M4L Stability

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
Eanna
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Eanna » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:05 pm

Will Ableton take notice and act on this issue if they receive bad vibes on their user forum, hosted on their own ableton.com site?

If yes, then rant away....

f.poce@tiscali.nl
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by f.poce@tiscali.nl » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:21 pm

Daniel,

I can understand your frustration, specially as a new Ableton/M4L user.
For now, until something really changes on the way Live and Max for Live interact with the Windows OS (something only Abe and Cycling can improve as it is in the main code, not on the patches), is to *workaround* things.

I posted this workaround in the past, it may be useful to do it again:

<QUOTE viewtopic.php?f=35&t=205402&start=105>
Ableton developers pointed out in the beta forum that there is one crash situation on Windows which they do recognize (and are working on - so it was reported):
At M4L initialization (that is: when you start M4L for the *first time* since Live was open, so with the *black* Max for Live logo popping up) things can go wrong.
In particular on Windows 7 OS. M4L requires some windows dll library to start. With large M4L devices those libraries may be called before being fully loaded, causing a Live crash. It is a matter of timing (therefore the unpredictable aspect).

# Workaround/Procedure:
A workaround (not a solution), as they suggested, is to load the simplest Max for Live device possible first.
For instance load the basic (empty) "Max Midi Effect" device, which you can find in Live browser under Max for Live // Max Midi Effect.
Wait then a few seconds. Half a minute maybe. Yes, it does sound stupid, but they said it should allow dll's to be loaded properly.
This should have the effect of starting up Max for Live engine with no issues.
After that it should be possible to load complex M4L devices or Liveset saved with such devices, without crashes.

My own experience kind of confirms this workaround does indeed help.
I still had very sporadic issues, but much better.
</QUOTE>

Another thing is to have a look on the behavior of Max 7.0.3 as Max for Live engine for Live 9.
On one of my machines it is running quite smoothly as M4L engines since it is out (see https://cycling74.com/downloads/).

For the sake of clarity: just personal suggestions here.

Gr
Fab / J74
Daniel Morgenroth wrote:Hi all!

I'm new here, just bought the Live9Suite/Push-Bundle a month ago.

Bought the Suite especially because of "M4L". I'm on Windows 7, 64-bit,SP1. Live 9.1.7, Max 6.1.10.

And now I'm just shocked. For two weeks I had no problems (already bought some devices by J74), now I get crashes when I even dare to look at a M4L-Device.

Send them Crash-Reports, Support-Reports and all that to get an "answer" like: "We know about the problem (for a long time?) but we don't know if we will ever be able to solve it."

M4L is in my eyes a "Stock-Plugin". Of course, Ableton is not Cycling, but "Max for Live" is still "Max for Live", Part of Live9 Suite.
I've been working with DAWs for 15 years(mainly Logic and Cubase)but I never ran into one that has this kind of "serious" problems with it's Stock-Plugins.

That's a major shock. If a software is this buggy (crashes with one track open, which contains a stock-plugin)I generally can't trust it anymore.

I don't need years of constant crashes.

As I wrote before, I'm into Ableton-World for one month and I've already seen enough that just makes me want to run away.

My Tip: If you need something like Max for Live (only working), buy Bitwig.

After searching this forum, this seems to be the only reliable workaround.

Eanna
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Eanna » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:24 pm

Edit: Fabrizio, you just beat me to the punch re. workarounds...

Cannot say that you are wrong in any way there Daniel. There is a significant issue with M4L, especially on Windows.

The three 'workarounds' that improve stability for me (but do NOT fix the inherent stability problem):
- Set your Audio Interface buffer to a higher value (512 / 1024 samples at 44.1kHz)
- Load the default Max Midi Device into your set after startup
- Let Live sit unattended then for a good five minutes before you do anything more with it

My experience of this first being a problem on my setup, was last Summer.
Looking at release dates, looks like it may have been the 9.1.4 release. I don't believe I made any system changes around that time that will have caused it. Not sure if the issue is with the Max Runtime, or with Live. I'm not sure if I 'skipped a release' at that time (going from 9.1.2 to 9.1.4 say).

I've tried using depends.exe to trace library loads and function pointer resolution, but I didn't get so far when the Max Runtime started - I just don't know the way this is supposed to hang together well enough to make any sense of what I was seeing, and if the problem is indeed as it feels (a synchronization issue), the intrusive depends.exe may indeed mask the sync problem althogether.

Bitwig feels like an application that got the Data Model right from Day One. In terms of MVC, their views are snappy, their controllers efficient, which points at a good Data Model backing it all up.
Sometimes, given the specificity of Live bugs (if this and that and not the other thing, then ....), occasional slowness of some core functionality, random crash-out bugs, relatively high memory usage, difficulties/reluctance to introduce new core features (like PDC, supporting NRPN, comp'ing), and developers who use the Python API being rattled by the constancy of significant API changes over minor releases, all "feels" like there is an antiquated/inflexible Data Model, with multiple Mediator layers on top. Add Threading to the mix (DAWs will be highly threaded), and you have a recipe for the behaviours listed above.

Ableton released a video recently of their development team, celebrating innovation, displaying modern software team practices, and clapping themselves on the back for having sorted out the Live sourcebase to be more modular. Yeah, good stuff guys... But, I'd rather see real fearless refactoring to the sourcebase, to make this a lean reliable machine on all platforms. That's the kind of innovation that will make the biggest difference to the user community. And it will allow Ableton to roll out new features with quicker turnaround and with fewer issues.
Last edited by Eanna on Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Eanna
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Eanna » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:33 pm

Double Post... :o

Angstrom
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Angstrom » Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:14 pm

All the stuff you say is right on point. Programmatically it's a clusterfuck.
I tend to work more from a UX side, where it's just as bad. The two apps seem barely on speaking terms.

For example: when I was recently talking with support trying to trace one of my many M4L errors I was asked "do you have this same problem with Max7 ?"
Now, I don't own Cycling74's Max7, I have a license for M4L 6.x , a "fully integrated solution within Ableton Live". So, is Max7 an update I ought to apply to my M4L6? , will Ableton's "check for updates" trigger an install of M4L7 ? Or does that even exist? Or ... What is happening here?

I am in danger of sliding into a broader critique of Abletons ultra-shit pack versioning system which guarantees all your LivePacks are 2 years out of date unless you regularly read the xml. But in this case the two Applications, Live and Max maintain a relationship which is less "integrated" and more "disjointed and mysterious".
As integrated solutions go, it's a joke

stringtapper
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by stringtapper » Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:44 pm

Angstrom wrote:For example: when I was recently talking with support trying to trace one of my many M4L errors I was asked "do you have this same problem with Max7 ?"
Now, I don't own Cycling74's Max7, I have a license for M4L 6.x , a "fully integrated solution within Ableton Live". So, is Max7 an update I ought to apply to my M4L6? , will Ableton's "check for updates" trigger an install of M4L7 ? Or does that even exist? Or ... What is happening here?
That's bizarre that they would ask you that. They should know full well that Max 7 isn't the officially supported version for M4L.

Currently you can use Max 7 as your M4L editor if you own a standalone license for Max 7.

It was the same situation when Max 6 was released. If you had a standalone license for it you could use it in Live 8, but it wasn't the officially supported version (meaning you couldn't use it without having a standalone license) until Live 9 was released.

And yes, how all of this works with the different versions has always been very murky and I only know this stuff from piecing together info I've gotten from Ableton employees here and Cycling 74 employees on their forum.
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Daniel Morgenroth
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Daniel Morgenroth » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:02 pm

Hi!

Don't know if this is the right way to reply?

To scheffkoch: I wanted to rant and then help. My tip is at the end of my post.

I don't think an update to 9.1.8, which only adds control surface support for two keyboards, will solve M4L-problems.
I believe my crashes started with Convolution Reverb Pro, but then happened with other devices like J74-Stuff. Now I can even crash a blank project with any M4L-Device I try to drag in.

To Fab J74: Thanks for the workaround. I also found another one you posted earlier: "Turn off" the device before you delete it? Will try these.
It's a shame that your great patches are suffering from the bad "foundation" that Ableton/Cycling have apparently layed out.


My problem is that I was planning to use Live not only for my own thing, but also for commercial work for clients.
For that I need something stable and reliable. I am not sure if Ableton Live is the right software for that kind of job anymore.
The worst case for me would be: Get another software (spend money and time again) to be able to "really work/produce", and just use Live for J74 Progressive, the Granulator and some other great devices. Basically just for generating midi/audio-files.

To Eanna: Thanks for the workarounds. I already tried the one concerning buffer size. Had it set to 256, now it's at 512, still crashing. Even crashing with 1024.

To be honest: When I first looked at Bitwig, I thought: "What's the point? This looks like Ableton. Only that Ableton is in the game for much longer, has had more time to fix things and is simply the bigger, more professional company!"
Now I'm searching the web if it's possible to run Push with Bitwig.
In a sick way, it's funny.

And yes, I am in a bad mood.
It's like: I just fell in love with Live (and even more with Push) and now it kicks me in the balls.
After all, I'm here because I wanted to know if anyone else experienced this problem. When I found out that this has been going on for years, my mood got even worse. Maybe this means that M4L is lost for windows-users.

And I'm only talking about problems like these "in public" because Ableton just can't tell me anything not even a rough timetable for a bugfix. They don't even know how to reproduce it.
I also watched that video. Great fun!

f.poce@tiscali.nl
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by f.poce@tiscali.nl » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:16 pm

Just a little side note: since 7.0.2 you can authorize Max 7 as Max for Live engine/editor without owning a standalone version of Max.
(http://cycling74.s3.amazonaws.com/suppo ... 7_0_2.html)

Gr
Fab
stringtapper wrote:
Angstrom wrote:For example: when I was recently talking with support trying to trace one of my many M4L errors I was asked "do you have this same problem with Max7 ?"
Now, I don't own Cycling74's Max7, I have a license for M4L 6.x , a "fully integrated solution within Ableton Live". So, is Max7 an update I ought to apply to my M4L6? , will Ableton's "check for updates" trigger an install of M4L7 ? Or does that even exist? Or ... What is happening here?
That's bizarre that they would ask you that. They should know full well that Max 7 isn't the officially supported version for M4L.

Currently you can use Max 7 as your M4L editor if you own a standalone license for Max 7.

It was the same situation when Max 6 was released. If you had a standalone license for it you could use it in Live 8, but it wasn't the officially supported version (meaning you couldn't use it without having a standalone license) until Live 9 was released.

And yes, how all of this works with the different versions has always been very murky and I only know this stuff from piecing together info I've gotten from Ableton employees here and Cycling 74 employees on their forum.

stringtapper
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by stringtapper » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:36 pm

That link doesn't explicitly say that though.

Plus, Ableton are still listing Max 6.1.10 as the latest version of Max for M4L.

Can anyone who doesn't own a standalone Max 7 license confirm that it's possible to use it as the M4L editor?
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Eanna
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Eanna » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:43 pm

Yep, I use 7.0.2 max Runtime with live 9.2.x beta.
Didn't realise I could use it with 9.1.8 until Fab mentioned it above.

stringtapper
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by stringtapper » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:55 pm

But are you able to edit M4L devices?
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Angstrom
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Angstrom » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:42 pm

I feel like you guys are really proving my point about the opaque and unintuitive integration of these two applications.
when the people who know and love the applications don't know what's happening, or what the correct action is, then there is a problem.

As I have often said, Max is a very capable and broad ranging IDE but it was never the optimal solution for the most common Ableton user use-cases, it's the wrong answer to the wrong question, and the method of integration has not helped ameliorate matters.

stringtapper
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by stringtapper » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:32 am

Angstrom wrote:I feel like you guys are really proving my point about the opaque and unintuitive integration of these two applications.
when the people who know and love the applications don't know what's happening, or what the correct action is, then there is a problem.

As I have often said, Max is a very capable and broad ranging IDE but it was never the optimal solution for the most common Ableton user use-cases, it's the wrong answer to the wrong question, and the method of integration has not helped ameliorate matters.
I totally disagree with your second paragraph, but I completely agree with the first.

How the two are integrated in terms of the technology as well as the licensing has been completely confusing from the very start and the answers have always been few and spread wide. Neither companies have really had their shit together when it comes to making this stuff clear to the users.

As someone who loves M4L even the way it is I can't deny that the technical integration has still been lacking in several key areas from the very start and those of us who have run into these limitations have been going wtf for several years now.

Most of those limitations have shown up when experienced Max users try do things they've done for years with Max and find they simply can't be done. Things like multichannel audio and MIDI, sysex, and audio and MIDI routing between channels and devices just to name a few.

These are mostly things that have to change in Live for it to get better, so asking for such features would be good for even those who don't use M4L… except they've never gotten around to implementing any of it.

Anyway, those are feature requests. This threads is about stability and it still seems like Windows users are getting the brunt of it.

Angstrom have you tried using Max 7 as the M4L version?
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Angstrom
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Angstrom » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:39 am

stringtapper wrote: Angstrom have you tried using Max 7 as the M4L version?
God no, the last time I updated my copy of Max was right around the time things started to really go bad for me. I'll spare you the full tale of woe, it involved three partly completed and locked up Max installs, then bluescreens, then I resorted to OS rollbacks to get my system back up again, then Live wouldnt start at all, so I had to install it all again, Live and Max. That was Max619_x64_141015

All I was trying to do was update the Convolution reverb !

I have no idea what would happen if I tried to do that again with a not officially supported version. Oh god it gives me chills just thinking about it. Aeeiiieeaargh. no no no.

Eanna
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Re: M4L Stability

Post by Eanna » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:32 am

Just a half hour tonight with Live 9.1.7 and Max 7.0.2 on win7 (32-bit), but all worked well.

J74 Progressive, Sonic Faction Pulsator synth (memory hungry sample-based synth), and Convolution Reverb Pro, all loaded and played fine.
LiquidRhythm needs work to get it to work with Max 7. WaveDNA have greatly improved their installer in the most recent revision, installing seamlessly now with the Max 6.1 runtime - I am guessing it just needs to configure itself in the Max 7 Runtime config.

Feels good, positive early indications, but time will tell.

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