For those of you just joining us, Max for Live is an interactive environment that incorporates the full Max/MSP/Jitter inside Ableton Live, with the addition of hooks that allow it to integrate with and control Live, and to make Max creations look like Live devices. Individual artists have begun using Max for Live, and we’ve seen some free downloads, but less of its use as a development platform. The problem is, your target audience must own both a full version of Ableton Live 8.1x or later, as well as the paid Max for Live add-on.

Max Fuel from Ableton soundhouse Puremagnetik nonetheless reaches out to just those people with a US$38 bundle of instruments. While they’re Max for Live devices, they’re not editable. (This demonstrates that it is possible to lock down patches made in Max for Live. An earlier draft of this story got this exactly wrong.)

Unfortunately, that means in a way, you get the worst of both worlds – you have to buy the development environment, but then you can’t use it to see what’s happening inside the patch. For projects like this, it seems some sort of “player” for Max for Live is badly needed. It could still be a nice pack of stuff for existing M4L users, though.

Here’s what’s included – two instruments:

  • Bump – A mono synth with a generous, easily controlled feedback section
  • Stick – A drum instrument based around classic FM synthesis, ready for use in Drum Racks

…five audio effects:

  • Drop – A multiband device where each band receives a percentage chance of being heard
  • Jumble – An audio processor with the same delay/feedback portion as Bump
  • Marx – A rebranded Spectral Mixer, setting different volumes and interactions for the signal’s quiet, mid and loud portions
  • Veer – A flexible pitch shifter with a dry/wet control for the output.
  • Yell – A rich multiband distortion
  • …and three control devices:

    • el Effo – A versatile low frequency oscillator/step sequencer
    • Multiplexd – A single knob that proportionately controls up to 4 plug-in parameters, simplifying automation or MIDI control of multiple parameters
    • Side Chainer – A robust converter of any audio signal into a modulation signal

    Even with built-in side-chaining for some devices, it’s especially nice to see the side chainer, and of course an LFO/step sequencer is something Live users have wanted for a long, long time.

    You need Ableton Live 8.1.4 and Max for Live; standalone Max/MSP won’t work with these bundles.

    This is “Max Fuel, The First,” so obviously more bundles are planned.

    So, I’m curious – does this model appeal to you? Does it make you more likely to purchase Max for Live?

    In other paid patch news, the wonderful Paramdrum for Reaktor from Peter Dines has just gotten a big update with a nice, new skinned interface; read more on Pete’s Noisepages blog:
    Skinned Paramdrum Now Available for Reaktor 5.15 (non beta)
    ParamDrum Update: now with Jonathan Style skin, new sample maps!

    …and, of course, even Reaktor remains an option for Ableton Live, albeit without the Live-controlling powers or other integration.

    Let us know what you think of these offerings in comments.

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    • Unless Puremagnetik have done something really fancy in terms of encrypting their patchers, these things are being shipped essentially in source form, so anyone with Live and MfL can rip them to pieces, and reuse and share the components. A rather trusting business model, although really not that different to preset and sample libraries. I hope it works for them.

    • @cassiel: puremagnetik tells me these are not editable, period.

      Actually, I'd love to see patches or creations that are both for-sale *and* open source-licensed somehow, but I'm not sure M4L is the right platform for that. It would require a huge leap of trust, and it might not work, but it'd be an interesting experiment.

    • MP

      hhmm.. Cannot say I'm triggered to buy this, all a bit too casual stuff for my taste. Some stuff even widely available for free. They previewed this pack some while ago and blanked out every object name inside the patch. Hope they got it right this time so people can actually learn from it.

    • @MP: I'm inclined to agree. I like puremagnetik's stuff, but it seems like this needs a player, since you can't edit the inside of the patch. Now, if you already have M4L, maybe that's not a concern – you effectively have the player. On the other hand, if you bought M4L, presumably you like *patching stuff together*. People who don't necessarily like to do that (which is a perfectly valid approach) would seem unlikely to purchase a $250 development environment.

    • MP

      >…and, of course, even Reaktor remains an option for Ableton Live,
      > albeit without the Live-controlling powers or other integration.

      I found that running Reaktor as a plugin inside MFL basicly gives you a lot of the same integration MFL has. Well worth giving it a try!
      Granted, a rather expensive way to integrate Reaktor but worth giving it a try!

    • MP

      > you can’t edit the inside of the patch

      How is it protected? I mean as far as I know patches cannot be locked.

    • kevin

      yeah, i'm skeptical as to how these are "locked down"

      cycling doesn't really provide much in the way of encryption if you know what you're doing to decrypt.

      in principle, though, as a max 5 and mfl owner, the fact that they're advertised as not editable and that there would be hoops to jump through to see the patches guts makes me not want to purchase the package.

      $38 is a reasonable price, for sure, but paying for max patches (or objects) that i can't go into and learn from is an experience i've already had. it was unpleasant; i learned from it. and i won't be doing it again.

    • ExPairOfMenntalists

      Can't see many people buying into this.
      People with m4l generally are into patching. The chances of people actually paying for devices that you cant edit or pull apart?
      Not convinced, and I for one wont be buying.
      Unlocked, and patchable? A much more appealing prospect in my opinion.

    • i couldn't agree more about a M4L player of some sort. I have ZERO desire to get into writing max patches at this point, but i'd love some of the devices like the airbase99 and blofeld editors. but i'd imagine that i'll just suck it up at some point in the not too distant future and give ableton some more money….

    • Adam Smith

      I attended the Max for Fuel demo at Dubspot Monday evening, and while I tend to agree with you guys that releasing these as editable devices is optimal, I would like to say it is pretty clear that the Puremagnetik guys put a lot of time and hard work into this device bundle.

      During the demo Dave did show us the guts of one of the devices, and let me say, as someone that is interested in Max and M4L, but having never actually used either, seeing the guts of the patch was a little overwhelming. It looked like the human genome map.

    • Edward

      In my opinion this is not the correct usage of M4L … the whole spirit of M4L is that you can take a peak at the innards of the device, whether you are going to edit it or not (a much touted feature by Ableton and Cycling), especially since you are paying for the development environment. I recently created a simple LFO plugin that I posted on the max4forlive website that I hope people take a look at, use and critique and I am excited to add additional features like triggering options (note on/off) this weekend and because I learned so much from other peoples patches, I wouldn't dream of attempting to charge for it (my LFO can be found here:… in case anyone is interested).

      Did they leverage any code from other devices or Cycling/Ableton examples? It seems to me people aren't including licenses because the whole platform has been "sold" to us as open, now we should be concerned that someone is using our code for commercial purposes when they published it under the auspice of share and share alike. While this is common behavior in some open source projects it is common to identify which license is applicable to a project (GPL vs. LGPL vs. Apache vs. etc …). Are we going to eventually see plugins that can have a non-professional license vs. a professional license? Maybe if I will change my tune if I come up with some mind-blowing m4l plugin that I can make some $$$ on someday : )

    • I don't doubt that puremagnetik are doing original work. And the lack of a Max for Live Player device is a decision up to Ableton, not them. But yes, I am curious how readers feel about the comparative value of free devices versus paid devices you can edit versus paid devices you can't edit, with or without some sort of free player.

      Also, just personally, I find myself thinking in my own work about whether I'll invest time in M4L, in Reaktor, in Pd, in Renoise's new Lua API, etc. — all these tools that are out there, all with different potential payoffs and development models and licensing. Do folks feel like these things are comparable, or that they compete for your time, or are you pretty much committed to one way of doing things?

    • I chose max over Pd as it is easier to learn, has lots of help files etc. Used Reaktor before, never build anything from scratch though, it comes with too many instruments already so didn't feel a need. I stopped using M4L before I got properly into it, as it's too buggy, got me frustrated and made me switch entirely to max. I use live as a mixer and recorder mainly now. I wonder how you guys mange to work with it.

    • nate

      sorry to be dramatic, but this pretty much disgusts me. not that Max is open source, but putting M4L into Live was of that mindset. the idea is to be able to get under the hood. why don't they just make some plugins (VST, AU) and sell them like everyone else. but now people have to buy M4L to use your plugin, YET can't take advantage of the M4L principle of being able to edit and morph. way too capitalistic for me. plus, sorry, the plugins sound boring as all hell.

    • Peter, can you find anymore info on how they were able to lock the devices?

      From C74's site: "The first release of Max for Live does not prevent users from opening Max devices. This is likely to discourage selling devices for the time being. Our plans for paid and free content distribution will be announced in 2010."

      I personally suggested that Ableton develop something akin to Apple's App Store:….

    • Ben

      to puremagnetik: read the above concerns! they are extrememly valid!

      I think you should be allowed to do one or the other:

      1: charge the money and let us edit to our wildest content (if your worried about tech support just put a huge disclaimer saying you won't!)

      2: give them away free but locked up

      obviously option 1 is better for the both of us.

    • mrk

      I'm also curious as to how they lock down their patches.

      i can see myself buying this mostly for investigatory purposes, but as a maxforlive teacher, i'm an unusual niche. some of these (the parameter sequencer / LFO, and the sidechainer in particular) are things i teach my students to build themselves (and are also available for free in various incarnations), and while i assume these patches are a lot more robust and efficient than your typical DIY operation, it's unlikely i'll use these over patches i've built myself that are more tailored to my needs (especially if they can't be hacked and customized).

      and that's really my whole issue with this approach. there are plenty of (free or commercial) instruments and plugins out there for people who want diverse or exotic new capabilities. the whole appeal of M4L, for me, is that i can not only build my own ableton-native devices, but that i can modify the devices built by others to better fit my use-context, or to inter-operate with my other patches, etc. i often do this to c74's built-in API abstractions and bundled patches.

      the max programmers at puremagnetik are experts for sure, which is all the more reason I'd relish the chance to take a look under the hood. and it's ironic, really – things like the RackPack bundles they sell are completely open for scrutiny, modification, and reverse-engineering. IMO, in this context not only is a closed-source model an unwarrantedly cagey approach; it indeed detracts from the product's value as many of you have stated.

      then again, i certainly haven't put myself out on a limb and attempted to sell this stuff, so i can't honestly claim to know better.

    • fx23

      im a bit disapointed of abe way of doing.
      they all focus on M4L, where native OSC would open to a lot of other softwares.

      users should be able to free discover others M4L patches with a free engine. And as mentionned i would also espect from a paid patch to be able to edit it at least..

      even if im a long deep abe user,
      I ll keep on focusing usine+reaktor vs M4L,
      while seem paradoxal, feel there is much more to do with..

    • A quick look reveals the "lockdown" is a series of hacks rather than any official mechanism. So there's no change in the official abilities provided by Ableton.

      I think it's interesting that people want to pay for a patch *and* edit it. So that raises a question – feel free to respond anonymously – what if you modify the patch? What if someone else gives you a patch? I know some readers already pirate software; are you any more or less likely to pass around a patch, or the same? (We need some highly-secure, private way of having that discussion, because I'd love to get a more accurate read on the actual breakdowns.)

    • Well, al I can say is: thank you Puremagnetik for the effects ideas. Some of them hadn't ocurred to me, so I will make them. By the way, those kind of patches aren't difficult to do at all, and if you're new to max, M4L has tons of building blocks, which combined they all can get you to these results. Not to mention the Pluggo collection that is also included and still lives and fights. And the library is loaded of really awesome shit and all free and open. It's no big deal if they lock the patches or charge you money, if you are really into M4L, you can do them yourself.

    • @cooptrol: is looking a lot like the Reaktor User Library. Of course, even that has had the occasional for-sale patch.

      Question: how do you define "free and open"? Are patchers including licenses with their downloads?

    • flonk

      Kind of good to know that its a hack and not anything official, but it still sucks.
      See it from a buisines model perspective: there is no max4live runtime (often requested) so the people who bought it want to tinker. And anyone else pays a 300$ entry fee to buy 39$ plugins?
      This is much worse than apples thing, where you spend big cash on a device & the get awesome music software for 1.99. The money ends up with the wrong people.
      Also imagine ableton charging a 300$ extra if you want to use VST / AU …
      This is ridicoulous and shortsighted.

    • fx23

      @ peter

      Some patches can be really long/hard job, and
      original ideas so i can understand some need to
      sell them. while then i would personally like to be able to modify the patch ive paid to fit my own needs, and cause that's the primary advantage of a patch over a plugin, there could be some chosen subpatchs protect system to avoid problematic "re-sell", just be able to modify for personal use. of course everything is hackable, but if the ratio original/perf/ modularity/price of the
      patch is cool then i would pay for it, if not ..;)

    • @Peter: As far as I know, patches in have different sets of CC licenses, and most of them none. Nevertheless, the license is about the patch itself and not the inside. Max's connections cannot be licensed by third-party users, Max objects are intellectual property of Cycling 74, and if you own Max, you can use and reuse any patch's guts to render a patch of your own. It's ambiguous, but its ike this. So yes, I would say the patches in are free and open. The intention of the webmaster is to keep them free. I'm not sure if your comment about the website going commercial isn't somehow related to the mysterious fact that you have almost never mentioned in your blog, it being today's biggest M4L patch resource.

    • @cooptrol: No, I mean this.

      1. It's up to a patch developer (as with any developer) whether to explicitly license their work. If they don't provide a license, then their work isn't fully open. This means that if someone *wants* their work to be reused, they should really consider adding as explicit a license as they possibly can. That's true anywhere, in any tool.

      2. The "for-sale" discussion was just a meaningless side comment — we've seen a handful of Reaktor ensembles for sale, so I'm not surprised that a handful of Max for Live patches are for sale, too. And a common desire of someone selling a patch is to lock it down. We saw that question come up literally the day Max for Live was announced. Developers perceive this as a way to protect their work. Obviously, that may not match up with user expectations, as this thread illustrates.

    • @Peter:

      1. Well I confess I have never looked to it that way. I always simply assumed that if someone doesn't mention any license or copyright, then its free to use. Food for thought.

      2. I think it's hypocritical to try to sell a locked patch, cos there's no programmer that has never ever used someone else's bit of programming for themselves, so everyone should be compelled to go open source, be it commercial or free patches. But that's just me.

    • on #1 – not exactly. Copyright law certainly says you can't modify or redistribute it, and I suspect people would be more than a bit peeved if you did. On the other hand, yes, you're free to *use* the patch and I can't imagine anyone complaining if you modified it for your own purposes.

      But truly, anyone who wants to encourage modification and sharing should use a license of some kind. In fact, if you *don't* want to encourage that, you should be explicit, too. It's always risky to assume users can read your mind.

    • I wasn't especially turned on by these but for $38 i'd probably have picked them up because there might be some magic there and surely some things to learn from. As soon as you said "locked" my interest dropped to zero.

    • MP

      >>I am curious how readers feel about the comparative value of free devices versus paid devices you can edit versus paid devices you can’t edit, with or without some sort of free player.<<

      I would happily pay for locked devices if:
      – they're absolutely unique and would require an insane amount of knowledge and dedication to build.
      – they have a very complete feature set so I wouldn't need to customize them to my own needs that soon.

      The Max Fuel pack does not meet those two criteria imho. Some parts (LFO, FM drum synth, Mono synth, Side Chainer) are widely available for free, others are also just not unique enough.
      I'd rather see people invest time in 1 or 2 very, very unique and complete devices than such a handfull of so so utilities (your mileage may vary).

      A perfect example would be The Finger by Tim Exile/NI. While it is not locked I think it sold very well because I'm convinced people will actually pay for something that has quality, while they could easily download it from some Pirate site.
      As a bonus they can also learn from it or use parts to build their own creations.
      I don't think NI has been that worried about the free distribution of TF because of the highly attractiveness of the device itself.

      (side note: the central Reaktor UL also makes sure parts of commercial patches are not widely distributed because NI and the user base can control this there, where as MFL content is spread all over the net, uncontrolled)

    • there really needs to be a player for m4l patches

      maybe a small fee to be payed to ableton/max for use of such a player for commercial patches?

      my own experience with m4l has been mixed. i find some of the devices useful, and as a launchpad owner the monome emulations and all those grid using things are quite cool..

      but really – nothing at all that i cant live without.. not one bit..

      i think – cause its an environment for making ya own stuff – patches are really just made for the user who created them and their specific needs..
      and when posted online ya can dl em and might find em sorta useful – but – prolly only completely useful with ya own tinkering about in the code..

      a player device would in my opinion encourage m4l creators to make more 'finished' patches…and i'm sure at upto $10 each ya would have alot of takers..
      and i imagine over time ppl purchasing alot of em – prolly ending up paying more than for a m4l licence alone

    • ash

      A M4L player (x-platform external runtime or plugin) changes Live from a single application into a platform. And as we know, "a platform beats an application every time" (Tim O'Reilly).

      Like Adobe and Flash, give the runtime away for free, and sell us tools to create the content.

    • mrk

      well who knows what they'll roll out in future iterations. if one thing is clear to me, it's that M4L is still very much an experimental product, and that ableton&c74 are either unclear about the direction it will take, or are not yet ready to reveal the next phase of their plans. M4L is far and away the biggest cause of crashes in ableton for me, and the recent reorientation toward bugsquashing at ableton suggests to me that stabilizing this new platform is a major priority. it would make sense, if they were planning to release a more consumer-oriented runtime, that they first spend some time working the kinks out whilst nurturing a development community and pool of content among the patch-geek contingent. developers make excellent guinea pigs.

      either way, M4L involves a huge degree of commitment between ableton and c74, and my money's on this becoming an increasingly central component of the ableton platform going forward, in which case a free runtime would be a given.

    • s ford

      For Reaktor there are the MCrow Golden Ensembles which are 119 Euros for the bundle, but I cannot remember whether they were able to be edited or not. From what I remember I think they can be edited.

      Even though they are 3 times the price of the M4L bundle above, they are quite excellent and for the coming free Reaktor player for those not able to explore M4L, the free Reaktor Player could be a great avenue….

    • s ford

      also, the fx/instruments part of the puremagnetik bundle look nothing special in comparison to ones at

      eg the multiplex'd to this one

    • Bonopoly

      … and their "flexible pitch shifter" looks like its just a wrapper around the gizmo help file. Probably not too rewarding to open anyways.

      There used to be a lot of pluggos like this, but they were all free. And the pluggo runtime was free (and existed in the first place).

    • usedtobe

      i guess they're cheap because locked max patches are LAME. I paid so much for max, then so much for the live crossgrade, precisely to create and edit patches. like matt up there, I wasn't especially interested except to learn, but I'm just not down if they're locked. that being said, drop and multiplexd look interesting, so I'll build my own 😉

    • Robin

      I like the functionality of 'Sidechainer' and 'El Effo'(hate the names and colours though). They inspire me to go and program it myself and learn from that process. If they would have been open patchers I probably would have downloaded to this to take a look in the code. I think the mentioned criteria by MP are very plausible:

      I would happily pay for locked devices if:
      – they're absolutely unique and would require an insane amount of knowledge and dedication to build.
      – they have a very complete feature set so I wouldn't need to customize them to my own needs that soon.

    • The included patches sound useful, I don't doubt that they're the result of much hard work. But I don't understand why a dev would invest such effort into crafting a locked M4L release, especially given the limited user base this entails. Perhaps they're working on a future port as VST/AU plugs? (seems unlikely considering the bundle's name)

    • Meh

      This is a retard move on puremagnetik's part.
      The lock-hack will only stop you from learning from the device, not sharing it.
      Cool priorities they got there.

      This kind of thing doesn't exactly boost M4L sales (or interest) either.

      IF a player existed – sure, people could buy your patch if they felt it was really worth it and of course would not be able to open it to see how it's made. BUT if they owned the full M4L I would expect the patch to be customisable aka editable aka I need to be able to open the patch and see what's going on without having to decipher crude attempts at thwarting the learning process.

      I have the feeling that even if a player existed, these Dbags would still be trying to prevent the device being opened by full M4L licensees.

      This kind of abuse of knowledge should not be encouraged with purchases.


    • Personally, this boosts my interest in M4L.

      I'm not interested in programming my own patches, so I think free user-generated patches OR paid-for patches are great. Whichever outlet (free or paid) gives me the best devices will win my affection.

      It's no biggy if the patches are locked, since I'm not interested in going under the hood. I think Puremagnetik are first-movers in a field that will BENEFIT from the ability to sell locked plugins, if only because I think (hope) it will result in better quality devices.

      It's everyone's individual choice on how they choose to use M4L. For me, I sit down on my mac to make music, not to program. If I see convenience, uniqueness, and quality for $38, I'll gladly pay.

      I think the abundance of negative reaction to Max Fuel is a testament to the demographic of current owners of M4L—people wanting to get their hands dirty with the innards of the devices. This isn't necessarily "where the money is," and I'd assume making M4L more accessible is a priority for Ableton and 3rd party developers.

    • Meh

      well, I have to believe that you are a part of the minority.

      I shudder to think of a world where people would be happy to spend $300 on a complex patching environment purely to run it as a glorified player and subsequently spend another $40 for those kinds of devices included in 'max fuel' with absolutely no desire for further patching, customisation and learning. Even as someone with absolutely no patching inclinations, you have to realise that you would benefit from the community's efforts if they were granted the access they expect ? You realise this is the very ethos that has made max/msp what it is today ?

      And 'max fuel' is a bit of a misnomer. It's not going to fuel your patching or patching skills in any way shape or form.

      I'd barely bring myself to spend $40 on this suite even if they were stand-alone vsts. The notion that they are locked into a $300 processing add-on AND INTENTIONALLY CRIPPLED SO YOU CAN'T LEARN OR MODIFY… well it's insane. and good luck to all you mugs who fall for it.

    • Martin

      Calm down people.

      MaxForLive is exactly that … Max … For … Live .
      As with standalone Max, the majority of the action will be people making their own patches for their own purposes, some of which will be shared with other users, reconfigured, combined and thrown back into the mix .. That is great.

      But if someone builds something with M4L that they think other people would maybe like to buy, why is it any more douchebag/asshole etc of them to try to sell it than someone making a vst plug ? And if they choose to try to lock it ( whyever and however being basically irrelevant here) how is that more douchebag/asshole than someone making a vsr plug and not opensourcing the code ?

      I am very happy with all the shared M4L stuff out there, it is the basis of what is great about M4L. I too would have preferred that this was not locked (however easy to open that lock turns out to be) but if that is what they want to do, fine, I don't see what all the screaming is about … i happen to know of a couple of very wonderful M4L ensembles that are going to hit soon that to me are way more interesting than most any VST plug that is in the works, and they too are going to be paid, locked, ensembles …that will cost a fraction of the price of a comparable VST plug (and will probably be easily de-lockable for anyone who reallly wants to)

      I would be very, very disappointed if all this whining and name-calling discouraged the people responsible from putting them out because that would mean a loss to the community of some wonderful, innovative … and very cheap stuff …

      If you don't want to buy the stuff , then don't, but please lets not kill off what might well turn out to be a crucially creative cottage industry before it even gets going …

      going to be some very, very intersting M4L

    • @Martin, the difference is that its for max for live, which is a development platform. how often do you see people buying a development platform, then buying code snippets that they cant modify or learn from?

      if they released the max fuel as vst plugins noone would complain because then they are just that; a set of tools to use with your daw. now, however, they are a set of tools to use with your daw and a development platform that you paid 300bucks for, yet is useless in this case since they are intentionally crippled. i fail to see anyone paying 40 bucks for something they cant take a look at, when they could jsut sit down and figure out what the shit does and make it themselfes while learning about maxprogramming in the process.

      besides, its pretty stupid of them to lock them down; if they werent people would rip out parts and use int heir own creations and the chances are pretty damn high that people would give puremagnetik creds, meaning that they would get more exposure. ohwell.

    • As far as development platforms go, it is not unprecedented to have third-party libraries that are proprietary and require payment in some form.

      As an example, to develop in C/C++ you need a compiler. You can use a free one or you can pay for a really good one (like those that Intel sells that produce faster executables). Regardless, you may want some functionality and don't wish to write it yourself. You might find free source code, you might buy source code, or you might buy a compiled DLL (with headers) or static library to link against. If you bought a compiled DLL then you don't see the source. You already have a development environment and you just bought some add-ons to do what you need to do.

      (There are hybrid models, of course, like FFTW, which only charge if your derivative product is not open source.)

      I have a question though: Does having both commercial and open mfl devices qualify as diversifying the platform? If so then perhaps it would imply a strengthening rather than a weakening of the platform by the availability of such devices, regardless of the merits/demerits of the devices being discussed in this thread.

    • @Timothy: Right, but then your end user doesn't have to pay for the Visual C++ runtime to run your app. If they did, you'd be less likely to use it. Now, a *developer* will happily go out and buy a copy of Visual C++, but not necessarily a user – and the blurred lines between those two categories here is obviously the source of some of the tension. It's an *interesting* space to me, that there is this crossover, it's just not entirely jiving in this particular case, and making some (not all, but some) people unhappy.

    • MP

      I could be wrong here (cannot find it on the site) but Puremagnetik should at least advertise the pack as "locked". Quite misleading imho considering people will assume they can have a peek inside, because that is what MFL is all about.

    • @MP, It does say it directly next to the "Add to Cart" button:

      This bundle requires Live 8.1.4 and Max For Live. Details about Max For Live can be found at This bundle will only work in Ableton (not in the MaxMSP application).

      @Peter, you have a good point. With Max the lines between who is a developer, who is an end-user, etc. are all very blurry (and constantly changing). I guess this continually evolving context is part of why this thread is so interesting to watch.

      Does anyone remember Pluggo 1.0? In Pluggo 1.0 there was no free runtime either. I wonder if there were any discussions like this back then that the web may have archived… It would be interesting to see.

    • MP

      @Timothy Place

      I read that part. That doesn't say a thing about not being able to open the patches inside MFL.

    • flonk

      @Timothy: If Pluggo 1.0 had buying MaxMsp as an requirement, there would have been quite some discussion I guess.
      Nobody complains when somebody uses max to build a "closed" standalone. The issue is its targeted at a explicit developement platform and its not usable in a library style. This library analogy would apply for commercial 3rd party max *objects*, of which there are quite a few as you might know 😉 and nobody sees a problem there.

    • Martin

      > gbsr
      I read what you wrote three times and I'm afraid I just can't understand where you are coming from here at all, just doesn't make any sense to me… You have no problem with -for want of a better word- locked plugs in a format called VST, but you have a massive problem with quasi-locked plugs in a format called M4L. … Why ?
      Really … Why ? Because its "a development platform" ? Sure its a development platform, so what ? since when are "development platforms" uniquely destined to develop free stuff with ? you are of course completely entitled to develop your own stuff, and share it, and to run away screaming from any payed plugs developed in M4L while being happy to pay ten times the price for the same or similar plugs in VST format …. It"s your money …

      But thats just you and your take on it, and, to be blunt, it doesn't really matter.
      it is Ableton and Cycling who decide -or at least who attempt to decide -what you can and can"t do with M4L and obviously they are very happy to see developers adopting M4L like this, if not they would try to stop it … But there is masses of stuff out there made with Max that is sold, and Cycling have always been extremely supportive of this … Does this cause you feel outraged too ? Once again, its Max … For ….Live.
      And Max is many, many things, and while much if the strength of Max is people sharing and learning from each others work, Max is very definitely not limited to being JUST a learning and sharing format … And that is a very, very good thing.

      I strongly believe that anyone reading this in a years time will be thinking : damn, luckily noone paid much attention to the whole whining crew on here, cos if they had of, we wouldn't have ever had all this good cheap wicked M4L stufff ….

    • interesting move

      I'm a reaktor download user. I have gotten into programing because I can open up so many different patches and poke around and see what's going on. Don't get me wrong I've got no issue with these guys trying to make some money for their work, I just have a huge issue with them locking their work. If I ever get max for live I will happily hand over money to s4racer for all his hard work!!!!

      The problem is that this might give other folks the idea to shut their work which might lead to a group of the top users all doing this to keep secrets.

      Personally I have no intent on buying these patches cause they personally don't interest me what so ever. A couple devices on are cool but if I have to buy $300 MFL and would like to learn from ever patch I either download or purchase.

      I think this move is in bad taste, but regardless I'm sure these devices will make their way on to the torrent sites that much faster as a result of this attitude…..just my prediction cause certain folks don't like this attitude.

    • interesting move

      oh yeah I can't believe this has not hit other MFL/ableton forums. Maybe it has and I just don't really pay attention to them, but I'm sure some MFL open-minded folks would have issue.

      Maybe not

    • Meh

      @Interesting move

      I'm in full agreement with you.

      Especially regard the cracking/piracy.

      There's plenty of commercial ensembles/patches out there that aren't locked nor come with some kind of obnoxious cripple……and they aren't being pirated by the masses.

      Is there a connection ? Tough to say.

      Either way I'm fully convinced that simply being fair results in less piracy. It's not even a matter of whether active crackers/warez fiends making a choice or not, but the end-user…the consumer… will invariably 'do the right thing' if they same courtesy is extended to them.

      True story.

    • Martin

      Once again, what you people don't seem to be getting, or at least somewhat disingeniously choosing to ignore is that Max For Live …. Is just that …. Max …For …Live, and Max has always had an enormous quantity of shared patches /ensembles that are unlocked and that you can open and reuse bits of to your hearts content …and many paid-for ensembles that, for the most part, are locked and you can't … for the blindingly obvious reason that many developers would prefer it iif you didn't buy their ensemble, hack it a bit and then give it away or resell it.

      This has been the case with Max for decades, and it is the case with MaxForLive now. Maybe you are new to Max and didn't realise this, but thatn oesn't change the fact that that is how it is … and I believe that as you get to know the Max ecosystem you will probably eventually come to agree with me that this is exactly as it should be !
      The existence of a comparatively small number of locked, paid-for ensembles in no way comromises the wealth of shared, unlocked hackable stuff out there, and the possibility of developers being able to sell (in general for prices that are a fraction of the price of a comparable VST plug) a major piece of their work, which is sometimes years in the making ( and believe me this is often the case) means that in addition to the absolutely masses of shared stuff available there is also some other very creative work that might not have been made available if that were not the case, and which is available for THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO purchase … If you personally choose not to purchase such work, fine, but suggesting that it's mere existence is 'obnoxious' and 'in bad taste' just shows a lack of understanding of what Max is all about, and to be honest, seems to me just plain stupid.

    • interesting move


      I guess the way in which ableton marketed this product was incorrect, or at least the impression that people had was wrong. The impression was that their was no way to lock these patches so folks could learn from each other.

      this move shows that these guys just assume that the MFL community is out to steal and resell devices. My impression from the MFL is that it is a sharing community that wants to help each other and learn as well. Don't know the numbers but I highly doubt that there are that many MFL copies sold, which means that at this point the community is small. So how could someone not get blackballed pretty quickly if they did such a shitty thing.

      From what I've read from other folks people are not that interested in these devices anyway. I mean if s4racer is not trying to lock his badass device, why are they locking these simplistic devices (or even selling them).

      Maybe I don't get these devices but either way I think it says a lot about what they think about the MFL community in general. I think it says more about themselves that they would assume that someone would steal their stuff.

      Either way I hope this does not become a trend in MFL community because it will prevent people in the long run from grabbing a copy.

      Can't wait to see how MFL evolves and when the open/free patches become numerous I will be buying a copy!! If this attitude catches on I will stay away (what a shame).

      Just an opinion….SHARED BY OTHERS


    • Martin

      I'm not arguing about the merits or demerits of this bunch of devices, that is in no way the point … The point is, if a developer wants to make a VST plug (which, in the context of this discussion, is obviously 'locked') and sell it for €200 then people might either buy it, ignore it, or try and find a crack of it … But no-one is saying : yo, what are these assholes up to daring to sell this shit that I can't open and hack …
      However if someone tries to sell a set of "locked" M4L plugs for €20 all of a sudden it's obnoxious and bad tasting … Why ? Because M4L can also be used to make unlocked devices ? So what ? How does that change anything ?
      Max is designed for doing all of that and more … And this is a good thing …

    • Meh

      You seem to have trouble knowing that other people hold opinions that differ to your own.

      Work on that.

    • interesting move


      It is very difficult to understand how you compare selling a vst, which is closed to begin with, and a MFL device which is marketed as being unable to be locked.

      I'm glad that they can profit for their hard work. No one has an issue with the profit driven nature of their ways. The issue is that they are setting a bad example for what future MFL people will follow which will lead to a worse community than before.

      What this changes is the sharing/learning aspect of the community. Like I commented before, No one is going to steal these devices, and tweak them. These is not a market large enough to get away with that.

      So once again these guys are screwing what some see as being a very positive thing about MFL.

      I know that when I downloaded the reaktor beta 5.5 and they had the EI I + II i could open them right up and learn from them. I promise that they boys have a great deal more work put into their devices and yet they put it out for everyone to see.

      I've purchased things from you guys (puremagnetik) before and enjoyed the stuff, but I'm good.

      thanks for your opinions, but have to greatly disagree and are doing the community a disservice and setting a horrible example.


    • Meh

      You reap what you sow

    • Okay, break it up, break it up.

      There are two issues:
      1. Locking patches rather than keeping them editable
      2. Having to purchase Max for Live as an additional layer atop Ableton Live (that is, spending $250 on M4L in order to use M4L patches in Live)

      And for some people, those overlap; that is, they want editing capabilities if they're going to purchase patches for Max for Live.

      If you're the customer, you're entitled to your opnion — either way. And if you're the seller, you're entitled to price and distribute the way you want (whether you're Ableton, Cycling '74, or Puremagnetik).

      We've got some mixed comments from both developers and users, and they're all interesting. But I wanted your opinions of the issue more than your opinions of each other. 😉

    • Martin

      > Peter
      Absolutely. And that has always been the case with Max. You buy Max, you use it, you have access to a whole lot of other people's stuff to use and to share for free, and if, i naddition to that you want to buy one of the paid for locked ensembles, then thats fine, if not thats fine too …
      I really don't know what some people are getting upset about …

      Where exactly did you see M4L being "marketed as being unable to be locked" ?
      You, and some others, might have assumed that that was the case, but it isn't, so …

    • Martin

      Having said that, I do completely agree with Peter that, as with Max itself there really should be a M4L Playtime released, that would mean that if you just wanted to use other peoples ensembles, paid or not then you wouldn't have to buy M4L itself.
      That would IMHO be very benificial to the growth and development of the whole format, though of course it wouldn't change anythingat all for those people complaining about not being able to unlock absolutely everything M4L related ..

    • interesting move


      You should run over to the ableton forum and pose these questions. Spotted a thread over there under the MFL section where people where stating the same thing. You might just want to ask some of the folks who are at the heart of the community. As well as ask the question other than just hear. I don't think you guys are going to see a increase or decrease from locking the devices that you sell. It's just like pirating software, those who want and respect you company will buy your product and learn from it and not resell it. The are folks who have already stated that if they were motivated that they could unlock it. It is just like claiming that a software can't be hacked, you end up egging people on to crack it.

      Wish you and the rest of the guys the best.

      Oh yeah and after this Max and MFL is very different from reaktor as a result of this development.

      I second the idea for a MFL runtime and then you guys would have no need to lock devices

    • MP

      What will a MFL runtime solve then? Nothing imo.
      With a runtime you're not able to lock presets per se; its just that users are not able to open them in the editor. That's the actual lock; no edit button.
      The other way around (being able to actually lock presets, regardless of end user MFL license) is a too dangerous route to take because even non commercial presets could be locked. That's not what you want since a healthy open source community is a vital parameter for the succes of MFL.

      As I said earlier I still think that for successful commercial preset selling you have to make sure your work has a huge amount of attractiveness and uniqueness so people will really want to buy it. Then take the possibility people will copy parts of your code for granted. (as I also said; the central Reaktor UL makes sure this does not happen since both the community and NI can control this to some degree, something that is not the case with MFL).

    • Martin

      Oh, sorry, i missed your reply, well just in case anyone is still checking this dying thread … So it is clear, i have nothing to do with puremagnetik, nor directly with any other commercial developer, i just happen to believe that the existence of paid for M4L patches alongside shared ones will be beneficial. In answer to your other points, if you read my posts yiu will see I never suggest that these 'locked' ensembles can't be cracked, quite the opposite in fact ! and lastly, just because I don't happen to agree with your take on the thing, that doesn't make you at the 'heart of the community' and me not !
      Damn … For your information I've been using Live since version 1.0, max/msp for over fifteen years and I was at Ableton's first presentation of MaxForLive at Ircam – where Max was in great part developed – and where on day one, Ircam themselves announced that they were going to be releasing a set of paid for, locked ensembles for MaxForLive !!! So just because you apparently weren't aware that this was part of the deal with M4L from the beginning, and even though there might well be many other people on the Live forums, possibly even a majority for all I know – as there seems to be here – who, for whatever ( IMHO strange) reasons would seem to prefer it if noone had the option of buying or selling locked ensembles, well thats just the way it is people ! Just dont buy them if you don't want to …. But I would bet money that when some of the ensembles that are going to be coming out soon hit ( and however marginal you would like to believe I am, I just happen to know about a couple of things coming soon that are going to be game changers) then I think you might just change your mind, and thank everyone concerned that made M4L -locked or not- happen ! We'll see how it plays out …

    • For the record, the comment attributed to Martin which I deleted was not made by Martin, as confirmed by IP addresses.

      Fraudulent comments, of course, but also any comments making misleading allegations about me or any other reader — particularly those posted anonymously — will be deleted. Think before you post.

    • I've deleted comments by someone calling themselves "Moderator." They didn't provide a real name or real email address (even the email address we use to validate the source of comments), and they were abusive of me and commenters on this site .

      The facts:
      Martin requested that I delete a comment attributed to "Martin." Upon investigation, those IP addresses came from TENNESSEE when Martin is in France. I also can't imagine what the problem with this would be — I don't see a reason Martin would leave comments conflicting with his *other* comments under a different IP.

      If you want to be critical of Puremagnetik or me, please feel free. (That's why I asked openly for comments.) If you want to anonymously call me a liar, get deleted. If you don't like that, may I humbly suggest investigating the rest of the Internet. Seriously. It's huge.