Max for Live


by Oli Larkin

When Oli Larkin wanted to design a software version of one of his favorite vintage digital synths, Max for Live was the obvious choice. Kasio features Phase Distortion synthesis inspired by a classic line of digital synthesizers.



When Oli Larkin wanted to design a software version of one of his favorite vintage digital synths, Max for Live was the obvious choice.

“Max4Live allowed me to develop something relatively quickly, that has a smart interface and is ready to use in productions straight away,” Oli explains. At the same time, the deeper capabilities of Max let Oli fine-tune Kasio. “Max allows you to go very deep if you want to,” he says. “Being able to use my own C++ externals [low-level code within Max/MSP] for aspects of the synth is one thing that really appeals to me.”

A new take on a Klassic

Like its namesake CZ-series synths, Kasio uses Phase Distortion synthesis - in which the phase of a sine wave is modified in various ways to produce new waveforms. Kasio builds on its digital legacy, producing plastic basses, sharp bell-like timbres and shimmering resonant pads. Utilizing two CZ-style oscillators, ring modulation, three Envelope Generators and an LFO, a wide variety of timbres are possible. Kasio serves to bring the classic sounds of Phase Distortion to all Max for Live users.

Using Kasio

Kasio comes with 32 presets inspired by the original CZ-synths. All controls are laid out on one easy-to-use panel for instant tweaking. Select from eight CZ waveforms for each oscillator in the “Wave” section. Different waveforms can be set for each alternating cycle; the second oscillator can also be detuned and mixed as a ring modulator signal. The ADSR Envelope Generator sections control amplitude, pitch and the all-important DCW (digitally controlled wave-shaping) which varies the amount of phase distortion. Vibrato is controlled via the LFO section.

Kasio is available as a free download with accompanying Live Set for all owners of Max for Live. Kasio requires Ableton Live 8.2.6 or higher - Live 8 owners can download the latest version of Live 8 for free.

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