Helpful Max For Live Information.

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:05 pm
Location: Seattle

Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by [erm] » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:55 pm

I wanted to start and sticky a thread where people can share useful tips for those using Max 4 Live. Tutorials, guides, helpful videos, links to anything else you think other M4L users would benefit from. I know this stuff always generates some discussion, but please try and keep it limited to providing useful information for other M4L users. Thanks!

- Tarekith

Some online tutorials:

Cycling 74's Tutorials Page

Barry Moon's Baz Tutorials

Sam Tarakajian's Max video tutorials

Peter Batchelor's Max tutorials

Peter Elsea's Max tutorials

Reading the Live Object Model (LOM)

Michael Chenetz great video tutorials

M4L Wiki from the Cycling74 website

And some books:

Electronic Music and Sound Design - Theory and Practice with Max and Msp - Volume 1

Electronic Music and Sound Design - Theory and Practice with Max and Msp - Volume 2

Max/MSP/Jitter for Music: A Practical Guide to Developing Interactive Music Systems for Education and More

Interactive Composition: Strategies Using Ableton Live and Max for Live

Max for Live Ultimate Zen Guide

[I've merged all the links in this 1st post for clarity. Thanks to Strintapper who provided a lot of them. Julien]
Ableton Forum Administrator

Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:00 am

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by esotericmetal » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Great idea! I'm learning Max right now and learning resources are most welcome.

Does anyone have any experience with the Electronic Music and Sound Design books? Was considering purchasing it but it isn't cheap and I want to be sure that it's not info that I can't get from all the free resources out there.

Posts: 6257
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:21 pm

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by stringtapper » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:33 pm

The EMSD books are great resources. Each chapter is organized as a pair of sections: theory and practice. The theory sections give you all of the theoretical (scientific and mathematical) background of the topic and then the practice sections show you how to implement those principles using Max. I think they're the best Max books out there.

The theoretical information they contain can probably be found somewhere on the internet, but probably not in one place. The practical applications of the theories in the form of patches that they guide you in building is not something you'll find for free.
Unsound Designer

Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by Airyck » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:15 pm

Thanks! Buying the ESMD book part 1. I'm very excited about all of this :)
I'm taking a lot of Math classes right now for my Electrical Engineering degree, hopefully this will help keep me motivated to learn to love Math.
Ableton Live 10 Suite / Push 2 / Max 7 & 8 /
2016 Macbook Pro 15"
Too much hardware to list

Posts: 3572
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Wageningen, Netherlands

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by ShelLuser » Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:34 am

I've written a few tutorials in the past, specifically aimed at my M4l device the LOM.Navigator but also some more general onces such as 'hacking' the APC40 and a 4 part tutorial on using regular expressions in M4l.

I let the original domain expire but have since then moved the site onto my main domain. The tutorial overview can now be found here:

Obviously dated material, but I noticed that some people still used parts of it.
With kind regards,


Using the Big Trio: Live 9 Suite, Max5 / M4l and Reason 6.5.
Blog: SynthFan

Posts: 700
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:38 am

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by NoSonic822 » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:17 am

Last edited by NoSonic822 on Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Site Admin
Posts: 1404
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Ableton

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by [jur] » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:46 pm

Inversoundzzz wrote: ... ezing.html
Freezing Max for Live Devices
Freezing a Max device prepares it for distribution. A frozen device contains files it needs to operate. These files might include subpatchers, audio files, image files, Javascript code, or third-party Max external objects. (When you freeze a device that contains third-party external objects, you can include both Windows and Macintosh versions of the external in your Max search path, if you have them both. The frozen device device will then will contain both versions, and will work on both platforms.) Max analyzes your device to find any files it uses (called dependencies), and then combines these files with your device. When a frozen device is opened, the files inside the device are used, even if similarly named files reside on your disk in the Max search path.

Freezing a Device

Click the Freeze button in the device window toolbar.

Choose Save from the File menu to save the device. The device is now frozen and is reloaded in Live in its frozen state.

Note that the device is not frozen immediately when you click the freeze button. It is frozen when you save it. Before saving, you can make further changes to the device after clicking the Freeze button by clicking the Freeze button again to unfreeze. When your changes are finished, click the Freeze button again, then choose Save from the File menu.
Inversoundzzz wrote: ... ncies.html
Managing Dependencies
Max analyzes the files your patchers use and automatically includes them when creating a frozen device. However, in some cases, you will have to tell Max about files your patchers use:

Files used by objects as a result of using messages. One example is a new patcher loaded via the load message sent to a pcontrol object. If you load a file into an object and then freeze and save the device, some, but not all, objects will add the file to the device. Objects that will not add files they are using that were opened via messages include detonate, funbuff, imovie, itable, sfplay~, sflist~, and text.
Files used by objects that never add them automatically to frozen devices. The mxj object never adds the Java class files it uses, nor can they be added to frozen devices because mxj doesn't know how to access them. Third-party Max objects may not support automatic inclusion of the files they use in frozen devices or may not be able to read files included in frozen devices.

If a patcher's automatic file usage analysis is not sufficient, you can add files to a patcher as explicit dependencies using the Dependencies window. Once you specify an explicit dependency, it will be saved with a patcher and included every time you save a frozen device with that patcher. Files that are automatically included with a patcher - implicit dependencies - can also be managed in the Dependencies window.

Adding a File as an Explicit Dependency

Choose Dependencies from the View menu when a patcher window is topmost. The Dependencies window will appear.

Click the + (Add File Dependency) button in the Dependency window toolbar. A new dependency called Dependency_1 will appear.
Click the Choose... button to associate a file with the dependency. Or type in a filename or pathname -- if you type in a name that refers to a valid file, the Type column will change from Missing to the type of the file.
Note that all dependencies must be in the Max search path. Files not in the search path will be listed as missing.
To add a folder of files, click the Add Folder Dependency button instead. As with file dependencies, folders must be in the search path.

Removing an Explicit Dependency

With the Dependencies window open, select the name of the file you wish to remove, then click the - button in the Dependencies window toolbar. The file will disappear from the list of dependencies.
Only explicit dependencies (with Choose... buttons next to their names) can be removed.

Showing Object Dependencies
By default, Max external objects are not listed in the Dependencies window, because in most cases they are handled automatically for you. Objects included with a standard Max installation are never included in frozen devices. Objects created by third parties are always included.

Click the Show Objects icon in the Dependency window toolbar.
Objects included in the patcher will appear. Objects included in a standard Max install are labeled object in the Type column. Objects not included in a standard installation are labeled object (third-party). Third-party objects are always included in a frozen device. Standard objects are never included.

Showing Dependency Sources
The Source column of the Dependencies window indicates the patcher(s) that use each file.

Double-click on the patcher name(s) shown in the Source column for a dependency.
If there is only one patcher name listed, that patcher window will be brought to the front. If there are multiple names, you will see a menu of patcher names. Choose the desired patcher from the menu, and it will be brought to the front.
Ableton Forum Moderator

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:49 pm

Re: Helpful Max For Live Information.

Post by DesertSound » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:36 pm

Free PDF guide for getting started with Max for Live:

Covers installation, setup, using plugins, downloading packs, and using the Max Editor.

Post Reply