hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 20:50

and done, see hardware forum.

Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 18:56

Thanks for the help Phil.

Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 07:22

Thanks for the thoughts about OSC parameter access. I would really like to do it. I don't think it will be too hard. It's been on my list for a long time but lower priority than some other things people have been asking for.

Sat, Jan 20, 2018, 19:42

Found another couple issues I need to fix before sending out the beta. Should be able to take care of them Monday.

Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 08:07

The low latency isoch callback routines are called by the Mac at main interrupt time in order to allow low latency, which makes them kind of dangerous. Being careful about when these are called and comprehensive about their errors are handled seems to have eliminated the crashing.

Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 08:06

This looks like very interesting work. Thanks for sharing. I would be interested to add NKS directly to Aalto (and the other synths) but I just haven't had time to look at it yet.

I'm very happy if you want to convert the factory patches as well.

I look forward to learning more about all this...

Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 07:59

Can you look in Activity Monitor and tell me what Live's CPU use is first with one instance of Aalto, then with Aalto disabled? Then I can tell you if it seems reasonable.

Your system should do well with Aalto. CPU is the only really important thing for Aalto, disk and memory won't affect it much.

Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 07:53

I ended up taking a deep dive into things and fixing some other issues that made development slow. (Kernel panics when debugging, no more!) I will be wrapping the app up and sending out a beta this week. Since the internals changed so much, I'll be upping the version to 1.7 (1.6, we hardly knew ye) and starting afresh with a proper beta.

In addition to the improvements to lower layers I did find the bug that was causing the intermittent issues with output.

Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 14:10

You definitely have all the information you need in the file. Probably the line-endings are getting mixed up, depending on what program you use to save it. I'll try to find time to write a quick tutorial on this soon.

Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 07:41

We are not yet sure. It's a battle to make it skiff-friendly, but yet not overly wide, and we are still working out the details.

Fri, Feb 13, 2015, 14:32

Call for input: Soundplane to CV module

This year it seems desirable and possible for Madrona Labs to make a Soundplane to CV device. This would be primarily a Eurorack module, but the circuit could also be built into its own enclosure for use with vintage synths etc.

Normally I do most of my design work in private, and only announce a product when it's pretty much done. But we (Brian and I) are going to change it up this time. Because neither of us is that deeply into the Eurorack world, it makes sense to solicit input early on in the process this time. This is going to be a utility device (though hopefully an elegant one) — so before we get too far along, let's make sure it will be useful to you!

The basic idea

USB jack for powering the Soundplane. Module puts out CV / gates / mod outputs for individual touches. Like the Soundplane app, a zone map decides how the Soundplane surface is divided up into notes and what those notes are. You can switch between zone maps, and the name of the current one should be displayed somehow. Aside from this, visual feedback will be at least an LED per Z value. To keep costs low, probably nothing too graphical or fancy.

We're looking for input on things like:

How many voices?

Each voice of touch output will probably have 4 outputs for pitch, x, y and z. Setting up many voices on a modular is not the way most people use them, so I'm guessing that two voices of output will take care of 90% of what people want. We would probably add an expander module for more voices.

Any interesting modes?

A switch that changes z (pressure) into a strict on/off gate might be useful. Any other things like this?

Layout?

individual voice groups vertical or horizontal? voice outputs at bottom or top? I'm thinking top, because a USB jack on the bottom will go to the Soundplane.

Power?

The module will need roughly 250mA at 5v to power the Soundplane. Brian will correct me if I'm wrong. Then there's whatever computing and display the module needs to do, and the outputs. Do we need our own power supply, or a list of compatible Euro power supplies that we can point people to? Any choices in connectivity to make here?

Finally, we're still looking for a great name…

Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 07:29

I'm reading again where you say the format is changed. Did you try registering a plugin with the saved text? Maybe there is no problem. The spacing you see when text is centered is completely a result of the presentation on the website and not of the text itself. So the apparent change to left alignment is normal.

There may also be a setting in notepad++ needed to fix the line endings under Windows. I'm sorry I can't find details for you right now, but I know I have made this work in the past.

Tue, Jan 09, 2018, 07:07

Thanks for the good words. I'm looking forward to getting this release out ASAP so I can focus on the next plugin! Hopefully, before this month is over. Thanks for your patience.

Tue, Jan 09, 2018, 07:04

Hi, I guess you are on Windows? It's common for text editors to use a different character for "end of line" there, and maybe the slash characters are confusing your editor. But it should be no problem to find an editor that makes it look right. I have good luck with notepad++. If you can see it on the website, then you have all the data.

In any case, I plan to be still operating for years to come. I appreciate your concern about longevity.

Sat, Jan 06, 2018, 12:27

Thanks for the additional info. I put the bug in my system and will check it out for the next release.

Wed, Jan 03, 2018, 07:15

I'll have to investigate this. I'm not familiar with what you are describing.

In all the MPE and MIDI code, notes are all handled equally, so it's hard to think of why certain combinations would not be working. Can you confirm that you don't have this issue with other MPE-capable synths?

Are these failing note combinations the same if you launch the DAW and everything again?

Wed, Dec 27, 2017, 10:15

Thanks for the note. Enjoy!

Tue, Dec 26, 2017, 11:08

It is definitely possible. There's a program message, or some kind of message, to the vst~ object that should change the program and there should be a way to get a list of programs as well. I don't have Max/MSP on this computer so it's hard for me to look it up right now.

Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 19:54

What I found out today is that there is an intermittent problem. I can start up the Soundplane app and have it work fine, then start up again in the same way and it gives the symptoms you are describing. This is why I was able to test and think it was functional. I'll work to fix this ASAP.

Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 19:54

What I found out today is that there is an intermittent problem. I can start up the Soundplane app and have it work fine, then start up again in the same way and it gives the symptoms you are describing. This is why I was able to test and think it was functional. I'll work to fix this ASAP.

Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 08:28

Oh no! I'll investigate today, thanks for the report.

Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 08:12

Hi, you can just register the demo versions if you have downloaded them in the past year. Before Jan 2017 I had a different registration system that required downloading a watermarked version.

Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 11:19

It's not a secret—the Madrona Labs modular environment I have been working towards for ages gets ever closer to a first release (though still, don't hold your breath) and I'm planning to put the Aaltoverb algorithm out there as one of the free example plugins people can use on release. There aren't really any more details I can spill besides that because many decisions are down the road a little ways.

Wed, Dec 06, 2017, 08:26

Makes sense. Thanks for the input.

Sun, Dec 03, 2017, 09:52

It's coming, but as part of a more ambitious project, so it's going to be a while still.

Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 08:25

Hi Timm, I hope you got my email. Sorry about the server burp last time!

Tue, Nov 28, 2017, 16:49

if we didn't sort this out, please email support@madronalabs.com and I can help!

Tue, Nov 28, 2017, 08:05

Hi nice person, thanks for the good words. I get the idea of a Kaivo audio input. When I eventually come out with a modular environment it will allow combining, say, Virta's input module with Kaivo's physical models.

Kaivo's granulator can't currently do anything with live input, because it is designed to analyze sound clips and find the best grain transition points ahead of time. So it's not as useful to have audio input for Kaivo, I think.

Thu, Jan 03, 2013, 12:40

Better workflow for Aalto

I was making a little music with Aalto over the holidays. I was trying to set up a flow where I could just tweak the knobs while recording audio out of Aalto, and record a lot of tracks that I would just mix together to get the finished piece. But, as you may have found, this is easier said than done! I have ideas on how to make things better.

Tweaking while recording


One problem is that the main DAWs don't let you record audio while tweaking knobs of a synth or effect. Logic has a real time bounce, for example, but locks out control changes while it's going on. Live won't record audio out of a synth unless you are in render mode.


One workaround is to use Numerology from Five12. It's great for on-the-fly sequencing and tweaking, and will let you record audio while you do this. It's a little less than ideal in that the audio is all sent to automatically-named files that you have to sort out later. But in even allowing recording while tweaking it offers a cool feature that the big DAWs don't. The drawback for me is that it's not the environment I want to mix in.


I checked out Reaper and did not get far enough to decide whether this would be a good solution for live recording. I could deal with learning to mix in it if it offered this capability. Anyone tried this in Reaper?


Finally, one solution might be a simple record button in Aalto. But I try to avoid adding things that the DAW should be doing well. Anyone up for writing a DAW this year with Live’s ease-of-use and timing, Logic’s MIDI implementation and Reaper’s efficiency?

Resetting


Another problem with the flow as it stands is resetting Aalto back to a patch at the start of a loop or arrangement. I'd like to set up one patch, do a take of knob-tweaking, and then automatically have Aalto recall a previous patch or saved state back at the beginning to set up the same jumping-off point for exploration. This is a little difficult now.


One way to do it, currently, is using MIDI program automation. Aalto 1.3 added the ability (underdocumented, currently) to switch programs via MIDI program change messages. See here for details. So, you can make a patch, save it to the "MIDI Programs" directory, and record a program change message in your DAW of choice. This is fairly easy in Logic, and in Live looks clunky but possible. There's an extra step of saving a patch, though, every time you want to define a new starting point. Not ideal. Maybe I don't care about the patch in general but just as an element in one song.


Resetting the patch is also needed to make the flow sort-of-good in programs like Live and Logic that don't allow control changes. An offline bounce (much faster than real time) after each tweaking pass may not be a bad price to pay for recording in my environment of choice, and so I can simply record the parameter change data---but the reset is also essential here.


There are a few ideas I have for a solution. One is to add a menu choice "broadcast all parameters." This would do what it says, allowing parameter automation systems to capture the entire state of the plugin. I think that with more than 100 parameters, though, this might overwhelm the capabilities of the DAW, and would certainly make a mess of the param menus.


A refinement of that idea is to have two menu options, one to say "start keeping track of what parameters I changed," and another to reset only those changed parameters. This would definitely work, the only drawback is a little added complexity. You would still need to be careful to save your song with all the params at their initial states!


I'm happy that Aalto 1.3.1 is very solid after the 1.3 shakeup, and I'm looking forward to working on some of these workflow details now. I welcome your suggestions!

Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 10:15

I'll do a little something this winter.