hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Tue, Aug 30, 2011, 07:52

Hi sen,

No worries, this is part of the work...

I think the demo noise is every minute. As you determined, you can't save patches. Other than that it's just like the full version.

Mon, Jul 25, 2011, 17:53

Aalto: the manual.

I am very happy to announce that the manual for our favorite synthesizer, "Making and organizing sounds with Aalto," is now finished and available. You can download it here:
[4Mb PDF]

I am very happy with the way this document came out, and I hope it adds to the richness of your experience with Aalto, helps you understand what you're doing, helps you make cool sounds. Thanks are due to George Cochrane for jump-starting the writing in his inimitable style, and to David Chandler for the amazing Cascadian-style illustrations.

Wed, Aug 24, 2011, 09:28


Updates are free until a 2.0 release, which is not coming soon. I've put out three updates since the 1.0 and plan to do at least a couple more.

When I release an update I email all the customers and let them know it's available. Then they can download their software. The links don't expire until the software is downloaded.

Soon, this information will be obsolete because I'm switching to a new system where you can download your software anytime. I'll be sure to document the new way better on the site here. Any other questions, please ask!

Fri, Aug 19, 2011, 15:56


I put the Aalto reverb out as a free AU reverb for Mac a while back. Here it is:


One of these days I'll put out the 64-bit and windows versions of this, and make a page for it.

As to external input, look forward to future products...

Thu, Aug 18, 2011, 10:55

Hmm, never seen this before. Odd.

The demo is supposed to be able to access all the presets. If a folder is greyed out, it means there are no readable files in there. So my guess is something went wrong during the demo install.

What I would do is remove the presets completely. This means throwing away

  • /Library/Audio/Presets/Madrona Labs/Aalto
  • (home)/Library/Audio/Presets/Madrona Labs/Aalto

Then reinstall from your registered installer.

If you get another crash please send the log to support@madronalabs.

by the way
the manual (p.30) explains the preset files and what's readable by VST / AU versions and what the conversion does.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011, 09:33


Wed, Aug 17, 2011, 09:33

Glad to hear you are up and running! Thanks for sharing the workaround here-- there are so many hosts out there that my response time on host-related issues can't be as fast as I would like. I'll have a look at Mainstage before the next update though.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011, 09:29

Thanks for this tip, garf!

Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 15:21

Live is the host I test the most, and probably the most people use it. I also put in lots of time making Logic work too because it's so popular.

For a live performance solution I recommend Numerology very highly. No known issues.

Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 12:10

Thanks for the report. I'll add Mainstage to my list of less common hosts to test, and fix the problem if I can reproduce one. Sorry it's not working for you.

Sun, Aug 14, 2011, 08:59

Are you running Aalto version 1.2.6?

Sorry for the bad experience. Write me at support @ madronalabs and we'll sort it out.

Wed, Aug 10, 2011, 08:23

Thanks for the kind words.
Jin's Conrad page at http://www.fancymoon.com/con_s/ gives ordering information for CDs through Wolfgang Seidel.

Wed, Aug 10, 2011, 08:21

It's very much still happening. Obviously, Aalto was a big project and took over for quite a while. Now I'm back to Soundplane and working out problems in the prototype. We'll post something as soon as we have a cool demo to post.

I won't say anything about scheduling until the ship announcement. Thanks for your understanding.

Thu, Aug 04, 2011, 10:47

The mousewheel code has been hard to get just right on both platforms. So I'm still fiddling with it. I have the same problem that you do now, with my Apple magic mouse, so I'll have another go for the next version-- thanks for your patience.

Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 11:23

I don't want to add buttons to the interface, but I will probably add a "settings" menu where some MIDI settings like this could go.

Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 10:57

Aalto 1.2.6 known issues

I'm happy that 1.2.6 was a successful step up in performance for everyone, and fixed most of the glitches people were having.

Changes in version 1.2.6:

improved performance!
optimized patch loading
fixed Logic dropouts, improved Logic CPU spikes
fixed Live 7 UI hangs
fixed Sonar crash
fixed Maschine scan crash
fixed multislider parameter behavior
added debug diagnostics
smaller executable

There remain some incompatibilities with certain hosts. Here are the known, verified issues that didn't get fixed, in rough order of severity.

After a longer investigation, I can't recommend using Aalto in Fruity Loops until MIDI controller issues are sorted out. Notes play just fine, but FL Studio blocks direct access to all the controller data that Aalto needs to implement its patchbay. Until I work out a solution with the FL people, Aalto's capabilities in this host will be limited.

Users have reported that on rare occasion there are still audio dropouts in Logic 9. These seem only to affect multi-core Mac Pro systems. If audio drops out for you under Logic, please get in touch so I can collect more info!

Using the AU in Ableton Live 7 or 8, Live's qwerty note keyboard does not work when Aalto has focus. This is a JUCE / Ableton issue I can investigate.

On Live 7, there are some issues with the Aalto window focus. Another JUCE / Ableton issue I can investigate.

Aalto does not seem to respond to host sync in Rax v3.

The Zen preset manager does not work with Aalto.

My focus is on Soundplane development now, but I will be devoting some hours each week to fixing these issues. If you have something to add, please post a new topic here or email me at support @ madronalabs.

Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 10:26

Not soon, but yes!

Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 10:26

I see what you mean-- depending on what host you use there might be a good way of quantizing the MIDI values to the detents. In Logic's environment, for example, you could do this with a mapping table.

I'm always up for making Aalto better, though, as long oas it doesn't make it more complicated on the outside. I'll think about solutions as I revamp some of the MIDI handling.

Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 06:50

Sadness. The update fixed this for some people and has been tested on a few different Mac Pros, where the problems were. So I was very hopeful it was gone for good.

You can help by installing the demo version of 1.2.6 and sending me the debug output when you get a glitch. To reveal the debug pane, click the nearly-invisible button at center right in the demo version. Some debug messages will be printed every few seconds. Let a few of these go by, then click "copy text" to copy everything. Then please email to support at madronalabs!

Thu, Jul 28, 2011, 11:14

I would be interested to hear if this improved with the 1.2.6 update.

Thu, Jul 28, 2011, 11:09

Didn't know that about Circle, thanks for the info.

Thu, Jul 28, 2011, 11:07

I think the Korg mini-MS20 controller will let you do that. But I don't know if there's a way to hook it up to other software.

Mon, Jul 25, 2011, 18:07

Aalto 1.2.6

Version 1.2.6 of Aalto is done and updates will be going out tonight. If you're a licensed user, just follow the links in the email, coming soon, to download your software!

Demo versions are available now for Mac and Windows:

Aalto 1.2.6 Mac [10Mb .zip]

Aalto 1.2.6 Win [3Mb .zip]

Changes in version 1.2.6:

improved performance!

optimized patch loading

fixed Logic dropouts, improved Logic CPU spikes

fixed Live 7 UI hangs

fixed Sonar crash

fixed Maschine scan crash

fixed multislider parameter behavior

added debug diagnostics

smaller executable

As always until v.2, this update is free for registered users.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 11:22

please email support at madronalabs and I'll get you sorted out!

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 11:00

I think that the entry is made automatically when they try it. I'm in touch with those guys and hope to make it work.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 10:01

I like it! Mandala Bros is also awesome.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 09:49

I'm aware of this and will look at it for a future update. The AU might treat you better?

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 09:47

Aalto is very CPU intensive. I made no secret about this, and to some extent it has to be, to make the sounds it does.

Your subject "not so optimized" is a little unfair to me, because of all the work I have put into optimizing. The 34% you are seeing would have been about 50% in the previous version, so I feel pretty good about my progress.

The question about constant CPU use is a fair one. Unlike a lot of soft synths, Aalto is modeling circuits that are on all the time, just like the circuits in an analog synth. This is what makes it such a good free-running drone machine, and is also somewhat responsible for the good sound. I can imagine adding code to find out when a voice is making sound, and save some CPU on that voice (while keeping its free-running state), but this is not a trivial thing to do.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 09:39

I think I have the most customers over at gearslutz. But if you want support from me, remember to post here! I can't always read other online forms. I read this one at least once a day.

Tue, Jul 26, 2011, 13:45

You're welcome! Great idea on the T-shirt.