In collaboration with Max for Cats and Sonic Bloom, we’ve made the Stray Cats Collection, a free Pack of Max for Live devices. (Note: this Pack requires Max for Live, which is included in Live Suite or available for purchase for Live Standard.)https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/ideas-offers-making-music-home/
UNTIL 8th APRIL ASTEROIDS IS FREE TO DOWNLOAD. It’S yours forever so don’t delay in adding it to your account.
Asteroids is a MaxforLive Generative Sequencer that can be used on it’s own or integrated with Ableton Live supported controllers.https://isotonikstudios.com/
Designed and created by Ableton Certified Trainer Mark Towers the device takes it’s inspiration from the hours spent spinning the Circular Dial and hitting the boost button to avoid the oncoming space rocks, then layering them into oblivion!
Here is the product page https://isotonikstudios.com/product/asteroids/.
Asteroids works in standalone mode or can be controlled directly by the Ableton PUSH & Push TWO or Novation LaunchPad & LaunchPad PRO!
Here is the intro video.
The Full Lineup
Here are links to the full lineup of Isotonik Studios Arcade Series sequencers.
- Arcade Series One which includes Asteroids, Polypin, Tetriq, Pong Deluxe
- Arcade Series Returns which includes Arkanoid, Frogger, Ghosts, and Space Invaders
- Arcade Series Ultimate which includes all of the sequencers in One and Returns
In a related note, I host the Rocky Mountain Synthesizers Meetup which held it’s 7th anniversary part at Tilt Arcade in Louisville, CO. This event included arcade inspired performances. I reached out to Isotonik Studios and they were kind enough to give me a copy of Arcade Series Ultimate which I used at the event. Here is a 5 minute video of my set.
These sequencers are super fun and inspiring so I definitely recommend you give Asteroids a try.
Learn more here https://isotonikstudios.com/product/asteroids/.
Ableton has just extended the free trial the Live 10 Suite free from 30 to 90 days (including the ability to save and export). So whether you are running Live Intro or Standard and were curious about awesome synths like Wavetable or Operator or Max for Live devices – or you are new to Live – here is a chance to put it all through some paces and make some art while you are isolated.
Visit https://www.ableton.com/en/trial/ to learn more.
Ableton suite includes:
– 13 Instruments to try (including Wavetable, Operator, Sampler, Analog and more)
– 56 Effects for processing audio and MIDI (including Echo, Pedal, Beat Repeat, Amp, Vocoder, Glue and lots more)
– Instant mappings so you can use Live with your keyboards or controller.
– Max for Live so you have access to a range of instruments, effects and customizations created by the Live community.
If you would like to compare editions swing by https://www.ableton.com/en/live/compare-editions/.
And speaking of Live Suite, I’m a huge fan of Wavetable. Here is a video one of my many original presets I’ve cooked up for it.
Here is another video of an original preset called “Dark Star”.
I’m considering releasing some of these presets in a pack so if you want to be notified subscribe to future posts via email.
Here is video of an improv with Ableton Live and Push2 I streamed to Facebook Live earlier today. The video is a download from my FB live stream so low rez but you’ll get the idea.
I improvised it all on-the-fly. Prior to playing I setup a few tracks such as a Simpler containing a sample from a cylinder phonograph, a track with Max for Live Granulator II along with some drum racks. Ableton was kind enough to give me a copy of M4L device called FlexGroove.
I’m just wrapping my head around it and in this piece I’m using it on the piano part of the piece to pull notes off the grid. I start using it at around the 3m50s mark. I’m really looking forward into digging deeper into this device.
FlexGroove is a Max for Live device for off-the-grid MIDI sequencing. Give parts an expressive push and pull, fluidly transition from one time signature to another, or play with unconventional swing patterns.https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/flexgroove/
In a related note I’ve been experimenting with OBS Studio on Windows 10 with Ableton Live and will share some tips on configuration soon. Subscribe to get notified of this and other posts via email.
A Huge Thanks To…
- Tilt for access to their amazing arcade.
- Istonik Studios who provided 3 licenses for the Arcade Series Ultimate Max for Live sequencer pack
- Chris Blarsky who surprised us with arrangements of custom made balloons with our logo on it – http://www.balloons-denver.com/, http://theballoonpros.com/
- Cuttlefish Arts for our logo
- Mike Metlay, Dino J.A. Deane, and J.L. Kane for their arcade inspired performances
- Thanks to Jennifer and Michael Hester for the uploading so many great photos to meetup event
- All the members who came to the event especially Chris, Darren, and Richard who were at the very first event 7 years ago!
- All the meetup members who’ve come together for the last 7 years to make an amazing community
Photos of Event
Here is a small gallery of some of the photos of the event. There are many more (60+) photos here https://www.meetup.com/Rocky-Mountain-Synth/photos/30099553/482997226.
Performance Videos for Event
Mike Metlay, Dino J.A. Deane, and J.L. Kane I performed arcade inspired sets. I created a Vimeo showcase gallery for the videos here. Individual videos below.
Thanks Again & Stay Tuned for Event #72
Thanks again to all. I’m planning the next meetup for September or October. Join the meetup at http://RockyMountainSynth.com for updates.
Max for Live is an incredibly helpful solution that allows you to further customize and extend Ableton Live. While you can use it as a development tool, many people I’ve bumped into don’t realize it’s also extremely useful to artists who don’t develop.
For example, I’ve been using it for years now to use Ableton Live itself more like a modular and to extend Live through both free and commercial Max for Live devices from Ableton and third parties.
As Max for Live is a bit misunderstood so I wanted to spread the word about a video I discovered via Darwin’s Grosse’s “All Things Modular” Blog, It’s ELPHNT‘s YouTube channel and the videos covers about all sorts of use cases for non-developers.
It’s called called “What Is MaxForLive… And Why Aren’t You Using It Yet!?” and offers a great overview in just under 8 minutes. In the video he touches on:
- What is Max for Live
- How should use it
- How to set it up
A Few Ways I’ve Used Max for Live with Free Devices
More by ELPHNT
Check out https://elphnt.io/ for tutorials and Live Packs.
In a somewhat related not both ELPHNT and I collaborated with Brian Funk on his The Round Wavetable Ableton Live Pack – 32 Free Wavetable Presets From 7 Producers.
Max for Live Links
- Official Max for Live site – https://www.ableton.com/en/live/max-for-live/
- Ableton’s Pack Store for Max for Live – https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/#?item_type=max_for_live
- An online library of Max for Live Devices – http://maxforlive.com/
Some of my Fav Commercial Max for Live Companies
Live 10.0.6 Now Available
Ableton Live 10.0.6 is now available. For me the biggest news here is they “updated the bundled Max application to Max 8.0.2.” This means some advanced Max for Live devices ( ex. Isotonik Studios Signal) no longer require you to download Max 8.0.2 and point to that version in Preferences. More info on 10.0.6 over at the Release Notes page.
Live 10.1 Beta
Ableton Live 10.1 is in public beta. It’s a MAJOR point release that will be a free update!
What’s New in Live 10.1 Highlights
Here is a list of some highlights of what’s new.
- The ability to import your own wavetable or samples into the Wavetable synth. This is huge!
- A new device called Delay that “Combines Simple Delay and Ping Pong Delay and adds feature upgrades” like modulation. Jump, Fade-In and Pitch controls which you could only access by right-clicking on the device title bar are now on the front panel.
- VST3 support. “Plug-ins that crash no longer cause Live to crash. In addition, Live will not need to wait for the plug-in scan to finish in order to launch.”
- New Channel EQ device
- A palette of automation shapes and the ability to transform automaton horizontally and vertically, the ability to edit the value of an automation breakpoint using a context menu, and more.
- Improvements to Arrangement Editing including improvements in zooming and scrolling, resizable Arrangement Overview
- Track freezing with sidechains
- Export return and master effects
I’m a huge fan of Isotonik Studio’s work so I was happy to see The Arcade Series Returns. I’ll hopefully have time to dig into these sequencers soon – so for now, I’m spreading the word on a what looks to be a very cool set of Max for Live devices.
The Arcade Series Returns is a set of four MaxforLive Generative Sequencers based on Classic Arcade Games, plug in your controller (with support for Push 1 & 2, LaunchPad & Maschine JAM) and get creative…
Consisting of four MaxforLive generative sequencers, the Arcade Series Returns can help defeat writers block or be the beginning of that inspirational piece of music. Each device is fully compatible and controllable with 8×8 grid based controllers Push 1, Push 2, Launchpad MINI, MK1, MK2 & PRO and the Native Instruments Maschine Jam.
Check out this intro video. More details and videos here https://isotonikstudios.com/product/arcade-series-returns/.
Synthesist, Producer, Composer, Improvisational Musician & Visualist
Founder Modulate This! Blog & The Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup
It was announced today Ableton Acquired Cycling ’74. Congrats to all my friends at both companies!
As someone who uses Ableton Live and Max for Live on a daily basis I’m pretty excited to see where this acquisition takes both products. Even as two separate companies, the combination of Live and Max for Live have been transformative for my workflow and art. I use community devices, Cycling ’74 devices, Ableton devices, 3rd party commercial devices and sometimes even make my own simple MIDI processing utility apps to solve unique problems in my rig.
The big win though is Max for Live’s ability to target parameters with any other device turns all of Live (and any other M4L and VSTs) into a massive modular platform. I can only imagine the acquisition will lead tighter integration, higher performance, and an even more rapid workflow for creating custom devices.
As a light-weight user of full-on Max, I’m also excited to see how the two companies will come together to extend and evolve the full version of Max and make it even easier to move code back-and-forth Live hosted and native Max. The future looks even brighter for Live and Cycling ’74 users.
Video of a short improv with Max for Live Granulator II, Convolution Reverb; Ping Pong Delay; Frequency Shifter.
A reminder – the Ableton Sale Ends January 11th – save 20% on Live, Live upgrades, Max for Live, Push, and Live Packs.
Can’t Make The Leap to Suite?
Operator – FM Joy!
If you are an existing Live user and you can’t make the jump to Suite, you may want to consider picking up an essential instrument like Ableton Operator à la carte.
Extend Live with Max for Live
Max for Live is also available à la carte and is on sale sale https://www.ableton.com/en/shop/#max-for-live. You don’t need to be a programmer to take advantage of Max for Live. There are a huge number of “instruments” and “effects” available you can just jump right into. So, by buying into Max for Live you could then take advantage of the many commercial Max for Live devices on sale.
There are also large number of devices made by third parties and those in the Max for Live community – such as those at http://www.MaxforLive.com. For example, in the video below, I’m using a free M4L device called Granulator II (developed by Ableton founder Robert Henke) for granular synthesis with expressive modulation via an XBOX 360 controller made possible by the super cool free device MultimapperXBOX360 0.6 from the community MaxforLive.com. So how this went was – “Hey I think I’d like do some granular synthesis with an XBOX 360 joystick”. Because I had Max for Live, I went from idea to expressive performance in like 10 minutes.
Here is a video with Robert Henke discussing Granulator II.
Winter is here in Boulder, CO. This time of year I tend to do a lot of sound design work next to a nice warm fire :^) I traditionally pick one synth to focus on and create patches from INIT. This year I picked an old favorite, U-He’s Zebra 2.
I’ve already got 70+ patches I’ve created throughout the years and a custom Lemur patch I made for the iPad. I’ll be focusing on adding expressive control to the existing patches and making new ones.
I’m also working on a Max for Live device that will allow me to modulate commonly used CCs such a Modulate, Aftertouch, Breath, as well as 4 X/Y pads without having to have a hardware controller. This will allow me to test these patches without having to pop open the Zebra interface which is quite handy for couch potato sessions.
Future Sound Set and Controller Bundle?
Perhaps I’ll package all this up into a bundle later on in the year. If you’d be interested in this, drop me a note through my contact form. You can also subscribe to Modulate This! by email if you want to following along in your inbox.
Past Works with Zebra 2
For now I’ll leave you with a few past songs I’ve created using Zebra 2.
“The Knowing and the Dark Mirror” from my album Fear Cannot Save Us.
4 Instances of U-HE Zebra using patches from my library Outpost Airlock which you can download for free here. Performed on Ableton Push 2.
Sonic Encounters Podcast 014 – “Replicant’s Lament“.
I’m digging deeper into BEAP. Note – I’ve created a category for BEAP posts – http://www.modulatethis.com/beap/.
Today I worked out how to use a BEAP patch with Max for Live. The trick is to MIDI from Live’s “midin” object to BEAP’s MIDI to Signal then map the audio to BEAP’s M4L-OUT. You can then use your controller to send MIDI notes to beap, rack up the patch, assign Macro’s, use Live devices in the device chain.
To test all this, I map various knobs to macros from within the patch plus route MIDI CC 30 to change the speed of the LFO. I’ve also mapped the delay time to a macro with the delay set to “repitch”.
Stretta, BEAP creator, has step-by-step video of configuring this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJsJ0ZmcsiI
Sonification of Weather Data
Inspired by the JSON Weather Max for Live device that is part of the new Ableton Connection Kit, I've started my journey to figure out how to use real-time weather data for both sonification and to modulate interactive visuals.
I registered and received my API key for Dark Sky API (which is explained in the help info with this device). I'm already pulling data such as Tempurate, Wind Speed, Closest Storm, precip probability, and more. Very cool.
Video of Ableton ConnectionKit
In case you missed the video on this and other devices included in the Ableton Connection kit – here you go.
AUDIO/VISUAL SYNTHESIST | BOULDER, CO
Artist Site: http://MarkMosherMusic.com
Here is a fun teaser video of Max 7. You can now incorporate Max for Live devices in Max. This video also shows off some new video attributes.
Anyone who buys Max 6 now — a new copy or an upgrade — gets the Max 7 upgrade at no extra cost.
Get details: http://cycling74.com/products/
Surreal Machines (http://www.surrealmachines.com/) has released a new set of Max for Live devices for Ableton Live called Dub Machines. For $39 you get 2 devices, 95 presets, and 2 live sets.
Dub Machines is a pair of expertly designed Max for Live devices that reproduce, and expand on the sound of classic tape and analog delays. With vintage character, extensive control and deep sound-shaping capabilities, Dub Machines is ready to take any sound into space.
The Pack is available here https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/dub-machines/.
Making of Dub Machines
If you are interested in the behind-the-scenes creation of this device check out Darwin Grosse’s latest podcast where he interviews the developers http://artmusictech.libsyn.com/podcast-030-pete-dowling-and-matt-jackson.
In my first two-person podcast, I meet with Pete Dowling and Matt Jackson of Surreal Machines http://www.surrealmachines.com). Pete and Matt have just released a new MFL-based Live pack, and I hit them up for an explanation of the concept, a discussion about what it is like to collaborate on this kind of project, and how one might ever be satisfied with ones work. This is a revealing interview that provides insight on code-based collaborations.
If you haven't gotten a chance to test drive the Dubmachines Live pack, you should give it a try. The two devices are cool to work with, and have a very unique sound (and vibe) to them.
More On Magnetic and Diffuse
Magnetic is based on one of the most beloved tape delays of the 1970s. To capture all the nuances of the original, Surreal Machines started by measuring the distortion, frequency response, errors and mechanical noise of an actual hardware unit. As a result, Magnetic is a delay that oozes with nonlinearities and, true to the original, includes multiple gain stages, tape hysteresis, capstan wobble – not even the dry signal comes out the way it went in.
Magnetic comes with a high-quality internal convolution reverb with samples of classic spring and plate reverbs, early digital halls, plus several more radically character-altering spaces. And, in addition to the parallel system that original hardware units had, Magnetic’s reverb can be switched pre or post echo.
Two different reverse options for classic tape or stompbox behaviors are included. Several other tape delays from the period were examined and carefully crafted into new breeds of four different machine styles – all with a control to tone back or exaggerate character.
Is it delay? Is it reverb? It’s Diffuse, and most importantly, it’s lush and full of character. With a sophisticated feedback network under the hood, Diffuse can produce short virtual spaces, otherworldly atmospheric swells, and everything in between.
Diffuse gives you complete control over smearing, echoes and dampening and features plenty of the nonlinearities and smooth tape style delay changes of hardware. As with Magnetic, all relevant parameters can be tweaked directly in the device interface.
Some of the more advanced features include a digital rectifier to add some top end and sizzle and "Pump" – a specially designed dynamics tool to duck the delay out of the way of the dry signal and pull it back up again for long sustained trails.