Why is there no life manual

25. Max for Live

Max for Live is an optional product co-developed with Cycling '74. It enables users to expand and customize Live by creating their own instruments, audio effects and MIDI processors. Max for Live can also be used to extend the functionality of hardware control surfaces and even to modify the clips and parameters of a Live Set.

In addition to the extensive tools available for creating devices, Max for Live also includes a collection of ready-made instruments, effects, and tutorials. These can be used just like the devices integrated in Live and can give you ideas for your own projects and devices. Please note that this content is only available after Max has been installed and authorized.

(Note: Max for Live is not included in the Lite, Intro, and Standard Editions.)

25.1 Setting up Max for Live

Max for Live is installed together with Live and normally does not require any additional setup.

However, if you prefer to use an external Max installation, you must first refer to the storage path in Live's File / Folder Preferences:

Once Live has found the external Max application, Max for Live should be ready to use. At this point the Max-Content also begins to be installed in your live library.

25.2 Using Max for Live devices

Max for Live comes with a collection of instruments and effects that can be used out of the box. Max for Live devices appear in the folders Max Instrument, Max MIDI Effect and Max Audio Effect under the Max for Live Label in the browser.

Many devices have their own presets, which are very similar to the device presets from Live (see 17.1.1), but differ in one important point: a Max device can also be saved outside of the locations known to Live. It is therefore important to ensure that all presets relating to this device remain assigned to the device.

When you save a preset for a Max device, Live tries to get the necessary file references by copying the Max device into your user library and saving the preset based on this copy. However, if the referenced MAX file is moved or renamed, these file assignments may be lost. In this case you can use Live's File Manager (see 5.8) to repair the mappings.

To avoid such problems, we therefore recommend always backing up Max devices and their associated presets in the user library. Please note that this is the suggested default storage location when you press the save preset button in the title bar of the Max device.

25.3 Editing Max for Live devices

Max devices (also called "patches") consist of individual objects that send data to each other via virtual cables. For example, an empty Max Audio Effect already contains some of these elements: the object plugin ~ directs all incoming audio signals to the object plugout ~ from where the signal is then sent to all other devices in the chain.

To load an empty Max device, please move in Max Instrument or a Max MIDI Effect or Max Audio Effect from the browser into your set.

What a Max device actually does depends on the objects it contains and how they are connected to one another. The area in which you work with Max objects is the so-called editor (or "patcher"). You can access it by clicking the Edit button click in the title bar of the Max device.

This starts the Max-Editor in a new window, loads it with the current device and is ready for editing.

After editing, you should back up your Max device before using it in Live. This is done with the commands "Save" or "Save As" in the File menu of Max. Saving an edited device automatically updates all instances of this device that are used in your current Live Set. If you choose Save As, you will be asked whether the new version should only update the device originally opened for editing or all instances of the device in the set.

The default storage location when backing up a Max device is the library folder that corresponds to the device type to be saved. We generally recommend saving all Max devices under this standard location.

Note: Contrary to Live's native devices, Max devices are Not integrated in the live set, but saved as independent files.

25.4 Max file dependencies

As mentioned before, there are some special file management things to consider when creating presets for Max devices. In addition, there may be further dependencies on other external files (such as samples, images, videos or even other Max patches) in the Max device itself, which are necessary for the device to function properly. In this case, it can be helpful to use Live's file management tools to gather all the external files you need in one place, especially if you want to share your Max devices with other users.

One means that Max for Live helps to take care of such external dependencies is to allow you to freeze a Max device. A frozen device contains all the files necessary to use it.

Please note that the freezing of Max devices Not is the same as Live's Freeze Tracks command (see 31.1.3).

To learn more about freezing and how Max manages the dependencies of his own files, we recommend reading the documentation that comes with Max.

25.5 Learning to program Max

You can learn more about creating and editing Max devices in the extensive documentation and tutorials from Cycling '74, which are directly integrated into the Max environment. To access this documentation, please select the "Max Help" entry from the Help menu in any Max window. In the same menu you will also find the entry "Max for Live Help".

Max for Live also offers several courses that teach you step-by-step how to create various Max devices. These courses are available in Live's Help view, which can be accessed from Live's Help menu.