is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
pencilrocket
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by pencilrocket » Fri May 01, 2015 3:07 am

As for the characteristic of Live as DAW it appeals to those who don't want to learn nerdy engineering aspect. Devs aren't trying to make Live same as Cubase or Logic. They have tried to make simple daw. I'm skeptical about how M4L goes well with the majority of Live's culture and philosophy.
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by re:dream » Fri May 01, 2015 9:01 am

Yes, that's kind of what I took Angstrom to say 8)

Agree with LFO8 and oblique strategies.

If Convolution Reverb could go native... and if Dub Machines were available as a VST version... I would jettison M4L on the spot.

Angstrom
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Angstrom » Fri May 01, 2015 12:14 pm

There are some great posts in here, so thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts.

Of course I keep trying to boil my issue down to an analogy, to avoid my usual long-windedness, which soawns misunderstandings. So here's my latest attempt.

The parable of the tasty meal
I am about to eat a tasty meal, meat and vegetables, and my host gives me a sharp new knife and says "get stuck in!" , so I ask for a fork. My host says "I have provided you with a sharp knife, with this sharp knife you can make a fork!" . I complain that really while I could whittle a fork from wood, my meal would get cold, and so while the knife is excellent it really doesn't replace the need for a fork.
My host thinks I have misunderstood and attempts to find the problem "don't you understand that you can make a fork with a knife, and you can make a spoon too... When desert comes you are going to need a spoon". Growing increasingly exasperated I say "as fascinating as it that I can make tools with the knife, how can you not see that this knife is only good for eating food when it comes paired with a fork, the knife is good, but I'm not here to carve wood, right now I am here to eat.".
My host sits sullenly silent, the meal is now cold and unappetising.


Valiumdupeuple
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Valiumdupeuple » Fri May 01, 2015 1:06 pm

Angstrom wrote:There are some great posts in here, so thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts.

Of course I keep trying to boil my issue down to an analogy, to avoid my usual long-windedness, which soawns misunderstandings. So here's my latest attempt.

The parable of the tasty meal
I am about to eat a tasty meal, meat and vegetables, and my host gives me a sharp new knife and says "get stuck in!" , so I ask for a fork. My host says "I have provided you with a sharp knife, with this sharp knife you can make a fork!" . I complain that really while I could whittle a fork from wood, my meal would get cold, and so while the knife is excellent it really doesn't replace the need for a fork.
My host thinks I have misunderstood and attempts to find the problem "don't you understand that you can make a fork with a knife, and you can make a spoon too... When desert comes you are going to need a spoon". Growing increasingly exasperated I say "as fascinating as it that I can make tools with the knife, how can you not see that this knife is only good for eating food when it comes paired with a fork, the knife is good, but I'm not here to carve wood, right now I am here to eat.".
My host sits sullenly silent, the meal is now cold and unappetising.
Interesting parabole, but here we're more talking top gastronomy than just a nice meal. Live is a top notch music creation and production software, without M4L; and fortunately even with its current limitations you're still able do do amazing things with it. Live is the whole restaurant, with the fantastic food, knives and forks... M4L is just the spice. I personally like spices and always use some in my cooking; some people don't like them and still achieve wonderful meals that I enjoy a lot.
Last edited by Valiumdupeuple on Fri May 01, 2015 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

oddstep
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by oddstep » Fri May 01, 2015 1:07 pm

Your host has given you a fork. The max devices don't require any whittling. You can use them as there are. I agree, if you are wanting to use max msp as a modular patching environment you are going to be disappointed by the effort involved but if you simply want an envelope or an lfo... you have those things already.
I agree a bitwig style routing system would be better than the m4l noodle plex.

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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Tarekith » Fri May 01, 2015 1:32 pm

Personally I just wish some of the better devices and concepts were turned into native devices within Live Suite myself. I think it's cool that people who like to geekout designing this kind of thing (errr coding I mean) have a way to do it with deeper integration in Live. I'd like the ones that really excel at it to be part of the package though and not require additional software to use. I think that would encourage more people to really put the effort into making top notch devices, and hopefully making them as stable as possible.

Other than that it seemed like a cool idea at first when M4L was announced, but it only took me a couple of weeks of trying to learn it to realize how much time was going to be involved trying to get some of my more advanced ideas built. IF I was even able to.

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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Angstrom » Fri May 01, 2015 1:35 pm

oddstep wrote:Your host has given you a fork. The max devices don't require any whittling. You can use them as there are. I agree, if you are wanting to use max msp as a modular patching environment you are going to be disappointed by the effort involved but if you simply want an envelope or an lfo... you have those things already.
I agree a bitwig style routing system would be better than the m4l noodle plex.
It's true that they provided devices, building blocks, but I wasn't drawing an analogy between the notional fork and a specific device I was saying that the fork represents a working methodology. The Fork of Intuitive Creativity. Max is a different methodology - the Knife of Logic.
You can't actually make Intuition with Logic. You can make good results with logical thought which are just as valuable as those of intuition. But the point of my analogy was that when I need the fork of intuition, the knife of logic is not applicable. The knife of logic can be used to and produce valid results, but they are not equivalent. They are best combined as a pair. Currently we have a logical solution, but it is disingenuous to suggest it is also an intuitive solution. Or that it can make intuitive solutions.

Max addresses many Logical & problem solving tasks very well, but I would like Ableton to understand they have a strong base as an intuitive musical creation platform, through a stated attitude of "you don't need a manual". This was fostered by a more UX "learnable" aproach. The Fork of Intuition was strong in Ableton's old and established approach.

I would like that older attitude of "no manual required" to be reflected in a more intuitive solution for synthesis and routing, and I contend that while Max is a fine logical tool it does not address that requirement.

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stringtapper
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by stringtapper » Fri May 01, 2015 3:05 pm

It's a complex issue really.

There are two kinds of M4L users: those who make and use devices and those who only use devices.

It seems to me that the criticisms of M4L are mostly coming from the latter category, with the main complaint being stability.

So if they just made it rock solid stable then would the criticisms go away?

What if they did just make M4L their platform for all new devices but made it just as stable as their native devices? Then would that be ok? If they were just as stable and you only use devices and don't make them, then why would you care how they were made? (I'm talking official Ableton M4L devices that come with Suite)

If the stability were fixed then would some of you still have something to say about the design philosophy?
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Machinesworking
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Machinesworking » Fri May 01, 2015 4:25 pm

stringtapper wrote: What if they did just make M4L their platform for all new devices but made it just as stable as their native devices? Then would that be ok? If they were just as stable and you only use devices and don't make them, then why would you care how they were made? (I'm talking official Ableton M4L devices that come with Suite)
Owning more than one DAW like you do you have to realize what a huge CPU hit Live has always had compared to Logic and DP etc.
Max devices of any complexity are always going to take more CPU than the same device coded in C++.

My first thoughts when Max 4 Live was announced were about stability and CPU use, even if they got M4L stable, further plugin development and features being done in M4L would mean Live's substantial CPU hit would be going up yet again.

Of course all this isn't anything any of us have any control over. I thought Bitwig might be coders who wanted streamlined code etc. but it uses as much if not more CPU, and dedicated control surface integration was left to Java programmers...... :roll:

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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Angstrom » Fri May 01, 2015 4:25 pm

stringtapper wrote:
What if they did just make M4L their platform for all new devices but made it just as stable as their native devices? Then would that be ok? If they were just as stable and you only use devices and don't make them, then why would you care how they were made? (I'm talking official Ableton M4L devices that come with Suite)
Well if stability and CPU overhead were no issue I would have no problem at all whether the devices were made in Java, C++ or M4L if the following were possible

Use case : User wants to modify and extend an existing synth sound
Specific case :
I am making a lead patch in Operator2, Ableton's new FM synth for LiveX. I want to add another oscillator, so I grab one from the library and I drop it onto Operator. Operator 2 now reveals itself as the container it really is, the new oscillator appears in a UI extension, but it shares the established Ableton UI elements. Now I wish to use a different filter in the Operator Rack/device. I grab an Autofilter2, and I drop it onto the Operator2. The application puts the new filter in series, but I wanted it in parallel, so I use the established UI paradigm of ableton to create a parallel "chain". Now Operator2 has 5 oscillators, and two parallel filters. I want the new filter to respond to a new envelope, so I drop an Envelope device from the browser onto Operator2 ... you get my meaning.

It wouldn't matter to me what the underlying architecture was, only that immediacy and flexibility of sonic creation was the primary concern, the primary target of any solution.

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This is modularity with flexibility, but within defined limits. It is a learnable interface through repeatability and builds on apriori user knowledge of established UI metaphors (racks,chains, devices, dials, browser - drag and drop, etc).
It is visual and self-descriptive.

A interface like this (Ableton's established user interface) immediately informs users of "not possible" actions.
So a not-possible action such as dragging a filter onto an oscillator would show the familiar Ableton "no drop" icon. The user would learn from immediate visual feedback what is, and is not, possible.
The user learns what is possible through the same actions. These are common to the application, so an action learned in one place is usable again elsewhere.

this is the power of the established Ableton user inteface

musikmachine
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by musikmachine » Fri May 01, 2015 6:41 pm

^I like it. So is that how Bitwig works?

stringtapper
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by stringtapper » Fri May 01, 2015 7:07 pm

Totally agree with all that Steve.

The thing is that what you're proposing isn't really about M4L. It's about making some deep changes within Live, changes that might be considered fulfilling its potential, but changes nonetheless.

If Live could do what you're saying and all of the devices were essentially editable Max patches then that would take it all to the next level.

And apparently this is exactly what Bigwig are claiming the 2.0 version of their software will bring, which is why I jumped on the recent sale to eventually get in on the upgrade to 2.0
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TomViolenz
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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by TomViolenz » Fri May 01, 2015 7:15 pm

Angstrom wrote:
Use case : User wants to modify and extend an existing synth sound
Specific case :
I am making a lead patch in Operator2, Ableton's new FM synth for LiveX. I want to add another oscillator, so I grab one from the library and I drop it onto Operator. Operator 2 now reveals itself as the container it really is, the new oscillator appears in a UI extension, but it shares the established Ableton UI elements. Now I wish to use a different filter in the Operator Rack/device. I grab an Autofilter2, and I drop it onto the Operator2. The application puts the new filter in series, but I wanted it in parallel, so I use the established UI paradigm of ableton to create a parallel "chain". Now Operator2 has 5 oscillators, and two parallel filters. I want the new filter to respond to a new envelope, so I drop an Envelope device from the browser onto Operator2 ... you get my meaning.
^
Add live audio-in too (Sampler and Operator) and Live 10 Suite will be a sure buy!
If Live 10 can't deliver something equally impressive like this, I'll be very open to what Bitwig 2.0 promises.

It's really as simple as that.

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Re: is Max for Live the wrong answer to the wrong question?

Post by Angstrom » Fri May 01, 2015 9:50 pm

stringtapper wrote:Totally agree with all that Steve.

The thing is that what you're proposing isn't really about M4L.
Oh completely, that's why I'm saying "M4L is not the answer to this question". M4L is the answer to a different question : namely "how do I construct a programmatic solution to a problem", but that's not the question most people are asking of Ableton Live.
hence the thread title.

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