ForumsOpen ← Aalto Hardware - Can we Kickstart it?

Hey Randy.....I know other people have mentioned Aalto hardware before but really is there any chance of this at some point?

Any chance of opening it to Kickstarter or something, or is the whole idea of a hardware synth too fraught with pitfalls?

It's just a synth I would love to play forever, and although I have tried hard to find a way in Eurorack it just aint the same.

Well, I definitely appreciate the sentiment behind this idea. I want to play Aalto forever too. And longevity of tools is also a big concern.

I do still have plans to work toward a kind of general-purpose music appliance that could run Aalto. So imagine this: a little box with great audio I/O on it, and a cable from that box to a tablet running a graphical interface. So you put your tablet + appliance on the shelf and 20 years later, they should still run.

I guess that's not too terribly different from just having an extra laptop that you never update and putting that on the shelf.

To make a really good hardware Aalto, I would have to put a touchscreen with the patcher UI in the middle. And then engineer a custom rotary encoder / display for the scope dials... OK, I can imagine it still being useful without full-on oscillating dials. This is maybe within the realm of possibility.

Yeah there are a few intriguing problems to overcome for sure....but nothing prohibitive I reckon :)

Maybe a hardware manufacturer would partner you......

Anyway I am just openly dreaming here, but thought I should at least throw the idea in the ring...!

Hi Alex. Glad to see the interest.

Keep in mind that Kickstarter only helps round up the money, with a little social networking promotion in the process. Sadly, Kickstarter does nothing to help with the technical process of design-for-manufacturing. I follow a few Kickstarter projects where it's clear from the updates that they have no real product yet and are just starting on the manufacturing design. The whole design process tends to take the same amount of time, with or without Kickstarter. I think that Kickstarter is better for less expensive products that are more popular, and will therefore be manufactured in much higher quantities. More people pitch in small amounts and it eventually adds up.

Madrona Labs starts by solving the technical details and then rounds up the money afterwards. I personally think that's a better approach to designing around new ideas that aren't necessarily cheap. I'm sure that Randy can find a way to move forward if anything like funding gets in the way.

It could be done in Eurorack. Not cheaply and of course depending on the unit, the functionality will be different. And no awesome oscilloscope dials. But, for instance, you could build a rack around a complex oscillator, LPG, delay with fast times and a feedback loop, waeshaper, filter, reverb, some attenuvertors, a function generator or two, sequencer, LFO and control in and audio out. I threw in an oscilloscope but it's pathetic compared to the visual feedback you get from the interface. And the cables will get in your way. I speak from experience (not with this system, but with Euro).

Sorry for the huge pic. But at least you can see everything.

eurorack Aalto, sort of