ForumsSoftware ← Aalto Questions

I'll start the topic off with an easy one.

*Why "Aalto?" *

It's the Finnish word for "wave."

Will this be a VST or AU or what?

Mac AU and VST will come first because that's the platform I am developing on. Windows VST will follow soon.

When can I buy the Windows and Mac VST versions?

My current plan is to get the Windows version out, along with the Mac VST, in mid-December.

Copy protection?

There is no copy protection. Copy protection always creates hassles for legitimate users, is by definition a hassle. When you purchase a license for Aalto, you get a watermarked copy that uniquely identifies it as yours. At runtime there are transparent checks to verify that the watermarks are intact, and that people are holding up their end of the license terms.

I've been watching the RSS rabidly and this looks awesome! Are you looking for sound designers to create presets for this synth?

I'm not sure. I am planning to do a closed beta, but may invite a few more people. Rabid followers of the list for example... :-)

As a Buchla user, I find that the palette is familiar, and I'm delighted to see such ideas moving forward..

cbm: thanks and well put. Aalto is definitely inspired by Buchla's work. The Music Easel was a model for me in how good design could give a small collection of modules a huge variety of sonic possibilities.

I also like how the Easel lends itself to programming distributions of events, not just single notes. I tried to make Aalto's sequencer flexible enough to offer a lot of possibilities here.

And then there are the woodblock and 259-like sounds that are new sonic territory for plugins. My goal is not to emulate hardware but to make new sounds that satisfy me in the ways the original ones do. In return for all the inspiration I take pains to point out that, if you want to make Buchla sounds, you gotta get a Buchla!

Randy, it looks like there will be the opportunity to add either Scala or Tun files for Microtuning capabilities. Am I right by saying this? Aalto looks like a wonderful tool for the studio. I love the layout, the routing, and the sounds you posted are stellar.

My questions:

Aftertouch capabilities?

Microtuning most definitely. There will be some kind of aftertouch but I'm not sure about the details yet.

very impressive demos
very nice GUI
how much?

dave (windows user)

We are shipping for the Mac this summer, Windows to follow shortly.

Price will be comparable to other high-quality softsynths out there. It will also depend on whether this version is released as a poly synth, which I haven't decided on yet. I'm working to get the CPU usage down to the point where that is reasonable... wish me good speed!

will the user license allow for install on more than one computer? so i can install on the laptop and on the desktop? i have mac and windows machine will i be able to install on both machines w/one license?

also, what form of copy protection will be used?

the youtube demo sounds really great. can't wait to check it out depending on the answers to the questions above of course.


Hi there!

Here's how I think it will work. One purchase gives you a copy for every platform we release it for when available. Your license will let you use one copy at a time.

There won't be copy protection because I think that if you buy software, you should be able to make copies of it. At runtime, however, the software may check to see that you are holding up your end of the license agreement.

can't ask for anything better than that. thanks!

i posted something about Buchla on the general post and now see that you in fact are inspired by my most desired toy; the easel! i know its not an emulation but its the very next best thing and looks and sounds great in its own right.

about polyphony.. i always sort of respected LIMITS when making music. it helps to zero in on possibilities and keep focus on the art, not the gear. these days software is capable of so much and the limits are not very defined, which can be such a distraction.

so the question is: what if polyphony was clamped at something like 3 or 4 max? would that help with cpu and more importantly could it be viewed as a DESIRABLE limit? even mono is desirable for aalto but i'm not sure most people will get that. especially these days.

I hope its not a lame question.

@asquare: You actually hit it right on the head. Aalto is good at making complicated sounds easy to program. It's also quite heavy on the CPU because I'm making sound quality absolutely top priority, and because it's so patchable. And finally, it's more oriented towards helping people make the next Silver Apples than the next Howard Shore soundtrack. So for all these reasons I think topping out at four voices would be fine.


is there any chance we'll see a Linux port? if you're interested, I'm a DSP/GUI developer for the platform and would be willing to help with porting it.

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.


people have indeed made plugins with JUCE on linux. I'm quite a fan of Loomer's plugins, all of which are tri-platform ( discodsp has also released both discovery and highlife for linux. all of these, to my best knowledge, are built with JUCE.

the support is certainly a valid concern, but, in recent times, Linux has become much more stable and uniform across the distributions. though I run a very customized system, I've never had problems with any of the JUCE VSTs, as its dependencies are fairly minimal and easily met.

thank you for the response and the consideration! aalto looks and sounds amazing, I'm eagerly anticipating the release.

Hi Randy,

This looks like a beautiful synth and it's sounds lovely. Please say it'll run on my lowly G4...


Looks great! Will Aalto function as a standalone application?

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.

Hello I was following the progress on the Soundplane when I saw this!!!!

I'm very interested in this wonderfully sounding synth and would like to give it a try as soon as possible on windows (maybe beta-testing? heck i'll even pay for beta testing it seems thaat good to my ears)

... It sounds and looks gamechanging... well done!

The Aalto demo on Matrix Synth sounds great. Count me in.

Hello Randy and others, :-)
I signed up for some info on Aalto, but also Soundpane.
Both look like something I can use, and seem musical instruments rather than toys. nice!
ok, where's Aalto? It's 1 day overdue LOL

i think they delayed it until the 13th to work on some CPU efficiency things.. or so i read...

@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.

hey randy

any idea how long for win vst?

looking forward


@davedove, later this fall is my plan.

Looking forward to the windows VST port.

HI - just downloaded the demo of Alto and it failed AU validation in Logic 9.1.1 OSX 10.5.8

edit: i forced it to run and seems to be doing just fine and it sounds INCREDIBLE. i'm blown away. the gui is a thing of beauty and it is soooo fast to get around on. great job!!!!

I had no problems running the demo in Live 8, except that the presets folder was not created. Not a problem because tweaking out is the name of my game when I try a new synth!
I ran it in Logic and the presets folder appeared, but I had the same problem as ignatius, it did not pass validation. It ran fine once I forced it though.
I'm loving the synth so far. The sound is very pleasing, as is the semi-modular architecture and the GUI.
With the update and sequencer host synchronization, will that include DAW automation of parameters? If so I'm totally sold.