Forums > MaxMSP

8-channel sound installation on MAX patch

Jul 06 2006 | 5:04 pm

Hi, evcerybody, I am working on a 8-channel sound installation (one speaker consisting of one track in loop. each track is approximately 2~3 minutes long) and was advised it’s best to be build on a MAX patch. I am not familiar with MAX’s interface and wondering if I could get any of your inputs.

And if MAX is the way to go, besides the speakers and a laptop, is anythere any hardware involved such as amplifiers etc.?

Thanks so much for your help and time in advance!!!

Jul 06 2006 | 6:03 pm

max is definitely a great tool for these kind of projects, but be
warned it has a
fairly steep learning curve. that being said, it also gives you much,
much more
flexibility that anything else out there, and this kind of project
would be quite
simply to implement – just audio, no video, etc.
as far as hardware goes, to use 8 channels you would need an external
box that has at least 8 channels of output, like an m-audio FW410 box
or similar.
you would also need 8 channels of amplification and 8 speakers.

bruce tovsky

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away."
Philip K. Dick

Jul 06 2006 | 6:40 pm


to give a good answer, many information would be needed.

the first question would be : do you really need 8 loudspeakers?
why? is there any acoustical reason to work with 8? separation of 8
sound sources is not enough : using panning techniques, 8 sound
sources can be separated in a field generated by a two loudspeakers

would be better 16 o more? would your installation work with 4
loudspeakers or less?

what is the expected sound quality? this would condition
loudspeakers, interfaces, players, amplifiers, soundfiles… all.

if a multitrack-multispeaker system is needed for a computer sound
project, besides the laptop and loudspeakers, there is also needed a
multitrack sound device to address any mix of sound sources to any
combination of loudspeakers. there is a lot of such devices in the
market : motu, hammerfall, m-audio, digidesign are offering some of
them… there are many others. some of them are fire-wire devices,
other, usb, other, pci, other, pcmacia…

about loudspeakers and amplifiers, a decision can’t be taken without
knowledge of dimensions and reflection characteristics of the room
where the work will be installed.

some good studio monitors makers are Makie, Genelec, Dinaudio …
they use to be autoamplified. If the installation is running in a
large room, perhaps another system would be needed.

about maxmsp, it can easily address the audio information you
describe. nevertheless, if there is not any algorihmic behaviour or
real time processing involved, perhaps the task of playing some
independent sound sources could be achieved with some cd players, a
mixing device and some studio monitors.


jose manuel berenguer +34932857046 +34696538403. http:// +34933064128.
caos->sonoscop. cccb. montalegre, 5. 08001 barcelona

Jul 06 2006 | 6:42 pm

> And if MAX is the way to go,
Max is not the only option, but it will suffice.

> besides the speakers and a laptop, is anythere any hardware involved such
> as amplifiers etc.?
Depends on whether your speakers are powered or not. If they are powered,
then you won’t need any amplifiers. If they are not powered, then you will
need 4 amps (2 channels per amp).

You’ll also need an 8 (or more) channel audio interface, cables to run from
the interface to the amps and from the amps to the speakers (or, if powered
speakers, you’ll need cables to run directly from the interface to the

You’ll also need power strips and extension chords. That much will get you
up and running (to the best of my knowledge). Additionally it would be good
to have at least 1 power conditioner / surge protector, perhaps 2.

Jul 06 2006 | 7:13 pm

I hit send too soon. It’s also a really good idea to put a mixer and / or a
compressor/limiter between the audio interface and the amps (or the
interface and the powered speakers. A mixer and a compressor/limiter are
especially important in this case). And of course the necessary audio and
power cables.

Hope this helps.

Jul 06 2006 | 10:20 pm

It’s very easy. Check out the objects: sfplay~, dac~, sliders in max/msp.
For hardware, you need to have a sound card that has 8 outputs and of course
8 speakers.
That’s very expensive.
I suggests you use 2 or 4 speakers and use maxmsp panning technique
(described in the MSP tutorial) to do the difussion.


Chien-Wen Cheng’s Music:
Chinese Max/MSP Forum:

Jul 06 2006 | 11:01 pm

Hi dear all,

Many many thanks for your inputs!! I truly appreciated them.

To asnwer your questions, I suppose I don’t need loudspeakers, as the sound (instrumental sound) from each speaker will be played back at whisper-level volume. I do need 8~10 separation of sound sources positioned as a circle and each channel represents an individual element in this project. The expected sound quality needs to be as good quality as possible, because the subtlety of each sound source and its surrounding ambiences would need to be conveyed as clearly as possible at such a low-volume playback.

This project would not involve any algorihmic behavior or real time processing, so to conclude all of your suggestions, it seems to me cd players, mixing devices and studio monitors would sufice- Can you suggest any good quality powered speakers at reasonable prices? Or do you think these self-powered speakers that are usually made for computer will do the job well? (Someone who has a lot of experiences installing multi-channel works strongly recommends them)

Thanks again. Any further feedbacks from you will be appreciated!


Jul 07 2006 | 6:56 am

Jul 07 2006 | 11:09 am

i also like the 1029, but would definitely prefer the new genelecs 8020
or 8030.

Jul 07 2006 | 8:02 pm

Thank you very much!!

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