Category Archives: MaxMSP

Delicious Max/MSP Tutorial 4: Vocoder

This week I was gutsy, I did two MaxMSP tutorials. I know, brave. Sam’s tutorials on YouTube continue to be a fascinating way to learn Max, as well as yielding some interesting projects. This second installment this week is about building a vocoder. The audio effect now common place is still incredibly rewarding, especially when running through a mic rather than using a recorded sample. There is a strange pleasure in getting to hear the immediate effects of this on your voice, which is further compounded by the ability to add multiple ksliders (keyboards) to the mix. Below is the tutorial I followed along with yesterday, and a resulting bit of fun that I had as a byproduct.

A silly patch made for a dancer’s birthday using the technique outlined by Sam in his tutorial above.

Delicious Max/MSP Tutorial 2: Step Sequencer

Another MaxMSP tutorial from dude837 today in the afternoon. Today I the step sequencer in the video below. This seems like slow going, and maybe a little strange since I keep jumping around in this set of tutorials. This is a rough rode. Maybe it’s not rough so much as it’s slow at times. I guess that’s the challenge of learning anything new, it always has times when it’s agonizingly slow, and times when ideas and concepts come fast and furious. The patience that learning requires never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps that’s what feels so agonizing about school when we’re young – it’s a constant battle to master concepts, it’s a slow road that never ends. Learning to enjoy the difficult parts of a journey is tough business. Anyway, enough of that tripe. On to another tutorial. 



Sound Trigger | MaxMSP

Programming is often about solving problems, sometimes problems that you didn’t know that you actually had to deal with. This past week the Media Installations course that I’m taking spent some time discussion issues of synchronicity between computers for installations, especially in a situation where the latency of wired or wireless connections creates a problem. When 88 computers all need to be “listening” in order to know when to start playback, how can you solve that problem?
Part of the discussion in the class centered around using the built-in microphones on modern laptops as a possible solution. Here the idea was that if every computer had it’s microphone turned on, the detection of a sound (say a clap) would act as a trigger for all the machines. Unless you are dealing with distances where the speed of sound becomes a hurdle for accuracy, this seemed like a great solution. So I built a patch to do just that.
This max patch uses the internal microphone to listen to the environment and send out a trigger messages (a “bang” in max-speak) when a set sonic threshold is crossed. As an added bonus, this patch also turns off the systems involved with detection once it’s set in motion. Generally, it’s seemed to me that a fine way to keep things from going wrong is to streamline your program so that it’s running as efficiently as possible.


Tools Used
Programming – MaxMSP
Countdown Video – Adobe After Effects
Screen Cast – ScreenFlow
Video Editing – Adobe Premiere

Delicious Max 6 Tutorial 23: Live for the Swarm

One of the on-going semester projects that I’ve committed to is regular (read weekly) online MAX tutorials. I’m currently enrolled in a course that’s focused on Media Installations, and while I have taken a semester of programming learning Processing I’m not proficient enough to rely on Processing for creating interactive programs. The Media Installations course has a heavy MAX component to it, but we don’t have much direct instruction in class about how to actually using Cycling 74’s software. Given this reality, I’ve leaning on the web to help me learn MAX. 


So far I’ve bounced between a few different sources for online instruction. I started with Peter Batchelor’s set of MaxMSP tutorials which were wonderful. I’m currently about third of the way through his materials, and know enough to feel an itch for more complicated instruction. Thanks to YouTube’s recommendation bar I stumbled onto dude837’s (Sam Tarakajian) YouTube channel and tutorials. dude837 has great material, it’s interesting, fast paced, and funny. While Batchelor’s tutorials are great, they do sometimes feel a little slow – don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times when I need a slow tutorial. Using both of these channels as resources has left me with a mixture of general and creative instruction – which has been a nice mix.

This week I’m going to tackle Sam’s Delicious Max 6 Tutorial 23: Live for the Swarm. 


Handy things to keep in mind
  • http://www.maxobjects.com/ – a database of max objects
  • Option Click brings up the Help File
  • fsaa – Full Screen Anti-Aliasing
  • Freezing Attributes keeps them from changing when you load a patch