26. Max for Live Devices

Live comes with a selection of custom-designed, built-in Max for Live devices. The Working with Instruments and Effects chapter (see Chapter 17) explains the basics of using devices in Live.

Max for Live devices have additional functionalities and editing possibilities, which are described in the Max for Live chapter (see Chapter 25).

26.1 Max for Live Instruments

26.1.1 DS Clang

MaxDSClang.png
The DS Clang Instrument.

(Note: the DS Clang instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Clang consists of two separate tones, white noise and a filter, allowing you to create a variety of cowbell, clave and noise percussion sounds.

The Tone A/B sliders let you set the volume for each cowbell tone independently.

The Filter control sets the high-pass and band-pass filter cutoff, allowing you to change the color of the sound. At higher values, the signal has more high-frequency content.

The Noise slider allows you to set the amount of white noise applied to the signal.

When the Clave switch is activated, you can add repeats to the clave sound using the Repear slider.

You can use the Pitch parameter to change the pitch of the instrument. The Decay knob sets the length of the sound, while the Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.2 DS Clap

MaxDSClap.png
The DS Clap Instrument.

(Note: the DS Clap instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Clap is a mix of filtered noise and an impulse running through panned delay lines, that allows you to create a range of sounds from a tight electronic clap to a more organic, humanized handclap.

The Sloppy control adjusts the delay time between the two delay lines, so you can set how tightly or loose the panned claps play together. Tail adds filtered noise to the impulse of the clap.

The Spread slider sets the stereo width of the clap. 0% yields a mono signal while 100% creates a widened stereo image. The Tone slider adjusts the color of the clap. At higher values, the signal has more high-frequency content.

You can use the Tune parameter to change the pitch of the clap. The Decay knob sets the length of the clap, while the Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.3 DS Cymbal

MaxDSCymbal.png
The DS Cymbal Instrument.

(Note: the DS Cymbal instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Cymbal combines sine and pulse waveforms with high-passed noise, making it possible to recreate a variety of timbres, from a thin ride cymbal to a heavy crash.

The Tone slider in the display sets the high-pass filter cutoff, allowing you to change the color of the cymbal. At higher values, the signal has more high-frequency content.

You can use the Pitch parameter to change the pitch of the cymbal. The Decay knob sets the length of the cymbal, while the Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.4 DS FM

MaxDSFM.png
The DS FM Instrument.

(Note: the DS FM instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

Inspired by a classic Japanese FM synthesizer, DS FM lets you create a variety of effects, from static bursts to metallic lasers.

The Tone slider in the display sets the low-pass filter cutoff, allowing you to change the color of the drum. At higher values, the signal has more high-frequency content.

Feedb. adjusts the amount of feedback applied to the FM algorithm. Greater values yield more noise.

Amnt sets the amount of FM modulation, while the Mod slider blends between different modulation types.

The Pitch parameter provides global pitch control. The Decay knob sets the length of the drum, while the Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.5 DS HH

MaxDSHH.png
The DS HH Instrument.

(Note: the DS HH instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS HH is a blend of noise and sine waveforms, with which you can produce an number of sounds, from sharp closed hats to sizzling open hats.

The Noise toggle lets you choose between two noise types: white or pink.

The Tone slider in the display sets the high-pass filter cutoff, allowing you to change the color of the hat. At higher values, the signal has more high-frequency content.

The pitched portion of the sound is filtered through a resonant high-pass filter. The filter can be switched between 12 and 24 dB slopes, and the attack time can be set via the Attack slider.

You can use the Pitch parameter for global pitch control. The Decay knob sets the length of the hat, while the Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.6 DS Kick

MaxDSKick.png
The DS Kick Instrument.

(Note: the DS Kick instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Kick is a kick drum synth with a modulated sine wave.

The Pitch slider lets you tune the kick in Hz. You can shape the kick sound by adding distortion via the Drive slider, or adding harmonics using the OT slider.

The Attack parameter smooths the sound of the sine wave. The Click switch adds a click sound to the kick, creating a sharper transient.

The Decay knob sets the length of the kick. Env can be used to set the pitch modulation. The Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.7 DS Sampler

MaxDSSampler.png
The DS Sampler Instrument.

(Note: the DS Sampler instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Sampler makes use of your own samples to create a drum synth module.

You can load a sample by dragging and dropping it onto the upper half of the display. The Start control adjusts the position of the sample start, while the Length slider sets the sample playback length.

You can use the Tune slider to tune your sample by +/- 48 semitones. The Loop switch toggles the sample loop on and off.

The Decay knob sets the decay time of the sample’s amplitude. The Shaper parameter adds distortion to produce a punchy and gritty sound. The Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

26.1.8 DS Snare

MaxDSSnare.png
The DS Snare Instrument.

(Note: the DS Snare instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Snare consists of a pitched oscillator and noise, providing a snare palette ranging from a traditional acoustic snare sound, to the gated noise snare often heard in electronic dance music.

The Color parameter controls the tone of the pitched signal, while the Tone parameter controls the presence of the noise signal.

You can apply one of three different filter types to the noise signal: low-pass, high-pass, or band-pass.

The Decay knob sets the length of the snare, while the Tune parameter provides global pitch control. The Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.1.9 DS Tom

MaxDSTom.png
The DS Tom Instrument.

(Note: the DS Tom instrument is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

DS Tom combines an impulse with several different pitched oscillator waveforms, allowing you to synthesize toms with various timbral qualities, from deep and thunderous to sharp and tappy.

You can use the Pitch slider to tune the tom in Hz. The Color parameter controls the filter gain and cutoff, while the Tone slider controls the level of resonant band-pass filters to mimic the tuning of the drum membrane.

The Bend parameter adjusts the pitch envelope. The Decay knob sets the length of the tom, while the Volume control adjusts the overall level of the instrument.

To preview the sound of the instrument with its current settings, click anywhere in the upper half of the display.

26.2 Max for Live Audio Effects

26.2.1 Envelope Follower

MaxEnvelopeFollower.png
The Envelope Follower Effect.

(Note: the Envelope Follower effect is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

Envelope Follower uses a well-known technique which involves capturing a signal, smoothing and reshaping its amplitude course in order to obtain a more or less continuous curve, and finally mapping the curve to one or more control parameters. The “auto-wah” effect is perhaps the most well-known application of the envelope following technique.

Activate the Map switch and click on a parameter in Live to assign that parameter as a mapping target. To assign an additional mapping target, click on the button at the top-right of the display, click any of the unassigned Map switches and click on another parameter in Live. A total of eight parameters can be assigned. To unassign a parameter, click on the button to the right of its Map switch. For each modulated parameter, the Min and Max sliders let you scale the resulting output range after the modulation is applied.

You can use the Gain knob to set the gain applied to the incoming signal.

The Rise parameter smooths the attack of the envelope, while the Fall control smooths the release of the envelope.

The Delay control sets the delay time of the envelope. The switches to the right of the Delay control toggle the delay mode between time-based and tempo-synced beat divisions.

26.2.2 LFO

MaxLFO.png
The LFO Effect.

(Note: the LFO effect is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

LFO is a parameter modulation LFO for Live-specific parameters and third party plug-in parameters.

Activate the Map switch and click on a parameter in Live to assign that parameter as a mapping target. To assign an additional mapping target, click on the button at the top-right of the display, click any of the unassigned Map switches and click on another parameter in Live. A total of eight parameters can be assigned. To unassign a parameter, click on the button to the right of its Map switch. For each modulated parameter, the Min and Max sliders let you scale the resulting output range after the modulation is applied.

You can choose from one of seven different waveforms: sine, sawtooth up, sawtooth down, triangle, rectangle, random and binary noise.

The Jitter slider adds randomness to the waveform, while the Smooth control smooths value changes.

The Rate control specifies the LFO speed. The switches to the right of the Rate control toggle between frequency in Hertz and tempo-synced beat divisions.

Depth sets the overall intensity of the LFO. Offset changes the starting point, or initial phase of an LFO, so that it begins at a different point in its cycle.

The phase of the oscillator can be shifted using the Phase control.

To hold the current output value, activate the Hold switch.

With the R (Retrigger) button enabled, the waveform restarts at the same position in its phase each time a note is triggered. With R disabled, the oscillator is free-running.

26.2.3 Shaper

MaxShaper.png
The Shaper Effect.

(Note: the Shaper effect is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

Shaper is a multi-breakpoint envelope which generates modulation data for musical expression.

Activate the Map switch and click on a parameter in Live to assign that parameter as a mapping target. To assign an additional mapping target, click on the button at the top-right of the display, click any of the unassigned Map switches and click on another parameter in Live. A total of eight parameters can be assigned. To unassign a parameter, click on the button to the right of its Map switch. For each modulated parameter, the Min and Max sliders let you scale the resulting output range after the modulation is applied.

You can create a breakpoint by clicking anywhere in the display. You can also delete a breakpoint by Shift-clicking on it. Hold down the ALT(PC) / ALT(Mac) key while dragging to create curved segments.

To clear the display, press the Clear button in the bottom left corner. To the right of the Clear button, you can choose from one of six breakpoint presets.

You can adjust the size of the grid via the Grid slider. When Snap is enabled, all breakpoints that you create or reposition will snap to grid lines.

The smaller display on the top right provides an oscilloscope-style view of the output signal. The Jitter slider adds randomness to the waveform, while the Smooth control smooths value changes.

The Rate control specifies the LFO speed. The switches to the right of the Rate control toggle between frequency in Hertz and tempo-synced beat divisions.

Depth sets the overall intensity of the LFO. The phase of the oscillator can be shifted using the Phase control.

With the R (Retrigger) button enabled, the waveform restarts at the same position in its phase each time a note is triggered. With R disabled, the oscillator is free-running.

Offset changes the starting point, or initial phase of an LFO, so that it begins at a different point in its cycle.

26.3 Max for Live MIDI Effects

26.3.1 Envelope

MaxEnvelope.png
The Envelope Effect.

(Note: the Envelope effect is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

Envelope is an ADSR device that you can control any Live parameter with.

Activate the Map switch and click on a parameter in Live to assign that parameter as a mapping target. To assign an additional mapping target, click on the button at the top-right of the display, click any of the unassigned Map switches and click on another parameter in Live. A total of eight parameters can be assigned. To unassign a parameter, click on the button to the right of its Map switch. For each modulated parameter, the Min and Max sliders let you scale the resulting output range after the modulation is applied.

The Loop Mode drop-down lets you choose from one of four loop modes:

  • Free: the trigger rate is unaffected.
  • Sync: the trigger rate is defined by the song tempo. When Sync mode is active, you can set the trigger rate via the Sync Rate drop-down.
  • Loop: the trigger rate is defined by the envelope time.
  • Echo: this creates repetitions of the original envelope. When Echo is active, you can adjust the Envelope Echo Time and amount of Envelope Echo Feedback.

The Time slider sets the global envelope time.

When the Velocity switch is enabled, the envelope is modulated by note velocity. The Amount control determines the intensity of the modulation.

The Attack control sets the attack time of the envelope. The Attack Slope slider adjusts the shape of the Attack envelope segment.

The Decay control sets the decay time of the envelope. The Decay Slope slider adjusts the shape of the Decay envelope segment.

The Sustain control sets the level reached at the end of the Decay stage. The Sustain Mode switch toggles the Sustain function on or off.

The Release control sets the release time of the envelope. The Release Slope slider adjusts the shape of the Release envelope segment.

You can adjust the Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release parameters by clicking and dragging the envelope display.

26.3.2 Expression Control

MaxExpressionControl.png
The Expression Control Effect.

(Note: the Expression Control effect is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

Expression Control is a parameter modulation device that allows for a wide variety of internal MIDI mappings. The MIDI controller’s Velocity, Modulation Wheel, Pitch Bend, Aftertouch and Keytrack can each be mapped to one destination.

Activate a Map switch and click on a parameter in Live to assign that parameter as a mapping target.

You can set independent modulation intensities for each mapping via the Min and Max sliders.

The Log and Lin switches toggle between logarithmic and linear shapes.

The Rise slider smooths the attack of the envelope, while the Fall slider smooths the release of the envelope.

The Output displays show the output level for each mapping.

26.3.3 Note Echo

MaxNoteEcho.png
The Note Echo Effect.

(Note: the Note Echo effect is not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions.)

Note Echo is an echo delay effect that creates additional MIDI notes at specific time intervals with decreasing velocity, depending on feedback setting.

Activate the Sync switch, which allows using the Delay Time beat division chooser. The numbered switches represent time delay in 16th notes. For example, selecting ”4” delays the signal by four 16th notes, which equals one beat (a quarter note) of delay.

Changing the Delay Time field percentage value shortens and extends delay times by fractional amounts, thus producing the ”swing” type of timing effect found in drum machines.

If the Sync switch is off, the delay time reverts to milliseconds. To edit the delay time, click and drag the Delay Time slider up or down, or click in the field and type in a value.

The Input switches lets you toggle between Thru/Mute playback modes. When Thru is active, both the MIDI note and echo are played back. When Mute is active, the MIDI note is muted and only the echo is audible.

Pitch sets the transposition amount applied to the note with each repeat of the echo.

Feed Delay sets the amount of velocity applied to the echo. The Feedback parameter defines how much of the channel’s output signal feeds back into the delay line’s input.

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