Practical Max #1

Stretta samples water bottles, a shoe, and other household items and uses it to trigger musical sounds. Inside the Max patch, he shows us how he uses his Piezo microphone with Tristan Jehan’s analyzer~ object to capture data about incoming sounds.

Useful Links:

All the tutorials in this series: #1, #2, #3

Jul 21 2011 | 3:58 pm

a bit of freshness added to the pallet of live processing. I’m going to dig into this patch. Much thanks for the generosity ‘Stretta’. i’ll share my results

Jul 22 2011 | 8:27 am

great stuff!
sadly no en_analyzer for windows os afaik…

Jul 22 2011 | 11:32 am


The en-analyzer is not required for the Piezo Max patch – it was just an additional "useful link" for further exploration. We’ve removed the link to prevent confusion.

Thanks, and have fun!

Doc Country
Jul 22 2011 | 12:56 pm

this is way too much fun… big it up Stretta!

Jul 22 2011 | 5:06 pm

Very nice and useful -thanks a lot!

Jul 24 2011 | 8:53 am

waw. what a great job! max community is something amazing and endless surprising… have you seen any other place where people keeps working on a useful project for months and then let you have it by free and to modify it totally to transform it in to your own tool?

thanks stteta!

Jul 25 2011 | 2:45 am

To save anyone doing detective work on the clip on piezo that Stretta’s using, it looks to me like Planet Waves Piezo Tuning Clip.

Jul 25 2011 | 3:17 pm

can i use xbee foe wire less for send data ?

Aug 04 2011 | 6:12 am

XBee is a USB thing, not a microphone thing. You have to convert your audio to serial data before you can use the XBee, generally via an audio interface or some sort of DAC.

Great work, Stretta. Very fun and open-ended. Darwin, another promising series of helpful tutorials. Thanks to both of you!

Aug 08 2011 | 7:54 am

if anybody can help. I have a noob emergency.
I am using the exact same planet waves piezo, but I am not getting any signal
I am using it on the built in line input on my black macbook 13". I open analyzer, _piezo, configure the DSP:
driver: coreaudio built-in output
input device: built-in input
input source: line in
output destination: headphones
then I select audio input 1, toggle the output on Presentation Mode, turn the DSP on, make sure all output levels are turnerd up and turn the FM1 preset on. but I have no signal coming in on either channel 1 or 2.

just yesterday I made it work, but I can’t really remember doing anything different. I’ve tried everything I can think of. I’m sure it’s something simple that my lack of Max experience is making me overlook, but I really can’t figure out what.

Aug 08 2011 | 11:03 am

My first suggestion would be to ask a few more questions (which would probably be better directed to customer support): Do you see any error messages in the Max window? If so, what are they? I’d email, and don’t forget to include the standard stuff about machine/version of Max/ etc. It looks like you’ve got the beginnings of a reproduceable set of steps to produce the problem, although I think there may be a thing or two missing.

Aug 26 2011 | 6:39 am

Hey Guys,
I love this tool, but i have a similar problem as gregory.
I use it on a PC with max runtime, and i get an input signal….but only in the input section, there is no signal in the bottom section…and i can also rout the input signal to my speakers or to the effect section, it works and i can hear the clear input signal, i just cant rout it to trigger the bottom section. if you have any idea how i can get this beautiful piece of software running i´d be very thankful!

Sep 05 2011 | 12:03 pm

Hej guys!
I have the same issue. Signal gets into the patch, but it doesn’t trigger anything.
Any ideas about what I could be doing wrong?

Sep 05 2011 | 1:04 pm

Does the microphone simply render a 1-127 on the midi scale which triggers an instrument?

Sep 13 2011 | 12:27 pm

This project is wild.. Could this be routed into Ableton via Max for Live? Or is it separate and distinct as a Max / MSP creation. If so, can it be re-tooled to work in Max for Live? I’m buying Max for Live.. but it looks like I may be interested in Max MSP as well.

Sep 14 2011 | 5:27 pm

Ok i´ve found the problem and solved it.
you also need to download the analyzer~ object (link is on top of this page).
then you copy it into your project folder.
but it some cases it still might not work. you might be missing the fftw3.dll which you can download for free on ….there´s an older version fftw3.0.1 or something like that, but it will work!
copy it into the max folder, and enjoy the great patch!

Nov 07 2011 | 1:05 pm


Nov 23 2011 | 5:42 pm

That worked for me too! Thanks!!!
BTW, I’m just getting back into MAX after years of being a lame *** is there a source for info on the correct places to store externals, etc? It used to be in the Preferences but I can’t find it and searching the doc’s is not yielding results…
xoxo, AK

Nov 23 2011 | 5:47 pm

Awesome, worked for me too!!

Can anyone suggest the best protocol for storing externals? I’ve been away from MAX for quite a long time…It used to be in the Preferences Menu ..setting up a search path, but is gone in MAX 6 and I can’t find info in the docs…
xoxo, AK

Nov 28 2011 | 6:36 am

@Amy – Usually within the /Max/Cylcing ’74 folder is where I like to put externals. You can add more search paths underOptions>File Preferences.

Max 6 has a new project feature that collects all the required files if you want to move your creation to a new computer or share your work.

Mar 13 2012 | 4:22 am

Excellent! People who are interested in getting into piezo experimentation should definitely check out Nicolas Collins, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (New York: Routledge, 2009). Among other things, he teaches you how to build your own contact mikes from piezo elements.

david fodel
Apr 19 2012 | 9:18 am

I love this thing. Hooking it to a contact mic attached to a little music box. One issue though… I can’t seem to get the VST instruments in the MIDI section to take the generated MIDI notes signal. I have been able to route the MIDI signal out to a standalone version of the same VST instrument, but can’t get it to work with one that I load as a plug-in. Any thoughts?

Apr 20 2012 | 1:21 pm

Superb. i was trying to do something like this 2 months ago….

Sep 29 2012 | 6:32 am

Thanx for the idea!
I’ve patched my own version of it and played with it on Ableton Live.
I call it "Digital Chairs".. check it out!!

Sep 26 2013 | 12:01 pm

Thanks, it is great!!
Could I change the quality of the sounds to flutes like?

Nov 07 2013 | 8:23 am

@ david fodel… and anyone about the midi instrument not working

I know it’s been a long time since this thread is open, but i just discovered Max/msp, and this patch… Like you, I was unable to make the included instrument work with midi (although able to have midi out to a stand alone plug-in…) so i looked inside the midi generator, and found out it was not totally implemented/optimised for midi plug-ins.

The vst~ object has "note_output" from the arpegiator as pitch in, and "loudness" value (from the analyzer~) as velocity. the problem is that when i print this value, it’s always at 0 (didn’t found out why), so the notes sent to the vst~ are always at velocity 0.
instead, i put the c_loudness value, which is continuous loudness.
Now it works, but, a tap on a piezo will generate a "note" but there won’t be any note-off.
So, what i found out (after hours of search, hey max can be deep when you’re a 2 days beginner) is to insert a "makenote" object, that will generate a note-off message, and voilà!
The makenote, is correctly implemented in the "midi out" part…
here is my midi generator patch :

Jun 03 2014 | 12:09 pm

Hi there!
Maybe i’m a bit late :-), but can find no links to stretta’s piezo patch anymore…
Can anyone help me?
Thanx a lot


Jun 04 2014 | 3:35 pm

Hello. I’d love to get a copy of the piezo patch as well. Anyone have a copy they could attach and share? Many thanks.


Jun 05 2014 | 2:10 am
Jun 05 2014 | 9:12 am

Genius! Thank you! M

Jun 06 2014 | 3:12 pm

Time machine for the whole net!!! Didn’t know..Thanx a lot!R

Aug 10 2014 | 1:39 pm

where i find this patch ?

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)

Explore More

Subscribe to the Cycling ’74 Weekly Newsletter

Let us tell you about notable Max projects, obscure facts, and creative media artists of all kinds.

* indicates required