The big Max for Live news in Live 10 isn’t actually “integration.” It’s finally having multichannel audio support. Here’s a free tool to get you started.

“Wait, wait… weren’t we supposed to be excited about Max for Live integration in Live 10?” Well, yes… kinda sorta. Basically, if you’ve got Live 10 Suite, you get a single installer, less version confusion, and you don’t see that silly Max splash screen the first time you launch a Device.

That’s all well and good, but it’s not a reason to upgrade to Live 10, or even something you’ll really notice in day to day use.

Now, multichannel support, on the other hand – that’s a big deal. And it’ll be a big deal even if you never touch Max yourself, because suddenly the little Max for Live toys you grab will get a whole lot more interesting.

What Live 10 adds to Max for Live is the ability to route any audio inputs you want into a Device, and to any outputs, including to arbitrary tracks. The implications for that are varied: wild sidechaining, panners, spatial audio, multichannel effects – think basically anything that goes beyond just having stereo inserts and sends from a single track. It’s something that really ought to have been in the first release of Max for Live, but now that it’s there, it opens the floodgates to neat new patches.

That also Live up to some of the original promise of Max for Live, which is finding creative applications beyond what’s covered by the usual plug-ins.

But to get us started, here’s a more utilitarian application – and a cool one.

The fine folks at Isotonik Studios have whipped up a “Multi Analyzer” – a spectral analyzer that lets you compare tracks and view them at once. And that, of course, is actually what you’d want to do with such a tool, when finding mixing issues and the like. (Hey, Ableton – take note. This should be built in.)

You can route in up to four tracks and view their spectrum visually.

Clever stuff, and the price is free. I got it up and running in about a minute with a track I was looking at today, and it’s really handy for mixing.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, it should go without saying that you’re going to need a copy of Max for Live (that is, Live 10 Suite edition) and Live 10 as a minimum version, since Live 9 doesn’t have this feature.

Got it? Good. Here’s the download:

I’m very interested in the applications of this for Live users. And multichannel diffusion and spatial audio remain interesting, not only in Live but across electronic music. Hopefully more on all of this soon.

  • looks pretty nifty

  • listentoaheartbeat

    Live 10 has to be the best update of a major music application I have seen in the last 20 years. The scope of the update and the way it was rolled out have “user-centric” written all over it. As someone who has been using Live since version 2, but also as someone working in this industry, I am actually a little bit moved by seeing this paradigm shift towards customer retention.

    There was so much good stuff that is making my work easier that I completely overlooked multichannel support for M4L. First thing I will do is write a little tool that does AB-X for any two tracks in your project. The idea is to duplicate any track, change some delicate setting, and decide what is best via AB-X. Thought about doing this via parameter control before, but it’s cumbersome and will not be artifact-free in too many cases. Good times.

  • hønse

    Awesome. I hoping someone will figure out a way to export and work with ambisonics in Ableton with the new multichannel options. Would be awesome for virtual reality sound design and composing!

  • wndfrm

    oh, very interesting.. i wasn’t considering upgrading, as 9 has been fine, even for multi-channel support (plenty of m4l devices out there, including ambisonic variants of the multichannel toolkit) – but opening up routing within channels is super tempting – currently kludging my way around a 16 channel output – if only i had 4 more returns.. it would have been a lot simpler!! lol… having matrix outputs from individual channels sounds delicious!!