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Max/MSP and Apogee Jam

July 12, 2013 | 7:34 pm

I’ve recently become quite enthralled by the synthesizer possibilities that Max seems to hold, and as a guitar player, the most prominent use I can think of for these synths is using them with my guitar.

I bought a device called the Apogee Jam earlier today, which is supposed to allow your guitar to connect to your computer as a MIDI device.

The problem that I’ve faced, though, is that Max seems unwilling to recognize it as a MIDI device, so its uses seem to be relegated to mere GarageBand tomfoolery, which, after using Max, seems simply unacceptable.

I was wondering if anyone on here has been able to use an Apogee Jam with Max/MSP, or might know of a way that one might do so.

I will be eternally grateful if anyone could help me!

Thank you


July 12, 2013 | 11:23 pm

I think you have misunderstood what the Jam is. The Jam is an analog-to-digital audio interface, not an audio-to-MIDI converter. You would need a MIDI pickup like the Roland GK-3 combined with a 13-pin interface like the Roland GI-20 or the Axon 50 (no longer manufactured), or some all-in-one solution like the Sonuus G2M in order trigger MIDI events with your guitar. The all-in-one solution will have trouble with polyphony while the GK-3+interface solution offers a channel per string (6-string).

Of course you could also try doing pitch detection in Max using externals like [fiddle~] or [sigmund~]. Not sure of the status on those externals regarding compatibility with Max 6. But, you will also be limited to mono with that solution as it’s essentially the same thing the Sonuus is doing but in software instead of hardware.


July 13, 2013 | 2:45 pm

I think you are entirely correct, Stringtapper: I did indeed misunderstand what the Jam’s application is. Your response is incredibly helpful, and I thank you tremendously. Which of the options you just laid out do you think would be the best option in terms of ease-of-use vs. overall quality?


July 16, 2013 | 8:40 am

Well I can’t speak to the quality of the Sonuus G2M since I’ve never used it.

I have Roland GK pickups on two of my instruments and I own a GI-20 and an Axon 50. These options are considerably more costly than the Sonuus, but they give you a lot more control including the ability to trigger polyphonically.

Also realize that it should be possible to create a Max patch that essential does what the Sonuus does, that is monophonic pitch tracking to MIDI. So you’ll have to weigh whether the $100 for the Sonuus is worth the time you would spend making a guitar to MIDI Max patch.


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