterwards. Then you can work by either making MPE patches from the ground up, or switching a MIDI patch to MPE and then adding the modulation you want.

The same is true with OSC and the Soundplane inputs by the way. To get all the Soundplane data in the KEY module outputs are repurposed and so in general patches won't be compatible.

Nice playing BTW, I am interested to hear what you do with Linnstrument down the road.

Mon, Jan 02, 2017, 17:23

OK, I just ordered a refurbished 13" RMBP Early 2015 from Apple. I can pick it up in a few days and hopefully reproduce this then.

Mon, Jan 02, 2017, 10:19

I bet it's just that mod cc # is defaulting to 2. If you change it to 1 it should work. Not sure how a default of 2 got in there so I'll change that.

Mon, Jan 02, 2017, 10:11

So i just went to test this and I can't reproduce. Kaivo 1.3.0 ( and 1.3.1 ) are responding to mod wheel OK, both from automation and external controller in Live.

The "mod cc" control in the INPUT module needs to be 1. At that setting you should see the mod light flash in the INPUT module when the modwheel goes from 0 to 127.

Can you think of anything else I should try to reproduce this?

Mon, Jan 02, 2017, 09:47

Weird. thanks for the report. One more quick fix to sneak into this update release coming very soon

Sat, Dec 31, 2016, 14:12

I can't test it on the affected machines, so I'm not too hopeful. But if my hunch is right, this beta may make things better. http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/Aalto1.8.1b2.pkg