articles

  • A Look Back at AES 2008 in San Francisco

    We rolled out of bed and into our suits this weekend to attend the annual Audio Engineering Society (AES) conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, a mere 5 blocks from our SOMA office. We occupied a small piece of real estate in the shadow of the big Mackie booth, and directly across from a booth featuring big reels of magnetic tape.


  • Announcing Expo ’74

    Cycling '74 today announced that its first user conference, Expo '74, will be held in San Francisco next April. The conference will include presentations, installations, workshops, and collaborative events covering the company's Max/MSP/Jitter software. Details will be outlined on the conference web site (expo74.net) in the coming months.


  • Announcing Expo ’74: Our First User Conference

    I'm pleased to announce that Cycling '74 will be hosting its first user conference next year, Expo '74. The conference will run three days from April 22-24, 2009 and will be held at the new (and intensely colored) Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. I'd like to tell you why we decided to put on this event and what you can expect to happen if you attend...


  • An Interview with Hans Tammen – Endangered Guitar

    In this interview, Hans Tammen describes his journey into 'Endangered Guitar'...


  • Data Collection: Building Databases Using SQLite

    Those of you who are paying close attention already know that Max 5 includes a database that manages all the files in the search path and makes handy things like the File Browser possible. To enable this functionality, we wrote an SQLite object to do all the important work under the hood. However, the SQLite object in Max isn't really something that you can type into an object box, and it doesn't come with any help files or documentation. In this article, we'll look at ways to interface with this mysterious "no box" object using JavaScript, so that you can build, query, and edit your own databases in Max.


  • Max 5 Guitar Processor, Part 2

    In the last article, we did a lot of setup - we got input/output handling in place, and added a compressor to the processing chain as an example of an “effect module”. In this article, we will continue adding effects, including a dual overdrive module and a three-stage EQ/Filter module. With these additions we will further explore Max 5’s user interface options, as well as taking a look at some of the “tweaks” that make Max/MSP functions a little more guitar-faithful.


  • Siggraph 2008

    Last week, Siggraph 2008 took over the Los Angeles Convention Center, and Cycling '74 was there to bravely represent Jitter to a huge crowd of CG enthusiasts, production professionals, and academics. For anyone who hasn't been to a Siggraph show, it is a huge, over-stimulating event for the computer graphics community, complete with academic talks, screenings, an exhibition hall, an art show, competitions, and a job fair.


  • CNMAT Summer School 2008

    Recently, CNMAT at UC Berkeley held their annual MaxMSP/Jitter summer school classes at their beautiful Arch St. facility just off the UC campus. This year, for the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of teaching the Jitter Night School - a 3-night intensive of focussed tutorials covering a variety of Jitter topics.


  • LFO Tutorial 2: Making Some Noise

    Last time out, we created the LFOur, a generative patch composed of a quartet of synchronized LFOs whose output we can use to make noise. While it's interesting to watch how the different LFO configurations make combinatoric waveforms and it's restful and instructive to watch the sliders flick and rock, it would be nice to have something to connect it to. This tutorial includes some patches that will do just that.


  • Create Your Own Default Workspace in Max 5

    In addition to an unprecedented number of configurable settings, Max 5 also provides a more navigable structure for making choices about your environment. In this article we'll discuss ways you can tweak the settings in various places to make your time spent in Max 5 more comfortable and fulfilling to your aesthetic requirements.


  • Max 5 Guitar Processor, Part 1

    In an earlier article, Andrew Benson and Ben Bracken went through the process of connecting a guitar to a Max-based processing system, and creating a few guitar-oriented effects patches. In this series of articles, I will be building a Max-based guitar processing "rig", and will give you the opportunity to look over my shoulder as I design and implement this system.


  • It's great to see the way that Max/MSP crosses musical genres and also allows people to repurpose available (and maybe not so available) technology. Owen Grace has a band called The Guitar Zeros. He took the guitar controllers used for the Guitar Hero video games and wrote a Max/MSP patch interface that allows him utilize them as an expressive and innovative, stand alone instrument. The Guitar Zeros band currently has four players, a guitar controller player, a bass controller player, a 'real' drummer and a vocalist.


  • LFO Tutorial 1: The Zen of the Silent Patch

    I'm personally a lot more interested in the ability to synchronize processes in Max using time values that resemble musical note values to create control structures that can be easily time synced. This tutorial is about making one of those kinds of modules - a quartet of synchronized LFOs whose outputs I can sample individually for several kinds of data (triggers for waveform start, LFO outputs that I can sample at variably synchronized rates, and a nifty summed waveform I can use for more exotic kinds of control).


  • Freshening Up, Part 2

    When we left off in the last article, we had created a new color scheme and layout for our old patcher using presentation mode, translucency, improved color controls, and embedded hints. We could certainly leave this patch alone, but we're going to take the interface to another level, making it a little more interactive and interesting, while providing more intuitive controls. The techniques discussed here should open the door to much more fun and useful interface designs for your patches.


  • Re-purposing Plug-ins in Max 5

    As exporting plug-ins is not currently available for Max 5, we will look at another alternative in this article based on a new feature of the poly~ object, which allows you to dynamically load new abstractions without recompiling the DSP. To help users explore this new alternative, we will demonstrate different ways to convert a Pluggo-ready patch made with MaxMSP 4.6 into a patch that you can load as a poly~ abstraction.


  • I have to confess that I always found UI design in Max 4 to be a little too cumbersome, and would almost always wait until a patch was completely written and debugged before bothering with any layout of UI elements and color.


  • Improving Your Patching Workflow

    In addition to the smoother look and feel of Max 5, there have been a number of enhancements to the user interface that will help you to maximize your creative productivity and minimize the time spent performing repetitive and annoying tasks. In this article, I'll talk about a couple of the features that have really improved my patching workflow.


  • A Look Back at Maker Faire 2008

    This year, we decided to set up shop at the 3rd annual Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Last year, Cycling '74 shared a little corner of a booth with the nice people at MakingThings, and that was enough to get us hooked on this crazy annual celebration of all things DIY and electrified.


  • Cycling ’74 Releases Max/MSP Version 5

    Cycling ’74 today released Version 5.0 of its Max/MSP media development tools. This version represents a new era of Max programming, with a completely redesigned multi-processing kernel and a streamlined development environment built on a platform-independent foundation. With a new patcher interface, searchable database of objects and examples, integrated documentation and new tutorials, the new Max user will find a smoother learning curve while experienced users will see improved productivity.


  • An Interview with Natasha Barrett of DR.OX

    Some of us listen to many different types of music and are open to experimentation but, correct me if I'm wrong, sometimes the music that comes out of academic circles can be cold and dry. DR.OX is a welcome change. I had the pleasure of interviewing one half of DR.OX, Natasha Barrett, and I found her focused, enlightened and outspoken.


  • Expand Your Guitar, Vol. 1

    I've teamed up with Ben Bracken for this series of simple tutorials that will get you shredding your shreds faster than you thought possible. This first article will address the essential hardware concerns and introduce some basic concepts in designing guitar effects in Max. Future articles will address different controllers, more advanced effects, automation, and other techniques to get the most out of MaxMSP in your live rig.


  • A Video and Text Interview with Monome

    Brian Crabtree (who performs under the name tehn) and his partner Kelli Cain are collectively known as monome. They design what they call adaptable, minimalist interfaces. The musical instrument industry calls them alternate controllers. There are currently three models that interface with a computer. There is no hard-wired functionality; interaction between the keys and lights is determined by the application (such as Max/MSP) running on the computer. Basically the monome units can do whatever you program them to do and serve as alternate controllers for not just music but games, lights, video etc. Monome is fantastically successful. I found their story inspiring and exciting -- they represent a new breed of creative entrepreneurs who are environmentally and socially conscious.


  • The Adaptive Use Instruments Project

    Recently I bumped into composer and performer Pauline Oliveros (PO) in San Diego. We got to talking about one of her current projects, the Adaptive Use Musical Instruments for the Physically Challenged. This project introduces software designed to be used in therapy sessions to give children with limited motor skills the opportunity to participate in music, and offer them an outlet for musical expression. I arranged for a follow-up interview by email so that we could learn more about what this project involves. Joining us is Zevin Polzin (ZP), the technical lead in the project.


  • Rewire 3: Subversion with ReWire

    The ReWire concepts we've discussed in the previous ReWire articles were based on the typical needs of most users -- piping information between Max/MSP and a ReWire host or client application. However, ReWire can also be used to take otherwise upstanding audio applications and use them for unconventional purposes. The key to this is the hostcontrol~ object, which allows a Max patch to exert control over the transport of the ReWire host. Combining this with some common Max techniques can turn the most staid audio app into a subservient audio zombie. Read more...


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