My band performing with a MAXMSP VST host
(this seemed like the most appropriate place to post this, please excuse me if I’ve put it in the wrong place)
I thought I’d share a few live videos of a band I play with. We mix electronic and acoustic music and one of the challenges was to move the electronic sounds from the studio to live. After trying many different stand-alone VST hosts and researching into soundslate/receptor/seelake I found that a custom app with MAX/MSP was the best and most flexible solution to take our tracks live.
My patch contains 8 VST objects and allows you to layer up to 8 VST instruments. Each channel contains a MIDI routing subpatch which allows you to take the input information from up to 4 MIDI devices and filter any part of the MIDI signal (note, CC, aftertouch etc…) along with controller numbers and key ranges.
I have integrated a harmoniser using the Antares plugin. My patch allows you to select up to 8 notes on the keyboard. When the note is detected, you can send out up to 4 different note numbers to the harmoniser.
I use the PATTR object to manage storage and some message controlling. I have a global file which manages the default VST instruments, program files and app settings, then a performance file which will store all presets. Each preset can have it’s own volume levels, track info including tempo and name and a program change number.
The patch is fully MIDI customisable with MIDI feedback. I have a Behringer FCB pedal which mutes different channels and has wah pedals to control different parameters. I have 2 keyboards, one with dials and sample pads I can send over to the VSTs. I also sometimes use a Behringer BCF to control the mixer (I love the feedback on the faders!).
I have also created a second patch for the drummer which allows him to open 2 instances of addictive drums and one instance of battery. For each track he can choose which VST to send his drums to, change the note number and set a maximum/minimum velocity.
I’m still tweaking the apps, trying to optimise them and find bugs as I go along (for example, the MIDI parse object often crashes when you send it lots of information, therefore I often need to reset this with a panic button or when changing presets!). Right now we have done a 2 day shoot in a garage with no crashes which is pretty good going. The main issue I have is that when a VST plugin crashes, it will crash MAXMSP completely and ImpOscar2 is not 100% stable. I will post my patch on here at some point for other people to work on. I want to encourage other groups to make more use electronic instruments live.
Thanks for reading :)
A few videos:
Alone in Kyoto cover (by Air)
-Here I layer up 3 instances of Omnisphere, for the sound bed at the beginning, the sea at the end and the second verse counter melody thing.
-ImpOscar2 for the synth chords in the verse, a bass sine from massive and a piano from Kontakt.
-Here I have an impOscar2 sound at the beginning
-Some big fat bases layered in Omnisphere and Massive with the wah pedal controlling modulation
-A lead synth in Omnisphere
-Some sampled synth sounds with the pitch controlled by one of the wah pedals.
-I use the harmoniser in the chorus
-This track uses some strings with Kontakt. I use some of the buttons on my keyboard to change the string articulations, pizzicato at the beginning, sforzando for the string melody and tremolo strings for the heavy end section
-I have an impOscar2 sound which is used in the chorus, the velocity is controlled by the aftertouch on the keyboard
-I layer a piano in Kontakt with a synth pad in Omnisphere
-In the second verse I use a couple of arpeggiated sequences from Omnisphere, I tap the BPM with a button on the keyboard, the BPM is then sent over to the global transport which sends to tempo to all the plugins. I don’t like playing to a click track!!
-In the heavy section I use a CC message fomr my keyboard to jump to the next preset containing a lot of distorted heavy bases. All instruments are always fully loaded so when I jump between presets, the sound changes are instant
-I use the harmoniser in the bridges (the wooooahahh sections)