Forums > Max For Live

Max For Live multiple output

Oct 19 2010 | 7:58 am

Good morning to everybody,
I’m developing a multichannel plug-in for sound spatialization.
Working on it I reliazed that there is no possibility to use the ‘plugout~’ object with more than two outputs although you can specify more outputs in the argument.

Using different kind of track in Ableton or ‘dac~’ instead of ‘plugout~’ does not seem to work equally…

Is there any possibility to implement multiple out?!
Thanks to everybory

Oct 19 2010 | 10:10 am

Nope. It’s a limitation imposed by Live.

Oct 19 2010 | 10:29 am

This is a very bad news…
So it’salso impossible doing something like this:

Thanks for you availability!

Oct 19 2010 | 11:02 am

Good point.
In fact, Live recognizes the individual output channels of a multi-channel plugin. So strictly speaking, the limitation is caused by incomplete integration of M4L devices, namely that devices with multi-channel output can’t be built resp. are not recognized as such from Live. But this shouldn’t be too difficult to implement, so we may expect some improvement in future updates..

Oct 19 2010 | 4:30 pm

The limitation comes from Live itself. There are only stereo tracks in Live. Even boring 5.1 isn’t possible.
But I found a workaround – have a look at it. I made this some time ago and haven’t touched it for a while, let me know if it works for you:

I uses a rack to obtain multiple physical outputs. The sound is not going through the Master track, but the master volume will control the volume accordingly…

As I have a running Live again, I could tweak it if necessary…


Oct 19 2010 | 5:08 pm

Very nice solution,

So it could be possible to turn this way of spatialize in live into ambisonnic technology, including ambiencode~ and ambidecode~ objects inside each patchers, using each time only two outputs of ambidecode, and controling it via the system of forward/receive with an ambimonitor object inside the main patch…

isn’t it?

Oct 20 2010 | 10:59 am

In my solution, I simply forward control data for gains, which I calculate in one patch. I guess that for ambisonics you probably need to duplicate the same patch with multiple ambiencode~/ambidecode~ objects which only feed different outputs to the device output. Its not very effective, but should work. And please nag Ableton to finally allow universal tracks. Not only for more audio in/outputs…
I know exactly how it should look like, but nobody would listen to me – revolutions are worrisome, I guess…;-)


Oct 23 2010 | 7:06 am

what do you think about plugsend~ and plugreceive~ ?

Oct 23 2010 | 3:55 pm

plugsend~ and plugreceive~ are not officially supported in M4L.

It seems to work somehow, but induces unpredictable latency.

Sep 23 2011 | 8:48 pm

@ Stefan : I think St.pace is broken under Live 8.2.5 (m4l 5.1.9) … I’ve been using it regularly. Recently tried to put it into a new session but without any luck … I can still pan on 1/2 but it’s not going to 3/4 etc.

I’m on OSX Lion but noticed it’s also broken on Live 8.2.2 Snow Leopard … got it working on 8.2 though (don’t know which m4l version) under SL

Would be nice if you could look into it … If you’d be able to find some spare time. I really love this tool!!


Oct 28 2013 | 11:49 pm

Well, more than 2 years later and this is still a current problem.

Is there any more news about multiple outputs in ableton?
Like a multiple output m4l vst?
Or even better different multiple outputs in 1 channel. Like a 8 output channel, or a n-output channel.
Like reaper does it, is very nice. But I guess that’s up to ableton.

But the multiple output m4l device must be doable right?

Thanks for any answers (especially from cycling74 ;) )

Oct 29 2013 | 4:59 am

I also interested in and support the issue of implementing multichannel out.

Oct 29 2013 | 2:35 pm

I have done 8 channel outs in Live with M4L before.
You have to use sends, and you can discretely assign those to physical outs, bypassing the master. You have to set up a patch that controls the audio being sent to each output (by output I mean send), using live.remote’s that are tied to the track sends. I have a patch at home I could throw you guys if anyone’s interested.
It’s a hacky approach but it works really well.

Oct 29 2013 | 11:25 pm

that´s only a workaround……but not so powerful, if every channel has it´s own 8 outputs (especially for spatialization).

Oct 30 2013 | 10:08 am

Well it’s Live, so every solution will be a workaround. Use Max standalone if you don’t want to have to "workaround".

What do you mean by "not so powerful"? What is lacking in this particular solution?

Oct 30 2013 | 10:36 am

independent spatialization on different audio tracks with amplitude panning f.e.

Oct 30 2013 | 11:14 am

This solution CAN do that.

Oct 30 2013 | 11:18 am

The "powerful" solution I chose for the moment it to MIDI remote control Max from Max4Live. I send audio from Live to Max using "loopback" fonction on RME interfaces.

Oct 30 2013 | 12:51 pm

ok, can I have a look in your setup (patch) ?
(I already use 11 track sends for FX…so it becomes confusing with additional 8 sends for spatialization)

Oct 30 2013 | 2:37 pm

If you’re using sends for effects, then this solution wouldn’t be able to spatialize the processes as far as I know….

That could be a potential deal breaker.

Oct 30 2013 | 3:36 pm

The maximum of sends is 12…

Oct 30 2013 | 11:54 pm

@ chapelier fou

12 sends, good to know.
Never saw the feature of loopback in rme-interfaces and "accidentally" I use MetricHalo.

Nov 07 2013 | 8:58 am

for the record, Kontakt VST 16ch *can* send audio to other channels from one Live channel. Here’s how :

(edit : my point is that if Kontakt can do it, then it should be possible from Max too. The method discussed is not as versatile as a max send~/receive~ pair though, but it could be some sort of temporary workaround)

Nov 11 2013 | 8:36 am

Did you ever use [plugsend~] [plugreceive~]?

Even if Max documentation says: "The use of the plugsend~ and plugreceive~ objects to pass audio between Max for Live devices is not supported." it seams to work.

I am trying them at the moment. With my setup I get a steady 46ms latency (2048 samples) between [plugsend~] and [plugreceive~], and I have not noticed any problem.

Well, it is not perfect, as I get 1ms latency between [send~] and [receive~].

Here my latency test devices:

Mar 27 2014 | 4:05 am

This is really something that needs to be done.
is there any official statement wether or not this is going to happen anytime soon?

Mar 28 2014 | 6:18 am

Totally agree with you Dibek.
I’d like to know as well.

Mar 30 2014 | 7:34 am

This is a question to ask Ableton rather than Cycling ’74.

Aug 02 2015 | 8:13 am

Hi Evan,

Since I don’t quite understand how exactly your solution to 8-channel beauty works, it would be much appreciated would you be willing to share your patch. (while I have worked with Max for quite some time I am new to Live and still trying to get my head around it.)



Aug 06 2015 | 12:55 pm

I assume the solution is similar to the Max Api SendsXnodes/Max Api SendsPan from the M4L building tools?

Oct 18 2015 | 4:05 pm

hi thread,
I’ve also been hacking away recently trying to get multichannel audio to work with m4l,
with predictable and low latency.
I’m not so interested in using live’s return tracks because I’m after a solution for sending more than
2 signals generated by 1 device to multiple tracks.
somewhere else on the forums I got inspired by a solution that is about writing to a global buffer in the
‘sending’ device and reading it out in the ‘receiving’ device.

I’ve attached what I came up with,please give it a try and tell me what you think.

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