Max MSP project – Looper design

It’s been awhile updating my looper project, mostly because I have been busy learning MAX.

The looper project has reached the design stage. Building the looper by following the YouTube video’s by dearjohnread is done and now I have a functioning looper patch.

Now it’s time to start designing my own looper. In my Eurorack system I have an Expert-Sleepers ES-9 with a few audio inputs. 16 to be exact, now keeping track of 16 loops is a bit much whether it is in a live set or a jamming session. The start will be 4 tracks, inspired by the old 4 track recorders. I can always expand later.

The 4 tracks need to controllable by a midi controller, these functions must be available:

    • Start and stop recordings
    • Start and stop  playing the recorded loops
    • Mute and unmute of the loops

This will be the basic controller wise. Besides the loops I have several ideas for applying effects , like stutter, reverb distortion and whatever else comes to mind.

Functions need to be :

    • Effects per loop channel
    • Add & Delete
    • Turn on & Off
    • Building effect chains per channel

These functions also need to be controllable via a midi controller. I own an old Push 1 , which should be enough. I will start with that and make it customizable later on.

This is the basic concept for the design, I will post the more expanded design notes on my GitHub. Here I will go into the whole learning process.

Max MSP project – The idea , a looper

In order to learn Max/MSP and give the proces more focus , I have opted for a simple idea. Making a Looper. Think the hardware loopers like the Boss RC-505 and more on the experimental side, the Soma Cosmos.

It’s a looper aimed at live use and jam sessions, with the Eurorack as the input. The sound source.

The Looper needs to take care of recording loops from the modular. In order to have more control about the end result and what you heard in a live set. Adding loops , editing then and adding effects to it.

The interface between the Eurorack and the computer is an Expert Sleepers ES-9. Which is an audio interface for Eurorack. It has 8 audio inputs. So the looper will be one with 8 channels. The looper will be a buffer between the Eurorack and the music coming out of the speakers.

I am starting with a basic patch and will expand on it as I learn more. I will divide the project into little steps so I can keep control. And don’t get list and get finished results.

I have found a number of YouTube video’s on making a looper, first order of business will be simply building these. And later on changing them and building the functionality I want in them. And then I will release the first version.

The first version will be the basis for all future additions and built out on this.

video list :

Dearjohnreed – Four track looper part one
Dearjohnreed – Four track looper part two
Dearjohnreed – Four track looper part three

Soria box – Loop pedal from Scratch

I will share it on my Github when I have my first version. This can be found here :

Cornerman – Github Max/MSP

 

Max MSP project – Start learning , some resources

The new project has started. So first off , I started my search for good learning materials. Books, video’s the lot.

The phenomenal help within Max/MSP is the starting point obviously , because it’s really good. Once you know what you are looking for. It’s a bit like learning a language first you need to know the words.

Books

To counter my lack of knowledge on the language and what to look for, I needed additional sources. As a lot of my time is spent away from computers, I always start out with books. I already had bought two very good books on Max on my bookshelf. Ones that would look great in anyone’s musical book collection. Especially if you are into making music and the theory behind all of it.

Electronic Music and Sound Design series

These books by Alessandro Cipriani & Maurizio Giri are very good and go indepth on everything regarding Electronic music and Sound design. The fiets chapters being the theory behind waveforms and how sounds work towards more max oriented chapters on how to build your own tools for building synths and other musical systems.  As far as I know there are 2 parts available with parts 3 and 4 on the way.

The first 2 are also adapted for the latest max version, 8. If you can get an older version it’s fine too. The additions for the new version to the books can be found online for free.

Just started with part one again and although pretty steep in the theory part of things , after some dedicated studying you will get a lot out of these books for sure. I don’t think there is a more comprehensive set of books on music theory, sound design in combination with Max/ MSP.

Step by step : Adventures in sequencing with Max/ MSP

A book dedicated to building sequencers in Max/ MSP. Bought it last year and haven’t started reading yet. Given the importance of sequencers in electronic music and the immense possibilities surrounding them this is a very nice book to have in the collection.

While browsing and reading the introduction it’s emphasized you have some basic Max skills. This book will be on top of the reading list when I will go and built my own sequencers.

YouTube

Loads of really good tutorials can be found on Youtube , some just single video’s on certain topics, but also a few very good channels with loads of material. An overview of channels I found so far:

    • Nedrush : Loads of Max tutorilas and other video’s on Ableton live , the Elektron Octratrack and many, many more.
    • Must1002 : Max video’s , from beginners stuff to more complex, topics nicely cut into small video’s so you won’t be overloaded with long tutorials and can do tiny bits.
    • Dude837 : Wealth of video’s , loads of interesting topics.
    • BazTutorials : Found during my looper research, loads of neatly done video’s per topic.
    • dearjohnreed : Again mountains of content.

Probably missed a lot of channels and cool material. So let me know about cool stuff.

Misc.

There is also lots of ,material available in the PDF format, from research papers , tutorials and general Max oriented content. Which can be found with university library search engines and on the internet in general. I will post some links in the future whenever I use them in my projects. Also GitHub is a nice source. As well as the Cycling74 website which has lists of stuff.

 

Max MSP project – Open source and the learning curve.

For ages I have MAX/MSP by Cycling 74 installed om my machine and from time to time I am completely obsessed with the endless possibilities which exists in this space. For the ones not familiar with Max, it’s a developing tool for creating anything relating to producing music and integrating visuals. From synthesizers to art installation stuff. And everything in between.

And that’s exactly where my problem manifests itself, it’s just too much. However small I begin, I always get lost. Lost in my own brain to be more exact. And then I stop with pursuing and learning. I have not been able to let it go or start in a direction to try and really push it.

So the idea behind this series is to get more grip on my own learning proces and share everything I learn. I will post it on this blog and I will put stuff in a , yet to put up, GitHub page.

The ultimate goal is to build an interactive looper for live use. A looper which takes the input from my Eurorack synthesizer and takes that input and loops it. Which I can then further manipulate. I will share all my progress (or lack of) , and will share all my notes, first designs and the road when building the patch itself. And ultimately also the music that comes out of the proces.

That’s the main goal , every time I test the patch a series of recordings emerge. I will not share all of them, just the ones at the end of each stage. And that I think are worthwhile sharing.

This might result is a nice collection of useful notes on my own personal learning method, a nice max patch and enough music to compile an album with.

A big project indeed, but by working this way I hope to get into a rhythm and work on it more consistent. On all of it, learning, music and sharing.