Ableton and Cycling ’74 have released Max for
Live, which 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. Devices created with Max for Live are
integrated into Live’s interface and workflow,
just like the “home-grown” Ableton instruments
and effects. Max for Live includes:

° A Step Sequencer, which lets you 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 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’s also a “dice” mode that randomizes the
shuffle pattern at each bar crossing.

° The Loop Shifter creative loop playback device.
It 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, which offers more than 40
devices from the Pluggo collection. These include
audio effects and instruments, all re-built and
optimized for use within Live.

° Numerous new MIDI and audio effects, ranging
from common studio utilities like graphic EQs to
creative MIDI utilities such as humanizers.

° A button matrix step sequencer that turns the
button matrix of the APC40 or Launchpad into a
hardware interface for programming MIDI sequences.

° An API (application programming interface) that
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.

Max for Live requires Ableton Live 8. It’s
available from the Ableton web shop
( and from selected music
retailers for US$29. Users who already own Max 5
can buy Max for Live at a discounted price of
$99. Product bundles of Max for Live plus Ableton
Live 8/Suite 8 are also available.