Ableton and Cycling ’74 have announced the release of Max for Live, essentially putting the power and potential of Max/MSP inside Live.

Create all the instruments, effects and extensions you’ve ever wanted. Go beyond the common and predictable, and transcend the limits that conventional tools impose. Build completely unique synths and effects, create algorithmic composition tools, or fuse Live and controller hardware into radical, new music machines. Join a society of makers and share ingenuity.

Basically, Max for Live is a tool kit for making new devices. Think of a diverse and comprehensive set of building blocks that you can use to build pretty much anything you can think of. These building blocks include basic objects such as “+”, audio elements such as filters and oscillators, user interface objects, and a set of objects that regulate access to Live and hardware devices. Max for Live also provides a canvas where you can place and connect these objects with virtual wires. Flowing through these wires are audio, MIDI or video signals, or any other kind of data. Max is essentially a visual programming environment where you build courses or tracks for these signals to run through.

You can build new devices from scratch, modify existing ones or simply use devices that others have made. Max for Live includes several ingenious example devices and plenty of tutorials to take you from using to tweaking, and then to building.

Key features

  • Build your own audio effects, MIDI effects and instruments
  • Use the API to control Live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, notes, loops, parameters etc.
  • Extend your hardware’s feature set: provides objects to access any hardware controllers that are connected to Live
  • Includes a specialized version of Max for creating and editing Max devices (Please note: does not run independently of Max for Live)
  • Comes with a selection of MAX devices that are ready to use out of the box for audio and MIDI processing, algorithmic composition, real-time performance and hardware control
  • Devices keep playing in Live while they are being edited in Max
  • Flexible user interface design: the UI can look like Live or completely different
  • 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

Max for Live requires Ableton Live 8.1 or higher. It is available now for $299 / €249. If you already own Max 5, the crossgrade price is $99 / €79.

Discuss Max for Live in our Live forum.