very pessimistic aleph question

  • Sorry to be so negative, but i'm wondering if when i get my aleph, will it be able to do much at all?
    I keep reading all the reports of bugs, corrupted sd cards, etc.
    I'm not a programmer at all. I'm thinking i've gotten in way over my head with a device that is still in alpha stage.

    Realistically, will i be able to do much if anything with my aleph when it arrives, or will it be some time down the road before it's a usable device?

    No flames please, this is just an honest inquiry wondering how viable of a tool this is for a dumb guy? And i'm happy to wait until it works, i do hope to learn Bees and possibly even navigate github. This all seems not very user friendly to me at this point though.


  • understandable sentiment

    i also consider myself dumb (with regard to computer tech) and have absolutely no background in programming

    tehn + the monome gang will likely have something to say but i'll give my honest opinion on a few issues you've brought up

    1. "when i get my aleph, will it be able to do much at all?" simple answer: yes. the factory settings provide a really entertaining synth that works with grid devices. i guess it really depends what you intend on "doing". if you want go beyond the default module & scene to create new networks OR download scenes from other this stage, you might not actually be able to "do much"

    2. "how viable of a tool this is for a dumb guy?" its been a bit frustrating while we all figure this thing out, and to observers and users alike there's, perhaps, a haze of uncertainty surrounding aleph.

    despite this feeling of being in uncharted water, i am now completely certain that i can handle BEES and because it is vastly more flexible than i imagined, i will have a wide range of possibilities open to me without a single line of code. that is easily the most encouraging and surprising thing about my time with aleph so far. in that sense it fully lives up to the hype (as non-developer friendly)

    maybe i'm rambling now but if you have more specific questions i'd be glad to answer

  • i'm having a lot of fun just with lines which is a really fantastic delay. i mostly use trent's dub scene as a starting point and then change around the encoder assignments to various parameters and see what happens..very easy to do and you can still get a wide range of delays, feedback clouds and other effects just from that. i haven't used waves as much mostly because 'this' scene lost compatability with the latest build.

    i haven't found the bugs and glitches to be too much of a problem, if you run into one you check the forum and there's usually an update or workaround posted pretty quickly. however i am finding programming on the aleph itself to be very slow going, part of it might be getting used to the naming conventions and what all the parameters are, but truthfully i'm also finding that trying to write any kind of complex multi-operator expressions using a small screen and knobs to be pretty cumbersome. what i'd really love to see (and might be in the works?) is a computer app for writing bees patches, similar to Shbobo Fish, where you can drag bees operators from a palette onto a workspace, connect them together and when you're done save the whole scene to the SD card and put it in the aleph..and then just use the aleph interface for small changes to the scene while playing, parameter tweaking etc. I'm not sure if that's what's envisioned and its just early days or if the intent is in fact to do all the programming directly on the box but i know for me that is the paradigm that would be most productive.

    in summary i'm quite happy with the aleph - the sound quality of both waves and lines is outstanding and they both seem deep enough to make a lot of unique and interesting music with. my only reservation is that i don't like being dependent on other folks to make scenes - i want to make my own! and i have some ideas that i'm dying to try but i just can't come to grips with working with bees yet.

  • @meatus this is a tangent, but, a visual editor is in the works

    alot of us are anticipating the fish-like level of control you describe

  • I'm enjoying my Aleph and I was SUPER Frustrated for the first day or so. But they have been quickly updating stuff and after a few tutorials I'm starting to get the hang of it. I imagine the next few batches will be easier to start on then the 1st batch owners. I've had Dubs running for hours so I know it can be a very stable platform. Right now all the posts are about bugs, and such, cause we are all just starting from scratch. Soon you see videos and more audio of this thing...It does cool stuff.

    What was it that made you decide to order it?

  • love the box. only gonna get better from here.

  • I can relate to the doubts and concerns but have to say that the help I have received so far was spot on and quite quick although there is a tricky time difference to where I live. I would be frustrated if the box remains what it is since I do not use a grid controller nor am in need for a delay but the current "out of the box" patches are still quite promising enough and fun. They make me confident about the things to come. Also I have only very little experience in max, pd and supercollider and also hope that there will be a visual editor, more thorough tutorials what which operator could be used for, etc. Maybe a general pointer could help, e.g. "look at these PD or Supercollider tutorials"? Not sure.

    Reading the forum helps for general issues and pointers.

    Also, I understand that the production delays caused delays on the editor and deeper tutorials, too. Also, the existing tutorials are well structured. Thanks, guys.

    And last but not least: the box is lovely and it is fun to use it (the menu navigation is easy once you get the hang of it) and as c1t1zen I also can say that dubs is rock solid.

    In short: another happy owner.

  • this is a great thread btw. positive thinking only gets you so far. ;-)

    1. the aleph is a sound computer .
    2. a computer is only as good as its software.
    3. software is only as good as the community that uses and supports it.

    i think the aleph has 1 and 3 already nailed and 2 will follow in time. I would not expect a $1400 synth/looper/effector experience right out of the box for a few weeks at least. but i fully believe that (even for a non-programmer) the aleph will eventually exceed (for example) an octatrack in terms of variety and creativity of functionality.

    my humble recommendation for those who are not ready to work with an unfinished creation, is to try the aleph a little, follow the tutorials, get a feel for it but as soon as you hit a wall, stop. definitely don't bang at it to the point of frustration because the problem will probably be fixed in a week.

  • we're in at an early phase of something quite different, but as the other comments say waves and lines are very versatile. i'm very pleased with mine and am convinced by what i've seen to date that aleph will be able to do a lot of the things i hoped for and more. it can be frustrating at the early days of something like this but also very exciting. i'm sure there'll be some new modules appearing soon.

  • Thanks for the responses, i'm somewhat encouraged that i'll be able to get mine to make sounds!

  • what imagined use do you have for aleph?

    a lot of the experience will be shaped by expectations, coupled with availability of information/personal time. after a couple hours of tinkering and head scratching, it seems like the aleph will shape up to be interesting enough without needing to write modules/operators..

    and perhaps developing software for the aleph 'won't be too much of a chore.'

  • i am following the various threads here about Aleph, and my conclusion (at least for now) is that i am perfectly glad that i did not buy it. For the price (very steep for me), so far i do not see/hear $1400 worth of output... i get that it is all about the potential, and the future etc. but i just don't have this much money that i can park on a "potential".

    This could all change the next day, but reading the constant stream of issues, problems and listening to the very few examples what people (other than the official release video) get out of the device, does not feel extremely inspiring.

    I really want to be proven wrong about all this. In reality, i was much more excited and inspired by the discussion about what Aleph COULD be before it was released, and much less so about what it (at this point) is.

    Hopefully my sentiment does not come across as rude or insensitive, but the tenor of this thread made me think that this was the right context to share my perspective, as someone who was/is keenly interested in this device and the entire monome lineage.


  • well, i just played a set with the thing on monday in LA, it felt and sounded great as i'm sure those in the room can attest.

    sorry i'm not more into making "demos." i tend to want to spend that kind of effort on preparing my performances, which are liable to incorporate more than one sound source! i will try and post more scenes as soon as i get a break from dev (which is never!)

    people should use the tools they need, its fine if you don't want to spend $ on something like this.

  • hey!

    all you LA monome kids, go to some of ezra shows and post footage :)


  • FWIW i thought that the official release video was lovely, and the viola playing fantastic!


  • @blungo i would say that shipped stuff will be much more conveniently usable come end of feb. a lot of these bugs are regressions - my fault - resulting from stuffing way too much functionality into the thing immediately before shipping. i think we could have used another week or two of testing and development after the production delays, but that's what happened.

    This weekend is the namm show, which is a big deadline for people in the industry. We should have a little more professional dev attention coming online in the next week. I have been hoping for more assistance in c development for a while - truly, it is not a 1-person job! But things are progressing rapidly nevertheless.

    General stability on the current (initial) feature set is starting to come together with the last couple revisions. The feedback on this site is an extremely valuable resource, and should be regarded as such, not as a sign of trouble.

    I'm really looking forward to being able to switch gears to more feature development on the DSP side, implementing all those dead parameters. (filter param slew is audibly necessary in some of these sound examples yall are posting!) Also would like to get the non-bees apps back in shape as thy are much easier to use, and to develop IMO.

    I'm not saying this out of defensiveness, but I don't understand statements like "$x worth output." How much is a sound worth? How exactly does a choice of sound reflect on the instrument, versus the composer? I'll say that this is a deep and flexible instrument; none of us have come close to mastering it, in fact most people here are just taking their very first steps. The buggyness of the initial release hasn't helped, but thats why I'm spending all these hours on it - to improve the experience for the 2nd batch.


  • ahhhhh.....just started interfacing the aleph with other instruments. it's insane.

    for the first couple of experiments i was solely using the internal dsp and listening to the wavetable oscillators. while learning my way around the bees environment i was thinking, "damn, this is intense." from the get go one can make all sorts of unique and interesting scenes with the currently available operators.

    now, after plugging aleph into stuff and plugging stuff into aleph. my brain is melting, mind shards are all over the floor and walls and ceiling and sky now. !!!

  • this instrument is so deep and early adoption is challenging cause we're dealing with many unknowns. really, the experience hasn't been at all problematic...mad inspiring!

  • yeah don't forget that everyone is brand new at this so of course there's a learning curve going on and any demos that get posted are going to reflect that. have you ever listened to the demos people post when they first get a modular synth? not too impressive either..

    however what's clear to me after just the first few days is that the sound quality of the aleph is absolutely terrific and that is by far the most important factor.. the rest will come in time.

  • "just started interfacing the aleph with other instruments. it's insane."

    so true

    i'm reeling from the session last night and it was merely "plugging aleph into stuff"...tonight i'll try aleph cv into a few more devices and definitely "plugging stuff into aleph" for audio/cv/midi games

  • @zebra "The feedback on this site is an extremely valuable resource, and should be regarded as such, not as a sign of trouble..."

    i'm glad you said this cause its been very helpful to me and it COULD have been handled differently (more private, but less helpful)

  • Yes the "normal" way would be to hire testers and do all the alpha bug reports in secret, I guess. And have investors and managers. This way is not that way.

  • i think i should clarify that what i meant as "output" was not necessarily about the quality of music, but rather a cumulative response to the instrument/device that appeared here. So, everything from user comments, to reports of difficulties, to "demos", and finally the actual music, of which we see very very little. in other words ALL the things that we all look at when trying to assess a usefulness of any given tool/device/instrument before we make a purchase. Price (unfortunately) is a factor in this process... if something costs $100 I will be more likely to just buy it and try for myself. This is clearly the best way to make an informed decision whether something is useful in my practice or not. But if something is signifficantly more expensive, one has to look for information in other ways, which i described above.
    i am not a big fan of "demos" either, but i will not deny their usefulness in asessing at least SOME degree of usefulness of the item that one can not put their hands on directly.

    I want to reiterate, that my comment was not at all concerning the quality, or god forbid VALUE of a sound. Even if i tried, I would not know how to go about that.

    Some years ago i visited Orfield Labs, which in addition to housing "the quietest room in the world" develops sounds for industrial design. They design, then focus group test various sounds for commercial products: like what sound does a toaster make when the toast pops up, or the clicking of the jog wheel on the older iPods etc. And part of the discussion centered around exactly this subject: the value of sound. the object of the process being the development of something that sounded expensive, and to avoid sounds that felt cheap... So, i personally don't think this way, but i guess others seem to have some ideas as to how sound translates into $$$s

  • ok, points taken...

  • thank you for your understanding! :-)

  • "if one person says it's too expensive, that's the truth for them, and if another says it's worth it, that's the truth for them." this

    i thought it would sell out on announcement day...but that assumption was based on how valuable it is me

    every persons' setup/taste/expectations are different

  • @gli i thought it would sell out immediately as well: was waiting in front of my laptop on the release day, googlewallet in hand, ready to roll. Until i saw the numbers, and then had to calm down and re-think.
    Adopted the wait-and-see strategy.
    Am still poised, eyes and ears peeled...

  • @ zebra, thanks! So is late Feb. the expected release date for the next batch of Alephs?

    And to be clear, i think karaokaze put it very well, I at least never intended any kind of critique of the Aleph, but was/am really curious what I'll be able to with it initially. To be honest, I was hoping that it would arrive with some mixing/looping and drum synthesis capabilities initially.

  • drumsyn app is very good but i need a breather to get it (back to) working, maybe this week?. lines does a ton of mixing and looping. delivery schedule is up to tehn

  • Thanks! I'm looking forward to working with the drum synth.
    I know this has been asked before, but any chance of a somewhat mlr like sample cutting app being bundled with the aleph? I realize it might only be able to accomadate very small samples, but that's fine with me. Or is that something for the community at large to develop?

  • i just got an octatrack and damn the interface on it is CONVOLUTED! There are dozens and dozens of cryptic key combinations that need to be remembered to do really basic stuff. Don't get me wrong, its a powerful machine and i will work with it until its a useful tool (luckily i have that kind of personality but that also means less time for actual music making, doh!). but i've spent 2 full days with it and its 200-page manual and i still don't see any logical structure underneath its so-called UI. trigless trigs and trigless locks anyone? it's a mess. i still have yet to create anything interesting with it. in fact i still struggle to get sound out of the darn thing sometimes.

    However with the aleph+bees combination, albeit buggy at the moment, there is just a few basic principles to remember and you can generally figure out the rest from there. everything is logical and neatly modularized (operators, yay!). there is only a few pages of tutorials and a few more pages to describe bees and its operators and some of the modules and already people are creating there own stuff despite the uncertainty caused by the concurrent releases. not to mention that bees is not the entire story. there is going to be even more specialized apps coming out as time goes on! rest assured, that aleph+community is worth much more than $1400. it's a bargain actually.

    just food for thought. i hope this comparison would help keep things in perspective.

  • I don't think it was ever a question of whether I would get an aleph, it was always a question of when. If there was an mlr type app, I'd have already gotten it but I'm selfishly waiting for it to mature before picking one up. Probably sooner than later since there was NOTHING at NAMM that got close to my interest level in the aleph. Sometimes I feel bad that I can't contribute more to the community that's given me so many amazing apps on the monome, but at the moment all I can do is give a bunch of virtual high fives. And @kotdotnot is spot on, in the grand scheme of things, it will turn out to be a bargain. Oh man, I knew I had to sell the octatrack when I came across the section in the manual on trigless trigs haha.

  • hello everyone, and thank you for the very constructive feedback. I'm in much agreement with the sentiments here and appreciate the understanding.

    the aleph has been on overwhelming undertaking, ezra and I are certainly guilty of being over ambitious, but I'm quite excited that the world allowed us to produce this exotic machine, thanks to the support of this community. it only gets better from here.

    the aleph really has existed for less than two weeks. it was certainly a rash decision to ship the first 30 when we did, and I apologize for the frustration. but I also feel like the feedback has allowed us to make a huge jump forward very quickly. it also ridiculously coincided with a talk and show abroad, I was more disconnected than I expected to be. I'm back now and have a bunch of new code to add and energy to contribute (and give ezra a break!)

    the final components are still held up, I just heard that the new ship date is feb 3, and we will need a few days once they arrive.

    new units will ship with the most recent builds and updated docs.

    again, many many thanks.

  • Thanks! Looking forward to the updated version.