Madrona Labs Soundplane Now Available For $1,695

Madrona Labs has announced that the Soundplane A – a new computer music controller – is now available for order:

The Soundplane A is a computer music controller with the sensitivity and feel of an acoustic instrument. It detects a wide range of touches on its walnut playing surface, from a light tickle to a very firm press. The Soundplane A can be configured as either a 150-note keyboard with position and pressure sensing on each key, or as one continuous surface.

The playing surface is a material custom developed for us, an articulated sheet of walnut veneer bonded to a fiber backing for strength. The case is milled out of alder, a sustainably harvested Northwest hardwood. We have sourced all of the construction locally and test and assemble Soundplanes by hand here in Seattle. The entire instrument is about 28 inches wide by 8 inches deep by 1 inch thick.

Included with the Soundplane is Aalto for Soundplane, a custom, signal-driven version of our patchable software synthesizer. The Soundplane client software can send MIDI and OSC messages to control other software and hardware.

Madrona is taking ‘preorders’ for the Soundplane A, priced at $1,695. Thirty instruments will be made available in the initial run. After the initial run, Madrona plans to raise the price.

The video above captures people experimenting with the prototype Madrona Soundplane at Decibel 2011.

14 thoughts on “Madrona Labs Soundplane Now Available For $1,695

  1. very nice controller.
    But the price is ridiculous.
    It’s probably a sign of times,
    but manufacturers seem to have lost their touch
    with reality.

  2. No, no, no! I really wanted this to be affordable! I mean, jeez, that’s almost the price of a Prophet ’08 for crying out loud!

    And yet it’s only a fraction of the price of a Continuum.

  3. Hello folks,

    I feel your pain, but the Soundplane A is expensive to make. The price simply cannot be significantly less if I’m going to support myself and continue to make more Soundplanes.

    You have to realize there are a lot of people to whom $1695 is not a big deal. Sound designers in the industry will not hesitate to buy a tool at this price if it can help them get their work done faster, better or more enjoyably. If I keep doing things right, these people will drive my initial sales, and eventually allow me to make less expensive instruments for more people. I know it can be frustrating, but it’s the way things go.

    Madrona Labs

    1. I do understand, it’s not that. Good things nearly always cost money.

      It’s just that the Soundplane is a beautiful instrument and looks really inspiring to use. And I was kind of entertaining hopes of being able to purchase one for myself in the near future.

      Well, better start saving.

    2. I wasn’t complaining about the price – that’s how much it is and for a piece of future tech (and it’s intended user) it is not so pricey at all – I was complaining about my lack of money 🙂

      On the other hand Aalto is very reasonably priced – so thanks for that!

    3. Randy

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I’d argue that people have been paying $1000+ for handcrafted instruments for years, so why should synthesists settle on $150 control keyboards?

      The price is clearly a concern for some readers, though. Any chance of a smaller, more affordable version of this down the road?

  4. I got me a 37 key with lots of knobs, sliders, and buttons that works perfect for sound design…for $100. How much of an improvement would this be at $1600 more? With a price inflation coming in the future??? On a business front, why would a company with one product and one on the way need us to support themselves? Initially that should be on investors to get the cash to get the products out, of which only one is a physical product, and in that have you seriously quit your day job and banked the future of supporting yourself on a niche product with not much interest outside of that of a commodity?

    It shouldnt be on consumers to bankroll your operation, its only their job to support a well made, affordable product which catches their fancy of which,as stated, you may or may not deliver depending on whether 30 rich people with, what is to most world at the moment, about a month’s pay of the standard consumer in disposable income… Essentially stated, its designed for the wealthy rather than the artist, thats the way it is…deal. Capitalism at its finest.

  5. Make your own, kids. Paint it with walnut veneer paint, put method on Instructables or YouTube. Be creative.

  6. I played with the prototype at Decibel last week, and it is an amazing thing to lay hands on. Don’t compare it with an injection molded keyboard, it is a finely crafted wooden control surface. It isn’t a binary monome-like device either, it can detect multiple touches and records independent pressure for them all. If you want to think of this as a keyboard, keep the polyphonic aftertouch in mind. Good luck finding that for under $2k, if at all!

    It isn’t cheap. It isn’t an impulse buy. It is an amazing creative tool. I’ll be setting aside money until I can afford one.

  7. I got a few minutes on the SoundPlane at Decibel as well, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more responsive and expressive sound interface… it’s quite simply beautiful, in appearance, construction and playability.

    I think that what Madrona Labs is up to, their approach to how they program their software, and build their hardware is to be commended. They’ve obviously put a lot of love into their gear.

  8. I also got to demo the Soundplane at Decibel this year and it is simply amazing. The pressure sensitivity on each and every touch is beyond accurate and the ability to have and x/y control on every key is very inspirational for control routing. The instrument is a work of art and more than a joy to use. I am definitely getting my finances in order over here 🙂 so worth the money, there is nothing else out there like this!!

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