Max/MSP without computer (Bangs in a can)

Sep 11, 2012 at 3:56pm

Max/MSP without computer (Bangs in a can)

Did anyone here think about “bangs in a can”?
Did anyone before imagine “Max for stompboxes”?
How could we run Max-patches inside small diy hardware-boxes (steel or concrete?) without any computer?
Any idea anyone?
I don’t want to sell my patches as iOS-Apps: I would prefer “bomb-proof” stompboxes (three knobs!)

#64327
Sep 11, 2012 at 4:01pm

but what do you mean without any computer ? without any chip ?

#231966
Sep 11, 2012 at 4:02pm

Funny idea!

You can already get one “bomb-proof” object here: http://www.uzi.com/ (maybe kess than 3 knobs?)

p

#231967
Sep 11, 2012 at 4:54pm

The ‘black box’ paradigm is very attractive, and it was my initial goal when I started programming again. When I performed with a laptop, the screen is black and it’s off to the side, it’s not part of my “instrument”. I was very much inspired by someone like DJ Sniff who uses a ‘headless’ Mac Mini as his ‘black box’.

There’s the rasberry pi and other devices like that, but sadly Max doesn’t run on Linux. Maybe at some point we’ll see something like that that Max could run on.

Also depending on the level of programming you want to do, there’s the Line6 DSP developer kit:

http://line6.com/tcddk/

#231968
Sep 11, 2012 at 5:38pm

@KrisW: without any computer means: no qwerty/qwertz-keyboard, no screen, just hardware nearly looking like this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Muff (3 knobs, no killing options).

@ Rodrigo: you’ve got it ;-) DJ Sniff with his MacMini was cool. Was a great step towards the “right” direction, but you know:
it’s like using a helicopter for the 7 steps from the kitchen to the bedroom.

Raspberry Pi could be near to what I’m looking for ;-(
http://www.raspberrypi.org/quick-start-guide
“… but sadly Max doesn’t …”

Thank you very much for directing me to line6:
that’s very near to what I would like to see for Max ! (Hi Max, do you hear me?)
At Line6 they say it in better words than me:
“… plug our pedal into your computer via USB, use the software we give you to write some fancy code, then shoot (!?) it back to the pedal, which now stores it in memory. Now when you plug in your guitar to the pedal, it does to the sound of your guitar whatever you’ve told it to do! …” => They do it the way we should (… I want to …) do it with Max.

Please keep me informed about your ideas, jokes, links, stompboxes etc.: maybe someone will hear us ;-)

#231969
Sep 11, 2012 at 5:44pm

yes frank ive understood after a while hehehe u can program a gameboy also and stand on it :D

#231970
Sep 11, 2012 at 5:48pm

What Rodrigo said, kind of: Your computer/Max as the invisible element of your performance/artwork/whatever.

It’s amazing how – once you’ve shoved it into the background – you can put your computer to the back of peoples’ minds and get them focusing on the crux of work. As a matter of fact, I’ll (hopefully) be starting a PhD soon and will be basing my thesis on roughly this sort of topic; so I’d appreciate hearing more thoughts about this too (both technical and conceptual ideas).

And, yes, Max on more platforms please. I hear people are running Pd on their RasPis now, it’d be great to get Max on there.

#231971
Sep 11, 2012 at 5:54pm

congrats dickmedd for the road you choosed ! anyway ,after Pd there shouldnt be a long way to get max on it unless it require fundamental recoding considering these Ras chips .

#231972
Sep 11, 2012 at 6:05pm

There’s a bunch of these rasberry pi type things popping out. I saw one the other day (don’t remember the name and can’t find the link) that was 1gb of memory, and faster clock etc.. It was still linux based though, which is the hold up for this kind of max/msp black-boxing.

I don’t think I’ve seen PD on a raspi yet (though read plenty of talk about it). There was also the beagleboard before the raspi, which I think people had (difficultly) ran PD on. I’ve seen PD run on an old rooted palm pilot though, so it’s pretty flexible that way.

It would be nice to know if the higher ups at c74 are at least looking at embedded options, as I think that would make many many MANY people very happy.

I think my own personally performance patch is already pushing the limits of a dual core 4gb ram laptop, so it’d be a bit before the cheap/tiny/embedded options are running that strong but considering phones/tablets are dual (quad?) core nowadays, that should be coming around.

#231973
Sep 11, 2012 at 6:08pm

@Kris, yeah the line6 thing is nice, if you want to get into that kind of programming (or already can) as it’s a robust hardware system backing it (I think its 48k 24bit I/O, with 6 knobs and a bunch of switches).

There’s other options in that road if you want to go DIY (and not using Max/MSP) with other 32bit development platforms (raspi, arduino due, or just rolling your own.

Take a look at this guy, he’s been making/designing a bunch of digital pedals using DIY stuff/code. Very interesting stuff:

http://soniccrayon.blogspot.co.uk

#231974
Sep 11, 2012 at 6:39pm

@Rodrigo – frank applaud it . i dont think i would switch to program these cool boxes as their specifications might not suit serious needs (uve also mentioned 4gb and cpu) . of course it depend from what someone need . if DIY i would go for analog solutions with possible modularity controlled via system like max . still with desktop – but there are already groundbreaking hardwares on the market that substituting or cover the desire / needs

ps:great link !!!!

#231975
Sep 11, 2012 at 6:50pm

Imagine Max in Euro-Rack beauty cases
http://www.doepfer.de/a100_mc.htm
or even as part of bigger Euro-Rack systems

http://www.doepfer.de/a100e.htm

Indeed we need some more cpu-power in our ;-) black boxes. My recent patches consume nearly 80% of a MacBookPro sometimes.

I would like it if Max could follow the drift of many experimental artists to black box (DIY) hardware. There is no more glamour, nor fascination or magic in performances with “computers” today, concerts with computers have more and more the aura of monkey business, or am I wrong?
For some artists the drift to black box hardware has also to do with “political” or “philosophical” thoughts about the increasing restrictions in the world of computers, app-shops etc.

Now, what’s cool in Berlin nowadays ? Look at this, that’s where the cool folks (former Max users) hang around:
http://www.schneidersbuero.com/ They are looking for … stompboxes ;-)

#231976
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:03pm

I think that c74 has a (relatively) small team so shifting platform/focus around like that isn’t as fluid (though you would think that would be the case but I imagine every exploration also requires support in that area of exploration).

For me it’s more the fact that I’m an instrumentalist who uses a computer to augment my setup, so I’ve already got plenty “on my plate”. Even when I just use a controller, I try to use it ‘instrumentally”, so black box is ideal.

For the time I think the ultimate black box is still this:

http://www.apple.com/macmini/

#231977
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:03pm

@frank :
hehe u are taking it as a movement , music should stand for its own not for “from where it comes” i guess . things like this are just for your own mind comfort :D not the audience – but it might be only me . Im also thinking that this is another blink blink of incoming ages :D (or back to the roots some sort of things) which after some time will be acknowledged the same way as there APP performers – kids with screens dont know the s..t , we cant go from one extremum to another , there must be way to let it live in symbiosis .but yes of course there is something in it .

max in doepfer suit – lovely :)

#231978
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:07pm

@rodrigo
did you saw Tim Exile’s setup ?

#231979
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:10pm

@Rodrigo: thanks again for the link to these eleven knobs ;-) http://soniccrayon.blogspot.co.uk/
@ KrisW: what would be your example for “groundbreaking hardwares”?
recent electroacoustic music | without computers | could for example go like this:
http://www.thomann.de/gb/elektron_octatrack.htm
I’ve seen that in a concert and the performer did really ear popping tricks with it – is that “groundbreaking”?
It seems to have a lot of CPU, it works with removable flash cards – but it is of course not Max-ready ;-(

#231980
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:14pm

the more the time goes, the more I’m using my machines on stage.
I almost dropped my preffered DAW to be only on my MachineDrum & Monomachine and soon probably Octatrack.

I’m using the computer only for visuals.
Personally, I’d love to see one day a Max6 for linux which would make me dreaming about an hardcored-overclocked-raspberry running Max one day after :p

#231981
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:15pm

More seriously, there is this project:

http://www.interface-z.com/pronfiture/autonomes/10-zip-z-interpreteur-de-patch.html

(sorry, it’s only in french)

But it seems to be only a small subset of the whole Max language.

p

#231982
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:18pm

@frank
YES . octatrack is groundbreaking ! im amazed by its sound and workflow !
and im wondering if someone could hack it for some stupid reasons :D

and

there are plenty : effects like
Evantide ,also their harmonizers .
Tc electronics .
BOSS RC (series) .
those things suit many needs . i can count forward :)

@patrick
wow ! but this is something already . i believe this guys have ambitions to go forward

#231983
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:20pm

I’m using a customized iPad/Lemur patch to control main mixers & fx of my Elektron’s stuff.
I also like to play without visuals which means, without computer! I feel like lighter :p

#231984
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:22pm

im sorry ,he came to my mind

http://www.youtube.com/user/timexile

#231985
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:25pm

Yeah seen those videos. Very ‘laptop on stage’ though as he’s literally got his laptop on the table with the ka-jillion controllers.

So what’s more likely, Max on Linux (with all the externals/libraries ported over) or one of these embedded boards that runs Windows (or ideally Mac)?

#231986
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:25pm

@ Julian – carefully noticed that Octatrack is more an more the “soon probably”-thing of people like us :-)
@ Rodrigo – MacMini is what I want to explore next week, really – thanks for insisting on that
@ Patrick – huuuui, great link! Here in Europe it’s too late for me now to read french, but I’ll be back about that tomorrow(?) after reading it – THANKS!

#231987
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:28pm

@rodrigo: Max on Linux would drive me to use Linux on my mbp. basically.
@frank-n: I’m just in love with Elektron’s machines. find the workflow so amazing.

#231988
Sep 11, 2012 at 7:30pm

It would indeed be pretty awesome, though I don’t think I could deal with living/working on Linux, but it would be a big step towards the black-box-a-bility of Max in general.

#231989
Sep 11, 2012 at 8:38pm

@Julien I’m with you when it comes to Max on Linux (as I’ve said loads of times before). I’m close to jumping to Linux (from OS X) but I certainly couldn’t go from Max to Pd now; the divide is growing.

Until I’m ready to make the leap to Linux full-time, Linux-compatible runtime would at least allow me to put together cheaper machines for semi-permanent installations etc. Especially in conjunction with specialised Arduino variants that I’m picking up now, such as these: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digistump/digispark-the-tiny-arduino-enabled-usb-dev-board

#231990
Sep 11, 2012 at 9:04pm

@dickmedd: max to pd is impossible for me too. it would be totally nice to be able to have a runtime, at least.

#231991
Sep 11, 2012 at 9:33pm

I would imagine that would drastically simplify the development process for c74 (runtime only). Alas one can dream.

#231992
Sep 12, 2012 at 10:13am

I remember that a Max runtime would run in wine some years ago. Haven’t tested it for a long time. But if you really want to have the pure box and your controllers, then Pd isn’t a bad choice, there are even ways to convert existing Max patches to Pd. They need to be tweaked afterwards of course.
Max biggest advantage over Pd are graphical user interface objects. If you want the black box, that isn’t a concern. The main drawback are non existing poly~ and pfft~ in Pd (though I haven’t checked it for a long time…;-).
Pd on a Raspberry Pi is the cheap variant, Max on a cheap nettop box bit more price, and a MacMini is the luxury variant… Add you own custom controllers, and there will be no screen on stage…

In general Max is about DIY, the same applies to controller boxes, for me something like an Octatrack isn’t much more than an inspiration how to create my own instrument. I went the Max road to free myself from the design decisions of black box producers…
If a box fits in (like a fader box) I’ll use it, but in the end I want to build my own…

Stefan

#231993
Sep 12, 2012 at 11:11am

As much as the capabilities of Pd aren’t too far from Max, it’s just nowhere nowhere near what I’ve grown accustomed to in terms of usability and robustness. Patching in Max is a breeze, I can knock together GUIs, rig up combinations of Max, MSP and Jitter objects and rapidly get from idea to prototype in a way that seems so stilted in Pd. Simple (sorta) things like Presentation Mode, well-documented help/reference and even segmented patch cords are things that I just couldn’t live without now.

In terms of translation, it seems that Max 4 to Pd was/is simpler than Max 5+ to Pd.

#231994
Sep 12, 2012 at 2:30pm

I think anything other than doing relatively generic things in Max wouldn’t translate to PD due to the lack of compatible externals and new/extended functionality (gen, etc..). Not to mention the mess that would be coding without presentation mode (even if it’s going to blackboxed, organizing a large patch would be next to impossible without it).

#231995
Sep 12, 2012 at 2:56pm

One of the magic ‘under the hood’ will be gen.
using it, and the famous & so nice feature of code generation with the ability for us to grab that, we will be able to patch things in the studio and to cross-compile the generated code to use it, for instance, in our OWN black box on stage… and able to change the code for the next gig etc.
This would please everyone and would require a bunch of runtime…

#231996
Sep 12, 2012 at 6:15pm

The “black-box-a-bility of Max” (sounds good, Rodrigo) – or “Canned bangs” -
should be an urgent (hu?!) near-future developement (wait, wait! …)
not only because some new nerds like to ‘max’ their avantgarde-stompboxes or euro-racks, and
not only because the audiences of our concerts nowadays do not like to see laptops on stage

no, it is also this cultural drift that we shouldn’t miss when we hear
Tim Cook talking at the recent apple-event about
that we arrived in the post-pc era.
So, what is Max in the post-pc era?
Is that only “Max for iOS” (and waiting for Max for Android) or
can we escape and/or expand into more individual concepts (DIY hardware etc. etc., you know what I mean).
In the post-pc era the playground for us nerdy artists must be somewhere “post-pc”, or where do you want to bang tomorrow?

#231997
Sep 12, 2012 at 6:31pm

there is no post-pc era Sir

#231998
Sep 12, 2012 at 8:09pm

I only know the term ‘post-pc’ as a buzzword used in Apple keynotes to make their devices sound more…’revolutionary’.

#231999
Sep 12, 2012 at 8:13pm

I think the main point I’m taking away from this thread is that it would be nice if we could run our Max patchers – which are, sometimes, evolved ‘applications’ in their own right and sometimes a background framework for installations that exist in spaces beyond the desk, chair and computer environment – on more platforms, liberating our work from reliance on the ‘big two’ commercial operating systems (and Apple hardware, of course).

#232000
Sep 13, 2012 at 12:32am

That sounds like a revolutionary, if not full-on, post-pc, concept.

#232001
Sep 13, 2012 at 8:57am

if post-pc era has arrived, or not yet, the first steps to individual designed stage boxes and black-boxed Max could also be made this way:
(sorry, german links, but you’ll understand …)
http://www.golem.de/news/intel-nuc-minirechner-mit-core-i3-kommt-im-oktober-1209-94525.html
http://www.golem.de/news/m72e-tiny-im-test-lenovos-leiser-thinkcentre-winzling-1208-93602.html
http://www.golem.de/0904/66407.html
That’s all maybe a bit like the zen quote “if you are in a hurry – make a detour”.
I’ll be back when I’m finished with this french link (“Thanks!!” to Patrick Delges):

http://www.interface-z.com/pronfiture/autonomes/10-zip-z-interpreteur-de-patch.html

#232002
Sep 13, 2012 at 9:20am

this term you mentioned for a few times is a manipulation , also your audience is under the same attack from curpentino’s area 51 :)

and

i dont really believe that porting MAX into small chips will ever succeed . due to amount of source code and resources it require . also because there should be person that would love to do it and as far as i noticed it would be full time job for such person !!! … and i also think that c’74 will take no action in this direction too fast ,i believe they do some sort of research , i might be that this idea never came to them or its just a “minority report” . . . It also could mean that if there are people who are really interested in such solutions then perhaps they are already experienced with chips implementation and programming . why they do not start to code into the chips directly on their own ? of course i applaud for these french wizards

#232003
Dec 25, 2012 at 1:18pm
#232004
Apr 11, 2013 at 8:34pm

Rethinking the term “post-pc era”:
7 month after Cupertinos buzzwordy mention it’s now/again Bruce Sterling with his famous “dead media beat”.
http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2013/04/dead-media-beat-the-personal-computer/
Isn’t MAX too much focused on that “dead media”?
Isn’t it time to get mobile – to RasPi / developer’s boards / Arduino Due / embedded linux etc.etc.?
Is GEN (… take your code from MAX to anywhere …?) a route to get MAX out of the pc as we knew it?

#232005
Apr 11, 2013 at 9:08pm

as soon as I could find a small device with an i7 (at least) to run my visuals + audio, I will agree :D

#232006
Apr 12, 2013 at 3:58am

Well it appears that some people are using Max/Msp to prototype apps then transferring them to PD (which seems backwards to me)

http://youtu.be/aRTbEhKQEko

i don’t care for the music on Ninja Tune, but i like the concept of being able to transfer patches for an on-the-go purpose in this “post-pc era”.

#232007
Apr 12, 2013 at 8:37am

with gen~, we now have the beta feature that provides a way to grab the dsp & glsl codes generated by our patch in gen world to use it elsewhere:
http://cycling74.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Gen_Code_Export
this is already available.

of course, being able to do that with all objects outside of gen would just be cool.
personally, I designed a couple of iOS application with OpenFrameworks and libPD in which the whole sound engine came from a PD patch.
It works very fine for audio!

- https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/mobile-mood-machine/id525475426?mt=8
- https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/digital-collisions/id511632465?mt=8

this was my first step into “from patch to another device” journey :)

#232008
Apr 12, 2013 at 6:55pm

You could use libpd on RaspberryPi or on a Miniand.

You could use pd proper on any machine that supports Debian (or any Linux for that matter). An Android device would work or maybe an x86 Linux tablet. I got it running on an Archos Android tablet running Debian.

Perhaps the Orange Amp OPC might be of interest. http://www.gizmag.com/opc-musicians-computer-amp-review/21814/

Of course if you wanted real Max, you could get a used Mac Mini and for visual modifications VNC into it but otherwise leave it alone. It should be easy to mount into something else.

#232009
Apr 13, 2013 at 1:08pm

PD can run on OSX, Linux, Win, Android, iOS and I have seen synths built on Rasberry Pi with libPD. If your looking for beats in a can then it is PD you are after. I think Max is losing this particular battle. Others have said that Max is better but this is dependent upon your needs. If you need Jitter and Gen then Max is the way to go. If you want to make audio tools for anything other than Mac or Win then PD is clearly better. It’s good to have both tools but I think Max users must admit to some frustration with Max when it comes to mobile platforms.

#232010
Apr 13, 2013 at 5:23pm

personally, i’d miss a good GPU.
btw, I just wrote a book about Arduino. I mean, I’m IN LOVE with embedded software :D

#232011
Apr 13, 2013 at 6:29pm

“Max/MSP without computer” – Arduino and similar devices are computers, too… But yes, the idea is nice – I’m using MacMini as something like “black box” (even if it’s silver) – with autostarting patches and some communication via OSC, sometimes without monitor and mouse/keyboard. With SSD drive it has a sense.

Libpd is something incredible – especially useful on mobile devices. Libmax will be even more incredible, I suppose. From another point of view – what I really love in max is on-the-fly workflow – embedded systems are more “product oriented” – you have to prepare software. transmit it into device and that’s all (if it doesn’t work you have to do the things again).

#232012
Apr 13, 2013 at 7:44pm

sure that even the term libMax makes me dreaming too :)

#232013
Apr 13, 2013 at 10:17pm

@Julien
“just wrote a book about Arduino”

Tell me more

#232014
Apr 14, 2013 at 11:19am

@n00b_meister: feel free to check this http://cprogrammingforarduino.com

#232015
Apr 14, 2013 at 2:17pm

Thanks Julien.

#232016
Apr 21, 2013 at 9:05pm

@rjungemann
Orange OPC is a Windows PC – that is’n really post-pc era ;-( “post-pc” must be somehow something different ;-)

http://www.orangeamps.com/products/opc-series/orange-opc/

@Julian Bayle
your are looking for “a small device with an i7″? Let’s say you have to wait 7 month – or 11?
quad cores are available: http://video.golem.de/oss/10583/udoo-trailer-(kickstarter).html
and https://www.miniand.com/products/GK802%20Android%20Mini%20PC
(thanks: rjungemann!)

@Julian Bayle
thanks for the link to your arduino book!

@Circa
“… it is PD you are after. I think Max is losing this particular battle … If you want to make audio tools for anything other than Mac or Win then PD is clearly better.”
Puh!
That’s a stunning kind of clearness. Thanks!

#232017
Jun 4, 2013 at 12:26am

I startet this thread with the idea of a (MAX-) programmable stompbox (Sep 2012).
Stompbox :-))
Here they go (June 2013, but where is MAX?):
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2013/06/a-stompbox-that-can-become-whatever-you-like-in-crowd-funded-owl/
Why can’t (??) we MAX customers simply kick our patches into such boxes?
It’s all only C/C++:
anyone with GEN~ on this trip?
any examples of GEN~ powered stompboxes?
(true? “Max is losing this particular battle”?)

#251622

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