ForumsNews ← Holiday break

Dear Music Makers, please note: I will be taking the Memorial Day weekend off, and stepping away from the computer. Any orders sent in after this morning will not be processed until Tuesday, May 31.

What's a word for sooner than soon? Right, thanks. The Aalto 1.2 release, with much improved UI and efficiency, is imminent. I can safely say it will be out in the first half of June. I'll announce a proper date and time after the weekend.

Have a nice holiday! Nice to know Aalto 1.2 will run on Windows soon. I'll be buying it ASAP.

great news!

Great news! I am very excited about the Windows release. If there is a line consider me in it!

Maybe i'm the only one, and i do it with a smile, but i disagree!
These are no great news , from my point of view of course. I wouldn't need a word for sooner than soon if the meaning would remain the same…..but i'm afraid that 'soon' concerning Aalto means, well, soon……while 'soon' concerning the Soundplane means simply: never!
"stay tuned for news"…."expect more news soon"…."more details coming soon"…."stay tuned for more"….I can say i stay VERY tuned: Madrona Labs is my first URL, day after day for more than a year and half now, but, on the Soundplane, no news at all. The last one was at Thu Mar 25 08:43:46 2010!
Zeno's paradox: we get closer and closer but never reach the Soundplane….

ps: sorry for my english….

@sasmir - Your English is a lot better than mine is sometimes :).


your English is fine.

We are making a new kind of instrument. It is a difficult project. It has taken lots of time. I have made you no promises, I have told you no lies.

Possibly we (Brian and I) could talk more often about some of the many small technical problems we have solved along the way, but this would take time away from the actual work, and I doubt many people would find it interesting. Instead of "you give us no news!" you might be saying: "you give us all this useless news, and no Soundplane!"

Since I know that our work is going forward, it's hard for me to know just how to respond to you except to say "stay tuned," which is the thing that frustrated you in the first place.


I, too, wish that the Soundplane A were ready to sell to everyone interested. Even though it's my job to design and develop the electronics and firmware, I'm also an eager customer who just wants to play! We've been talking about taking photos of our work, but sometimes it's hard to justify stopping the progress long enough to grab the camera, compose some shots, upload the photos, and make comments. A Press Release, especially with photos, is nothing to be taken lightly.

We hear you, though, and hopefully we can find some clever ways to give you all some more concrete reassurances without slowing down too much.

@charlie & randy: thank you very much for your words on my english, but this won't do you any good: here i am, reassured and ready to write even more:-))

@randy & radio:
First, it is absolutely your right to do what you want in the way you choose! I'm not here telling 'you have to do this and that because i like this and that and so on….'
But my opinion (and i could be wrong, of course…) is that we as customers have some (not many, just some) rights too!
You told absolutely no lies, but, two years ago, with your own words, the Soundplane "…started to resemble finished hardware…". Since then we, the potential customers, started to save money…..after two years, we simply ask: what's happened? How long we have to wait? You know, the money could be invested in other (i admit: much more expensive…)

And you made LOT of promises, many times, but never keep!….. You promised news and i think i can assure you, people would find very interesting to know what happens, technically speaking, along the way!

No need to search for 'some clever ways to give more concrete reassurances': you gave us the proof that you can do this very well: look at the wonderful detailed post of October 2009 (again: two years ago!). And people are interested: 13 replies!

Then, in Mar 2010 "…we get closer to finished prototypes…". Qne year ago, this was the last 'sign of life': after that we have 20 or so posts on Aalto and nothing, absolutely nothing on the Soundplane. And this because the time to take one shot and write down some words would slow down the development? You can't really expect i believe this! Nobody asked for a 'Press release', but you do this all the time, in words and pictures (Aalto)……

So, after two replies, not a single word of information and, again, a "stay tuned", i'm reassured only that something must be going really worse and my hopes to see a finished Soundplane are reduced to the minimum!

I love watching this. This site is one of the first I look at every morning, too. Go, Sasmir!!

I'm trying to think of another example of excitement and obsession for a new instrument - or any product/creation - and I can't think of anything close. I am trying to imagine a similar letter written to, say, Native Instruments: "...I MUST have Razor...", and I just can't see it happening.

Madrona Labs have severely captured some imaginations out there, it looks like.

Maybe if you stop sleeping you could shave a couple weeks off the release date...


I do appreciate that you are approaching this with a smile, and from the perspective of someone who really, really wants a Soundplane.

Let me tell you a little about who we are and the resources we have to accomplish this project. I am the company founder, and the only application software developer. I am not an experienced product designer, but since there is no one else available, I designed an electromechanical sensor system with many parts and a CNC-milled case for it. Brian is the only hardware engineer, and very qualified for his task, making an original DSP computer and writing the firmware for it.

It's hard to know how long a project "should" take. When I started out, I hoped to have finished prototypes in 3 months, and obviously that was a very naïve goal given our resources. On the other hand, you can easily find examples of products no more complicated than ours, that took more than two years to design, often with much bigger teams, and that did come to market successfully.

And then there's Aalto. You may know, if you have been following us closely, that I originally designed Aalto to play only with the Soundplane. As the Soundplane project took longer than than expected, my "seed money" ran out and I needed to generate more. So I changed plans and made Aalto its own product, a product I am proud of. You may not be interested in Aalto, but with it there would be no Soundplane---I would have a job working for someone else again instead. Aalto is feeding my family.

People have different communication styles. I think these are influenced by culture and by personal preferences and quirks. When I am not done with a job X, I won't tell you "I am having trouble with Y, which is in the way of X," or "my car broke down on the way to my cousin's wedding," because I would not want to hear these things myself. I think of them as "making excuses," an activity that gets in the way of getting the work done. I will only put Soundplane news out when there is something truly new, positive and interesting to report. Otherwise, it serves little purpose, because we are not here to entertain you. We are here to make tools for you to make music with.

When you say I make a lot of promises, but never keep, this offends me. I keep my promises. A promise is me saying something will ship on a particular date, or cost a particular amount of money, or that if something breaks, and you didn't sit on it, we will repair it for you. This is why the Soundplane ship date has always been "when it's done."

Put yourself in my shoes. I have been working hard to bring a Soundplane into the world, since long before you heard of it. We are nearing finished prototypes, which I can start making software for as soon as I release my next product. Then you come along and say "something must be going really worse". This frustrates me. All I can do is give you some more information, mostly repeating things I've already said.

Maybe if you stop sleeping you could shave a couple weeks off the release date...

I tried that already, it backfired. :-)

….maybe i should stop now and disappear from the surface, but technomonkey
would be disappointed….so here we go! :-))

First, let me say that it was never my intention to offend you! However, you made promises. That's not a matter of communication styles. If you say "expect etc etc…" then we expect, that's all what i said.
Otherwise, if someone should feel offended, it's me: "it's hard to justify stopping the progress taking shots and writing comments…."! How would you feel with such an answer?

My interest is hardware. Aalto is wonderful but, in my opinion, we have long reached (and surpassed) the point of sound-overkill. Absynth, Omnisphere, Alchemy, FM8, Reactor, MAX/MSP, PD, Supercollider….just to name few: each one of these have enough sound creating power for years of experimentation, so i'm not interested in another softsynth, no matter how good!. In the search of alternatives to the Continuum i found a hardware company: MadronaLabs! But, after many months of wait what popped up? A softsynth!!! To express my disappointment i wrote a mail to you (august 21 2010). Your answer from 28
august at the end and word for word: " ….What i learn from your note is that we should post another update on Soundplane. I think we will have some good news to share quite soon….". Wich news?
The post on september 11 2010 (you see, i've been following you very closely…) bringing explanation why Aalto, no news on Soundplane and this at the end:
"…..Expect more news soon"…… More?!?!

To be clear: my complaints are NOT on the time you need to complete the Soundplane. Nobody says development is a easy task! Yes, i would like very very much to buy one, but it's not like "….i MUST have the Soundplane, think of all the wonderful music i would compose if i only had one!!!…." not at all. But, why promising (yes, promising) tons of news if you have no intention to give us some? Why writing 'soon' all the time when you know nothing will happen…. 'soon'?

My words are frustrating? It's possible but try this:

we get closer to having finished prototypes to show off (Mar 2010)

We are nearing finished prototypes, (June 2011)

more than a year between the two statements and not a single word about. Put yourself in my shoes: would you not feel frustrated?

I'm slowly approaching an age where you could call me an old man so i know, you're right about the time-consuming R&D, but

i'm simply not willing to wait forever. My post is too long so you don't need to answer (…absolutely not if this steal time from finishing the Soundplane) but if you do it please, please, please don't tell me: "expect more news soon"…..:-)))


[runs and hides]

T a k e a b i g b r e a t h . . . . .

Sasmir, you are a bit too much. At least for me. You know, i was near to complain regarding Aalto windows version delivery, since it is also coming a long time ago. And i was about to buy a Mac, because i thought, i cannot wait for the Windows version(have no too much fund, tho). But... WE have to recognize, that it's all about being prejudiced emotionally.

Facts: Yes, there is a lot of "soon" messages on this site. Randy is not a born marketing guru probably, so what. Yes, i check this site almost every day, too. And yes, Randy hasn't promised anything he hasn't fulfilled.

Based on his posts i think i get to know him a bit and i think he is a heart of oak (new phrase ;) ), treading a new path with a tiny team. If you know a lot about music industry, you should be patient.

Your way seeing this thing is totally civilized. In a bad way. Try to stop being a consumer and just be... human. I think Randy got your message right after your first post. So we can expect more specified communication from Madrona Labs.


….maybe you're right:-)

….but i'm coming from a three-year-story of 'soon, more soon, sooner, very soon, very very soon, hyperultrasoon-->never!' … i tend to exaggerate a bit!


Very excited for this. AALTO has been the only VST that i've called an INSTRUMENT and not a VST! good work!

1) don't sell sasmir a soundplane
2) stop writing such long forum posts and get cracking!

1) Too late. A bunch of us pooled some money and pre-ordered sasmir a Soundplane, just to be able to witness the pure unadulterated joy when he gets it.

2) The sasmir thing was over days ago, and to be honest I would rather read his accusations of betrayal than your barking orders at Madrona to "get cracking". I'm sure you were kidding though...

@sasmir: joking. You'll have to buy one too. But I would pay good money to see your face when you finally get one :).

@function: Sorry, I'm such a chatterbox, I just can't help spending all my time chatting. Its why I never get anything done.

Oh look, I just compiled the Windows golden master. Friday release probably.

OK, Friday release definitely, around noon.

i've got a pile of torches and pitch forks if you guys wanna stop by at around 11:30, just in case

once soundplane comes out Madrona Labs should be all Madrona Lab$

@function Um...


i would be glad to send you a picture, at no charge!
But you know…

@sasmir: I know, I know, I could use a little cash myself.

Hoping that after Friday, once Randy is rich and (more) famous, that he will hire me as a gardener or dishwasher or something and that I could work for Soundplanes and Aaltos.