ForumsNews ← Soundplane A available for preorder now.

I'm happy (okay, elated) to announce that the Soundplane A is available now for preorder in North America at an introductory price of $1,695. This price is limited to the initial production run of 30 Soundplanes, and will rise slightly afterwards. The discount is a thanks for helping bring the Soundplane into the world. Full payment is needed to reserve your Soundplane, and the estimated production time is 8-10 weeks after the close of preorders.

Remember, if you're an Aalto customer, you have already put $100 towards a Soundplane, and this discount is valid with the introductory price. Just remind me when you reserve and I'll refund your $100 on receipt.

To those of you on other continents, sorry that this initial run is for North America only. I need more time to sort out the customs issues and regulations we will face in getting Soundplanes to other countries.

See the hardware page for more ordering details, a product specification sheet, and high resolution images of the Soundplane A!

Elated is an understatement..

Oh My God! saving as hard as i can. I love how you guys just dropped all this now that youre ready. Once again, great job!

This is a really beautiful design and judging from the demo and specs it seems to be just as expressive as i thought it would be. I've been waiting for this instrument for so long, it's great to see it become real now. Fantastic job :)

I'm starting to save up right now! When it comes to the EU I'll be ready ;)

I've got a question: It seems like you see Aalto and the Soundplane to be very closely connected (as the Soundplane will come with a version of Aalto and Aalto-customers get a discout on the Soundplane). How will Aalto be able to make use of the control signals from the Soundplane? As far as i know, it only has one control signal input and it's limited to the rather small resolution of midi (as you can only pick a midichannel). Are there plans for an update with OSC-control for Aalto? That would completely make my day :D

Keep in mind that MIDI has 14-bit resolution, which is plenty. Most users will only need the high-level touch/expression messages, for which MIDI and OSC are equally appropriate, depending upon the destination. But some applications might actually make use of the full, low-level data stream, which is very likely more than even OSC can handle.

It's great to see such enthusiastic response, and I can't wait to hear what musicians and performers can achieve once they have a Soundplane Model A under their hands.


MIDI use with other synthesizers as Brian describes is possible, but the Soundplane and Aalto for Soundplane connect over OSC. Aalto for Soundplane has a new input section based on OSC that sends signals into the patcher for each note.

Re Aalto for Soundplane.

As Aalto is quite hungry on the CPU, just wondering how it will cope with a potential 10 fingers/voices at once? Aalto lite?

@rsdio: You are right. I actually didn't think about the high resolution channels that are available apart from pitch (i'm doing most things via OSC these days). But there would still be the problem of patching all 3 of the parameters inside Aalto as far as i can see (only pitch + 1 control channel). But no worries, the solution with the OSC-input-section sounds perfect to me.

"Aalto for Soundplane has a new input section " will this be an update for all Aalto users ?
best wishes,

Aalto For Soundplane will just be for Soundplane. Some features might make it into the regular version of Aalto. The idea will be to keep them as similar as possible.

I see.
thanks for the reply.

Hi, I was wondering if you had a timeframe for the production run. How many order spots are left and when do you think you'll start building them?

Trying to strategize capital allocation.


@x2mirko, sorry I did not reply sooner.

Aalto doesn't use MIDI, as Randy has explained, so there aren't any limitations with regard to accessing all of the parameters generated by the Soundplane.

For MIDI destinations (i.e. synths other than Aalto), there are as many as 512 14-bit controls per MIDI cable, and that's in addition to the 16 pitch bend messages. Any synth that does not support OSC should still have ample opportunity for fine, 14-bit control of a ridiculous number of parameters.

Since your message, we demonstrated the Soundplane Model A at the Pacific Northwest Synth Fest on October 29. The Soundplane client converted touch to CoreMIDI, a USB-MIDI interface converted to classic MIDI, an Encore Electronics "Expressionist" converted to CV, and then a Sequential Circuits Pro-One responded in all its analog glory to Soundplane control. Despite the long chain of conversions, the response was both instantaneous and accurate. I look forward to patching more complex analog modulars to the Soundplane, and at the very least the success here bodes well for control of MIDI soft synths as well as external hardware synths.

None of this is intended to imply that OSC will be neglected. It's the primary link between the Soundplane Model A and Aalto for Soundplane. I merely wanted to point out that the "old-school" standards are still alive and kicking!

Hi pbr,

In a week or two I plan to show a new movie demonstrating the finished calibration software and hardware, and announce that production is starting. At that point there will still be a window, probably two weeks, for getting an order in at the intro price. There are still some Soundplanes left in our initial run. I certainly don't expect them to run out before the new demo is out, but they might do so during that window.

I still expect production to take 8-10 weeks.


Ok, thanks. I'll try to scrape things together in the next couple weeks.

I really like the Soundplane congratulations !!
Looks really ordered, Its a shame there isn't good performance video, coz having someone studying it from scratch and showing what the Soundplane is capable of would actually make the customer more interested in the product :p. Even Jordan Rudess seemed pretty fresh when he played it and rather more confused coz the way he played was pretty much random =/, even tho I expected him to rock out the instrument. :)

How does the Soundplane work, note wise, whats the pattern?
And is there any way of checking the instrument out before buying it?


Yes, more vids would be great and will definitely be forthcoming. I liked Jordan's video though -- didn't think there was anything random about it. He was definitely improvising and getting the notes he wanted to get. It's true that he only saw the instrument 10 min before the video for the first time. It was a totally fresh improv.

The note pattern is anything you want it to be! But the standard setup is chromatic rows in fourths, kind of like a guitar, and that's what you see Jordan playing.

If you're ever in Seattle you can check out the instrument by getting in touch w/me. I might do another tour later, too... stay tuned.

@x2mirko and others, I thought I would update the news.

We showed the Soundplane Model A on June 2 linked to an Oberheim Matrix-12. The solution we used was to assign each finger to a different MIDI channel. That way, Note, Pitch Bend, Aftertouch, and Mod Wheel could be kept separate for each touch. In the Matrix-12, I programmed the patches to respond to pressure (volume), X (pitch bend), and Y (filter or other wave shaping). The Matrix-12 has twelve voices, so it could easily handle 10 touches, or even 12 with two people.

It was amazing to hear a vintage 1984 analog synthesizer respond to a controller that would not have been possible 18 years ago. Of course, MIDI is not appropriate for every setup - it really depends upon what you want to control. But, personally, I find that it's important to work on the MIDI features to maximize the possibilities.

Hopefully, now that the Soundplane Model A is shipping to the first customers, we'll get discussions of OSC and maybe direct control.