OK, so once you’ve got your Max For Live demo all fired up, what to do? Well, the first thing you want to do is explore the stuff that comes pre-made and ready to use. So for today, we’ll look at MFL as if it were just a plugin bundle for Live.

In Live’s device browser, you’ll now have the devices Max Instrument, Max MIDI Effect and Max Audio Effect. I suggest starting with the audio

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Dragging Max Audio Effect into a track will present you with a template for programming your own device – not something we’re getting into here. So, unless you’re already a Max programming whiz (in which case this tip is of no use to you!), you’ll want to unfold Max Audio Effect as seen above. The folders below don’t contain presets like regular Live devices. Instead, they contain Patches –  different devices that do completely different things. What they have in common is that they were all programmed in Max/MSP.

The Pluggo folder contains 40 devices from Cycling 74’s now discontinued Pluggo collection. If you’re not familiar, Pluggo was introduced a number of years back as the biggest, weirdest, cheapest plugin bundle you could buy. Comprised almost completely of strange and imaginative sound manglers, there were many that I never got the hang of, but many that I got great results out of (after much experimentation).

Underneath the Pluggo folder, you’ll find yet more folders. Each folder contains the Patch itself, followed by a number of presets for it:

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Just like standard Live devices, you can load the Patch or start out with a preset. For starters, try experimenting with Cyclotron (a filter with a step sequencer for controlling frequency and resonance), Space Echo (a tape delay emulator) and Phone Filter (emulates a phone connection, complete with dropouts and hiss). From here, they get much stranger – so take your time with a few devices and really get into them, rather than try to get through the whole collection.