20Concepts Lesson 11 - Audio Generation

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When working with audio, we tend to think of various processes and their "roles" in the audio design process. We talk about the four types of role as:

  1. Generators
  2. Modifiers
  3. Modulators
  4. Effects

Each has a function in the eventual generation of audio, but perhaps the most important part of audio development is the generation of material that the other functions can modify. Max is loaded with different ways of generating audio - for which we provide an overview in this lesson.

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Introduction to MSP Audio

To this point, we've been using Max objects - objects that work with create, process and modify events. Historically, the objects that work with audio are called MSP objects (since they were previously sold as a separate package called MSP), and are easily identified because they all end with a tilde (~) in their object name. Thus, the {maxword|name=cycle} object and the {maxword|name=cycle~} are two different object, with the second representing a audio (MSP) object.

Audio objects also have another feature - they work on a different kind of patch cord. Normal Max objects wait around, doing nothing, until an event is seen at one of their inputs. MSP objects, on the other hand, are fed a constant stream of audio data, and are never at rest while audio is running. Since this is a completely different kind of data, it deserves a different kind of patchcord. MSP objects use a "fuzzy" patchcord that clearly identifies the connection as containing audio data.

Since this data is very different from standard Max event data, you cannot simply connect audio lines to Max objects. One of the things that you will find is that Max will not allow you to connect audio lines to Max objects, but audio objects can often receive Max events to set their state. If you have problems with your patches, make sure that you are sending audio to other audio objects, and you are using ax objects for state-setting only.

Introduction to Audio Frequencies

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Explore Audio Frequencies with cycle~

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Converting Numbers to Frequencies

Note: All about mtof (Needed: text)

Introduction to Audio Timbre

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Explore Audio Timbre with saw~, rect~ and tri~

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Switch Timbres using selector~

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Modulate Generators using other Generators

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Web Links

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by Darwin Grosse and Cory Metcalf