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Max/MSP
Tips Tricks Suggestions Max/MSP & Music Production

Max/MSP

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#1 Adieu

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

So I'm looking into getting some more software to augment my creative process. I'm a complete noob when it comes to Max and a lot of DAW's as well.

 

Is this the only way to get my hands on it and is there a cheaper alternative?

 

http://cycling74.com/products/max/

 

I also want to use it with this because it seems interesting.

 

http://www.dynamicto...m/spectools.htm (also just logging this because I'm about to reformat today)

 

I  want to get Reaktor eventually as well.

 

Do you think Reason + Reaktor + Max = a decent workflow? Is there overlap here?

 

Suggestions for freeware/cheaper versions of Reaktor and Max are welcome as well.

 

I was also considering getting Recycle for more sound processing capabilities.

 

All comments, opinions, rants, rambles, are welcome.

 

 
Thanks.


#2 Polymershapes

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:23 PM

the breakdown of communication:  pd. dont need recycle unless you're 

p. d. 

supercollisions. 

power duck. 



#3 joshuatx

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

Do you code or program at all? I don't and therefore it doesn't appeal to me. That's my superficial first point.

 

Second, there's Max for Live as well, if you use Ableton. Seems like a more user-friendly way of approaching programming languages for music, otherwise you should try Pure Data or Supercollider or another free alternative

 

To be completely honest, I respect and admire users of Max, but I highly doubt I'll ever mess with it. It's advanced as hell, and while many use Reaktor or Max patches made by others creatively from what I've read the actual programming can be tedious. I'd recommend exhausting DAWs, hardware synths, or software like Reason first. Or stick with Reaktor or Recycle if after demoing them if you like them. I highly doubt you need Reason + Max + Reaktor, etc.

 

Also, while I know AE and Squarepusher have used both Max and Reaktor, keep in mind that was after they used other programs, and before that, a variety of hardware. They also experimented extensively to find new sounds in general. 


Edited by joshuatx, 28 December 2012 - 01:40 PM.


#4 Adieu

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:02 PM

I don't get your Recycle comment Polymer...

 

I understand that my questioning comes without fully understanding the complete purpose and capability of each piece of software, but I'm using the forum to forgo the necessity of doing lots of research.  I personally would rather jump into something and figure it out as I go.

 

I need something where I can cut up samples and then load them into the Reason samplers and make them my own.  I know you can kind of do this in Reason itself and I haven't pushed the limits of it yet, but I think Recycle would help with things like time-stretching and also remixing tracks. I think I could use Reason to do remixes, but I'm not sure how easy it will be. 

 

I also want to do some spectral mapping stuff sort of in the same style as "Synthacon 9" and "The Manchester Track". 

 

That is what he is doing correct? I listened to S9 as intently as I possibly could and it sounds like the vocals were mapped so that they change pitch in a really rigid way with the music to create a harmony. It also makes the vocals unintelligible which is something with which I want to work. In a lot of my work I make patches that have vocal quality about them without the distraction of actually being vocals.

 

Right now I'm working on developing a process where I utilize both digital and hardware and I'm just trying to round everything out so my ideas aren't limited by software constraints.

 

I don't have much programming experience so I should probably hold off on Max until I have more time to really learn it inside and out, but I thought possibly even small instances of successful experimentation could be used in my workflow.

 

I think I just need something to process audio and then later I could get Reaktor for some synthesis fun.



#5 luke viia

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:12 PM

"I need something where I can cut up samples and then load them into the Reason samplers and make them my own [...] I think I just need something to process audio"

 
 
 


#6 luke viia

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:19 PM

also, if you're a noob to most daws, I suggest you just start to really learn the ins and outs of one that appeals to you before getting into the weirder patching software. unless you know what the daw can do natively, how ya gonna know what you need to patch up yourself?


Edited by luke viia, 28 December 2012 - 02:22 PM.


#7 Adieu

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

also, if you're a noob to most daws, I suggest you just start to really learn the ins and outs of one that appeals to you before getting into the weirder patching software. unless you know what the daw can do natively, how ya gonna know what you need to patch up yourself?

 

 

Well, I have a pretty good understanding of Reason although I have thoughts of ideas with which I need to experiment. I sort of know the things it does well naturally. Like, I said, I think that some of the audio processing and sample chopping stuff I can achieve through Reason, but I don't think I'll be able to really flex my muscles in that arena.  It also doesn't seem like the best way to do remixes either, but I've seen a couple techniques for getting it done. What I'm really looking for is to fill in the gaps between the programs with as little overlap as possible. You know an efficient workflow.

 

Also, Max and Reaktor seem to add a lot of different variations to workflow and experimentation that I feel I would enjoy and also learn quite a bit from. I'm definitely not at a point where I'm going to put Reason down though.  Even though a few people on this forum have been insisting that it is liming my music production. I've been using it so long that it is really second nature to me and I understand it so I'm not going to start all over on something like Ableton, FLS, or whatever.



#8 luke viia

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:51 PM

ah word, sorry I just got the impression that you weren't well versed in any daw in particular from your original post ("I'm a complete noob when it comes to Max and a lot of DAW's as well").  Carry on then dude, good luck!



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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:43 AM

if you get reaktor then you won't be getting the most out of it in a combination with Reason, where Reaktor shines (imo) is in VST form in a daw lthat hosts plugins and you will also get the satisfaction of hacking modular patches without needing to read dozens of wordy tutorials like you might need to do in max. I think you should be careful with whatever you choose and make sure you aren't gonna get suicidal later when you feel like you spent hundreds of dollars on software that just make you frustrated and give you inferiority complexes so EXHAUST THE DEMOs!



#10 Adieu

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 06:30 AM

Sound advice all around. thanks



#11 BCM

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:11 AM

Max/MSP is not a DAW or even strictly a music-making tool. it's a programming language. you have to code your own everything. it's not like you load it up and start dropping in amen breaks and 303 vsts. seen so many threads from "complete noobs" who seem to want to use it because autechrez and teh afex twins use it and I want to do that crazy drumz like they do. personally this annoys me.

#12 rst

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:21 PM

as a max fanatic myself i do of course love max & ive never regretted a single cent of the money (nor the countless hours) i spent on it, but--

 

try & get a clear idea of what you wanna do. if you wanna learn the ins & outs of dsp, theres no better starting point in my opinion. pd is free & open source & cool & all, but the learning curve will be even steeper, as the documentation & help is less organized. which brings me to the next point:

 

for me, coming from reason (i still use it as a rewire slave to max!) & live basically, it took about 1.5 years to realize what i had in mind (i didnt know WHAT i had in mind before, although i thought i did, but thats another story...). then again i make almost all of my effects/sound processors/samplers myself which is rather unusal (& sometimes bordering on the autistic). you can get decent stuff out of it in a couple of months i guess?

 

however, try it out. maybe its just what you want? max sure is perfect for stochastic/generative stuff. i love that since i find manual arranging tedious & boring! which on the other hand means giving away a bit of control...

trackers on the other hand-- i never got into them, which i regret. i guess if youre into that kind of workflow you can get ultra-complex structures while retaining control over everything in no time??!

 

dont know if that was any help at all. anyway, have fun!



#13 Adieu

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:41 PM

Max/MSP is not a DAW or even strictly a music-making tool. it's a programming language. you have to code your own everything. it's not like you load it up and start dropping in amen breaks and 303 vsts. seen so many threads from "complete noobs" who seem to want to use it because autechrez and teh afex twins use it and I want to do that crazy drumz like they do. personally this annoys me.

 

 

Well to be fair I'm probably being modest about my ability to use DAW's. I've been using Reason casually for 7 years or so.  My main reason for wanting to use Max is to learn more about synthesis and add a new element to my creative process.  Even if I never used anything I did in Max for my songs I feel it would make me a better artist. 

 

as a max fanatic myself i do of course love max & ive never regretted a single cent of the money (nor the countless hours) i spent on it, but--

 

try & get a clear idea of what you wanna do. if you wanna learn the ins & outs of dsp, theres no better starting point in my opinion. pd is free & open source & cool & all, but the learning curve will be even steeper, as the documentation & help is less organized. which brings me to the next point:

 

for me, coming from reason (i still use it as a rewire slave to max!) & live basically, it took about 1.5 years to realize what i had in mind (i didnt know WHAT i had in mind before, although i thought i did, but thats another story...). then again i make almost all of my effects/sound processors/samplers myself which is rather unusal (& sometimes bordering on the autistic). you can get decent stuff out of it in a couple of months i guess?

 

however, try it out. maybe its just what you want? max sure is perfect for stochastic/generative stuff. i love that since i find manual arranging tedious & boring! which on the other hand means giving away a bit of control...

trackers on the other hand-- i never got into them, which i regret. i guess if youre into that kind of workflow you can get ultra-complex structures while retaining control over everything in no time??!

 

dont know if that was any help at all. anyway, have fun!

 

^This.  I want to know everything I can.  



#14 zleep

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:44 AM

Reason + Reaktor + Max can be very good IMO, you can get a lot of interesting stuff if you know how to use reaktor and Max right, but that is the hardest part.

 

 

I have similar question on the Max Msp, I have been messing around Max for a while, but I still have the question: how do you use Max for making music?

 

things I tried:

 

processing sample, I made some simple granular processing patches but I found it doesn't sound good, I mean the sound quality, at least not as good as some dedicated samplers like machfive.

 

FFT, tried some FFT patches I found online, I'd say I am quite disappointed, doesn't sound good as well, I did adjust the bin size.  

 

Sequencer and midi stuff, this is the only thing I currently use Max for, step sequencer, midi automation, realtime control, generative midi note...

 

Can anyone provide any insight about what else Max can do for making music? Or prove the sample processing and FFT in Max can sound pretty good, I get the bad result only because my programing sucks?



#15 John Ehrlichman

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 04:26 AM

i too am disappointed by the FFT quality in Max/MSP. I was toying with it for years and never got the results i was looking for. 
Probably the best example of Max/msp in full effect is Tetsu Inoue's Yolo album. It's not musical in the traditional sense but he uses the DSP processing features of max to their fullest, taking advantage of the subtle edits and glitches you can get it from it with a lot of automation and sample tables.  As far as making more straight forward music with it, i don't think it's very good for that. You'd get a lot more mileage out of it using it in conjunction with Ableton via Max4live. 

I prefer for Reaktor for an actual musical approach, and i'll delve into Max usually only if i've hit a wall with Reaktor's processing abilities. For example Max has Jitter which opens up a whole world that Reaktor doesnt have, like using a webcam to process sound or turning visual data into sound and vice versa.

Edited by Awepittance, 31 December 2012 - 04:28 AM.


#16 Nil

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 07:18 AM

I'm looking into getting some more software to augment my creative process. 

 

Then I wouldn't go for Reaktor or Max.

 

You might end re-inventing the wheel instead of doing music.

 

In my humble opinion, limitations enhance creativity while endless possibilities annihilate it. If I were you I'd go with a pretty minimalist kit instead, and work its limitations.

 

I used Reason for 10 years, knew it upside down doing lots of weird CV/Combinator stuffs... and was considering switching to Max for years.

 

I finally went for Ableton Live / Five12 Numerology combo with very few yet carefully chosen synths and effects, and couldn't be happier.

 

Do you want to understand how a synth works and how to patch it to your will, or do you want to know how to code it ? These are 2 really different things IMO.


Edited by lin, 31 December 2012 - 07:19 AM.


#17 Polymershapes

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 07:22 AM

i love this here. good recommendation thanks. 

 


Probably the best example of Max/msp in full effect is Tetsu Inoue's Yolo album.


#18 slightlydrybeans

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:43 AM

I'm looking into getting some more software to augment my creative process. 

 

Then I wouldn't go for Reaktor or Max.

 

You might end re-inventing the wheel instead of doing music.

 

In my humble opinion, limitations enhance creativity while endless possibilities annihilate it. If I were you I'd go with a pretty minimalist kit instead, and work its limitations.

 

I used Reason for 10 years, knew it upside down doing lots of weird CV/Combinator stuffs... and was considering switching to Max for years.

 

I finally went for Ableton Live / Five12 Numerology combo with very few yet carefully chosen synths and effects, and couldn't be happier.

 

Do you want to understand how a synth works and how to patch it to your will, or do you want to know how to code it ? These are 2 really different things IMO.

ya I'm also going down that road now. IMO max is great only if you have a really specific idea of what you'd like to do with it. Other wise it's like buying a thesaurus to write a book. It won't give you any new ideas, but is great when you need to accomplish something specific. Autechre have gotten their style down to such a fine level that can benefit from that approach. 



#19 Adieu

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

All good info. Thanks guys.



#20 Ragnar

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

all you really need for music is like a delay pedal and a cowbell

 

no but seriously I like the whole bit about exploiting every little bit of a software you've mastered. Like I still don't think I've exhausted the modular synth I use even though it's only got a couple of components. To me being able to sketch out/realize ideas quickly is more important than being able to do 'everything' whatever that is


Edited by Ragnar, 31 December 2012 - 02:47 PM.


#21 rst

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

processing sample, I made some simple granular processing patches but I found it doesn't sound good, I mean the sound quality, at least not as good as some dedicated samplers like machfive.

 

FFT, tried some FFT patches I found online, I'd say I am quite disappointed, doesn't sound good as well, I did adjust the bin size.  

 

 

i too am disappointed by the FFT quality in Max/MSP. I was toying with it for years and never got the results i was looking for. 

 

i think thats because its kind of futile in my opinion to try to make an effect or general purpose synth sounding as good as really well designed vsts and stuff in max. although its possible too much work goes into something like e.g. a natural sounding reverb. & even if you achieve something like that it would be totally ineffective compared to coding in C...

 

as somebody said before it excels when you want to realize something theres no prefabricated solution for!

 

ya I'm also going down that road now. IMO max is great only if you have a really specific idea of what you'd like to do with it. Other wise it's like buying a thesaurus to write a book. It won't give you any new ideas, but is great when you need to accomplish something specific.

actually, the opposite has often happened to me: studying some dsp technique often gave me the weirdest ideas; sometimes i built erroneous or at least unorthodox versions of effects that produced unexpected results that were better than what i originally had had in mind! even when studying the help files im constantly stumbling over the coolest ideas.

 

however, i agree this can be slowing you down...

 

I have similar question on the Max Msp, I have been messing around Max for a while, but I still have the question: how do you use Max for making music?

 

things I tried:

 

processing sample, I made some simple granular processing patches but I found it doesn't sound good, I mean the sound quality, at least not as good as some dedicated samplers like machfive.

 

FFT, tried some FFT patches I found online, I'd say I am quite disappointed, doesn't sound good as well, I did adjust the bin size.  

 

Sequencer and midi stuff, this is the only thing I currently use Max for, step sequencer, midi automation, realtime control, generative midi note...

 

Can anyone provide any insight about what else Max can do for making music? Or prove the sample processing and FFT in Max can sound pretty good, I get the bad result only because my programing sucks?

if you dont know it already: http://www.rajathere...net/learnugood/

 

the first tutorial should give you a lot to think about the sampling possibilities in max. some of the patches are a little overladen maybe but still that guy knows his stuff!! i use a lot of phasor~/wave~ based sampling techniques-- once you learn how you can drive everything by control signals theres A LOT of possibilities...

 

have fun!



#22 zleep

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:34 AM

i too am disappointed by the FFT quality in Max/MSP. I was toying with it for years and never got the results i was looking for. 
Probably the best example of Max/msp in full effect is Tetsu Inoue's Yolo album. It's not musical in the traditional sense but he uses the DSP processing features of max to their fullest, taking advantage of the subtle edits and glitches you can get it from it with a lot of automation and sample tables.  As far as making more straight forward music with it, i don't think it's very good for that. You'd get a lot more mileage out of it using it in conjunction with Ableton via Max4live. 

I prefer for Reaktor for an actual musical approach, and i'll delve into Max usually only if i've hit a wall with Reaktor's processing abilities. For example Max has Jitter which opens up a whole world that Reaktor doesnt have, like using a webcam to process sound or turning visual data into sound and vice versa.

agree with you that Max really excels in interactive things, but for fft we'd better get a kyma, too expensive though... thanks for the recommendation, I haven't find the yolo album but listening to other albums, love it!

 

if you dont know it already: http://www.rajathere...net/learnugood/

 

the first tutorial should give you a lot to think about the sampling possibilities in max. some of the patches are a little overladen maybe but still that guy knows his stuff!! i use a lot of phasor~/wave~ based sampling techniques-- once you learn how you can drive everything by control signals theres A LOT of possibilities...

 

have fun!

Thanks for sharing the tutoria! just downloaded the file, will check it out on the 1st day of 2013 :w00t:



#23 Guest_ryanmcallister_*

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:38 PM

Not sure if its been said yet or not, but for someone at your level it would be wise to think of max/MSP as a sound design tool. there are some great new objects that were added this past year that make sequencing so much more convenient, but honestly on that side of things you definitely are re-inventing the wheel, and it's better to leave that stuff to your DAW which has been doing it better for a long time.

 

Where Max/MSP shines though is in just recording it's output and making noises, similar to recording audio from outside sources. Forget about sync, forget about convenient options like quantization or fixing your midi, forget about all that and focus on the performance and recording of proper audio and just record yourself building/tweaking something in Max/MSP for half an hour. Then you can bring that into your DAW and cut it up and maybe salvage 5 minutes worth of material. IMO this is the most effective way to work with max/MSP, and the quickest way to achieving something that is actually usable.

 

Think of it as an instrument rather than comparing it to other DAWs and you should be fine. I disagree with others guiding you away from it though, I actually know a few guys that were sort of "raised" on max/msp rather than the more traditional approach and I can tell you they have a much more solid understanding of how things come together you know? For example buddy was talking about using basic elements like a delay pedal and a cowbell. Well, think of working in max/MSP as working with even more basic elements like a couple resistors in the circuit. You'll get to understand them much better and once you get up to the higher level stuff like the instruments and effects we all take for granted every day, my money's on you mastering them in a much more intimate way than 95% of the people around you.

 

It's just a matter of whether you want to put in the time. Do you want to be a dumb musician that just turns a knob because it makes a sound rather than really know WHY it makes that sound? Or do you want to be a fucking smart engineer that knows everything about that knob but knows nothing about writing a good hook, feeling the pocket, or physically building your chops as a performance artist. It's hard to be both, hopefully you can find something in between. Good luck!



#24 xox

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:18 AM

@ryanmcallister 

 

Well said...Spot on!



#25 futureimage

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

Definitely have a play around with PureData before making the plunge and buying Max, mainly to see if the workflow appeals to you.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Max/MSP