Madrona Labs has released version 1.7 of Aalto, bringing MPE support to the semi-modular synthesizer instrument for Windows and Mac.
MPE stands for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression. It’s a way of using MIDI to transmit the rich, per-note expressive performances that instruments like the Haken Continuum, Seaboard, Linnstrument and of course our own Soundplane are capable of. Geert Bevin, longtime Eigenharp player and currently a software developer at Moog Music, lead the charge on this effort, and I thank him for moving things forward. You can find Geert’s post with the MPE specifications here: [expressiveness.org]
Many smart and experienced people, including all us makers of new and ambitious controllers, looked over a draft of this spec and contributed changes. MPE makes sense, is easy to implement, and should be very useful. With its addition Aalto becomes one of a just a few great sound makers out there for per-note expression. I am hotly anticipating more Linnstrument+Aalto, Seaboard+Aalto sounds.
Soundplane owners have always had a great connection to Aalto over OSC. But the big deal for the Soundplane is that now, while we are still waiting for the OSC-based composition environment of our dreams, we can use ordinary DAWs to record and edit an entire Soundplane performance.
Aalto version 1.7 also brings improved Soundplane compatibility with MIDI patches, optimized animation drawing, and bug fixes. MPE support in Kaivo synthesizer will follow next month with other changes.
Aalto (VST/AU) is available for purchase for $99 USD. The version 1.7 update is a free for Aalto users.