Creating Audio Effect Devices

Creating Audio Effect Devices

Max for Live lets you create audio effects devices which receive audio input from the Live application process it in some manner, and pass its audio output either back to the Live application, or to other downstream audio effects devices in the same audio track where the device resides.

By convention, a Max for Live device gets all its audio from the Live application using the plugin~ object and sends its audio output using the plugout~ object. Audio input and output is limited to two channels.

Note: Sending audio to another Max for Live Audio Effect, Instrument, or MIDI Effect device using the Max send, receive, send~, or receive~, objects is not supported.

While creating a Max for Live audio device can begin by using the Max for Live device templates, you can use some of the Max for Live Audio devices, MIDI effects, and Instruments that come with Max for Live as your starting point.

These resources include the following:

  • The Max for Live example devices - are a set of Live devices that will provide hours of enjoyment and serve as examples of high-level Max programming. The collection includes one of each type of Live device - an audio effect, a MIDI instrument, and a MIDI effect.
  • The Audio Effect Tools demonstrate different tasks and aspects of device creation.
  • The Max for Live Video Tutorials contain examples of how to build Audio effects, MIDI effects, and Instruments.
  • The Building Block devices - are simpler example devices that can be used as-is or incorporated into your own devices.
  • A subset of the original Pluggo plug-ins from Cycling '74 have been recreated as Live devices.
  • Additional abstractions - raw materials for the creation of Max for Live Audio effects, Instruments, and MIDI effects are available as Max for Live abstractions These abstractions may be of use to you if you are interested in using Max for Live to control some portion of the Live application using the Live API.

Defining Latency for a Max for Live audio device

When Live sends audio or when MIDI triggers audio through an effect created using Max for Live, the events should all be time-aligned (e.g., if a MIDI note falls on the downbeat, the MIDI Instrument's audio should also end up in the mix on the downbeat). A device can provide latency information to the Live host application so that the host can use latency compensation to adjust the relative timing of different audio tracks.

When you use Max for Live, there are situations where it is useful to set latency to counteract timing differences introduced in your signal processing. If your signal processing patch requires you perform some kind of analysis on a block of samples before any output is produced, you can enable latency to make sure that the output from your effect will be correctly aligned in the mix (whereas if you are creating a device in which signal delay is what you intend, there's no problem and you don't need to set any latency).

Setting Device Latency

  • With a device window as the topmost window, choose Patcher Inspector from the View menu to show the Patcher Inspector
  • Double-click in the Value column for the Defined Latency attribute to show a cursor and text box. Type in a value for the latency value in samples, followed by a carriage return.