hardware and software for electronic music 
Aalto1.3

Aalto

A patchable synth with an innovative UI and distinctive sounds.
$99

Kaivo

Kaivo

Physical modeling, made accessible.
$129

Kaivo

Virta

Sound-controlled synthesis and effects .
$89

Soundplane Model A

Soundplane

The computer music controller with the
feel of an acoustic instrument.
Temporarily out of stock.

News

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
by Randy Jones

Summer sale!

Dear music makers,

In appreciation for your support, Madrona Labs is having a summer sale this year. Use the code PARTICLES on any of the product pages to get 30% off any Madrona Labs plugin. From now through the end of August.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
by Randy Jones

Summer all-plugins update.

Happy summer from the PNW, USA, where things are not bad, considering. I've just wrapped up some infrastructure work fixing some long-standing issues and resulting in an update to all the plugins that's available now for both MacOS and Windows.

The change list for Aalto looks like this:

  • added handling of "all notes off" and "all sound off" MIDI messages
  • fixed bugs with Scala .scl and .kbm handling
  • fixed issue with step sequencer not quantizing to current scale
  • fixed issue with step sequencer UI not reaching maximum when dragging
  • added slower LFO minimum speed and finer adjust (0.0001 Hz)
  • added response to "canDo" MPE query in VST plugin
  • increased glide time to reduce zipper noise for panel parameters
  • fixed possible DSP freeze with extreme LFO feedback
  • fixed sometimes missing t3d light
  • fixed sometimes missing label backgrounds

Kaivo and Virta have some additional changes to fix audio glitches when certain parameters were changed. See those "read_me_first" files for details.

Since so many parts of the plugins are handled by the same underlying code, I've tweaked the version numbering a bit to reflect this. All the plugins are now at version 1.8.3, which looks like a big step for Kaivo and Virta (from 1.3).

Thursday, July 05, 2018
by Randy Jones

Artist profile: Kate Simko

Kate Simko can trace her musical journey back to the age of five, when she began studying classical piano and music theory. Throughout her time growing up in the Chicago suburbs, music was a constant creative outlet but never something she considered as a career plan. Then in the early nineties, as a teenager, she found her way to the underground Midwest rave scene in the wild and full flower of its youth and something clicked. Having dance music as an abiding inspiration alongside her classical training led her to center her life more and more around music. She writes: "I was just starting to figure out who I was as an individual, and electronic music opened my mind and passion for life and self-discovery. It was through dancing til dawn at raves that I started absorbing new music and ways of thinking."

Monday, April 30, 2018
by Randy Jones

Berlin Bound for Superbooth 2018

I'm doing one last load of laundry, have my boarding pass printed out, passport on the desk where I won't forget it, excited to be headed to Berlin for Superbooth 2018 in a few hours. It's the first public event of its kind I've done in a Madrona Labs capacity for several years, at least. I plan to meet a bunch of my customers, hear some concerts, and do a lot of talking about what's next in the World of Shiny Things that Make Noises.

packing

We already know what the next shiny thing from Madrona Labs will be. The Soundplane-cv is a 12HP Eurorack module that powers the Soundplane and listens to it over USB, and puts out up to four touches as control voltages and gates, for a total of 16 outputs: gate, and assignable x y and z per touch. Brian and I did a big push on this project this month, and we now have finished hardware to poke at and talk about. The Mac still does a much better Soundplane demo, so we won't be demoing the Soundplane-cv, but we are very close to completing it. They will be available this summer.

Now where's my passport?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
by Randy Jones

It's Aalto T-shirts!

Five years ago, I did a small run of Aalto T-shirts. It was fun making them but with all the printing and shipping and paperwork it took up roughly a couple of weeks of my time so I've never done it again... until now!

aalto shirt

The key was finding a US-based fulfillment company called Printful that prints shirts to order. I made a test shirt using their process and I've been wearing it a lot. The charcoal tri-blend fabric is very soft and has a nicely textured look. This detail photo shows it after being machine washed four times, and the colors haven't faded at all. I like that the digital print is not crackly like plastic process shirt inks are and so far, it seems more durable. These are very nice shirts.

aalto shirt, detail

Another big benefit of using Printful is that they print to order in Europe! This means that my European customers can actually get a shirt for an affordable price. Wherever you are located, I hope it will be a pleasure to purchase through them because I'm very protective of your experience when you do anything Madrona Labs-related. So please keep me posted.

tl;dr: simply click the following button to...

Get that sweet Aalto T-shirt!

A form will pop up to enter your size, then a second page lets you select your shipping and payment options. I've set up shipping for North America and Europe. Shipping rates should be as follows: USA: $5 (first shirt) / $1 (each addl.) Canada: $8 / $1. Mexico: $10 / $1. Europe: $9 / $5. If you can't find your country on the form, give me a shout and I'll see if I can add it. Enjoy!

NOTE: The European shipping rates include the VAT of $4 per shirt.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
by Randy Jones

Soundplane version 1.6 update

Another Soundplane software update is available. This release is recommended for all Soundplane owners. It's coming out hot on the heels of the 1.5 version in order to fix a problem that some users were having under Mac OS 10.10.

To keep up with Apple's code-signing recommendations I'm now distributing the application as a signed .dmg file. Just drag the Soundplane app to the Applications shortcut to install in typical Mac fashion.

Finally, latency is also decreased with this version, for the first time since the initial release! I hesitate to throw out precise numbers yet, because latency measurements are hard to do right. Roughly speaking, an underlying isochronous USB layer that added 10–20 milliseconds of latency previously is now down to just a few ms. I'm looking forward to doing some accurate tests. Maybe this will make a cool movie?

For those of you who write computer program and are doing things like compiling Soundplane apps for Linux, the C++ API is now settled down, so that you won't have to keep up with any further changes for a long while. As always the code is available on github: https://github.com/madronalabs/soundplane

Direct link: Soundplane 1.6.0.dmg, 5.9MB

version 1.6 changes:

  • improved isochronous USB driver: lower latency, allows restart after pausing app
  • fixed an issue selecting cleanest carriers after "select carriers"
  • now distributing as signed .dmg
  • fixed a possible crash on shutdown

Stay tuned for a maintenance update of Aalto, Kaivo and Virta very shortly.

Friday, November 03, 2017
by Randy Jones

Soundplane software version 1.5.0 release

I've finished version 1.5.0 of the Soundplane software. This release is recommended for all Soundplane owners. It fixes some possible crashes and has an entirely rewritten touch tracker, almost a year in development. The benefits of this new tracker should be obvious as soon as you play it!

Direct link: Soundplane 1.5.0.zip, 5.9MB

version 1.5 changes:

  • new touch tracker algorithm:
    • consumes much less CPU
    • improved latency
    • improved pressure sensitivity
    • improved pressure uniformity
    • improved position accuracy
    • allows better tracking into corners
    • lengthy normalization step no longer required
    • fixed hanging touches
  • fix Kyma connection
  • improve selection of lowest-noise carrier set
  • fix a possible crash when switching zone presets
  • fixed a window-related crash on shutdown
  • fixed latency issue when in background for an extended time

In case you missed it, you can see me playing a Satie piece using the new software here:

I'm taking on some "real pieces" in addition to improvising, to feel out what changes will make the next model of Soundplane the best instrument we can make it.

The documentation does not reflect many aspects of the new software yet. Please post in the forums or email me anytime if you have questions.

Thursday, August 10, 2017
by Randy Jones

Summer sale 2017

Dear music makers,

In appreciation for your support, we are having a summer sale this year. Use the code MRJACKPOTS on any of the product pages to get 25% off any Madrona Labs plugin. From now through August 20.

photo: @photoboothkt

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
by Randy Jones

Kaivo 1.3.3 beta available

I've fixed a few issues and uploaded a new beta version for intrepid Kaivo users: Kaivo1.3.3b1.

This beta is for Mac OS only. I plan to ship the final Mac version as well as the Windows version next week. I'll also update the other plugins with the relevant fixes then.

changes:

  • bugfix: the sequencer was not retriggering from reset input
  • bugfix: .kbm mappings were not always using all notes
  • bugfix: .kbm mappings were not setting reference note properly
  • fixed a rare condition where the metal string resonator could lock up

If you noticed any changes in how your patches behaved after installing Kaivo 1.3.1, hopefully the sequencer fix will get them back in shape.

Friday, July 14, 2017
by Randy Jones

Soundplane 1.5 beta available

For the last few months I've been working on a brand new way of extracting touches from the Soundplane pressure data. I'm very happy to send out the first public demo of that work today, as Soundplane 1.5.0b1.

The new touch tracker algorithm is a fundamentally new approach, and fixes small but annoying inconsistencies that players had to work around with the old one. Some of these showed up as stuck notes, or lingering phantom notes that would follow a touch.

I've been playing my Soundplane a lot while working on this. Now, when the sounds aren't right, I'm finding more often it's a problem with where my fingers are and not the software. So I'm very happy to switch my focus a bit more from algorithm development to practising!

Soft touches are no longer subject to a time-varying rejection filter, and should feel much more stable and less spongy. Positions of touches should be more accurate and consistent. Adjacent touches should maintain their positions better over a range of pressure.

Generally speaking, the new algorithm uses spatial filtering in a lot of places where the old one used temporal filtering. So latency should be much better, and in general it should reflect whatever your fingers are doing right now, which is kinds the point. Read on for details.