What is MAX/MSP?

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culturedslob
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What is MAX/MSP?

Post by culturedslob » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:59 pm

ok, i know that its some kind of program that a company has that other users can re-program. i also know its used for music making/performance.

other than that, i dont get it. does it replace a sequencer and all other DAW type programs/equipment? synthesis? what are patches exactly?

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Post by Z » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:23 pm

I, personally, know nothing about the software being a computerphobe when it comes to music production, but here's what a simple search produced:
http://www.answers.com/topic/max-softwa ... technology

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Post by xpander » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:38 am

max/msp is a an open-ended graphical programming environment for multimedia. it's an essential tool once you learn how to use it- download the demo and go through the tutorials. i prefer it to Kyma in terms of sheer power and ease of use (no Smalltalk programming involved).

it's essentially limitless- you can pretty much do anything with digital audio or midi info in terms of music, but music/audio is merely a facet of a much more broad tool.

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Post by culturedslob » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:29 pm

well i saw a video on youtube the other day with Johnny Greenwood, the guitar player from Radiohead. I geuss he had max/msp set up for guitar processing and WOW! really really really cool sounding effects.

is max/msp supposed to be bridging the gap between music production and performance for electronic musicians?

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Post by Yoozer » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:52 pm

culturedslob wrote:Johnny Greenwood
Pick the man's brain, not his gearlist - far more interesting.
is max/msp supposed to be bridging the gap between music production and performance for electronic musicians?
If that's the case, it's certainly not the only piece of gear doing it.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

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Post by culturedslob » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:13 am

Yoozer wrote:
culturedslob wrote:Johnny Greenwood
Pick the man's brain, not his gearlist - far more interesting.
is max/msp supposed to be bridging the gap between music production and performance for electronic musicians?
If that's the case, it's certainly not the only piece of gear doing it.
well excuse me.

i was merely asking about its performance because it seems alot of people use it and it seems like its a really versatile and important piece of software. i just want to get in the know on what the big deal is about it.

i just mentioned that he had a cool guitar effect made with max/msp. i didnt, and i am not trying to 'pick' his gear list hotshot...

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:45 am

No need for the attitude, Yoozer is one of the most helpful and knowledgable members on this board, you'd be wise to listen to what he has to say.

Anyway, Max/MSP is so versatile that you can't really pin it down to any one particular sound or use, and I'd say it's only good for performance because a user can make exactly what they want for their performance with it, and not be tied down by any limitations that commercial hardware or software has.

I've made a patch that interacted with five wooden blocks to control a series of clips in Ableton Live to produce semi-random ambient soundscapes, a patch that used a Wiimote to control playback of audio files and a lot of other things.

Saying Max/MSP is makes good effects is like saying using a hammer makes good tables or using resistors and circuit boards makes good synths; it's completely down to what the user does with it. I've made some shockingly awful sounding effects in Max/MSP, in fact I just use it for interesting control and routing things now. I leave the complicated stuff like programming soft synths and fx to the professionals and just use them as plugins with Max.

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Post by culturedslob » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:04 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:No need for the attitude, Yoozer is one of the most helpful and knowledgable members on this board, you'd be wise to listen to what he has to say.

Anyway, Max/MSP is so versatile that you can't really pin it down to any one particular sound or use, and I'd say it's only good for performance because a user can make exactly what they want for their performance with it, and not be tied down by any limitations that commercial hardware or software has.

I've made a patch that interacted with five wooden blocks to control a series of clips in Ableton Live to produce semi-random ambient soundscapes, a patch that used a Wiimote to control playback of audio files and a lot of other things.

Saying Max/MSP is makes good effects is like saying using a hammer makes good tables or using resistors and circuit boards makes good synths; it's completely down to what the user does with it. I've made some shockingly awful sounding effects in Max/MSP, in fact I just use it for interesting control and routing things now. I leave the complicated stuff like programming soft synths and fx to the professionals and just use them as plugins with Max.
hmm that sounds really interesting. so among other things, youre saying that one could program their own way to route and control any myriad of musical equipment? like being a computer-music "conducter" that conducts an "orchestra" of synths, samplers, guitars, loops, sound effects etc... via computer running max/msp?

im actually getting a macbook real soon, i will definitely try out the demo when i have a computer thats capable of running it. the dell im on now would probably go into cardiac arrest or something!

Yoozer-
sorry for the somewhat perturbed response, i just felt like i was getting more of an elitist attitude than a patient and understanding informative reply that i was happy to receive from Stab Frenzy. im sorry im not more informed, but your reply really didnt do anything other than make me feel more distant from an understanding.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:35 am

culturedslob wrote:hmm that sounds really interesting. so among other things, youre saying that one could program their own way to route and control any myriad of musical equipment? like being a computer-music "conducter" that conducts an "orchestra" of synths, samplers, guitars, loops, sound effects etc... via computer running max/msp?
All except the guitars, they still haven't figured out a practical way to play them via a computer. :)

If you just wanted to do that though, you'd be better off just getting a program that already does it without the need for programming everything, like Ableton Live. Max/MSP really comes into its own when you want to do things like track a light moving around a room and use that to control panning of an audio track throughout a cubic array of playback speakers, or other stuff that would really bend your brain to figure out a way to do it with a conventional system.

It also makes it easier to have your entire playback, control and effects system contained in one patch/program. At the place I worked last year we had a patch that could control a multi-channel playback rig with up to 64 inputs and outputs that was used for multichannel sound diffusion. With just a couple of clicks you could change from a system that had 16 live inputs which were diffused around the room to playback of a stereo piece from inside Max, which could be diffused in real time throughout the system via a control system of 24 faders. For different people's performances we could map the faders to different channels or have them controlling groups of channels, and we didn't have to reload any programs or open new patches during the concert so it was stable enough to use in a live performance like that. The patch took over a year to program and fine tune though, so it's not something that you'd just make up in a weekend. Max kind of requires a lot of commitment to get the best out of.

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Post by Yoozer » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:49 am

culturedslob wrote: well excuse me.

i was merely asking about its performance because it seems alot of people use it and it seems like its a really versatile and important piece of software. i just want to get in the know on what the big deal is about it.
Then why don't you just try the 30-day demo?
i just mentioned that he had a cool guitar effect made with max/msp. i didnt, and i am not trying to 'pick' his gear list hotshot...
See, here's the thing. A modular environment exists in many shapes. Reaktor could do the job, or Kyma, or a Nord G2 or even an Eventide or whatever other thing; it's just that those don't do video, but since we're talking about guitar effects here, that's a moot point.

I see far too many people zoom in on whatever mr. Greenwood uses including a cheap 2-bit MIDI controller without thinking for a minute about the results or the way he thinks. Getting the same software package is not necessarily the first step to enlightment. That's all :).
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

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Post by culturedslob » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:02 am

Yoozer wrote:
culturedslob wrote: well excuse me.

i was merely asking about its performance because it seems alot of people use it and it seems like its a really versatile and important piece of software. i just want to get in the know on what the big deal is about it.
Then why don't you just try the 30-day demo?
i just mentioned that he had a cool guitar effect made with max/msp. i didnt, and i am not trying to 'pick' his gear list hotshot...
See, here's the thing. A modular environment exists in many shapes. Reaktor could do the job, or Kyma, or a Nord G2 or even an Eventide or whatever other thing; it's just that those don't do video, but since we're talking about guitar effects here, that's a moot point.

I see far too many people zoom in on whatever mr. Greenwood uses including a cheap 2-bit MIDI controller without thinking for a minute about the results or the way he thinks. Getting the same software package is not necessarily the first step to enlightment. That's all :).
Im a big Radiohead fan for sure, but really i stumbled onto the video of greenwood, while looking for videos that might be able to show me what it was all about. i typed "max/msp" in the search bar and got a johnny greenwood clip. i didnt even know he used max!

id like to get max/msp and see what i could make out of it. does it require alot of knowledge in programming language? itd be cool if there was a guide or something to learn how to get started.

how is max able to "communicate" with lights and video game controllers?? am i getting this right? you can make max msp as a control station between ALL electronic equipment, music related or not???

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Post by xpander » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:09 am

max/msp takes time to learn- the more time you take to learn it & experiment, the more dynamic and powerful tool it will be. the tutorials are excellent but take time to learn and you really need to experiment with everything as you learn new objects.

i can tell you this- if you take the time to really master it, it will shatter the limitations of your music creation.

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Post by Yoozer » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:34 am

culturedslob wrote: how is max able to "communicate" with lights and video game controllers??
There is functionality out of the box and there's functionality you have to add. Game controllers have an interface. You have to understand the protocol of that interface to work with it. For instance, a PS3 controller has an USB connection. You need to write a piece of software that can act as a bridge - e.g. receive USB messages, translate to something Max/MSP understands. If you're lucky, someone else has done this, but don't count on it. For lights - well, have fun studying serial ports and writing your own drivers ;).
am i getting this right? you can make max msp as a control station between ALL electronic equipment, music related or not???
Provided that you have the interface.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

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Post by culturedslob » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:51 pm

damn thats pretty intensive.
im actually really excited to get my macbook even more so.

i see online there are a large variety of patches made by people. the glitch programs are really cool. would that be a good place to start? maybe run a drum loop into max and go from there?

what are more simple patches to focus on first?

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Post by xpander » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:06 pm

culturedslob wrote:would that be a good place to start?
the tutorials are the good place to start, work through them otherwise you will be lost. put your own patches together as you are learning.

you have to put in some good work to master the tool.

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