Some of you are probably already sitting on top of a Max for Live license for your copy of Ableton Live. It’s there, just waiting to do … something. Maybe you’ve loaded one of the many extraordinary patches out there – good move. But as for building your own patches, you may easily have become overwhelmed by choice. Max is a blank slate, and a blank slate that can do everything can make it hard to start with anything.

It’s easy to overlook simple first steps. Max was originally built just to do simple math on messages, before it even had audio capabilities. So that means simple message processing is a great place to start. The Ableton Cookbook’s Anthony Arroyo introduces Max for Live in just that fashion, by starting you out building an arpeggiator. No fancy granular audio processing, no mind-bending processing of the event engine in Live – just some simple, old-fashioned arithmetic. You’ll learn MIDI in, MIDI out, monitoring what’s going on, basic math, and sliders. You can always go deeper after that.

This is the first of more videos to come, all promising to focus on simple devices; I’m curious to see where they go.

Not quite your speed? Here are two more intro tutorials – and one advanced tutorial – to get you going.

Ready to get a little advanced? It’s an older video, but still relevant to new versions of Live – don’t let the date stop you. Here, a serious Max for Live guru goes deep into spectral mixing. It’s not at all the simple, step-by-step approach I’ve just endorsed, but … hey, you’re still with me, and this is fun. Description:

In this video new addition to the Dubspot team Dave Linnenbank, creator of Puremagnetik’s Max Fuel collection of patches for Ableton and Cycling 74’s Max For Live walks us through his Spectral Mixer patch. It allows you to adjust the volume of the loud, medium and quiet parts of a sound and create some very interesting sounds.

Blog post and downloads: Max for Live Tutorial :: ‘Spectral Mixer’ [Dubspot Blog]