Often, I've been playing the Soundplane cross-armed: I'm right-handed, and am sometimes finding it easier to, say, play percussive bass notes with my right hand, and do the melody or some pad-like swells with my left hand.
What I've found is that I would like a firmer action, on the left or bass side of the fingerboard at least. Sometimes, after a really firm touch or sustained note, there is a "release" that happens as the board returns to its resting state. It would be cool to have a little snappier return on the bass side. I also feel like I'm beating the shit out of the left side of the board - so my first goal is probably to improve my playing technique.
But, is it possible for the user to adjust the "action" at all? Or any point in e.g. experimenting with different foam thicknesses or weights under the fretboard (I'm sure you've exhaustively done that already)?
(EDIT: just solved a lot of the issue by playing with the Max Force dial, and a little Z-Curve. I need to play this thing a little softer. The "touches" display really helps in finding good pressure shapes)
That’s good you found better settings with the max force. I made the defaults the values that I use day-to-day for best response, but the right settings will depend on you and, to a lesser extent, your instrument.
The release is a mechanical thing that happens when the foam is compressed for around a second or more. As you have noticed, it only happens with a heavy touch, so a lighter playing style is the all-around best answer---and easier on your fingers!
There is probably no point playing with the elastic layer itself. As you guessed I have tried many different materials and thicknesses, so you have the best results out of three years of experiments there.
However, the tension applied by the back of the instrument can be varied pretty easily by messing with some wooden shims. I tune each instrument by applying different shims or sanding them down if necessary. I would recommend that you wait and really get familiar with the software options before trying an intervention like this.
I want to encourage people to hack on their instruments, because I think it’s a great activity. I made the Soundplane to be easy to work on. On the other hand, I have to say technically that doing so voids your warranty. It’s a fine line and a little frustrating but I’m sure you understand. I don’t expect anyone to make a mess of their instrument but if that did happen I would have to charge something for shipping or repair.
OK thanks - yeah Max Force makes a big difference - I had it turned up to maximum value thinking that would yield the greatest dynamic range (which is basically true), but there's a tradeoff on that longer release from the extra force being applied. Even turning it down to 0.85-0.90 made a much better balance.
I did take it apart yesterday (interesting smells in there!) and saw the particular shim I would adjust - in this case make a tiny bit thicker. The warranty is sure nice to have, though - maybe I will save shim intervention as a last-resort tactic.
For adjusting I use veneer with an adhesive back, which is 0.01" thick. This is an easy material to find at your local woodworking store. I put the shim on and put the back on again. Then if it's too tight I take the back off and sand the shim down a little.
I should add that I'm not sure this adjusting is right for your situation. Making the instrument tighter tends to make the return slower, not faster! When you have a chance you could compare with Kurt’s board which IIRC has all 5 shims not sanded down much.