Ableton Live Max for Live

Robert Henke LFO 2.0 Max for Live Device for Ableton Live 9.x

LFO 2.0 is the result of trying to build the best general purpose swiss knife LFO for myself. It needs Ableton Live 9.x with Max4Live installed.

It offers three basic ways of modulating a target: Directly via Live's engine, (Engine) which disables manual control of the target parameter and is perfect for fast modulations. Or via a method similar to manually turning a knob on the user interface (GUI), which can create automation data when recording.

And, as a third mode it can put out the modulation as audio signal (Audio) which is useful for creating control voltages for analog synthesizers.

More info and download link here –


Related articles

Live 9 + M4L Tips: Modulating Buffer Shuffler 2.0 Patterns with LFO
How to use Max for Live LFO MIDI Device to Add Drift to Ableton Analog
New Mindmap: What's New In Ableton Live 9.1
(Modulate This) Live 9 Studio M4L Essentials Max for Live

How to use Max for Live LFO MIDI Device to Add Drift to Ableton Analog


I’m starting a new category called M4L Essentials where I can offer ideas on how to use the devices included with Live 9 Studio to turn Live itself into more of a modular synth. These M4L devices can help you overcome the lack of built-in mod matrixes in many of the Live instruments. This will also help you get more mileage out  of the instruments you’ve already invested in with Live Studio.

Adding “Drift” to Ableton Analog


To illustrate this idea, lets look at an example on how to add a slight pitch “drift” to Ableton Analog to make it sound – well a little more like a cranky analog synth.While Ableton Analog has an LFO you can use for pitch, it's not as sophisticated as the M4L LFO. So here we go.

  1. Drop LFO MIDI and Analog into a MIDI track
  2. Click “MAP” button  in LFO MIDI then click “Detune” in Analog.
  3. In LFO MIDI Take rate to a low setting as we want drift not vibrato here
  4. Add some depth
  5. Turn up “Jitter” to add some variability so the pitch drift is more organic
  6. Turn up “Smooth” a bit to smooth out the jitter

Experiment with depth settings to suite your project.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician | Composer | Sound Designer | Performer
Boulder, CO

Ableton Live Max for Live

Ableton Announces Four New Premium Max for Live Devices Including Video FX

New premium Max for Live devices

Ableton just announced new premium Max for Live devices. Note, I think this is the first time Ableton has released “premium” devices and prices range between $24 and $39.

The embedded video below offers an overview.


Here is a description of the effects from the Ableton site.

Spectrum Effects by Amazing Noises
Spectrum Effects includes two radical spectral (Grip, Spectrum Runner) processing devices capable of a range of effects. Warp and mangle your audio into mayhem, or add subtle harmonic touches – you decide which. In the studio and at the gig, Spectrum Effects adds an instant dynamic catalyst to your Live set.
Learn more about Spectrum Effects – $39

RokVid by Adam Rokhsar
RokVid is a powerful video solution for live music performers. Designed with simplicity in mind, RokVid makes easy work of generating captivating video that dynamically reacts to your sound.
Learn more about RokVid – $24

AutoBeat by K-Devices
Set the rules in AutoBeat and discover endless rhythmic rearrangement possibilities. AutoBeat integrates seamlessly with Drum Racks, and can also function as a flexible phrase creator for melodic instruments.
Learn more about AutoBeat – $39


Ableton Live Live 9 Max for Live

Listen to “Falling” Sound Design Experiment with Live 9 + Max for Live Convolution Reverb Pro Using IR Made with Pitch-to-MIDI Absynth Patch


I was experimenting with Live 9’s new pitch-to-MIDI and Max for Live Convolution Reverb Pro a few days back and come up with this idea.



Here is the process I followed.

  1. I started with a vocal sample by the wonderful artist Snowflake (CC-BY-NC BTW I remixed one of her tracks last year – click here to give it a listen.
  2. Use “Convert Melody to New MIDI Track” to convert her Melody to MIDI. This creates a new MIDI track with an Ableton instrument.
  3. Swap the Ableton instrument on the MIDI track with Absynth 5.  You could of course stick with Ableton instruments here. I used a dissonant bell preset with major reverb decay.
  4. Create an audio clip from the Absynth patch. You could resample it or  freeze the track,  insert a new audio track and drag the frozen clip to the new audio track to create an audioclip.
  5. Insert the Max for Live Convolution Reverb Pro on the original vocal track.
  6. Apply the Absynth sample as the Impulse Response file for the Convolution Reverb by dragging the audio clip from step #4 and dropping it I on the waveform display of the Max for Live device.
  7. Play the original sample through the Convolution Reverb

What’s great about this process is since the Impulse Response was derived from pitch-to-MIDI of the original sample, the resultant reverb follows the phrasing of the original vocal track – but of course is also slewed and torqued in an organic way by using the Absynth patch with more sustain and bigger reverb and space. I also love how this creates new harmonics.

I also want to point out that while each of these discrete processes are available in separate tools already, having this all integrated in Live 9 with Max for Live makes for a rapid and creative sound design workflow. It’s taken me way longer to explain it her than id did to think this up and execute the idea (which only took about 5 minutes).

It’s also worth mentioning you don’t need to be a programmer to use Max for Live as an artist. Just drag in the devices that come with Max for Live essentials and use them like any native live device.


Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Composer, Performer
Boulder, CO
Artist Site & Album Downloads:

Ableton Live Live 9 Max for Live

Watch Max For Live Mono Sequencer Primer Videos


Matthew Davidson, the developer of the new Mono Sequencer device, gives us a quickstart primer on using this creative MIDI effect. Watch for new videos over the coming weeks!

Live 9 Mono Sequencer – Episode 1

Live 9 Mono Sequencer – Episode 2

Mark Mosher
Composer, Performer Synthesist
Boulder, CO

Ableton Live Live 9 Max for Live

Live 9 + M4L Tips: Modulating Buffer Shuffler 2.0 Patterns with LFO

I’ve really been enjoying the new and refreshed Max for Live devices in Live 9.  Buffer Shuffler 2.0 is really great. Here is a fun tip.

1) Create a variety of patterns

2) To cycle through the patterns, drop in the LFO M4L device. Click the map button and then click on one of the pattern numbers. Now the LFO will modulate the pattern being applied.

You can use the LFO “Offset” parameter to pick the lowest pattern that will be selected. The “Depth” parameter will determine the range allowing you to restrict the highest pattern selected. Experiment with LFO shapes and speeds.

Mark Mosher
Boulder, CO
If you want to learn how to support my art and music tech research visit –

Ableton Live Ableton Push Live 9 Max for Live

Photos form the Ableton Live 9, Max for Live and Push Premiere Event the University of Denver

I attended the Ableton Live 9, Max for Live and Push Premiere Event the University of Denver on Wednesday February 27th.

Ableton Certified Trainer and electronic artist Orville Kline joins Darwin Grosse from Cycling 74 for a unique performance and presentation covering the new features of Ableton Live 9, the potential of Max for Live and exploring creative approaches for composition and performance using Ableton’s new hardware instrument Push.

Here is a flickr set from the event.

Ableton Live Max for Live

In April Buy Ableton Suite 8, Get Max for Live for Free + Granulator Device by Robert Henke



Via Ableton:

There has never been a better time to get started with Max for Live. In April, Ableton is offering Max for Live for free with purchases of Ableton Suite 8 and upgrades to Suite 8 from Live Lite and Live Intro. There is also a 50% discount on Max for Live available on upgrades to Suite 8 from Live 1-8 and Suite 7.

Here is a summary of the deals from this page:



Ableton founder Robert Henke (Monolake) has created a new Max device called “Granulator” that is now available as a free download.


I actually saw an early version of this in September 2010 at Robert’s talk at the University of Denver (Show Report: Two Days in Denver with Robert Henke).


 Via landing page for Granulator:

What is Granular Synthesis

Granular synthesis is a technique that involves dividing a sample into very short pieces, and then playing the pieces back superimposed and crossfaded with one another. These pieces, or "grains," are usually under 50 milliseconds long and sound like short clicks when heard individually. But when layered together, grains can produce lush textures with rich modulation possibilities.

Using the Granulator

To use the Granulator, drag a sample onto its waveform display. You can then adjust the length of the grains and the density of their overlap with the Grain control. The playback position within the soundfile is set with the FilePos knob and can be modulated randomly or via the built-in LFO.

In addition to controls that influence the playback of the grains, there are also a number of "classical" synthesis parameters such as an ADSR envelope, two multimode filters and an FM oscillator that can dramatically alter the overall timbre.

One of my favorite things about this device was the waveform visualization which is missing from many commercial product of this sort.


If you were waiting on Suite this is sort of a no brainer. For those like me who already have Suite download edition, the upgrade path would be to buy the boxed edition at $149. That would give us Max for Live (normally $299), EIC ($129 if your purchase seperately), and a paper manual for $149 bucks.

Revision: I misread the upgrade price which Gary pointed out in the first comment. He  said “As a registered user of Live 8 suite, you do NOT get Max for Live if you buy the box set. You get a 50% off coupon for Max. So you are looking at 149 + 150 = 300. So, in essence, you get a manual and a box for 50$ and pay full price for Max for Live.” I'll reach out to Ableton and see they'd be open to adding a download only 50% upgrade for existing Suite "Download Edition" users.

So, are the new updates in Ableton 8.2.2 (that are sure to yield some cool new devices), a fantastic looking new device by Robert Henke, and the upgrade deal enough for you to jump on to Max for Live?


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist & Synthesist, Boulder, CO

Ableton Live Max for Live

Max For Live News: Ableton Live Co-Founder Henke Releases Max for Live Devices + Ableton Denver Meetup “Presents An Evening with Darwin Grosse from Cycling ’74”


Robert Henke, co-founder of Ableton has released some interesting looking Max for Live devices on his website – Devices include:

  • The legendary PX-18 step sequencer
  • Black – "A simple device which does two things: It displays songtime in hours:minutes:seconds- at least as long as you are working with a constant song tempo. And it allows to black out the computer screen while listening to the music…"
  • Distance – "This audio effect device is for those who are into careful placement of sonic events in the stereo field."
  • Circular Doppler – "Two virtual microphones rotate around a single sound source. Doppler delays, distance dependent amplitude modulation and filtering included. Movement of source and microphones synced to song position. This allows 100% reproducible effects."
  • Grain Freeze – “A granular audio freezer effect. Creates lush textures out of everything!”

Timer permitting, he indicated he’ll be uploading more devices in the future.


In other Max for Live releted news. The Ableton Denver meetup presents “An Evening with Darwin Grosse from Cycling '74” – Meetup is Jan 24h, 2010 at the Walnut Room in Denver at 7:00 p.m. If you live in the Denver area register for the meetup and swing on by and say hi.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes

Ableton Live APC40 AudioCubes iPhone/iPod/iTunes Max for Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Synth: Alchemy Synth: DCAM: Synth Squad Synth: Gladiator Synth: Harmless Synth: Synlpant Synth: u-he ACE

Modulate This! – Best of 2009 Electronic Music Tech


Despite the economic downturn, 2009 was thankfully a huge year when it came to new technology for electronic music artists. Rather than try and cover every significant release, I’ll instead list some of my favorite products and notable trends.

The Year of Abletonimage
What a big year for Ableton. Live 8 with great new features set, Max for Live, 10th Anniversary of Ableton, launch of Live Intro, dedicated hardware controllers (APC40 & Launchpad). Awesome!

Grid (Matrix) Controllers

Grid controllers everywhere in 2009. New controllers like the APC40, Launchpad and Bliptronics 5000. Continued development with existing controllers like Tenori-On and Monome. The grid metaphor also became quite prevalent in apps as well. I have the APC40 and Tenori-On and simply love them.

Percussa Audio Cubes “Tangible Interface”

Not new in 2009 but new to me, Percussa AudioCubes are self-powered wireless computer systems. Cubes can detect and interact with each other and can detect the proximity of your hand near a cube face sensor and send this controller information to your DAW or to various free software apps provided by Percussa. I working with a 4 cube configuration within Ableton Live.

Fantastic Synths
A great year for virtual instruments. Below is a list of new and updates synths that I used over and over again in 2009 for both sound design and for music performance.

  • u-he ACE (Any Cable Anywhere)

    This synth just released by I use it all the time now! It’s a fantastic virtual analog synth with a great UI with patch cables. Sounds like butta’.
Ableton Live Max for Live

Video – What Comes with Max for Live

Via AbetonDenver – A new YouTube video that offers a nice overview of what’s included with Max for Live. Here are some highlights:

  • Buvfer Shuffler
  • Loop Shifter
  • Step-Sequencer
  • More than 40 Pluggo devices were ported to Max for Live along wth presets!
  • Graphic EQ
  • Compressors
  • Monitoring Tools
  • MIDI Generators
  • Humanizers
  • Building Blocks with annotation
  • Live Lessons
  • Max Tutorials
  • And more …

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

Download/Buy my album REBOOT

Ableton Live Max for Live

Cycling ’74 Video Interview of Ableton Co-Founder and Electronic Music Artist Robert Henke on Max and Max For Live


I found these two videos of Robert Henke on the Cycling ‘74 web site. Always nice to hear insights from insiders.

C74 Perspectives: Robert Henke on Max (Watch on YouTube):

C74 Perspectives: Robert Henke on Max for Live(Watch on YouTube):

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

Download/Buy my album REBOOT

Ableton Live APC40 Max for Live

Modulate This Takes A First Look at Max for Live


Last weekend I attended the Communikey Festival of Electronic Arts at the Atlas Center in Boulder, Colorado where I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see Max for Live in action. Cycling '74's Director of Engineering Darwin Grosse gave an hour and half seminar offering an preview of Max for Live. In this post I'll share my notes. Alas I only had my iPhone with me so some pics are low resolution.

If you like you are reading please subscribe to Modulate This.

Overview of Cycling ‘74 Products
Darwin began the talk by describing Cycling '74's existing product line.

  1. Max – a graphical programming environment that provides user interface, timing, communications, and MIDI support
  2. MSP –for real-time audio synthesis and DSP
  3. Jitter – for video and matrix data processing

Max for Live
First Darwin gave us an overview of what Max for Live does. Rather than type my notes I’ll share the concise description from Communikey seminar description:

Cycling '74 and Ableton announced Max for Live, the integration of Cycling '74's Max/MSP environment into Ableton Live. Available as an add-on product to Ableton's  newly announced Live 8, Max for Live permits users to create devices that extend  and customize Live by creating instruments, controllers, audio effects, and MIDI  processors.

Devices developed with Max for Live utilize the same features as those created by Ableton engineers. This includes UI controls, MIDI mapping, multiple undo, tempo-based effects, sample-accurate automation, and comprehensive file and preset management. Devices created in Max can be shared with Ableton's new web collaboration features. An innovative “preview mode” feature permits editing in Max  while devices continue to process audio and/or MIDI as if they were inside Live. When an edited device is saved, it updates in place inside Live's device view.

Something For Everyone with Ready Made Devices
While the primary audience of Max for Live is certainly Tweakers who want to extend Live, it’s worth mentioning that Max for Live will ship with ready mad devices. Darwin demoed:

1. Step Sequencer
“Play up to four concurrent sequences, each with up to 16 steps and each playing a different instrument. It also features adjustable step size and step probability, sequence shift buttons (up, down, left, right), a "random" mode and comprehensive real-time MIDI options.”

2. Buffer Shuffler
 "Shuffles incoming audio by buffering the audio, then replaying it in whatever order you've specified. Each channel of the stereo signal can be shuffled with different patterns (unlike Beat Repeat) and there is also a "dice" mode that randomizes the shuffle pattern at each bar crossing. Finally, a smoothing setting limits the amount of clicking at each transition point. Use sensibly to add subtle variations or go full-on to see where it takes you.”

3. Loop Shifter
image“This instrument is essentially a creative loop playback device that generates some surprising and innovative results. If there was ever a "sound of Max," this device embodies it. It uses MIDI notes as triggers for playback states, each MIDI note representing one such "state": a combination of playback rate, loop points and filter settings. Although the Loop Shifter is a relatively simple device, these functions don't exist yet in any other commercial loop playback products.”

4. APC 40 Extension
Darwin didn’t demo this, but Max for Live will ship with an extension that “turns the APC40's button matrix into a hardware interface for programming MIDI sequences in Live. A mode switch on the APC takes you in and out of sequencer mode, where you can set and clear notes in a MIDI clip just as you would with an 808 or analog step sequencer.”

Live as a Real-Time Max Editing Platform
One of the downsides of working with Max Plugins is the workflow isn’t real-time. You have to edit, then compile, then preview as a VST. If something isn’t to your liking you repeat the process.

According to Darwin, Cycling ‘74 was looking for a platform that would support real-time workflow for device creation – which of course is why they partnered with Ableton.

So in Max for Live you simply click the edit button top on the top right hand side of a device and you enter the Max Editor. Close the editor and you are back in Live. In either mode, Lives audio engine doesn’t stop. The device actually operates while editing with no need for compilation! While demoing this feature he popped in and out of edit mode and built and played devices on the fly.