randy's Recent Posts

Hi there—Kaivo should work like any other plugin in Live. Basically as follows:

Click the arrow in the Kaivo device title bar to unfold the device parameters. Then click "Configure" to enter Configure mode. Then, adjusting a Kaivo parameter will add it to the list for the device. Then the parameter appears in the track automation menu where you can select it.


Thanks for the additional info—I'll take a look.

Ah, maybe you did, that sounds familiar.

To be clear I'm not trying to suggest that Soundplane for Windows should be someone else's job. Just that if someone has the interest to dig in before I can get to it, I'll try to support them.

OK, thanks for the additional info.

From what I understand, Windows 10 should allow the task to be much easier than what I unfortunately had to give up on years ago. However, I haven't been able to get back to it. I'll definitely broadcast any progress—meanwhile I'm happy to support anyone who wants to work on it, if you know anyone who might be interested.

What's MEC?

It's probably not the patch, but some MIDI config thing in Live with that channel, would be my guess. It's possible it's some new bug in Aalto—but MIDI support has been unchanged and solid for a long time and I've not heard of this issue.

If you can reproduce this again, or get more info, please let me know.


It's not too bad—we're all healthy and I'm working. Thanks for your support!

I was hoping to get to this today and get back to you—the day got away from me. I'll look at it soon.

I'll try to reproduce this. If you can demonstrate this in a simple Live project, can you please send me the project to support @ madronalabs? Also please send more info:

  • Live version
  • OS platform
  • Virta version and VST or AU?


We're heading into fall here in the Pacific Northwest, and in the Labs. I'm looking out the window in front of my stand-up desk and I know in a few weeks I'm going to have to think about replacing the insulating film I took down in the summer. It surely was one for the ages and though this turn of the seasons is always a little hard here in rainy Cascadia, I'm looking forward to more focused programming time or what my friend Bob calls code cougaring.

This seems like a good time to mention that Madrona Labs is happy to offer educational discounts of 50% off to any currently registered teacher or student. To get the discount, please email to support@madronalabs.com with some kind of documentation of your academic status, such as a picture of your current university ID, or a link to a dated directory webpage. Then I’ll send you a coupon code for the discount.

I've just released an update for all three instrument plugins: Aalto, Kaivo and Virta. This update brings fixes for stability and compatibility, and brings the version to 1.9.0. To update, just download the all-purpose installers as usual.

version 1.9.0 changes:

  • fixed a crash in the patcher UI after resizing the UI then dragging a patch cable
  • fixed an erratic issue where no drawing would happen in some hosts

Aaltoverb has come out of the gate going strong and to those of you who have supported this work with your purchase, thanks very much. By and large it's working very well for people and I have some cool enhancements in store that I couldn't quite get into the 1.0.0 version. One thing that's not working well is the detection of Metal support on Mac OS by the installer. If your graphics card is not compatible it's supposed to give you a notice, but instead it will install and then the plugin itself just produces a blank window. For those of you with these older Macs, I'm sorry about the confusion and will work to either support them or improve the installer.

Now that Aaltoverb is out I'm working on both software and hardware. In software land it's the long-awaited Sumu, and with the new framework in place demonstrated by Aaltoverb I'm more excited than ever to unveil some exotic new sounds. Hardware-wise, I'm now devoting quality time to finishing the Soundplane-cv module. Soundplane-cv is for directly connecting your Soundplane to the world of Eurorack, or anything else you can control with a voltage.

This particular development stretch has been a long one, and I'm looking forward to more variety ahead. One thing that's kept my enthusiasm up when I need a boost is the occasional clips you nice people send in with some novel or touching or funny sounds you are making with the tools I'm making. Many thanks!

I hope whatever you're cougaring on is fulfilling. If not, remember weird sounds are always there for you. More soon.

I'm going to make this thread sticky. It should be a good place to find and share Aalto patches. I'll try to post one every day or two for a while.

It would be cool if we could embed Soundcloud links here, but setting that up will take some time.

I'm very interested to see what modes you have found useful, and any other details!

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?


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.


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…

Thanks for the thoughts. A major version, say Aalto 2 coming up, is when I would have the ability to make this kind of big change. I still think having the instruments be made of fixed modules is a strength. But maybe there's some interesting middle ground between that and fully modular.

What a coincidence, I was just watching Andrew Belt present about VCV Rack last night. I'd love to do this when I can make time. Thanks for the encouragement.

Good to hear!

This thread got hijacked by some different issues! I wish I had a way to split threads. Anyway, I've completely redone MPE support in the 1.9.2 update, so whatever you are running into should be fixed, or at least, different. Please let me know.

Hi and thanks for writing. I'm sorry I don't currently support your DAW of choice. Steinberg has made it clear that VST3 is the future and are pushing very hard for everyone to use it. Most hosts have had decent VST3 support for a while and now that Ableton is on board I can take care of about 95% of my potential customers with a VST3. Time's precious for me here and so when I'm making a whole new generation of code if I can get something out to 95% of the people with less work I'm going to do that.

Hopefully Reason will add VST3 support soon.

Meanwhile there are also ways to wrap a VST3 plugin in a VST2. It's not the ideal solution of course.

Yes, we will definitely finish the module. We made some real progress this year and I'm excited to get back to this and the Soundplane Model B when I can.

What I'm working on now is the next plugin (Sumu). This should provide the income to get back to hardware development this year.

I'm sorry that I set up unrealistic expectations about the date. Because I support the company by making software, hardware progress is going to be slower than the pace you might be used to from most companies. My boundless optimism about ship dates is a useful kind of coping strategy for me, sometimes. I am learning not to say these things out loud until we are much closer to finishing a project.

I do plan to add more models to Kaivo including tubes and so on.

I'm very glad the sound is inspiring to you! Thanks for the good words and i'll be here if you have more questions.

I hear this would be a good thing. There's no real easy way to do it now. The ability to lock any parameter to its current value will be a good fix for this and many other situations. I plan to add that in a future update.

You can always just make a directory with your current favorite scales of course.

I've heard you. But I won't be releasing another Aalto update for a while.

If you choose "Save as..." from the preset menu the file dialog will open into the folder you most recently loaded or saved a file to/from. Hopefully this will help you out.

Thanks for your support, and enjoy! See you around. :-)

Thanks. I stopped adding people for the moment so I can get other things done but, please stay tuned for the next phase.

Warmest holiday wishes to everyone! Though I love the big dinners with family and friends, winter here is also a great time for immersing myself in the lab and researching what's next. This particular image I took the other day captures the Seattle vibe I'm feeling right now—very grey and wet, but futuristic and optimistic. The suspended sculpture by Janet Echelman is called "Impatient Optimist" and you can read more about it here.

From now until January 6 2020, our year-end sale is happening! You can use the code DIY2020 to get 30% off all our software. If you're an Aalto fan but you've been holding out on getting Kaivo or Virta, now's the time. And yes, our simple bundle deal is in effect along with the year-end discount, if you choose to take advantage of them both. This results in some big discounts: adding Aaltoverb to your Kaivo purchase, for example, will set you back only an additional ten dollars or so.

I always think, maybe a silly amount, about the sale code: what word do you type into that little box to get the discount? Maybe because it's like a kind of incantation, and I want it to be a positive one. If there's one thing we can use more of in 2020 it's more DIY, so: DIY2020. Doing It Yourself doesn't necessarily mean just all alone in the comfort of your own Labs, but also and especially with friends, getting together to have fun and make culture. I wish you all the DIY time you can carve out in 2020, and when you have something to transmit, let me know! Hopefully I will be able to buy it on Bandcamp, where I found most of my favorite new music this year.

Finally, if you're looking for a last-minute gift, you should know that it's easy to give a Madrona Labs software license! A gift license can even be part of a simple bundle with one you bought for yourself and I'll be happy to transfer it free of charge (and judgement). Just email me at support@madronalabs.com to let me know. I'm taking Dec 25, Dec 31, and Jan 1 away from the computer but otherwise I'll be available within 24 hours (and almost certainly less) to help make your holiday dreams come true.

Is it possible you're using Logic in 32-bit mode? The only change I'm aware of is that I removed 32-bit support. Unfortunately I don't have Logic 9 here to try. I'll try to figure out what changed!

There's an option in the settings (gear) menu for turning off UI animations. Hopefully this will help.

The dials animating eat up a bunch of CPU on your Retina display because of software drawing and copying at the high resolution.

That's what I think is going on anyway.

Someday I want to make a modular environment...