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One of the elements of Ableton Live that sets it apart from other Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) is the massive library of Max for Live devices. Some of these are made by Ableton directly, some made by us at Cycling '74, but the majority are created by the independent Max for Live user community.
As you start exploring Max for Live devices as a user, you may run into some initial ambiguity. This article should help answer your starting questions, regardless of whether you're using bundled or community devices, or rolling your own.
What are the primary types of Max for Live devices?
Max for Live devices are broken up into three primary types:
- Audio Effects, which can be placed on MIDI or Audio tracks to affect audio from other software instruments, a sample, or live input
- Max Instruments, which can be placed on MIDI tracks and turn MIDI input to audio signal output
- Max MIDI Effects, which affect incoming MIDI (eg. scale quantizer) or generate MIDI (eg. sequencer)
How do I find Max for Live devices?
There are a few ways to find new Max for Live devices:
- In Live Suite 10 (or Live with the Max for Live add-on), you'll find a Max for Live category in the Browser. That will show you the bundled Max for Live devices from Ableton and Cycling '74, as well as templates to create your own devices.
- Visit Ableton's Packs store, which features devices that have been "co-signed" by Ableton as both fun to use and powerful additions to the Live ecosystem.
- Browse (and join) maxforlive.com, a fantastic repository of devices made by and for the Max for Live user community. You'll find a wide range of devices that can add much-desired functionality to Live or completely change the way you think about Live.
What resources are available for learning Max for Live?
Cycling '74 has published a number of articles and tutorials related to Max for Live. Additionally, you can:
- Participate in Cycling '74's Max for Live forum or browse the archives.
- Visit maxforlive.com's device library to see what other Max for Live users have been creating.
- Hear what people are creating on the Max for Live Soundcloud group.
Where can I share Max for Live devices I've made?
maxforlive.com is one of the easiest ways to share devices you've made. It has a massive library of devices spanning back to Live 8 and it's where users go to find exciting new devices. You can either host your device directly on the site, or you can host it externally and link to it from the device page.
Also, please feel free to tag our social media accounts if you share any videos of your devices in action! We're always looking to spotlight your content, especially free devices.
Can I disable my devices from being opened by users?
Max for Live does not prevent users from opening Max devices.
Where do I go for Max for Live support?
If you have questions about Packs or need help purchasing / authorizing / getting started with Max for Live, Ableton's online Knowledge Base is the best source for information.
If you start making your own devices and you have questions about the Max editor, feel free to reach out to Cycling '74 support.
If you have trouble using a community device, neither Ableton or Cycling '74 will be best able to assist. Please reach out directly to the device's developer. The developer will be able to contact us if there is a deeper issue with Max or Live, but often they're the best resource to handle questions about their devices.