hardware and software for electronic music 
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 10:26

Summer all-plugins update.

Happy summer from the PNW, USA, where things are not bad, considering. I've just wrapped up some infrastructure work fixing some long-standing issues and resulting in an update to all the plugins that's available now for both MacOS and Windows.

The change list for Aalto looks like this:

  • added handling of "all notes off" and "all sound off" MIDI messages
  • fixed bugs with Scala .scl and .kbm handling
  • fixed issue with step sequencer not quantizing to current scale
  • fixed issue with step sequencer UI not reaching maximum when dragging
  • added slower LFO minimum speed and finer adjust (0.0001 Hz)
  • added response to "canDo" MPE query in VST plugin
  • increased glide time to reduce zipper noise for panel parameters
  • fixed possible DSP freeze with extreme LFO feedback
  • fixed sometimes missing t3d light
  • fixed sometimes missing label backgrounds

Kaivo and Virta have some additional changes to fix audio glitches when certain parameters were changed. See those "read_me_first" files for details.

Since so many parts of the plugins are handled by the same underlying code, I've tweaked the version numbering a bit to reflect this. All the plugins are now at version 1.8.3, which looks like a big step for Kaivo and Virta (from 1.3).

Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 05:54

Hi Randy, the Virta release notes erroneously include the seq changes for Aalto/Kaivo...

  • fixed issue with step sequencer not quantizing to current scale
  • fixed issue with step sequencer UI not reaching maximum when dragging
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 09:25


Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 09:22

Thanks for fixing the kbm support in Scala! Really excited to try it out.

Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 09:40

Note that the docs are not up to date. In short, you can use a .kbm by naming it the same as the .scl you want it to go with (except the extension), and putting it in the same directory. There's a forum thread or two here that should provide more background. Please contact me here or at the support email if you have any questions.

Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 23:15

Hi Randy, I just wish to thank you for dropping the LFO minimum speed and finer adjust (0.0001 Hz). It's something I have been calling for from software creators for ages. Good man :)

Wed, Aug 22, 2018, 00:35

Hi Randy,
thank you for all the work you put into your 3 VSTs :)
Have Joy

Looking forward for your new SUMU-VST.

Had you ever have the idea for making a granular synth where you can load e.g. 20 different samples or more (to stack them vertically or in a row) and you can use the engine like a wavetable-synth but with all the nice features of granular synthesis? Such a synth could be awesome. I donĀ“t know if it is doable :)

Wed, Aug 22, 2018, 08:50

@ian_craig thanks for the good words! That was a simple request from a user and in no way messes up the design, so... done!

@nichttuntun That wavetable granulator is what I'm pointing to with the 2D granulator in Kaivo. Have you tried making your own 2D waveforms yet? Of course, it only does 4 channels. More a limitation of the interface than anything else.

Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 23:12

HiRandy. I used the ones which came with KAIVO and imported my field recordings. I didn't make special waveforms for it. I got the PPG WAVEGENERATOR. Could such files be imported to KAIVO?

In fact KAIVO gave me the idea to do more with wavetables in it. I think it would be great if the user just could take any wav. data and drag it into a sampler window. Then take another and the engine would automatically melt them together in a row so you can build up a long wavetable. I think the combination of synthetic and real audio could be a great thing here when programmed rhythmically. Like in a KORG Wavestation but much more advanced and of course with the cool features of granular synthesis.


Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 05:12

all plugins updated , and soundplane release too, feels like xmas - hope to get to play with it all over the weekend :)

thank you for your hard work, and continued developments... looking forward to sumu

btw: is the all the code for the soundplane release in GitHub... as its now released/stable, I could look to doing my small derivatives :)

Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 10:09

@nichttuntun, you can import any WAV format file. For making 4-channel WAVs I use Audacity. You can convince most DAWs to make this format. I would love to make this easier but I didn't want to spend the time writing my own audio editor. Maybe in the future.

@thetechnobear I did make sure the Soundplane repo is up-to-date. I haven't been able to test the libusb support. Please let me know how it goes!

Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 10:19

Hi.I use Audacity too. I do understand that writing an editing program isn't your first choice :)

But it would be sensational cool and unique if a VST like KAIVO could do it by its own.

Of course I am recording wavetables from PPG synths as wav. and import them into KAIVO. No problem there. If I want to have a combination of any field record sounds and waves of a certain amount and in a special order and maybe in a certain synced rhythmic shape it's getting much harder to make it.

A granular synth which makes that for you via drag and drop would be heaven and I guess you have a mega seller :)

Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 15:44

Thank you for the summer sale! I ended up getting all 3.
Definitely a smart move to update them before doing the sale.

Looking forward to hearing more about Sumu, I've already got some ideas running through my head. Like whether it might have re-synthesis from audio or images like Harmour - with different accuracy levels this could be fun to play with and would give us a way to chain the different Madrona synths together by importing the results from Aalto or Kaivo into Sumu.

One recent additive snyth that has FM is Aeolean Meditation, definitely curious how you'll implement FM with additive because I imagine the result will be quite different. I also recently discovered that you can FM any audio using Unfiltered Audio's Fault plugin (presets like Degraded Dreams are a quick way to give some space and movement to a sound).

Definitely curious about Sumu because additive synths tend to vary wildly from experimental/morphing style of Loom & Morphine to the subtractive approach taken for Harmless and Harmour. I'm imagining Sumu would be more like the former.

Btw, in the manual for Sumu, maybe you could explain the difference between additive, spectral and FFT because they appear to be related/similar when I see them in virtual instruments.

Anyway, I'm getting a bit carried away. I have more than enough to play with to tide me over until there's some news! :D

Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 14:50

Thanks for your support and ideas! Enjoy the instruments.

I'll try to do some good general tutorial stuff on additive synthesis in the manual. I don't actually know any of the synths you mention because I kind of stay in my own little world when I'm designing. But I look forward to checking some out and hearing people's comparisons later on.

Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 08:36

Hi Randy -

Intrigued by the comment above about making a 2D waveform. How do you do this?

Also - very excited about SUMU-VST! If you need beta testers, please put me on the list (mac OS).



Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 09:20

I haven't updated the instructions for Audacity for a while but they are at the end of the readme for Kaivo: https://madronalabs.com/media/kaivo/_read_me_first.txt If they don't seem to work anymore, please let me know.

I'll send out a Sumu beta testing invite soon, hopefully!

Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 10:06

Thanks Randy - I remember now - been a while since I've read the docs

And great about Beta- testing. Fun fun!


Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 13:36

I can understand staying in your own world while designing (maybe to avoid unintentionally lifting features/design or limiting your vision based on what others have done before etc.). Most of the synths I mentioned are a bit obscure, additive seems to be a less common synthesis technique.

Looking forward to the Sumu beta test - is it going to be open to all, or closed to Madrona Labs license holders?

Has there been any audio teasers, or glimpses at the UI yet?

Thu, Aug 30, 2018, 08:35

Hmm, I have always put out the beta call through the newsletter, which is mostly customers, so I never thought about whether it will be closed in that sense. I guess if you have an account you're good.

I haven't released any samples.