You’ve seen various Max Devices for Ableton Live; ever wanted to try building your own? Ableton has just released a complete step-by-step tutorial with examples. And there are some 90 free Devices in there to play with and start to tweak, too.
The whole original intent of Max for Live was that you could purpose-build exactly what you need – even simple or fun devices. While that can sound intimidating, it’s often the case that creating or tweaking what you need can be easier and more musical than adapting to something complex built for other people.
But then – we all have limited time. (I sure do.) And it can be tough to know where to start.
Building Max Devices is a neatly organized set of free devices, in-depth lessons, and templates. Those templates save a lot of the time scratching your head wondering where to begin or burning through time just setting up your environment.
Plus the free devices alone make this worth a download. It’s shades of Pluggo, for those who remember Max of years past. That includes 90 Max Devices that are built to do simple things or to be easily modified, including these:
Filler is a MIDI effect that generates drum patterns, Snipper replays and pitches snippets of recorded audio, the Bell Tower instrument is a simple poly synth that uses FM to produce convincing bell sounds, and the Macro Knob device lets you control multiple parameters with one dial.
Here’s a quick tour:
But wait, what about RNBO (pronounced “rainbow”), that New Hotness we were all excited about just a few weeks ago? I’m hoping we see more integration in the future – and even an updated version of this set to match. For now, though, your best bet is to read this article. It’s a bit more advanced – if you’re primarily targeting Ableton Live, you can safely ignore this. But if you were thinking about building something simple and making it available both as a Max Device in Ableton Live and, say, on a piece of hardware, they have a nice guide for how to use the two together:
RNBO and Max for Live [Cycling ’74]
And actually, knowing that this is the end goal, you could then easily work through the tutorial above and then head onto this video.
I’ve also just started this book, which I find inspiring as much for its musical ideas as any particular tool. (CDM Book Club, anyone? Better set up that Discord server when I get back to Germany next week.)
And for a refresher on RNBO: