randy's Recent Posts

@toksin, I don't know if I got your email because I don't see ny matching "toksin." Let me know please. support@madronalabs.com

Thanks for the tip. My plan is just to get a real commercial-quality hosting provider, now that we can afford to.

@toksin you should have received an email with update links this morning. If not, email support@madronalabs.com and I'll hook you up.


maybe every 5 minutes starting at noon. :-)

An Aalto 1.2 screenshot, by popular demand. Note the taut, eager beauty of its supple flowing lines.

Yes, it costs a lot more CPU to make the envelope parameters modulatable.

It's too hard on the CPU to modulate the gate decay, unless I figure out some optimizations. The same basically goes for everything else I didn't put a modulation knob on.

Of course. You can click or shift-click to select any combination of cables.

Modulate what about the gate?

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.

@rgiskard: same same only better. I'll post a shot in a few minutes.

@ahs: it's much better on the CPU. the actual fix is kind of a bit complicated to explain right now, and depends on which host you are using. but, it's way better on all of them. and it's free. so just enjoy it friday :-)

He made those.

@function Um...

OK, Friday release definitely, around noon.

@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.

@hainbach, these are really nice!

The Aalto 1.2 beta is ready, including Windows VST. I'm looking for about 10 more testers. Please email support@madronalabs.com with subject "Windows beta" for more info.

Please note that this software is a little rough around the edges yet. In particular, Windows installation is a pain. You have to be comfortable making hidden files visible and creating a few directories in weird places. If this sounds OK to you, then please proceed!

Windows requirements:
Windows 7 or XP Service Pack 3
SSE2 capable processor, 2 GHz or better recommended

I know these areas could use some work, and these are good ideas. The website will get an update one of these days to address usability. It's going to be not a major overhaul but a feature here and a feature there, so keep in touch.

Aalto will get a significant update to the preset code with the 2.0 version. That won't happen anytime soon. ;-)

I already added the prev / next arrows to 1.2 by popular demand. I guess they can make A/Bing a little easier if you use them to save a modified patch next to the old one.

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

I tried that already, it backfired. :-)


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.


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'll have to support using VSTs of course but i think some really neat ways of playing will only be possible with custom instruments that talk to the Soundplane directly.

I won't go too in depth here but I'm thinking more along the lines of signals than messages for the Soundplane / instrument connection. Imagine there's no note on / note off as in MIDI, but instead as many channels of CV / gate / expression signals as you like. Haven't run into any problems with OSC that would prevent this.

I'm still experimenting with the best way to do an attack that's faster than your finger...

Yes, some of you are very excited about Aalto for Windows. I'm busy here trying to make sure that when it's out, it's as enjoyable to use as its Mac counterpart. And, as a relative Windows noob, this is taking some time, so I appreciate your patience. The Windows version is in beta testing now, so please, mister hedgehog, put that pointy stick down.

I'm using Visual Studio 2010 Express with the JUCE framework to create the Windows version, and I'm getting a grip on some performance issues with the nice free profiler Very Sleepy. I feel pretty comfortable with this toolset and with Windows 7 now. There are only a few bugs, it seems, but one or two are the Nasty kind.

The Windows version will run under 7 and XP SP 3. I have a couple of people trying out Vista, and it seems to work well for the most part, but I probably won't have the resources to track down Vista-specific bugs. It's a little like the situation with the many different VST hosts out there-- there are so many combinations that the best thing I can do is give you the chance to try before you buy. Which you can do. Soon.

And for those of you wondering, "have they forgotten about the Soundplane?" Quite the opposite, we are working to finish it. Stay tuned for news.

that's a Duncan Fegredo panel from Hellboy.

It's possible I would implement it if it really caught on and lots of customers wanted it. I'm more interested in the possibilities with the Soundplane and OSC linking to a whole world full of new soft synths that aren't hampered by a MIDI interface to begin with. Check out some of Roger Linn's recent demos with his Linnstrument. He has been explaining to people the same thing I demoed with my prototype Soundplane, which was, you don't need envelopes any more if you can articulate each note individually. So I see this kind of control as a new baseline, not something added onto MIDI.

Did you know that Aalto has polyphonic aftertouch right now? The "after" signal is the sum of the channel aftertouch and the polyphonic aftertouch for each note.

My favorite kind of feedback to get is when I stumble on something on the Web, some traces left by a person who's gotten excited by something I made and what it's doing for their creativity, how it's helping them make music. They're not trying to get a free product or get their name out there into every conceivable nook and cranny. What they're doing is, spreading the word about their process and about a tool that they think is awesome, and I start to think, wow, maybe I'm on the right track.

five Aalto ideas and bonus beats [april28-may1] by morendifernt

More soundplane news soon! I have had to focus on getting Aalto Windows out (obviously), but exciting things are happening with electronics nearby...

I'm like 15 blocks west of the I-5, so it's all good.



I did talk to Roger Linn for a while. He was very supportive and I'm happy he's out there evangelizing for the next generation of pressure-sensitive instruments.

We are getting really close to a working prototype. The design has not changed much. More info soon.