Max/MSP without computer (Bangs in a can)

    Sep 11 2012 | 3:56 pm
    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!)

    • Sep 11 2012 | 4:01 pm
      but what do you mean without any computer ? without any chip ?
    • Sep 11 2012 | 4:02 pm
      Funny idea!
      You can already get one "bomb-proof" object here: (maybe kess than 3 knobs?)
    • Sep 11 2012 | 4:54 pm
      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:
    • Sep 11 2012 | 5:38 pm
      @KrisW: without any computer means: no qwerty/qwertz-keyboard, no screen, just hardware nearly looking like this: (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 ;-( "... 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 ;-)
    • Sep 11 2012 | 5:44 pm
      yes frank ive understood after a while hehehe u can program a gameboy also and stand on it :D
    • Sep 11 2012 | 5:48 pm
      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.
    • Sep 11 2012 | 5:54 pm
      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 .
    • Sep 11 2012 | 6:05 pm
      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.
    • Sep 11 2012 | 6:08 pm
      @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:
    • Sep 11 2012 | 6:39 pm
      @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 !!!!
    • Sep 11 2012 | 6:50 pm
      Imagine Max in Euro-Rack beauty cases or even as part of bigger Euro-Rack systems
      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: They are looking for ... stompboxes ;-)
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:03 pm
      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:
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:03 pm
      @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 :)
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:07 pm
      @rodrigo did you saw Tim Exile's setup ?
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:10 pm
      @Rodrigo: thanks again for the link to these eleven knobs ;-) @ KrisW: what would be your example for "groundbreaking hardwares"? recent electroacoustic music | without computers | could for example go like this: 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 ;-(
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:14 pm
      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
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:15 pm
      (sorry, it's only in french)
      But it seems to be only a small subset of the whole Max language.
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:18 pm
      @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
      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
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:20 pm
      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
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:22 pm
      im sorry ,he came to my mind
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:25 pm
      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)?
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:25 pm
      @ 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!
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:28 pm
      @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.
    • Sep 11 2012 | 7:30 pm
      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.
    • Sep 11 2012 | 8:38 pm
      @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:
    • Sep 11 2012 | 9:04 pm
      @dickmedd: max to pd is impossible for me too. it would be totally nice to be able to have a runtime, at least.
    • Sep 11 2012 | 9:33 pm
      I would imagine that would drastically simplify the development process for c74 (runtime only). Alas one can dream.
    • Sep 12 2012 | 10:13 am
      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...
    • Sep 12 2012 | 11:11 am
      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.
    • Sep 12 2012 | 2:30 pm
      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).
    • Sep 12 2012 | 2:56 pm
      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...
    • Sep 12 2012 | 6:15 pm
      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?
    • Sep 12 2012 | 6:31 pm
      there is no post-pc era Sir
    • Sep 12 2012 | 8:09 pm
      I only know the term 'post-pc' as a buzzword used in Apple keynotes to make their devices sound more...'revolutionary'.
    • Sep 12 2012 | 8:13 pm
      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).
    • Sep 13 2012 | 12:32 am
      That sounds like a revolutionary, if not full-on, post-pc, concept.
    • Sep 13 2012 | 8:57 am
      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 ...) 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):
    • Sep 13 2012 | 9:20 am
      this term you mentioned for a few times is a manipulation , also your audience is under the same attack from curpentino's area 51 :)
      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
    • Apr 11 2013 | 8:34 pm
      Rethinking the term "post-pc era": 7 month after Cupertinos buzzwordy mention it's now/again Bruce Sterling with his famous "dead media beat". 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?
    • Apr 11 2013 | 9:08 pm
      as soon as I could find a small device with an i7 (at least) to run my visuals + audio, I will agree :D
    • Apr 12 2013 | 3:58 am
      Well it appears that some people are using Max/Msp to prototype apps then transferring them to PD (which seems backwards to me)
      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".
    • Apr 12 2013 | 8:37 am
      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: 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!
      this was my first step into "from patch to another device" journey :)
    • Apr 12 2013 | 6:55 pm
      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.
      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.
    • Apr 13 2013 | 1:08 pm
      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.
    • Apr 13 2013 | 5:23 pm
      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
    • Apr 13 2013 | 6:29 pm
      "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).
    • Apr 13 2013 | 7:44 pm
      sure that even the term libMax makes me dreaming too :)
    • Apr 13 2013 | 10:17 pm
      @Julien "just wrote a book about Arduino"
      Tell me more
    • Apr 14 2013 | 11:19 am
      @n00b_meister: feel free to check this
    • Apr 14 2013 | 2:17 pm
      Thanks Julien.
    • Apr 21 2013 | 9:05 pm
      @rjungemann Orange OPC is a Windows PC - that is'n really post-pc era ;-( "post-pc" must be somehow something different ;-)
      @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: and (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!
    • Jun 04 2013 | 7:26 am
      I startet this thread with the idea of a (MAX-) programmable stompbox (Sep 2012).Stompbox :-)) Here they go (June 2013, but where is MAX?): 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"?)
    • Feb 06 2015 | 11:12 am
      Old post but still topically.
      Coming on this post and another, because i am looking to jump into linux. And that remembers me too the amazing but underestimated Nord Modular.
      Somewhere around 2002 i was Max patching and patching to get my audio/video ideas alife but not happy to go on stage with a computer in front for the life audio part. So, i started my research and after a while found a second hand Nord Modular from 1998.
      At least i could patch (programme) a hardware audio instrument!
      It was and still is an amazing synthesiser, midi controller, drum machine, ..., that's completely programmable with PATCHING.
      I have patched, programmed it to use as a synthesiser, midi controller for audio and video, drummachine all connected with Max/MSP/Jitter. And i could use it all at ones in a life setup.
      But weird as it is, it wasn't so popular so the company has stopped, since a long time now, the support and the making of the Nord Modular. The software editor works only properly on MacOS 9! There have been some hacks to get it working on MacOS 10.1, but no stable ones.
      So, i have still a G3 laptop running MacOS 9. :)
      So, around 2004 i was frustrated about the support stop, and start to work on a way to get Max, meanly MSP patches converted to Nord editor patches and send them into the Nord Modular. Never got it working properly and stopped, i have spend already more time on research and developing then creating work.
      But still interested to use Max in hardware other then a regular computer.
      On a moment while i was programming (Max) a project for an artist, i have met the guy from Interface-z and we have test and used his first prototype hardware board were you can send Max patches into. It's controlling the motors inside this installation:
      I will buy one soon to start testing it, during vacation.
    • Feb 12 2015 | 4:18 pm
      As time goes by ... what I wanted (when starting this thread in 2011) was a max-patchable "stomp box". What I got over the last years: controller boxes and my Mac hidden somewhere under the desk ;-) - but now: I go for the upcoming "boards" (indeed: computers) with the form factor of a match box. ** ** MAX will remain as GEN to help me with some coding C/C++
    • Feb 13 2015 | 4:31 pm
      The latest Raspberry PI will now run Windows10 (small processor/"embedded" version)...and the ARM processor has 4 cores.... pd in raspberry linux is stable & growing slowly, perhaps small box max is not so impossible now using Windows10? I don't have time or (Windows) patience to test myself, but @ 35$ US for the board, it is not an expensive experiment... cfb aka j2k
    • Feb 13 2015 | 10:23 pm
      but there isn't even a windows 10 release yet. It's presumed to be ready in June '15.
    • Feb 13 2015 | 11:23 pm
      That's enough time to save some money, to learn C - and to read Folks: it's now a question of "month", isn't it? At the end of the year we'll have astonishing small boxes and a lot of bangs inside ;-) Maybe WIN makes the run ... maybe something else ...
    • Feb 14 2015 | 12:07 pm
      Nothing like as powerful as MAX but I do have a couple of Patchblocks:
      I have played live with fairly harsh FM noise generator patches loaded up and they sounded great.
      Then there is Axoloti:
      Check out the examples page - seems promising. Like others though, I would really prefer to see Cycling release something along these lines.
    • Feb 22 2015 | 12:28 am
      Met the guy today weirdly enough and was trying to persuade him to make one for max......
    • Sep 20 2015 | 6:54 pm
      saw a concert by "palmbomen" yesterday. he was running win7 + max for DMX stuff on a headless one of these (with a boot-procedure). apparently he had even tested ableton live on it and it must have run flawlessly.
    • Sep 20 2015 | 7:12 pm
      Crazy how old this thread is. That looks pretty good, and for the time being it seems like these mini-PC type things will be solution most people are looking for.
    • Dec 07 2015 | 8:33 am
      Seems like these mini-PC type things will be the solution. Maybe "full fledged computers" go into the matchbox size. Here is another cool project: "Lattepanda" ...
      Keeping this thread alive ;-) fn.
    • Jan 12 2016 | 8:09 pm
      Nice Frank-n!
      I recently asked the LattePanda team regarding the audio output sample rate and resolution of the device and if one could run MaxMSP in it. This is the answer I got from them:
      "You can run Max/MSP on LattePanda. We are really hope to see this kind of application. :) Not sure about the audio sample rate. Should be same with the laptop."
    • Jun 21 2016 | 8:55 pm
      ... keeping this post alive ... see my new post about Lattepanda. :)
    • Jun 22 2016 | 6:41 am
      Thanks, that does look quite promising.
    • Nov 08 2016 | 10:01 pm
      Interested. Any news??
    • Nov 09 2016 | 9:07 am
      Running a full-blown Windows on a small scale computer like lattepanda seems so wrong to me. It's a shame the professional software world still doesn't really embrace linux. It's really a dilemma. I'm still working on a 2009 MBP because I'm so dissatisfied with the direction apple is heading with latest laptop generations. But since I need Max for my everyday work and don't want to miss Live there's hardly a choice.
      [e] I'm sorry, I just saw how old this thread and it's discussion actually is. Must be the news, the world is having a hell of a day...
    • Nov 09 2016 | 11:29 am
      Hey Leonardo, Dominikk, there's a new topic opened by Bart at Max about Max/MSP and Lattepanda there.
    • Nov 09 2016 | 12:16 pm
      hei bart, just a quick question: which os version are you running on that 2009 macbook? is max7 fully working?
    • Nov 09 2016 | 12:48 pm
      I'm running 10.9 Mavericks. So far I encountered no problems with Max 7.
    • Nov 12 2016 | 3:11 pm
      something like the roland demora would be fantastic