Beats In A Box

By Andrew Lentz Published November 3, 2009

Ableton and Cycling ’74 are pleased to announce the release of Max for Live, the long-awaited product that puts the power and potential of Max/MSP inside Live. Co-developed by Ableton and Cycling '74 over a period of more than two years, Max for Live effectively opens up the Live platform, allowing users to create and edit their own devices.

Users are free to create whatever they can think of: unique synths and effects, algorithmic composition tools, or hybrid hardware/software music machines. Devices created with Max for Live are seamlessly integrated into Live's interface and workflow, just like the "home-grown" Ableton instruments and effects.

Max for Live is a chance to join a society of makers and share ingenuity, and an essential product for all musicians and producers who want more than the conventional and predictable.

For those not interested in building their own devices, Max for Live is still an interesting opportunity. It includes a collection of premium instruments and effects, pre-made and ready to use alongside Live's native devices. But more interestingly, once the builders start building, even passive Max for Live users will potentially have access to countless innovative new tools.

The Max for Live Package includes . . .

*Step Sequencer -- Play up to four concurrent sequences, each with up to 16 steps. It also features adjustable step size and step probability, sequence shift buttons (up, down, left, right), a "random" mode and comprehensive real-time MIDI options.

* Buffer Shuffler -- This audio effect "shuffles" incoming audio by buffering the audio, then replaying it in whatever order you've specified. Each channel of the stereo signal can be shuffled with different patterns (unlike Beat Repeat) and there is also a "dice" mode that randomizes the shuffle pattern at each bar crossing.

* Loop Shifter -- A creative loop playback device. Uses MIDI notes as triggers for playback states, each MIDI note representing one such "state": a combination of playback rate, loop points and filter settings. Plus "morphing" transition between states, auto-mapping system and "auto-play" mode that randomly chooses MIDI notes for automatic state selection.

* Pluggo for Live -- More than 40 devices from the Pluggo collection. These include audio effects and instruments, all re-built and optimized for use within Live.

* Tools, building blocks and tutorials -- Numerous new MIDI and audio effects, ranging from common studio utilities like graphic EQs to creative MIDI utilities such as humanizers. Plus "Building Blocks" - each carefully annotated to help you learn how they were made, as an introduction to Max programming.

* Button matrix step sequencer -- Turns the button matrix of the APC40 or Launchpad into a hardware interface for programming MIDI sequences.

* Official Live API -- Provides programmers with access to some of the inner workings of Live, including tracks, clips, notes, names and values, selection states and more. This API also provides access to controller hardware via Live, for creating new mappings that can completely repurpose a hardware device.

Key features:

* Create audio effects, MIDI effects and instruments.

* Includes Ableton Live API to control Live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, notes, loops, parameters etc.

* Extend hardware devices: provides objects to access any hardware controllers that are connected to Live.

* Includes a specialized version of Max from Cycling '74 (Please note: does not run independently of Max for Live).

* Comes with a selection of ready-to-use devices for audio and MIDI processing, algorithmic composition, real-time performance and hardware control.

* Devices keep playing in Live while they are being edited

* Flexible user interface design: includes a collection of Live interface elements and other UI objects.

* Includes hundreds of built-in Max objects for logic, MIDI, scripting, audio and video processing.

* Supports video synthesis and animation via "Jitter" objects.

* Includes step-by-step tutorials for learning to program with Max for Live.

System requirements: Max for Live requires Ableton Live 8. Max for Live is available from the Ableton web shop on http://www.ableton.com and from selected music retailers. $299 .

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