Ableton releases Max for Live

Berlin, Germany, November 23, 2009

Ableton and Cycling '74 are pleased to announce the release of Max for Live, the long-awaited product that puts the power and potential of Max/MSP inside Live. Co-developed by Ableton and Cycling '74 over a period of more than two years, Max for Live effectively opens up the Live platform, allowing users to create and edit their own devices.

Users are free to create whatever they can think of: unique synths and effects, algorithmic composition tools, or hybrid hardware/software music machines. Devices created with Max for Live are seamlessly integrated into Live's interface and workflow, just like the "home-grown" Ableton instruments and effects.

Max for Live is a chance to join a society of makers and share ingenuity, and an essential product for all musicians and producers who want more than the conventional and predictable.

For those not interested in building their own devices, Max for Live is still an interesting opportunity. It includes a collection of premium instruments and effects, pre-made and ready to use alongside Live's native devices. But more interestingly, once the builders start building, even passive Max for Live users will potentially have access to countless innovative new tools.

The Max for Live Package

Max for Live includes:

  • Step Sequencer

Play up to four concurrent sequences, each with up to 16 steps. 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.

  • Buffer Shuffler

This audio effect "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.

  • Loop Shifter

A creative loop playback device. 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. Plus "morphing" transition between states, auto-mapping system and "auto-play" mode that randomly chooses MIDI notes for automatic state selection.

  • Pluggo for Live

More than 40 devices from the Pluggo collection. These include audio effects and instruments, all re-built and optimized for use within Live.

  • Tools, building blocks and tutorials

Numerous new MIDI and audio effects, ranging from common studio utilities like graphic EQs to creative MIDI utilities such as humanizers. Plus "Building Blocks" - each carefully annotated to help you learn how they were made, as an introduction to Max programming.

  • Button matrix step sequencer

Turns the button matrix of the APC40 or Launchpad into a hardware interface for programming MIDI sequences.

  • Official Live API

Provides programmers with access to some of the inner workings of Live, including tracks, clips, notes, names and values, selection states and more. This API also provides access to controller hardware via Live, for creating new mappings that can completely repurpose a hardware device.

Key features:

  • Create audio effects, MIDI effects and instruments
  • Includes Ableton Live API to control Live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, notes, loops, parameters etc.
  • Extend hardware devices: provides objects to access any hardware controllers that are connected to Live
  • Includes a specialized version of Max from Cycling '74 (Please note: does not run independently of Max for Live)
  • Comes with a selection of ready-to-use devices for audio and MIDI processing, algorithmic composition, real-time performance and hardware control
  • Devices keep playing in Live while they are being edited
  • Flexible user interface design: includes a collection of Live interface elements and other UI objects
  • Includes hundreds of built-in Max objects for logic, MIDI, scripting, audio and video processing
  • Supports video synthesis and animation via "Jitter" objects
  • Includes step-by-step tutorials for learning to program with Max for Live

System requirements:

Max for Live requires Ableton Live 8.

Pricing and availability:

Max for Live is available from the Ableton web shop on and from selected music retailers. Pricing is USD 299/EUR 249.

Users who already own Max 5 can buy Max for Live at a discounted price of USD 99/EUR 79.

Product bundles of Max for Live plus Ableton Live 8/Suite 8 are also available.

Movie resources:

What Comes With Max for Live

This movie looks at the devices and the content included in Max for Live. It's also a good way to get a quick idea of what this product is about.

Max for Live: Buffer Shuffler

This movie takes a detailed look at the Buffer Shuffler, one of the "showcase" devices included in Max for Live.

Extend - Introducing Max for Live

This movie was produced for the announcement of Max for Live in January 2009. It shows the ideas, motivation and vision behind the product.

Additional web resources:

Ableton's Max for Live product page and FAQs:

Cycling '74's Max for Live product page and FAQs:

About Ableton

Ableton makes Ableton Live, a unique product for writing, recording and performing music with a computer. Since the company started in 1999, Ableton has attracted an extensive and highly committed community of musicians, composers, and DJs worldwide. The company HQ is in Berlin, and there is another smaller office in New York. Ableton has about 100 employees at the moment, spread across both offices. The company has received outstanding press, awards and customer feedback since the unveiling of Live in October 2001.

About Cycling '74

Cycling '74 develops software for audio, video and multimedia innovators. Products include the Max/MSP/Jitter graphical programming environment and the Pluggo, Mode and Hipno collections of audio plug-ins. Cycling '74 also releases creative musical and multimedia works through its c74 recording label, as well as audio source libraries for musicians and sound designers through its Cycles series.

About Live

Ableton Live is software for making music: for composition, songwriting, recording, production, DJing, remixing and live performance. Live's nonlinear, intuitive flow, alongside powerful real-time editing and flexible performance options, make it a unique studio tool and a favorite with live performers. Ableton Live is the choice for those who would rather be "making music" than just "using music software."

About Max/MSP and Jitter

In use for over twenty years by performers, composers, artists, scientists, teachers and students, Max is the way to make a computer do things that reflect individual ideas and dreams. Max is a visual programming language, using a set of objects and patch cords to connect these objects together. Modularity is a core design principle of everything in the software. Max is the foundation on which Cycling '74 constructed their support for audio and visual media: MSP is a complete set of audio objects that work seamlessly within Max, and Jitter provides a robust architecture for video and matrix data processing.

For more information, contact:

Ableton Public Relations
Schönhauser Allee 6/7
10119 Berlin