A few days ago I was working with an internal testing team, and we were exercising some Max for Live devices for on-going support. A call went out for a new pack to test; in scrolling through the available list, an interesting name jumped out at me: Outer Spaces by Amazing Noises.
Sounds space-y and fun, right? Why not take it for a test drive?
I was quite surprised when I dropped this into my Live set and was immediately treated to a deep, thick ambient reverb, and some beautiful and useful visualizers - but also a simple design that got me tweaking in less than a minute. This device immediately jumped onto my “Must Use This” list, and has gotten to be a daily companion in both my Live sets and my Max patches. So let’s find out a little more…
This device is a user-tweakable reverb system, and it’s a doozy. Reverb hasn’t traditionally been an easy task for Max programmers to nail, but Maurizio Giri and company have taken this challenge seriously. Using a combination of tweaky formulae, deep-tech gen~ programming and tasty UI choices, the device comes across as a solution for almost any problem where a detailed and focused reverbs could be in play.
The reverberator is the device’s core, with a room simulator that gives you control over size, wall reflectivity and harmonic coloring (using a filter bank with a gritty overdrive function). This system is combined with a completely separate early reflection and delay network systems for an interest spacialization combo. This is book-ended by a broadband filter (for reverb input control) on the front, and a harmonic phase shifter (to add swirling sonic shifts) on the back.
While there are over 30 controls, there is a useful compartmentalizing of the functions into logical subsets. There is also a clear connection to visualizers (for both the equalizer and the room simulator/reverb), which means that you feel very connected to the sound. It’s also helpful that the ranges and limits of the controls mean that almost everything lives with the ‘sweet spot’ sonically - not safe, but generally musically useful.
It also helps that, in Live, you will be treated to a nice variety of presets for instant use. As with other Max for Live devices, those presets aren’t available for use within Max, but you are going to want to take a tour of the device in Live - the presets show off its variety and flexibility in a concise and helpful way.
Taking a sneaky peek into the device’s code, you’ll see a lot of modern Max programming techniques in action: clean message routing, gen~ algorithm development and bottom-up abstraction use. As you might expect from a seasoned Max instructor/developer, Maurizio Giri’s coding lives up to his billing, with the Max code is as clean as the sound of the device.
I’m a fan of a good reverb (my friend Giles Reeves says it best: “When I die, bury me in reverb...”); and I’m always in a mood for a reverb that fills in a new spot in my arsenal. Outer Spaces does just that, a nice combo ‘verb that has the spaciness of an algorithmic reverb while still having the control of a room simulator. I’m finding myself using it in my Live sets and as a reverb in my Max patches - pretty much everywhere I plop my music. Great fun!
For more details, check out the Amazing Noises website.