Aalto is a synthesizer plugin from Madrona Labs that supports MPE instruments like the Lightpad and Seaboard Block. This guide will show you how to set up Aalto to respond to the Lightpad and Seaboard Blocks' 5D Touch.

ROLI Dashboard Settings

  • Connect your Blocks and launch ROLI Dashboard
  • If you're using a Lightpad Block, load the "Note Grid" app and then click the "Edit" button.
  • Ensure that the MIDI Settings in ROLI Dashboard are set as shown below.

We have selected:

  • MIDI Mode: MPE
  • MPE Zone: Lower
  • No. MIDI Channels: 15
  • Pitch bend range: 48 semitones

Setting Aalto to Respond to Lightpad and Seaboard Blocks

Aalto is a plugin rather than a standalone application, so you'll need to load it within a digital audio workstation that supports multiple MIDI channels per track (for example, Bitwig, Cubase, or Logic).

Once you've loaded Aalto into a DAW that supports multiple MIDI channels per track, open up Aalto.

  • Click on the Settings icon and change "Input protocol" to "MIDI MPE."
  • Under "KEY" change bend to match Dashboard's pitch bend range, 48 semitones, so that Aalto responds accurately to Glide.
  • after ("aftertouch") receives the Blocks' Press dimension of touch.
  • vel receives the Blocks' Strike dimension of touch.
  • is by default connected to MIDI CC74 when Aalto is in MPE mode and thus responds to the Blocks' Slide dimension of touch.
  • Aalto does not respond to Lift (release velocity).

Now you can assign these sources to modulate the parameters of your choice in your Aalto preset.

If you'd like to use the Lightpad RISE Controllers app or other MIDI CC app with Aalto:

  • In Aalto, set mod cc# to the MIDI CC number in Dashboard of the controller you'd like to use. For instance, the default CC number of the left Touch Fader is CC107, so you may simply set mod cc# to 107.
  • x is by default connected to MIDI CC73 when Aalto is in MPE mode, so to use the X axis of the XY Touchpad simply in Dashboard assign the X axis of XY Touchpad to CC73. If you'd like to use the Y axis, you may use its default value in Dashboard, CC114, and assign Aalto's mod cc# to 114.
  • Connect the mod and x modulation sources to the destinations of your choice.

An Aalto preset set to respond to the Seaboard's dimensions of touch and the RISE's XY Touchpad
An Aalto preset set to respond to Blocks' dimensions of touch and the RISE Controller's XY Touchpad

Aalto presets can be processor-intensive, so if you hear glitches make sure that your DAW's buffer size is set high enough.