Ultimate Ableton Live Part 7: MaxForLive

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This course is designed for those interested to learn how to use MaxForLive.

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About This Courseintermediate

For years I’ve been teaching Ableton Live and Max in the college classroom. As a University Professor, my classes are sought after, and, frankly, expensive. I believe Ableton Live can be learned by anyone, and cost shouldn’t be a barrier. This class uses the same outline and syllabus I’ve used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost.

This is Part 7: MaxForLive

MaxForLive is a powerful tool that lets users design their own instruments, effects, and devices. It isn’t without its drawbacks: MaxForLive is notoriously difficult to learn. I’ve developed an approach for teaching MaxForLive that focuses on teaching it like a language: You will learn small blocks and patches, understanding the how and the why along the way. As we grow our vocabulary, we “learn how to learn” more and more.

Topics include:

  • The unique and quirky history and development of Max
  • What we can do with MaxForLive
  • Max vs. MaxForLive
  • The MaxForLive Devices
  • Finding and Sharing MaxForLive Devices
  • Getting Help: Help Windows in MaxForLive
  • Presentation Mode & Patching Modes
  • The Max Editor
  • Messages
  • Bangs & Buttons
  • Project 1: Building a MIDI Delay
  • Project 2: Building an Arpeggiator
  • Working with Audio Signals
  • Project 3: An Audio Delay
  • ~ Objects (tilde objects)
  • Presentation Setup
  • Controlling Live
  • Abstractions
  • Controlling anything in Live
  • Project 4: A Beat-Quantized Randomized Filter
  • Finding the Beat from Live
  • Project 5: Artificial Intelligence (sort of)
  • … And much more!!!

Also included in this class is 6 of my own MaxForLive patches for you to download, dissect, use, and build on.

J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer and a Ph.D. in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.

He currently acts as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:

“I’ve had Live Lite for a while but never quite understood how to use it because of the different options in how to arrange audio. This course explains exactly how to do that and get the most out of Live.”

“Great overview – I would start here for sure if you are just getting your feet wet with live. clear and to the point. Session walkthroughs are great. Looking forward to more”

“I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going through this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me.”

What are the requirements?

  • Knowledge of Ableton Live is required to understand this course.
  • Taking Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 1 – The Interface & The Basics is a great place to start, but not required to get the most out of this course.
  • Taking Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 2 – Recording & Warping is also great, but not required to get the most out of this course.
  • Taking Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 3 – Producing & Editing is also great, but not required to get the most out of this course.
  • Taking Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 4 – Synths & Samplers is also great, but not required to get the most out of this course.
  • Taking Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 5 – Audio & MIDI Effects is also great, but not required to get the most out of this course.
  • Taking Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 6 – DJ Techniques & Controllers is also great, but not required to get the most out of this course.
  • Access to Ableton Live will be required. Using the trial version (free for 30 days) would be a great way to start.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Use MaxForLive to create custom devices in Ableton Live
  • Speak the syntax of MaxForLive, and know how to find answers
  • Design unique MaxForLive patches for sale, sharing, and using in your own music

Who is the target audience?

  • Students who want a comprehensive understanding of Ableton Live
  • Students looking to understand the deeper levels of Ableton Live
  • Anyone looking to explore the possibilities of MaxForLive

Our Promise to You
By the end of this course, you will have learned how to use the features of MaxForLive.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee. If you are unsatisfied for any reason, simply contact us and we’ll give you a full refund. No questions asked.

Get started today and learn more about MaxForLive.

Course Curriculum

Course Sections


MaxForLive In A Nutshell

The 10K Ft View

What We Can Do In MaxForLive

Patch Download: Artificial Intelligence Experiment

MaxForLive Versus Max Versus Max / MSP / Jitter

A Brief History Of Max

The MaxForLive Devices (In Ableton)

Loading MaxForLive Devices

Finding And Sharing MaxForLive Devices

Starting From Scratch

Getting Help: The Help Windows

Modes: Presentation, Patching (Editing), Locked, And Unlocked

The Max Editor And Patching

Objects And Arguments


Bangs And Buttons

Learning How To Learn Max

Workflow: Approaching A New Project

Our First Object: Pipe

Adding The Dry (Not Delayed) Signal

Why Not Notein

Download Patch

Walkthrough: What We Will Need For This Project

Delaying Notes

Transposing Notes

Deploying And Encapsulating

Download Patch

The Tilde (~) Objects And Yellow Patch Chords

Audio UI Objects


Tapin~ And Tapout~

Volume Control

Audio Toggle


Presentation Setup

Download Patch


The “M4L List Of Abstractions”

M4L Patches

Patch Download

Controlling Any Parameter

Patch Download

New UI Object: Filtergraph~

Finding Beats

Controlling Filters By Using The Beat

Patch Download

Thanks For Watching (And 1 More Project!)

Patch Download

Bonus Lecture: MaxForLive Connection Kit


1 student review
  1. Kevin says:

    Great tutorial on Max for Live
    Even though my version of Live does not include Max, I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It certainly has me considering upgrading because of the amazing possibilities available in Max for Live!