Ableton Intros A Free Guide To Building Max Devices

Max is a powerful visual programming language for music, audio and multimedia, and it’s tightly integrated into Ableton Live. But for many musicians, the idea of ‘programming’ is a little daunting.

Ableton has introduced Building Max Devices, a comprehensive introduction to Max for Live that takes you through the steps you need to build your own Max tools, with helpful lesson texts spread out across multiple Live Sets.

It features 41 Live Sets & 90 free Max Devices, designed to give you a head start working with Max, and a wide range of examples to help you understand what Max can do.

Building Max Devices Tour:

Here’s a playlist of the Building Max Devices tour:

Building Max Devices is available now as a free download, for Live 11 Suite users or those who own Live 11 Standard plus Max for Live.

12 thoughts on “Ableton Intros A Free Guide To Building Max Devices

      1. Kinda true though. Max functionality has been integrated since Live 9, so launching a tutorial now seems to be somewhat symbolic for how Ableton is lagging behind events.

        That said, Max/RNBO is absolutely amazing.

        1. They didn’t launch a tutorial only now, this is not the first Live Pack teaching Max functionality, much less first tutorial.

          There was already the Max for Live Building Tools Pack (IMO Pluggo For Live too), and plenty of tutorials, plus manual and documentation.

          And Cycling’74 was a completely separate company until 2017.

          1. Of course you’re right, just a bit of jest there. However, I do think this is the first tutorial that comes from Ableton, rather than Cycling’74, which is what i meant. But I could be wrong…

      2. ive been building max devices for years now, still expect some actual functional / workflow updates from ableton thats not just another synth or reverb.

    1. Prediction: People will begin to notice Ableton updates are pretty much lacking, either adding features already available in other DAW’s or just another instrument/effect updates. Then they’ll turn their eyes to Max 4 Live, acquire the best devices and port them as VST’s and sell em in bundles. Or, Ableton Rack a la Propellerhead Reason.
      Timeline: 3 years.

      1. What people will begin to notice is that Live 11.0.10, Live 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3 all came within about 6 months from each other, and that from 11.1 to 11.3.1b1 it took just a bit more than a year (3 upgrades in 14 months)

        11.0.10 Sep 2021, 11.1 Feb 2022, 11.2 Sept 2022, 11.3 April 2023.

        What people will also begin to notice is that the little “Updated the bundled Max build to version X.x.x” notes in Live’s Release Notes actually hide huge upgrades like Max 8.3 (the “subdiv” update) and 8.4 (the RNBO update).

        Here are Live’s release notes, you have to scroll all the way down to 11.1 and 11.1b3 to read all the things Ableton introduced in the 14 months since Feb 2022.

        Another thing people will also begin to notice is that Ableton releases new Packs regularly (some free, some paid) which are not listed in the release notes yet add a lot to Live, like Microtuner (Mar 2022) and the Building Max Devices in this article (Apr 2023), and many contain unique stuff that has no equivalent in other DAWs or in plugin form.

        One other thing people will also begin to notice is that the Live Packs themselves are also upgraded, usually with no coverage from industry news sites, blogs, etc.

        (For example, last week Bengal by Max for Cats was updated to support MPE.)

        Same for 3rd party M4L devices, many devs provide upgrades.

        (For example, Pianerb was updated recently, adding a panel that allows to choose which key/string to resonate.)

        Yet another thing people will also begin to notice is how used to get 1 new entry per week on average some years ago, but now it receives several new entries per day (like 30,40 times more active), showing how Max For Live development has been growing A LOT since Live 10.

        And yet another thing people will also begin to notice is that Ableton didn’t only release Live and Max upgrades in the last year, but also Learning Synths upgrade (Apr 2022, with that synth that has closed source and can load in any Live version, very interesting consequences of such capabilities in M4L) and Ableton Note for iOS (Oct 2022, BTW Note also got an upgrade yesterday), plus they still organize Ableton Loop events regularly.

        In short, there is new Ableton stuff EVERY SINGLE DAY.

        I’m not joking or exaggerating.

        Every. Single. Day.

        I didn’t even touch on stuff like the download tag in Ableton’s Blog, the non-english Ableton social media (the Japanese one at least is very active, maybe more active than the English one), or the Max Packages.

        (How many Live users even know that the RNBO Max Package includes 30 new free M4L devices based on guitar pedal effects? Not many I would guess.)

  1. What is it about the Bitwig preference that makes so many of its users so disagreeable?

    Max is an amazing tool for learning to build your own specific devices, period.

    1. In the context of this post (Building Max Devices) Bitwig users should check the interactive contextual Help system in Max when you alt-click an object or right-click menu Open Help option, since they like the simple interactive contextual help in Bitwig so much.

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