I thought that maybe some of you might be interested in reading about the Max for Live devices that I found the most useful this year. Not to be confused with a best of list. Granted, I didn’t get to make that much music so this post could look totally different within a few months now that I do. They all filled a particular need for what I wanted to do. With great results.
I’m currently very intrigued by using odd time signatures, polymetrics and polyrhythms. For the last two, Polyrhythmus is just perfect and a lot of fun to use. For beats or melodic arpeggios alike. You can set 5 different sequences with different lengths, time signatures and whole host of other parameters including randomising, triggering one sequence with another and automating MIDI CCs. This one’s also a go-to when I’m feeling uninspired.
One of the things I love doing is tweaking audio like it’s play-doh. Especially my voice as I always have it and condenser mic at the ready. CatStretch, a 6-voice polyphonic time-stretching sample playback instrument, is amazing for creating textures, pad sounds, rises or weird noises out of any sound. Simply add a sample and tweak the parameters until it sounds great. I often have no idea what I want to get out of it, but love the accidental results that often end up amongst my favourite sounds in a song. Full disclosure: Catstretch is available via Sonic Bloom, so I may be biased.
This Max for Live MIDI effect came out at the perfect time for me as I tried to figure out a good way to play convincing sounding glissandi on Push in live performances. The answer is with the touch strip and the help of OmniPush.
I must admit that I never liked the Reverb in Live all that much. Especially on vocals it kept sounding wrong no matter what settings I used. The Max for Live Convolution Reverb that comes with Suite is right up my alley though. I’ve been using it a lot just with the impulse responses coming with it in my new songs. And now that I’ve upgraded my field recording gear I plan on hunting for interesting impulse responses myself (probably more so after the winter).
I’ve mixed quite a lot of tracks for other people this year and for this I found Dmixer an invaluable tool. Instead of automating the volume of a track, I could do it with Dmixer. It’s an improved version of Live’s utility. IIt makes adjusting the track volume a whole lot easier and you can still have all the automation you need.
Of course, this list is totally subjective. That’s why I’d also love to hear what your favourite Max for Live devices from 2014 are.