Forums > MaxMSP


Oct 14 2009 | 12:02 am

I’m trying to create a 1 minute piece of train horn sound using max/jitter/msp…I have no idea where to start from…please help me…all i have so far is attached but it doesn’t sound like a train horn..if anyone can fix it and send it back it’ll be a HUGE favor…

Oct 15 2009 | 2:20 am

I don’t have an easy fix for you but I’ll try to point you in the right direction.

That’s going to be quite a challenge to synthesize. Even if you find a decent approximation for the horn’s spectral components, it’s likely that you’ll still be disappointed in the results. Acoustical and psychoacoustical factors (i.e., like the ambient noises of the train cars and tracks, reflections/reverberation, proximity, Doppler effect, panning, etc.) are usually present when we hear a train horn and identify it as such. It’s fun exploring this but it can take a lot of time away from composing.

If you’re not restricted to using MSP as a synth, I might try looking at sampling. There are sites online loaded with train horn sounds. rather than focusing so much of your time and energy on developing the raw material, you can place your attention on the compositional process (i.e., planning your composition, manipulating the material, and all that other fun stuff.}

So my thoughts are:
1) if you’re more interested in making a realistic sound from scratch and you don’t have a critical deadline, keep at it. You still might want to download some horn sounds just to compare.
2) if you need to come up with a musical composition in a hurry, try the second option. You can always return to your train horn synth project as there’s always so much to learn.

Best of luck.

Oct 15 2009 | 2:28 am

hey thx lucky choi.
I’m suppose to make this horn sound using MAX/MSP/JITTER…So i tried making it from scratch but no success so far. And i do have a horn sound downloaded from internet but i dont know if it is possible to open it using MAX and manipulate it..If its possible please let me know how i can do it. Sorry for too many questions, its my first time using MAX so i have no clue how to start and all..

Oct 15 2009 | 5:18 am

I recommend going through the Max/MSP tutorials. They’ll give you a much better guidance than I could. If this is for a class project, one would assume that your instructor has gone over the basics before assigning such a project. ou can get a better idea of what’s expected.

At any rate, you need to be familiar with most if not all the basic tutorials for Max and MSP. Do check out MSP Tutorials 13-17 about recording, playback and sampling.

Another excellent resource to learn more is the CNMAT web site. Go to and you can download lots of examples, demos, and usable patchers that you might be able to use as templates.

Hope this helps.

Oct 17 2009 | 12:48 am

hey.. thx.. i have been reading these tutorials..and they are really helpfull..another question i wanted to ask:
i downloaded a train horn sound from internet, is it possible if somehow i can open it in max/msp and manipulate it according to my needs? if so please let me knoe how i can do it..i’m basically refering to ur earlier reply about 2nd option…

Also, i’m trying to manipulate some text which will be presented with horn sound. so i was wondering if u can tell me any good tutorials about text manipulation using max/msp/jitter..

Oct 17 2009 | 5:37 am

i see, maybe i should also consider taking the tutorials.
thank you!

Oct 22 2009 | 1:18 am
bajwa wrote on Fri, 16 October 2009 17:48
i downloaded a train horn sound from internet, is it possible if somehow i can open it in max/msp and manipulate it according to my needs?

Yes, there is. Check out the sfplay~ (and the other sf****~ objects). At the bottom of every object’s help and reference page, you’ll find links to other related objects as well as tutorials with examples. Look for the SEE ALSO section. There’s a lot of stuff to read in the MSP documentation, but if you click on the HELP and select Max Help, you’ll see a file named MSP Introduction. (Or, you can also click here: This will give you an overview of the "entire" MSP documentation that was installed with your program. It’ll help you decide where to start, what sections to leave out or postpone until a later time.

Also, your sound file should be saved in .AIFF format. If the sound file is in another format, you’ll need to convert it using a digital audio editor such as Audacity, created by Dominic Mazzoni. It is cross-platform and can be downloaded free under the GNU General Public License. You’ll find it at

Although MSP can read other formats, AIFF is the default and I believe the most compatible, but I’m not 100% certain. The documentation will explain it better.

RabidRaja wrote on Sat, 17 October 2009 02:24
maybe you also need some kind of doppler effect over a train horn?

I agree with RabidRaja. I would miss the Dopper effect if it were not included somehow.

bajwa wrote on Fri, 16 October 2009 17:48
Also, i’m trying to manipulate some text which will be presented with horn sound.

Although Max has some graphic and image abilities, they are very limited. For your visuals, I would check out the Jitter forum.

Good luck with your project.

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