randy's Recent Posts

Good news, we have found good homes for the first run of 30 Soundplanes. Thus, funding is all in place and production has begun. Look for finished Soundplanes in 8-10 weeks, and more updates now that there will be cool stuff to take pictures of.

It's been a long time getting here, and I appreciate the support from everyone who's along for the ride. Whether you preordered a Soundplane or bought a copy of Aalto, you've helped make this new instrument possible.

Here's a closeup of the final prototype case during finishing. I had tried rounding off all the edges previously, and it ended up looking too blobby. By rounding off the front edge horizontally after the vertical cutout is made, a compound curve is produced that I think is a very nice intrinsic detail. The sharp edges get hand-sanded just enough so that they don't chip easily or hurt your fingers.

The road to production has generated lots of prototypes and castoff parts. You can see some of them on the shop floor here.

Will you basically start again once these 30 are finished/shipped?

Yes! I'll make more ASAP.


Yes, more vids would be great and will definitely be forthcoming. I liked Jordan's video though -- didn't think there was anything random about it. He was definitely improvising and getting the notes he wanted to get. It's true that he only saw the instrument 10 min before the video for the first time. It was a totally fresh improv.

The note pattern is anything you want it to be! But the standard setup is chromatic rows in fourths, kind of like a guitar, and that's what you see Jordan playing.

If you're ever in Seattle you can check out the instrument by getting in touch w/me. I might do another tour later, too... stay tuned.

What was the previous audio driver you were using? It would be great to know in case someone else has the problem.


good, just making sure things are working OK

It's a CPU thing. Aalto is a high-quality analog emulation and as such, CPU-intensive. By my rough estimation the iPad could run about 1 voice of Aalto. It's something I'll keep my eye on but not a super compelling thing to do right now.


But why did you have to change your username?

That's a good idea. I guess you don't want MIDI program change active all the time. It might be an option for the KEY module.

Thanks for being careful, but I don't mind you mentioning other products... I'm never coming out with a magnifier utility. Promise.

Teaser for a teaser maybe.

Welcome, and thanks for the good words!

I know Aalto is somewhat lacking in the LFO department -- I plan to address this in an update.

For more and different modules, look to a future product.

As a tangent to Auto-Saving above, pls may add I like AAS's Chromazone's history feature.

Thanks, I'll take a look at this.

Maybe a separate table could allow real-time MIDI control over a user defined subset of patches?

I think this is the way to do it. It's a little UI work, but seems the be the only simple way to not mess up your set when new patches are added.

I have a long list of things to do. I will do as many things as I can before my deadline, but some will probably remain undone. I would rather just say what got done after the update comes out so as not to disappoint.

It's been an intense and exciting month. Brian made a final Main Board revision and I worked on some details of antenna and case production. Alongside this hardware work, I've finally gotten the Soundplane's touch tracking software performing well enough for production. The Soundplane has been a really cool demo for a while, but now it's suddenly an instrument. I can't wait to make more time to play it.

You can see the speed and accuracy of the touch tracking from 12 bits of pressure information at about 1000 frames per second. I need to measure the latency better but it's down under 5ms, and can probably be improved a bit more.

The software is partially done-- there is another page to be completed where you can set up zones that function as notes and controllers.

I'm very excited to take this work to the production stage. Look for more news about the production schedule later this week.

OK, downloaded and will check out soon.

This is fun.

I have some gear that's been sadly neglected since I started Madrona Labs. I'll definitely use some of it alongside my new instruments when I can get back to making music. SH-101 and MS-20 will be in this category. The Maestro electric piano too.

Sold an Arp 2600 and Obie 4-voice to pay rent when I was starting the company! I don't regret it. Priorities ya know.

I ddid not mean "maybe you should get more CPU" but "maybe Aalto is failing under high CPU load." This would explain one working but two not working. I can't think of any other reason two Aaltos would fail where one worked. But I'll see if I can reproduce this.

Can you get this to happen by running up your CPU use in some other way? The Aalto instances should not be sharing any state, so maybe it's not that you have two of them but that the CPU load is high. Maybe install the DIVA demo or something to hog a comparable amount of CPU :-)

If you get a chance... thanks

Hi Zip,

I like Numerology and have tested quite a bit, so this is surprising. What OS are you running?

unfortunately I removed the logging in the release version in case it was slowing things down. I'll add it again after some testing. But now, there's nothing you can do, really-- the audio file was a big help.

BTW, email if you want a quick response. I don't get any notification of forum posts and often come by just once a day.

WIll do this when I can. For now I owe Soundplane customers more of my time. Thanks for your patience.

I did get to show Aalto to Don eventually. I demoed the OSC and its timbre knob-- he smiled and said something like "mm-hmm." I can't really say what he thought.

I'll be working to optimize Aalto more in the future.

So, a lot of patching and then you select "default" on the menu, and then it immediately happens? (!?) OK, that is super weird. I can't even think of anywhere in my signal chain that could occur. Well, I'll keep the audio file and look at this harder when I have the brainpower-- sorry for the weirdness.

Hi Garf,

I took the log panel out in the release version of 1.2.6 because I was afraid it was causing problems. it is still in the debug version, so if you have time you can try to replicate the problem in the debug version and send me any text that's in there.

For the update I'll make sure the log is not causing problems and put it in the release.

I've never heard of this bug before. If you tell me the host and OS I can try to replicate it.

This is definitely not typical, so we have to figure out what is causing it. What if you close the Aalto interfaces but leave the sounds running?

As I replied to your email, not yet but I'd love to add this feature.

MIDI semantics don't seem to map well to patching an NxN matrix, but I'll figure something out that may not be beautiful but will at least work.

Hello again! Here are a couple of photos of my new shop space in Ballard, where I'm going to be doing the assembly and testing of the Soundplane. I got a nice used table saw, and first thing, It got used to build a room within a room. The shop building has giant ceilings, which is great, but it is not heated and so I needed a smaller space inside it I can insulate and heat, so that finishes and laminates will dry. My friend Christopher helped me frame the little space you see here and build a workbench.

We picked up the funny racing-stripe glass panes at my favorite used building materials place the Re-Store, a couple of blocks from the shop. They were exactly what was needed and were all of eight dollars in total. I think they were for a shower that never got built.

On the right you can see a few future Soundplanes. And yes, an Aeron chair from the dot-com bust.

On the software front, the new calibration is coming along very well. In just the last few days, thanks to my new filter code, the Soundplane has gone from being a promising prototype to a sensitive instrument that you can actually play. I'm going to turn this new work into a proper demo movie ASAP. I won't finish the client software for the demo, but do want to demonstrate OSC support and some of the calibration features.

I don't mean to make anyone feel dumb for not knowing about a feature. I wish I had more tutorials and stuff out there.

I think your other idea is cool BTW.