hardware and software for electronic music 

randy's Recent Posts

Wed, Nov 10, 2010, 11:28

Hi Bob,

I have not had time to try out the the audiounit~ object unfortunately. It's one of the things I want to do as soon as I kick out this 1.1 update. When I get around to that I'll try to make it work if it doesn't.

Getting the sequencer data out of Aalto is an idea I hadn't thought of. I guess because the plugin is a set of possibilities restricted in a way that's hopefully useful. Internal to Aalto, all the data are signals, so while a control signal output could be useful in MSP, the more commonly used hosts don't seem to have mechanisms for doing anything with one.

Tue, Nov 09, 2010, 10:40

Hi Jamie,

Aalto is more fully modular than a lot of synths-- it doesn't make MIDI notes without the right patches connected. You can connect the patches by loading a preset. If you read the first part of the Quickstart guide it will tell you how to install the preset files where Logic can find them.

Sorry the install is a bit of a pain-- I'm working on a simple installer to send out with 1.1.

Mon, Nov 08, 2010, 15:56

Sure, you can put Aalto on a track in any Audio Units host, like Ableton Live, Logic, or Numerology, and then play your keyboard to that track. The details of how to do this are different in every host, but basically you just put Aalto on the track and play.

Thu, Oct 21, 2010, 14:12

Aalto News

Hi there. First thing I want to say is thanks to all of our Aalto customers, and to everyone who has spread the word that we have something new and exciting here.

Also, thanks to everyone who has sent comments or ideas for how to improve Aalto. I'm programming this synth by myself, so unlike organizations with more inertia I'm free to make use of feedback really quickly. You'll see some of that reflected in the 1.1 update.

I had hoped that Aalto 1.1 would be out this week, but some things are taking longer than I'd hoped. Sometimes fixing the big problems is easy but the small ones are hard... go figure. Currently I'm shooting for late next week. Though all schedules can slip, I think it's better if I let you know what my plans are. So here's my current roadmap for you:

1.1: mid Oct, performance improvements, parameter automation fixes, host sync, alternate tunings, more documentation, sundry bug fixes.

1.2: mid Nov, more performance improvements, UI improvements, installer, patch management features.

1.3: mid Dec, sound engine update, delivery via web site, Mac and Windows VST.

Some online publications have posted very generous reviews of Aalto.

Check out Seattle's Waveformless and Berlin's AudioNewsRoom. And whether or not you read Italian, this very extensive and thoughtful review by Enrico Cosimi is worth a look at Audio Accordo.it. It's got a nice movie showing a lot of the presets and some new creations, and a system diagram that should probably work its way into the manual.

And most recently, James Patrick at the Institute for Recording and Production in Minneapolis has posted a 3-part video introduction he made for his class! Check it out on Vimeo.

When I designed Aalto, I had a few main goals in mind: make it sound good and flexible, make the interface simple and intuitive. Of course, these goals all make conflicting demands on the shape of the instrument and, well... product design is hard. So it was really gratifying to stumble on this weblog from Michael Lemmon, a Portland-based musician and product designer who got exactly what I was trying to do. Thanks Michael, and keep in touch!

Tue, Nov 02, 2010, 13:01

Forum update, bug fixes

Hi all,

I made a tiny but very useful update to our forums software this morning. Now when a reply to a forum topic is posted, the topic rises to the top of the list. You know, just like in every other forum software.

If you have other suggestions for the forums, feel free to let me know. Mike hooked this software up with Ruby on Rails because nothing out there seemed to meet our needs. We hope it's minimal, but not too minimal.

Betas of Aalto 1.1 are working well and I'm nearing the finish line. One great new feature is the ability to copy and paste patches to the clipboard as text. Basically, this turns any online forum into an Aalto-patch-sharing forum, if people want to share patches there. And, it's human-readable and hackable... you could make your own random patch generator now.

I added some of the features to 1.1 that were planned for 1.2. Basically anything that affected the interface. I realized that even though it delayed 1.1 a bit, this was the quickest way to move ahead overall.

Host sync is working great now. This was a bit of a pain to get going in Logic.

I keep track of feature updates and bug fixes in a spreadsheet you can view here.

Wed, Nov 03, 2010, 15:53

Hi Robert,

It's a feature, or the lack of one... My plan is to add a coarse / fine knob adjustment to the pitch knob, and the ratio knob as well. I guess you found a workaround by using automation in the meantime.

Sun, Jun 27, 2010, 19:13

Aalto Questions

I'll start the topic off with an easy one.

*Why "Aalto?" *

It's the Finnish word for "wave."

Will this be a VST or AU or what?

Mac AU and VST will come first because that's the platform I am developing on. Windows VST will follow soon.

When can I buy the Windows and Mac VST versions?

My current plan is to get the Windows version out, along with the Mac VST, in mid-December.

Copy protection?

There is no copy protection. Copy protection always creates hassles for legitimate users, is by definition a hassle. When you purchase a license for Aalto, you get a watermarked copy that uniquely identifies it as yours. At runtime there are transparent checks to verify that the watermarks are intact, and that people are holding up their end of the license terms.

Tue, Nov 02, 2010, 08:57


Sorry i didn't see your note for a while! The Mac VST version will be out with the Windows one, my best guess is that this will be in mid-December. Yes, it will run on 10.5.

Tue, Nov 02, 2010, 09:01

Hi Hazeltine,

Thanks for this information! It seems there is some problem with Logic and Aalto and multi-CPU machines. I am trying to push the 1.1 update out the door now, which should make it better overall. I hope you stay tuned, and let me know if the 1.1 demo works better for you.

Tue, Nov 02, 2010, 09:03

Hi David,

I totally understand. I will look at solutions for you for the next update after 1.1.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010, 10:00

So, Aalto is an Audio Unit plugin. You need to run it in an AU host such as Logic or Live. Max/MSP is also an AU host, if you use the audiounit~ object. So, I would look into running Aalto directly in Max/MSP.

Maybe try some very simple AU synth with audiounit~ first, to get something working.

Wed, Oct 20, 2010, 12:53

I don't have anything like an "Aalto patch" though. Aside from some early prototypes it wasn't made using Max/MSP.

If you explain what you want to do that you can't do now, I can try to help. Have you tried using audiounit~?

Tue, Oct 19, 2010, 16:53


Yup, here I am working on it. Thanks for your vote of confidence!

Tue, Oct 19, 2010, 10:41

Fixed for 1.1 bud!

Sat, Oct 16, 2010, 12:43

OK, you demonstrated this and it looks like an issue with logarithmic controls. I will see what I can do.

Sat, Oct 16, 2010, 12:42

Hopefully next week!

Tue, Oct 12, 2010, 17:47

I think this is fixed for 1.1.

Tue, Oct 12, 2010, 17:44

Fixed for 1.1!

Thu, Oct 07, 2010, 11:00

Thanks for the details! I suspect some out of bounds numbers are getting through and fragging the oscillator. Will look at how to prevent this for 1.1.

Wed, Oct 06, 2010, 15:42

OK, I'll have to learn about those fancy features to see if I can reproduce this.

Wed, Oct 06, 2010, 15:32

I had some weird intermittent problem with the Configure... menu like that, then it went away in 1.0. What are your Live version and Mac OS versions?

Tue, Oct 05, 2010, 08:53

Thanks for the thoughts. I will look at Silent Way.

Some people don't want to use a computer in their setups at all, so a racked CV converter would be a very good thing for them. You might be surprised how little a capable DSP costs.

Mon, Oct 04, 2010, 09:27

I am making the CPU usage better every day, so I think it's pointless for me to document it in that way now.

Mon, Oct 04, 2010, 08:56

Glad to hear that .scl will be a good choice.

Please stay tuned for an update in around two weeks.

Mon, Oct 04, 2010, 08:49

Thanks for the detailed report. I cannot reproduce this one. But, I don't have 10.6 here so that may be why.

There are other problems with automation that I have to address. So some of my automation code will be rewritten for version 1.1, (coming soon!) and hopefully fix your problem. I'll put it in the bug database so I remember to check.

Sat, Oct 02, 2010, 07:55

Hi Yorgos,

Of course I think tunings besides 12-ET are important, or the button wouldn't be there in the first place! So I would hope that seeing it can make you happy rather than sad. I am planning to load Scala .scl files.

As to when, your feedback as a paying customer makes it a priority! If it goes quickly, I can get it in the next update along with the optimizations I'm doing now. If not, then the one after that.

Thu, Sep 30, 2010, 12:36

The details are not yet fixed, but some kind of configuration software that can do what you are describing is planned for the Soundplane A. You could configure it to have a bunch of virtual keys, and then mark those somehow on the surface. Also, I have a very simple reference pattern planned that should be easy to learn your way around.

Thu, Sep 30, 2010, 11:34

it's much easier to get away with it

I wondered in the part why anyone would want a standalone app. I can't argue with this reasoning! LOL. I will put a standalone on the to-do list.

In the meantime I would suggest using a super light AU host like Apple's AU Lab.

Thu, Sep 30, 2010, 10:29

It is intentional. Many controllers send out a low-resolution signal for pitch bend, with only 128 values. If the pitch bend is not smoothed on the way to the synth, there is always a clicking noise when moving the controller.

I'll have a listen and see if I can make it faster.

Wed, Sep 29, 2010, 15:56

Hi Doug,

One voice takes about 30% of my CPU meter in Logic on my five-year-old Macbook Pro (1.83G Core Duo). So, you can do much better!

I guess the first thing I would do is try another host and see what happens. If you don't have one you can download a Numerology or Live demo.

Also, I should add: the registered version takes the same amount of CPU as the demo. So, something weird would appear to be going on.