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Madrona Labs Aalto

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News Madrona Labs Aalto

Virtual Modular Synth from Madrona Labs

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Aalto is a new semi-modular software synthesizer with a patchable UI, distinctive sounds, and it is out now as an Audio Unit plugin for MacOS X.

Aalto's sound engine is designed to let you create sounds that have been difficult or impossible to make with softsynths before now, Madrona says. The heart of Aalto is a Buchla-inspired complex oscillator, with FM, timbre and waveshape controls designed to enable a wide range of expressive sounds. These sounds are described as “malleable and alive, ” in part because they are made with dynamic calculation, not static wavetables.


Aalto is designed as much for sequencing patterns as for playing individual notes. Each voice has a separate, built-in sequencer with a patchable, independently controllable rate and offset that make it easy to achieve evolving, chaotic textures.

Each voice also includes a lowpass gate module with a vactrol emulation in the control path. The vactrol equation slows down the response to incoming control signals through a complex nonlinear filter. You can turn the vactrol response down to instantaneous, or up to a pronounced ring.

Following the lowpass gate is a patchable waveguide / delay module with a waveshaper and a peaking EQ built into the feedback loop. Because it has such short and controllable delay times, unlike a typical analog delay, it can be used as an additional oscillator or waveguide, the company indicates.


Aalto’s filter is a state-variable topology with mixable simultaneous outputs, tuned to have a similar range to an Oberheim SEM filter.

For more details, visit Madrona Labs.
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