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The Aalto Synthesizer and PatchDump.com


      
      

      
      
      
        
      
    
Blog Post: 

The past few weeks, in my spare time, I've been playing with a software synthesizer called the Aalto, from Madrona Labs.  It's modeled after a Buchla synthesizer, which is probably out of the price range for most of us.  The Aalto is $100 USD, which is reasonable for the rich and textured sound this software creates.  It's modeled after a modular synth, but it's not fully modular - it's hardwired at certain points, but you still have the patching and tweaking of a modular.  This is my first real exploration of modular synths aside from the MS2000 on my iPad, which I probably spent 30 minutes on.   I've spent well over 10 hours playing with the Aalto in Logic - creating patches from scratches and connecting with the community.

You can plug parts of the synth into other parts and regulate how much they affect each other.  There are also little meters inside the knobs which show how your patch cables are affecting your settings - it really helps in visualizing what you've done.

A few years ago, I had put up a site to explore an idea I had for sharing patches for software or hardware - any musical at all.  But I think that was a bit ambitious and didn't really promote it.  The security risks sharing files is enough to make me hesitant.  The Aalto uses XML to store patches, which is just a text file, perfect for sharing on the internet.  I installed the newest version of my favorite CMS for this sort of thing and began tweaking the site for Aalto patch sharing.  There are a few users on it now with some pretty excellent patches and it will hopefully get some support from the creator of the synth - he seems to be a one man shop and can probably use a little support in his endeavours.  PatchDump.com is up now for Aalto patch sharing - hope to see you there with your patches.  You can hear my most recent Aalto creations on my soundcloud account