On Integrating Max & Ableton Live

At the 2009 Winter NAMM Show, Cycling ‘74 and Ableton announced Max for Live – a tool that lets you create and edit new features for Ableton Live

Max For Live devices look a lot like any other device in Live (right) – except that they have an edit button. 

Cycling ’74 founder David Zicarelli offers his perspective on Max For Live:


We’ve been working with Ableton for more than two years to bring Max and Live together.

From the outset, our goal was to create the concept of a dynamic Live device that would make the application itself seem editable. The result is not just another plug-in specification but an entirely new kind of workflow that manages to combine the interactivity and fluency of both applications without compromising anything.

Working on a complex task with another company separated by over 5,000 miles and a nine-hour time difference has been an interesting challenge. Time and distance were not the only issue, however.

Even though we respect each other’s software tremendously, the cultures of Ableton and Cycling ’74 are, within the narrow confines of audio software companies, pretty divergent. I suppose I should be careful in making comparisons between the two organizations, but I think it would be safe to say that Cycling ’74 operates in a manner that, by comparison to Ableton, could be characterized as complete and utter chaos.

The task of integrating Max into Live has already prompted a number of innovations within the Max environment and I can confidently predict more will be forthcoming.

Read Zicarelli’s full comments here.

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