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Max for Live. AUTOHELM ABLETON | Manualzz


Chapter 24

Max for Live

Max for Live, an add-on product co-developed with Cycling '74, allows users to extend and customize Live by creating instruments, audio effects, and MIDI devices. Max for Live can also be used to extend the functionality of hardware controllers and even modify clips and parameters within a Live Set.

In addition to providing a comprehensive toolkit for building devices, Max for Live also comes with a collection of pre-made instruments, effects and tutorials. These can be used just like Live's built-in devices and can also give you ideas for your own device building projects. Please note that this content will only be available after Max is installed and authorized.


Installing and Authorizing Max for Live

In order to use Max for Live, you must install Live 8.1 (or newer) and Max 5.1 (or newer).

Max is available as a download from Cycling '74's website



Like all Ableton add-ons, Max for Live must be authorized before it can be used. The chapter



448 on

authorizing Live

contains more information about this process, and in-depth instructions can be found at the Ableton website



If you've installed Max to somewhere other than the default location, you will rst need to point to it in Live's File/Folder Preferences:

Once authorization is complete and Live has found the Max application, Max for Live should be ready for use. At this point, the Max content will begin to install into your Live Library.

The Path to the Max



Using Max for Live Devices

Max for Live comes with a collection of instruments and effects which are ready for use.

Max for Live devices appear in the Max Instrument, Max MIDI Effect and Max Audio Effect sections of Live's Device Browser.

Many of these devices also come with their own presets, which are similar to

Live's device presets

but with one important difference: because a Max device can be stored outside of

Live's Library, it is important to make sure that any presets that refer to this device remain associated with it.

If you save a preset for a Max device that is outside of the Library, Live will try to maintain the necessary le references by copying the Max device into the Library and saving the preset based on this copy. If the referenced Max le is then moved or renamed, however, these le associations may be broken. If this happens, you can use Live's

File Manager

to x the problem.




To avoid these issues, we recommend always storing Max devices and their presets in the same folder. Live's Library is the preferred location.


Editing Max for Live Devices

Max devices (or patches ) are constructed of objects that send data to each other via virtual cables. An empty Max Audio Effect, for example, already contains some of these elements: the plugin~ object passes all incoming audio to the plugout~ object, which then passes the audio on to any additional devices in the chain.

A Max Device and its

Presets in the Device


A Default Max Audio




To load an empty Max device, drag a Max Instrument, Max MIDI Effect or Max Audio Effect from the Device Browser into your Set.

What a Max device actually does depends on the objects that it contains, and the way in which they're connected together. The area where you work with Max objects is called the editor (or patcher ), and can be accessed by pressing the Edit button in the Max device's title bar.

The Edit Button for a

Max Device.

This launches the Max editor in a new window, with the current device loaded and ready for editing.

After editing, you should save your Max device before you use it in Live. This is done via the

Save or Save As commands in Max's File menu. Saving an edited device will automatically update all instances of that device that are used in your current Live Set. If you choose Save

As, you will be asked whether or not the new version should update only the device that was originally opened for editing or all instances of the device in the Set.

The default location when saving a Max device is the folder in the Library that corresponds to the type of device being saved. We recommend always saving Max devices to this default

A Default Max Audio

Effect in the Patcher.


451 location.

Note: unlike Live's native devices, Max devices are not saved inside Live Sets, but rather as separate les.


Max Dependencies

As mentioned earlier, there are some special le management considerations when creating presets for Max devices. Additionally, Max devices themselves may depend on other les

(such as samples, pictures, or even other Max patches) in order to work properly. In this case, you may want to use Live's

le management tools

to collect all of these dependencies into a single place, particularly if you want to share your Max devices.

One way in which Max for Live helps to deal with external dependencies is by allowing you to freeze a Max device. A frozen device contains all of the les that are needed to use it.

Note that freezing of Max devices is not the same as Live's

Freeze Track


To learn more about freezing, and about how Max deals with managing dependencies for its own les, we recommend reading the built-in Max documentation.


Learning Max Programming

To help you learn more about building and editing Max devices, Cycling '74 provides comprehensive documentation and tutorials built into the Max environment. To access this documentation, select Max Help from the Help menu in any Max window. There is also a

Max for Live Help entry in the same menu.

Max for Live also comes with a number of Lessons which provide step-by-step tutorials for building a variety of Max devices. These Lessons are available from Live's Help View, which can be accessed from Live's Help menu.


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