Patching Update 1: Distortion Module

I assembled this distortion/EQ module in an effort to achieve more natural and dynamic overdrive sounds whilst using electric guitar straight into Max. There are a number of controls still to add (including an actual drive control!) as it was largely designed for “switch on and wail” purposes. It is part of a larger patch currently in the works geared towards live improvisation and sound design for my upcoming EP. I was heavily influenced by Darwin Grosse’s guitar processing patch written as a tutorial for Max 5 in 2008. You can find the original tutorials along with some other guitar-based signal processing patches at: https://cycling74.com/2008/07/28/max-5-guitar-processor-part-1.

Distortion module GUI

Distortion module GUI

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Max 7: Right on Time

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 12.46.22

For the past week I’ve had time to do a little bit of tinkering with Max 7, the newest version of Cycling 74’s powerful programming environment. Originally written as a tool for composing interactive audio, recent updates have expanded the creative possibilities available through Max, particularly in 3D graphics and animation. At a recent presentation at Huddersfield University software developer David Zicarelli commented that the majority of Max’s current user base was in fact visual artists. Despite this fact there have been a few key developments in the audio department. One of the most significant for me is the inclusion of a new time-stretch engine and dedicated pitch shifting functionality.

I recorded this brief electric guitar improvisation by routing the guitar to four separate patches, each containing pitch-shift processing object and a signal delay (there is also one non-shifted delay and dry guitar signal in the mix). I have built similar patches using older versions of the Max software, however they were slightly more complicated affairs requiring fourier transform sub-patches. Whilst it is quite clear Cycling 74 are attempting to increase their user base with Max 7, it’s nice to see composers/sound designers haven’t been left behind. On a personal level I also feel these new additions will certainly increase my efficiency and creativity within the software.