randy's Recent Posts

If you don't remove the instance, just close the window and open it again, it does remember its size, yes? This doesn't change the default size though.

Say you have made two instances of Aalto you are using at different sizes. For me it would be annoying—or at least confusing—for the last size I messed with to automatically become the default.

You're not alone though: have heard from other people who want it to work the same way you do. I plan to add a default size setting somewhere in a future update.

Oh my mistake, ~/Library/Application Support/Madrona Labs/Soundplane. Glad to hear it!

Five years ago, I did a small run of Aalto T-shirts. It was fun making them but with all the printing and shipping and paperwork it took up roughly a couple of weeks of my time so I've never done it again... until now!

aalto shirt

The key was finding a US-based fulfillment company called Printful that prints shirts to order. I made a test shirt using their process and I've been wearing it a lot. The charcoal tri-blend fabric is very soft and has a nicely textured look. This detail photo shows it after being machine washed four times, and the colors haven't faded at all. I like that the digital print is not crackly like plastic process shirt inks are and so far, it seems more durable. These are very nice shirts.

aalto shirt, detail

Another big benefit of using Printful is that they print to order in Europe! This means that my European customers can actually get a shirt for an affordable price. Wherever you are located, I hope it will be a pleasure to purchase through them because I'm very protective of your experience when you do anything Madrona Labs-related. So please keep me posted.

tl;dr: simply click the following button to...

Get that sweet Aalto T-shirt!

A form will pop up to enter your size, then a second page lets you select your shipping and payment options. I've set up shipping for North America and Europe. Shipping rates should be as follows: USA: $5 (first shirt) / $1 (each addl.) Canada: $8 / $1. Mexico: $10 / $1. Europe: $9 / $5. If you can't find your country on the form, give me a shout and I'll see if I can add it. Enjoy!

NOTE: The European shipping rates include the VAT of $4 per shirt.

Hi, it works on my Catalina machine. Can you describe what is not working?

As an all-purpose fix I would recommend to remove the ~/Library/Application Support/Soundplane directory and run the app again to redo the setup process.

I'm not sure what you mean "by folder" would do. Load samples from multiple files at once? I could see this being useful.

Almost there...

Thanks for writing. I am pretty certain I have a fix that will help. I'm wrapping up the Windows build now and some other details.

A place for Kaivo patches! Just select copy to clipboard from the patch menu, and paste here to share.

Thanks for your understanding!

aaaaggh, the week is running out and I'm still stuck on a couple of issues I need to fix. I'm sorry to overpromise—please know this is my top priority.

Thanks for the support. Sumu won't come out for Linux initially as I just have to ship it ASAP. But I would love to add Linux support along with Aalto v.2. Possibly Aaltoverb might make a nice first step into Linux even earlier, since it's simpler.

I've fixed this for the next update this week or next.

version 1.8.3
April 23, 2019
link: Soundplane 1.8.3.dmg, 6MB

release notes:

To install this version: move the "Soundplane" application to your Applications folder, then move the directory "ZonePresets" to ~/Music/Madrona Labs/Soundplane.

When you launch the Soundplane application, the menu at the top of the "Zones" page should contain three presets: chromatic, rows in fourths and rows in octaves, followed by a list of all the JSON files in the ZonePresets folder. If the JSON files do not appear, the ZonePresets directory is probably not in the right place.

The format of the zone .json files is human-readable and relatively self-explaining. Take a look to see how to make your own zone maps.

The Soundplane Max/MSP examples require the CNMAT Max externals to run. These can be found at http://cnmat.berkeley.edu/downloads .

The Soundplane application is open-source, available under a permissive license. For source code and more technical information see http://github.com/madronalabs.



  • fixed issue with excessive CPU use / repainting since 1.8.0


  • cmake build rewritten for compatibility with new madronalib and soundplanelib.
  • fixed graphics incompatibilities with OS X Mojave
  • fixed controller Zone outputs and reduced redundant data output


  • fixed possible crash starting for the first time with Kyma connected
  • "destination port" menu now allows connecting to other hosts on the local network
  • added wait on startup to resolve ports on other hosts
  • added clear all notes when switching OSC destinations and on shutdown
  • added test pattern mode
  • allow running app hidden / in background without added latency
  • fix redundant calibrate on startup
  • fix a stuck notes issue
  • add quick recovery after unplug / replug instrument


  • improved isochronous USB driver: lower latency, allows restart after pausing app
  • fixed an issue selecting cleanest carriers after "select carriers"
  • fixed possible crashes on startup/shutdown
  • now distributing as signed .dmg


  • new touch tracker algorithm:
    • consumes much less CPU
    • improved latency
    • improved pressure sensitivity
    • improved pressure uniformity
    • improved position accuracy
    • allows better tracking into corners
    • lengthy normalization step no longer required
    • fixed hanging touches
  • fix Kyma connection
  • improve selection of lowest-noise carrier set
  • fix a possible crash when switching zone presets
  • fixed a window-related crash on shutdown
  • fixed latency issue when in background for an extended time


  • fixed a problem with MIDI output preventing slide between rows
  • tweaked pre-touch filtering for lower noise
  • (dev) new cmake-based build system
  • (dev) experimental Linux build
  • (dev) added HelloSoundplane command line app for low-level testing


  • MPE MIDI support. Requires Aalto 1.7 / Kaivo 1.2.
  • Implemented note splits to multiple ports over OSC.
  • Improved stability and sensitivity of MIDI velocity
  • changed "z max" control to more intuitive "z scale."
  • fix crash with uninitialized driver on shutdown
  • allow 1-500Hz MIDI data rate
  • fix bug where pressure wasn't getting set w/o a MIDI connection
  • send quantized pitch bend on MIDI note off
  • fix touch tracker issues including zone-switch bug
  • fix to allow MIDI note 0
  • fix for double note off problem
  • fixes for MIDI glissando


  • [] Fixed a crash on startup if no preferences folder was present.
  • Kyma listener off by default to fix collisions on port 3124. Use 'kyma' toggle on Expert page to turn on.
  • fixed automatic connection to selected OSC service on startup.
  • restored some values from 1.1.2 to improve touch tracking.
  • add automatic saving of window dimensions. This is saved in /Application Support/SoundplaneViewState.txt.
  • fixed a problem resolving OSC services
  • fixed wrong MIDI note offsets in default Zone setups


  • rendering fixes for Retina display
  • make touches easier to get into top and bottom rows
  • code signing application
  • turned Kyma polling over MIDI OFF by default
  • fixed some state issues on startup that required reselecting zone to refresh
  • clamp zone outputs to [0, 1] as documented
  • fix touch rotate bug
  • fix OSC browser
  • made normalizing easier and mre accurate
  • sending out x, y, and z from zones via MIDI.


  • more complete fix to the note-off problem
  • restored the note lock feature for new zones.
  • fixed an odd font-related bug


  • PLEASE NOTE: moved support files to ~/Music/Madrona Labs.
  • fixed a problem where the wrong note value was sent on note-off
  • fixed a potential crash sending MIDI if a MIDI device was not set
  • made benign errors less alarming


  • two new kinds of zones: z (pressure only) and a toggle switch.
  • fixed an error where inactive touches were continuously sending their data
  • shortened some JSON zone names (just remove "controller_" to fix your presets)
  • updated Max/MSP examples
  • moved matrix message into t3d OSC bundle with touches
  • restored some debug printing in the in-app console
  • added error info for JSON parsing
  • fixed possible bug with zone parsing
  • clarified the T3D format in docs
  • fixed an error reading calibration files
  • fix view issues for Retina display

-new Zone features allow mapping notes and controllers to key grid
-changed t3d format for wider OSC compatibility
-OpenGL accelerated graphics
-fixed graphics for Retina display
-fixed a bug where SoundplaneController was initialized twice
-fixed OpenGL errors on quit
-fixed a possible crash in adjustPeak()
-fixed note release when quantized
-new raw matrix output

Sumu is going to be a while still. I'll be releasing an update to the other instruments first to address this and a few other issues.

I might put out another call but I'm focusing on getting something out to test—please stay tuned.

Thanks for the update.

Dear music makers,

In appreciation for your support, Madrona Labs is having a summer sale this year. Use the code PARTICLES on any of the product pages to get 30% off any Madrona Labs plugin. From now through the end of August.

I haven't used Max on Windows so hopefully someone who uses this combo can chime in. That looks like a good place for the VST but I'm not sure if it's the right one. You might find more info on the Cycling '74 forums and in the vst~ example patch and reference.

Yes it will! Resynthesis with a very modular approach in between analysis and playback, so that the information of "what are all the partial volumes" for example can be patches to other things as well.

I'm going to make this thread sticky. It should be a good place to find and share Aalto patches. I'll try to post one every day or two for a while.

It would be cool if we could embed Soundcloud links here, but setting that up will take some time.

Hi friends,

It's tough times. We hope you and your families are in good health. We know you know what's going on, and you have probably heard a lot of takes on it from a lot of companies so we're going to keep this to the point.

Just over a week ago, Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, the latest in a long history of unjust Black deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Since then, the outcry has been ringing out in protests all across our country. The violent suppression of these protests by police has resulted in more injuries and deaths. We stand in solidarity with the protesters and with the Black community.

How can a music software company contribute positively and constructively in this moment? For us, the answer is: by sending funds to those doing front line work. We're writing to ask for your support.

The Black Youth Project is an organization that both provides emergency funds to Black community members in need, and invests long-term in the future of Black leadership. They have chapters in many U.S. cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, DC and Detroit. From their website: "Our work is generally centered on ending systems of anti-Blackness and emphasizing the urgency of protecting folks living on the margins of the margins, including women, girls, femmes, and the gamut of LGBTQ folk." To find out more, please visit https://www.byp100.org/about.

From now until the end of Friday, June 5 (Pacific Time) we'll be donating 100% of our sales to BYP100. As a family business, our pockets are not deep enough for an impressive direct donation right now, but this way we can leverage the software we've made to direct some funds where they are sorely needed. We hope you'll help.

We and some folks we know have been contributing individually to community bail funds around the country and that is another way to help right now. If you are interested in contributing to these efforts, here’s a link to donate to many community bail funds at one time: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bail_funds_george_floyd

There will be a time soon to get back to music, which is more important to us than ever as a force for change, as meaning and community and connection. But this week is not that time. If it were not for the inspiration of great Black music, Madrona Labs would not exist. We owe the Black community our help.

with all best wishes,
Randy Jones
Madrona Labs

photo: Nathalie Graham

I remember that option and it's a promising idea. Thanks for writing.

Thanks for making the video. Of course I see the problem. Unfortunately it's totally baffling right now. I have basically the same setup on Mojave, on a less powerful Macbook Pro, and it works totally smoothly.

Also unfortunately, there's no crash log to look at so I have no obvious point of failure.

A way I often stress-test CPU use is to turn the process buffer size down in the DAW to 16 or so. This usually generates clicks, but even so, the GUI stays smooth when I do it. So I don't think this is overall CPU related.

The only way forward I can see is to make some experimental version of the plugin that tries leaving out or changing parts of the graphics code so we can narrow this down. I'll send you an email when I have something.

I am sorry to hear about the frustration you've been putting up with to use Aalto. I'll work here to fix the issue.

Frankly I haven't put any significant time in on this problem so far. That's because it's been reported to me a handful of times over the years, but I can never reproduce it here, and meanwhile I usually hear "it's sorted itself out" or stop hearing from the user. In the latter case, has it been fixed? I don't know.

My best educated guess, currently, is that this is a bug that manifests semi-randomly, due to disk access or CPU use. I'm also guessing that your system is somehow running into it much more commonly than most. That's good in a way, because it means you should be able to know whether a fix is working pretty quickly. If you are willing to stay in touch and try some beta fixes, I will stay on this issue until it's fixed. I can send you a version that prints diagnostics while it's looking for the license file.

Please send all the versions of software you are currently running—hopefully I can get the same Reaper version and test with that on Windows 10. You can either post here or send me an email. Also if you have any sort of utilities you can think of that might affect disk access (drive encryption, for example) let me know.

Thanks for the additional info Erik—it's weird how I still can't duplicate this, even though the setup I'm often using is so very similar—Mojave, MBP.

When you get a chance, if you are willing to, please give the latest Logic Pro a try and let me know if anything changes. Meanwhile I'll puzzle over the code.

Thanks—I appreciate the feedback. This is a different issue I'm working on: https://madronalabs.com/topics/7914-bug-kaivo-version-1-9-2-sample-graphic-vanishing

by Jason Caffrey
photo: Natasha Kmeto

Natasha Kmeto has been busy.

Since her last full-length album, Inevitable, was released in 2015, the Portland producer-vocalist has been married, divorced, and cut loose by a major Indie label. There have been endings, beginnings, and some tight turns in the road. For an artist whose creative output is anchored in her own personal narrative—Kmeto has been described as “dedicated to the art of emotional engagement”—the upheavals, detours and personal challenges of the past 12 months could perhaps only have led to one thing: fresh material. A new album is in the pipe, which Kmeto hopes will be released later this year.

“Inevitable was hampered by a lot of industry stuff going wrong,” Kmeto explains. “I was signed to a major indie to release that record, and then that label delayed the release for the better part of a year before letting me know their budget had been pulled.” To finally get Inevitable out into the world Kmeto turned to Dropping Gems, the label that released her 2013 album, Crisis.

But the move to a new label for Inevitable was supposed to have been her big break. “Some of my emotions attached to that material were complicated,” she says. “To boot, last year I got divorced, and the majority of my material on Crisis and Inevitable was written about my ex-wife. So I’ve been wanting to feel like I can separate from those phases in my life for a multitude of reasons. I needed to take a break, a little bit of a reset. But then I was actually motivated to get back in and get a full-length (album) written.”

Kmeto has released a single and an EP along the way: Pour Down came out in 2016, and the EP Versus/Versus dropped in April 2019. Plus, as an appetizer to the release of her new work, re-mixes of Last Time and Deeply—both from Kmeto’s Crisis album—appeared in short order at the start of 2020. There are plans for those tracks to be included on re-releases of her first two albums, alongside other re-mixed material.

Emotional space

That work reflects the re-assessment and rejuvenation that have followed the tumult in Kmeto’s personal and professional lives. In a social media post from the end of 2019, Kmeto said she had given up booze, started therapy, connected with ritual—and “explored non-monogamy”.

“Yeah. It's been quite a year,” she says, laughing. “But I can say with full reassurance and sincerity that I got through it, and I think writing this last record was really helpful. It was cathartic, but the reason I'm so excited about it is that it's really reflective of where I'm going as well.” Much of her recent journey, Kmeto says, was difficult, “but a lot of it was really necessary too.” And sometimes, she acknowledges, you have to “slog through your harder stuff to get to good stuff - it's been good from that perspective, for sure.”

For Kmeto, honesty in the creative process is paramount. Track titles like Morning Sex and I Thought You Had a Boyfriend point to an artist ready to reveal her vulnerabilities. And listening to Kmeto’s songs it is apparent that there is little daylight between her creative output and the experiences of her personal life.

“I always need to sense the intention of the artists – and have that intention be sincere and meaningful.”

“I generally write about the moment that I'm in,” she says, explaining that the majority of her output has been written when she felt “urgently pressed” to do so. “I feel like that in and of itself facilitates growth. So it's like the art feeds me and I feed the art.” Kmeto’s solo career “has always been about being really personal and really honest,” she says, “and trying to convey my feelings in a way that makes me feel like I can have a release for myself.” Imaginative starting points are not Kmeto’s way. “I write from a very literal emotional space.”

It’s an approach that Kmeto learned working as a hired musician performing on studio gigs or with different bands – music that was not her own. “That didn't feel right to me,” she says. “It didn't give me any level of satisfaction. In fact, I felt like it was harder for me to do, because there's something to me as a fan of music and a fan of art, I always need to sense the intention of the artists – and have that intention be sincere and meaningful.

photo: Doug Indrick

“I think a lot of art does get created out of trying to follow a fad or copy something – or make money off of it. And for me, art and music – I want it to feel deep. I want it to feel like the intention of the composer, writer, or musician comes from a place of trying to express something meaningful.

“I just got to this place where I need to make music that I really love for me. And as a singer I never felt that I sounded that good unless I was singing like I meant it.”

Eurythmics, Madonna and Prince

Kmeto acknowledges the 80s synth-pop heritage of her music, and its influence on Crisis and Inevitable in particular – two albums that reference much of the music of the '80s and '90s she grew up on. “Synthesizers have always been my favorite sound to play with,” she says. “My strong influences have always been electronic music and RnB, so a lot of synths I call on are both nostalgic and future-leaning—they feel like they run into each other in a kind of cool way. I grew up listening to the Eurythmics and Madonna and Prince – and all that music, it comes through for sure.”

 As a gay woman “hugely into electronic music” Kmeto is also conscious of the musical foundations laid down by LGBTQ+ artists working in electronic genres such as house music. “That's music that started from queer black people in the United States mashing two disco records together. I think it's important to pay homage to that, but also that's just the music that I feel in my soul. I feel connected to it, for whatever reason. That music has had a profound impact on me for my entire life, even before I was out as a gay person.” 

In creating her own music, Kmeto draws strongly on her training as a songwriter. But it was early experiments with sampling that helped her go beyond learned conventions, and became key to Kmeto finding her own voice, as a producer as well as a singer. “After going to music school I think I had a really rigid understanding of how songs ought to go,” she admits. “And so to break free of that, the first stuff I started working on was sample-based.”

Kmeto had fun, side-stepping a theoretical approach and concentrating on the simple pleasure of creating. “I would just put sample-based beats together and then sing over it. Working with samples helped me get into sound design too, which I consider an equal part of my song-writing experience.

“You can write a song with chords and lyrics and obviously that's important. But sound design, and how the song is produced is also a huge part of how music is written today. As I got more comfortable with my workflow, I started songs from melodies and was able to construct and build around that.”

Choosing colors 

Mindful of the “literally millions of sounds” offered by a typical DAW, Kmeto is careful to curate the sounds she works with. “Every release starts with a palette. I choose a selection of sounds I'm going to use so it doesn't get overwhelming,” she explains. “I've always been into the idea of collections, or how some artists will do a show that's all inspired by the same medium. Like fashion designers—they'll pick their textiles and work within that structure. To me that's always been helpful.”

And as a singer who also produces her own work, Kmeto maintains a high degree of control over the aesthetics of her songs—something she particularly values when it comes to treating her own vocals. Not wanting to make the beats “second-hand” to her voice, Kmeto often uses reverb to seat both elements in a common space. “I love a big washy reverb or delay moment in a song,” she laughs. “I've always liked wet vocals, I think they sound cool. And I can sound more like an instrument.”

Like all artists, Kmeto has favorite tools that she reaches for again and again. At the top of the list comes a Peluso P67 microphone. Like a scene out of The Blues Brothers, she sold her car to buy it. “I love it,” she says, “I haven’t regretted it.” A Korg Minilogue “routed through a bunch of guitar pedals” is another firm choice. Then there are the plug-ins.

”Valhalla makes a reverb that I use pretty religiously, and I really like (Waves) Vox for vocal compression – you either love it or you hate it,” she says. “And I have Madrona Labs’ Kaivo, which is their granular synth. It’s just beautiful,” Kmeto continues, “even the presets are amazing.”

Kmeto used Kaivo on the track Eyes, which appeared on her Versus/Versus EP. “The reason I was drawn to it is that you can create a granular synth out of your own samples, and I wanted to create a synth out of my voice. I love it.”

A new single, trust issues, is out on a Future Archive Recordings compilation, and she plans to release her next album in the fall, though she won’t be drawn on the details. “We don't have anything announced just yet—I'm still working on getting it mastered.” But after all that has happened since Inevitable, the prospect of striking fresh ground is animating Kmeto with a new energy. “I’m excited to get it out,” she says, “excited to get it done.”


Hi, Sorry you're having trouble—I'll appreciate any more details if you have them. If there's a specific patch that does it, that will help me the most.

On mac you can record video with cmd-shift-5, it's built into the system. just Google "How to record the screen on your Mac" to find the apple support article.

Hi Erik,

Sorry you're having trouble. I have another report about slow graphics and I'm very interested to track this down ASAP.

What operating system are you using?

Can you confirm you are on the latest version of Aalto, 1.9.2?

Can you give the Aaltoverb demo a try and let me know if it has any of the same issues?

Thanks for the info. This and a thankfully short list of other issues are on my plate for an update coming soon.