christianhuygen's Recent Posts

The new release of Sumu loads successfully on both Samplitude Pro Studio and Bespoke Synth (a free non linear sort of DAW that I greatly prefer for my Madrona products because it easily records audio, unlike Sam (if someone's figured out the routing on that one please LMK)). Good news. Thanks for your ongoing development efforts.

Hello friends

I wanted to (1) let people know about a very interesting feature of Native Instrument's Maschine mk3 controller in relation to Aalto (and other VSTs), (2) point out an issue, and (3) ask if anyone has ideas for a workaround.
Maschine lets you Lock up to 64 snapshots of, they claim, the entire state of the machine - all VST parameters and settings and routings. And then you can either instantly switch between these while the software is running, or Morph between them, for a duration of time from half a bar to 16 bars. (Since you can make the BPM setting as low as 1 BPM, you could do a morph that could take up to a minute and four seconds.)
I really like setting up different parameters in Aalto, making a Lock of them, and them Morphing between them on the fly.
I notice that all the knobs in Aalto with continuous values morph beautifully. Unfortunately, some of the things I'd most like to gradually morph between settings of, such as the knobs and sliders with discrete values, like Voices, and Waveguide Frequency, and also all the modulation depth attenuverters, do not morph. I'm not sure if their settings don't get captured in the first place, or if they do get captured, but don't morph successfully. I'll investigate that.

I am not really directing this question to Randy because I don't think it's his problem, and I don't think it's my place to ask him to solve it. Really I'm pointing out to the community that at least one piece of software out there allows capturing and (partially) morphing between Aalto parameter settings (and those of Kaivo and Virta and other VSTs).

(Reason allows you to send all manner of sequencers and complex LFOs and other modulators into Aalto, or any VST, and exposes every parameter very clearly, so you can route extra modulation to your heart's content. Just FYI.) (I also understand that if you buy the $30 VST module in VCV Rack, you can also send all manner of CVs into Aalto, and then route the audio signal through whatever other modules you please. I haven't tried that.)

OMG this is verbose. Sorry.

Friends, (1) I wanted to let you know that this fun feature is available with partial functionality in Maschine mk3, (2) do you have thoughts about making other Aalto parameters morph, and (3) have you found other software environments that allow morphing or control of Aalto parameters in ways you've found creatively useful and/or fun?

Thank you everybody. All best.

Hi @swey, I tried downloading your Aalto NKS templates but the Dropbox folder appears to no longer exist. However they and others appear to be all collected here

the link is from the Native Instruments forum discussion of this project which is the final link in your email

Thanks everybody

Randy thank you for posting this, for making these donations, and for encouraging others to do the same.

Hi @easel I just wanted to point out that Vox is in my opinion a super powerful feature, and almost no other VST (and no hardware synth I'm aware of) has it. If you send Vox to seq rate, suddenly the seq for each voice is running at a different rate. Instant polyrhythms and complex textures. Send it to filter cutoff or type, and you've got 4 voices that are each using the filter in different ways. Send it to pitch, and you've got something like a soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Endless surprises and possibilities.

@ianforster you can see the little dots for each voice moving along the bottom of the sequencer. you won't see "oh voice 1 is using 5 steps of the sequencer and voice 2 is using six" but you will see the dots moving in those patterns. Send Vox to offset and you'll see one dot using one part of the sequencer and another dot running along another part of the sequencer. Each voice is using the same sequencer, but because of Vox they might be using it in very different ways.

The new site design is gorgeous. It has a similar elegance and (apparent) simplicity to that of your beautiful instruments. Congrats.

@Sandbags you probably realize this but if you send VOX to the LFO rate, each voice will have a different LFO rate, and all the rates will be mathematically related to each other. I know that's not the same as having two LFOs.

I never get tired of how VOX can make every single module into 2 or 4 or 8 different versions of itself. And the emergent interactions between the modulations in each voice can be very different from each other.

A number of developers are currently selling modules, or giving away some modules and selling others.

I suppose VOX could be simulated by having a module that produces an array of constant voltages, or a CV divider with a series of outputs. But one would have to manually reproduce the patch X number of times and then manually route that CV to each module of interest. Not the same.

It's great that people are building more connections between Madrona Labs products and hardware controllers. Thanks Swey for doing that!

I just wanted to mention that I built mapping templates for the Novation Ultranova for Aalto, Kaivo and Virta. They're here

I like the Ultranova as a VST controller because it has 8 knobs, each with a LCD label so you know what parameter it controls. With the BACK and NEXT buttons, you can scroll through an unlimited number of 'pages' of parameters. I mapped every single knob on the instruments onto the controller template. It's wonderful to tweak them with physical knobs in real time.

Presumably the NKS has those same good qualities, plus others. It's all good. More more more. [g]

I do the same thing in Samplitude that others have described doing in Live (and probably other DAWs): routing the output of a VST on one track into audio recording on another track. Then the impact of my real time knob tweaks (which I do using the Novation Ultranova as the controller, because it has 8 knobs each of which has a LCD display telling you what it is) gets recorded in the audio track. AND the midi information gets recorded in the original track. AND you can draw automation curves for any parameter as well, before recording.

I made Automaps (controller map files) for the Ultranova for Aalto, Kaivo and Virta. They include nearly all the parameters of each synth. Help yourselves here

I really like the clarity of the audio quality in Samplitude. And, there are things about it that I find confusing. Which I guess makes it a typical DAW.

So nice to see everybody sharing pointers and solving problems together.


It doesn't have the magic of VOX. Anytime I use a soft modular that doesn't have that, I feel like I'm walking on the ground. The VOX in Aalto and Kaivo makes me feel like I'm flying. Or dancing.

It doesn't have the magic of VOX. Anytime I use a soft modular that doesn't have that, I feel like I'm walking on the ground. The VOX in Aalto and Kaivo makes me feel like I'm flying. Or dancing.

I think the VOX feature of Aalto and Kaivo is so great. (I was just discussing that over on muffwiggler

Would it be possible for A and K to provide multitimbral output, by which I mean, sending each voice to a different audio track of my DAW? Right now my favorite way to 'play' a patch in either synth is to route VOX to selected parameters, vary various parameters, then increase the number of voices, building up the sound and then thinning it down.

BUT when I do this I can't have voice 4, say, all by itself. I can have 1, 1 + 2, 1+2+3, or 1+2+3+4. Oh, but what if I could have voice 4 plus just a pinch of voice 2? The very thought fills me with yearning. (Seriously.)

If I had 4 tracks of output (or 8 for kaivo) I could mix and mingle the results more flexibly than as described in the above paragraph. (You could implement something similar if you had a mixer within Aalto or Kaivo that could control the volume of each of the voices, but that would need more GUI real estate.)

Multitimbral output might increase cPU load, since I think right now all voices are mixed together before they go into the reverb (or are they? because you can route VOX to the amount of reverb for that voice, so maybe not). And it might bring other challenges I haven't yet thought of.

I wonder if anybody else would be interested in this, or if implementing it would be a huge headache, which is not something I'd like to cause.

Thanks for your consideration and, always, for these wonderful synths, which I continue to view as high water marks in VST design.


Thanks for your response Randy. It does add complexity, but it sort of 'outsources' the complexity to the DAW. If someone wanted monotimbral output to a single audio track, the functionality of the instrument would not change. (Of course building in this option probably also adds coding complexity too.)

Could each send be routed to a separate audio track, even if that meant skipping the Aaltoverb for multitimbral output?

I think one KEY module and several sub-instances of plugins is an idea that could unleash huge possibilities. Wow. Yes, I think that would produce what I initially asked for, plus a whole lot more.

Thanks for your consideration. Please take my suggestion as just a humble "what if?" Have a good day.

I built a map for the Novation Ultranova which is here along with maps for Kaivo and Virta. I like the Ultranova as a midi controller because each of the 8 knobs has a LCD label so you know what it is as you flip up and down through the pages.

What emerges over time is a smaller set of controls you use most, and that's probably different for everybody. I add pages at the end of the map marked with ** and then map the smaller set of controls to 2-3 pages, rather than the 14 pages of the complete map that includes all the controls. That way you have a complete map followed by as many mini maps as you want. This is just one way to approach it. I'd like hear others.

The platform does not appear to be monetized at this point. Just saying.

Merely regarding the sequencer, I like having that as an inherent part of Aalto and Kaivo, with other modules modulating it, and vice versa. That functionality would not remain if sequencing were "outsourced" to a DAW.

@Thetechnobear raises the important issue of screen real estate. Something I love about all 3 of these plugins is that they're all on one screen. They feel like an Instrument, in a way that no other soft synth I own does. You can live with them and get to know them, and, as the manual says, learn to push and pull them spontaneously.

Sometimes I wish I could use an element of one of these synths in another. Is a modular possible? Would it lose the feeling that each of these is a very carefully thought out, open ended, style-agnostic, very complete instrument in its own way?

A lot of other soft synths that go into version 2 and 3 and so on (1) have many screens, so adding features is easy; (2) don't have a unique identity of their own; and (3) try to compete with other soft synths by adding more kinds of functionality and features. To put it in Darwinian terms, they don't have a unique niche, so they are forced to evolve in order to compete for the limited resources and attention of users.

I don't think Aalto is missing anything. I don't think Kaivo is missing anything. (I don't use Virta very much, because it was harder for me to figure out, so I don't have an opinion about that one.)

With all that said, Randy, if you want to make Aalto 2, I'd pre-order it today.

I second that emotion, @winterlight. It took me years to understand and appreciate the elegant simplicity and boundless possibilities that this mysterious and seemingly straightforward instrument offers.

There is no piece of hardware OR software that gives me more pleasure.

Every time I sit down, I go looking for a sound I've never heard before. And many times, Aalto magically provides it.

plus, the VOX feature provides vast complexity and richness, in an (apparently) simple way. It's the kind of thing that only software can do, and yet very few softsynths manage something like that. It's awesome.

Happy new year everybody.

I am happily using the Novation Ultranova to control my Madrona Labs plugins. I created Automap templates for all 3 plugins; they will be available here after Novation staff review and approve them. If you can't access them, please email me. myfirstname at myfullname dot com

The Ultranova has 8 rotary encoders, each with a LED screen that shows an 8 character label for the parameter the encoder is controlling, plus its current value. As a controller for these plugins, I really like it.

Ongoing praise and thanks for Randy's genius and hard work, and these wonderful instruments, which are inspiring elegant works of art in their own right.

Christian Huygen

Woo hoo! Thanks Randy.

Kaivo also increases wellbeing. I used to be more intimidated by Kaivo than by Aalto, but as I spent more time with it I became deeply impressed with its ability to create rich, varied, and very organic sounds and textures. It's a beautiful, strange and very rewarding instrument. Just spending time with it feels therapeutic, spiritual and educational. Many thanks.

"I do plan to make a modular plugin that will have some of the modules from the other instruments. I think this is the real answer."

That would be a dream. Any chance of a comb filter? Or does the Resonator module already accomplish a similar function?