Music Tools / Plugins

I have made a handful of tools for electronic musicians who use Ableton Live Suite, which includes Max For Live.

Max For Live is a visual signal processing environment that integrates seamlessly with Ableton Live. This allows people like me to make my own utilities, effects, sound generators, and automation within my digital audio workstation (DAW). This is an incredibly powerful capability of Ableton Live that sets it apart from other DAWs. We are no longer limited to the tools that come with the DAW or installable VSTs. We can make our own devices to explore their own creativity to an amazing level, and share those tools as our own art that helps other artists make their art. I really enjoy that part.

This page serves as a jumping off point to more detailed information about the devices.

  • Chiastic Slide
  • Correlation Modulation
  • Len Stepper
  • Key Stepper
  • Chord Ripper
  • Modulation Lerp
  • Modulation Math
  • Modulation Delay
  • Modulation Stepper
  • TapPanVerb
  • zs Knobbler3
  • zs Faderboard3
  • Fractal Note Echo
  • Fibonacci Note Echo
  • zs Send Duck Rack
  • zs Feedback Matrix
  • KS-Synth
  • Tempo To Ms
  • Chiastic Slide

    Smoothly crossfade between any number of chains in a preceeding Instrument Rack or Audio Effect Rack device. Allows for crazy tempo-locked layering.

    Correlation Modulation

    Use a stereo signal's left/right phase correlation as a modulation source.

    Len Stepper

    Len Stepper is a single-note arpeggiator that makes it easy to create rhythmic patters with any measure division. Use it in conjunction with Key Stepper to reliably create polyrythms and fugues.

    Key Stepper

    A step sequencer that is advanced only via incoming MIDI notes. It supports pattern lengths of 1-32 steps, and with configurable pitch, velocity, and probability per step. Complex polyrhythms and shifting times are easily possible.

    Chord Ripper

    Decompose chords across multiple tracks. Add the device to each track you want to feed off the chord and set the desired voice/channel. Play a MIDI chord into any track containing this device, and its notes will be distributed across the tracks sharing the same channel.

    Modulation Lerp

    This device produces a value in between two input values.

    Modulation Math

    This device combines two modulation signals using math, and outputs a signal you can then map to a parameter.

    Modulation Delay

    It's a feedbacking echo effect for modulation data! Turn pulses into automated oceans!

    Modulation Stepper

    Turns continuous modulation input into stair-stepped output at your chosen frequency or note interval.

    TapPanVerb

    A reverb + bucket-brigade delay tap field with control over timing and stereo placement of each tap. Up to 128 taps + an insane feedback control.

    zs Knobbler3

    This is a combination of Max For Live device and TouchOSC layout that provides an auto-labeling tactile control surface for Ableton Live.

    zs Faderboard3

    This device was inspired by the Vestax Faderboard. It is an odd kind of sampler, with 10 voices to play back a sample at your chosen pitch. The thing that makes it unique is that each voice is played using a dedicated fader, and the sample is triggered when the fader leaves the silent position.

    You can also control voice left/right pan position, loop start and end (with the ability to go backwards!), and trigger all voices to restart playing.

    Fractal Note Echo

    This is a MIDI Effect device that will trigger notes in a fractal pattern. The base fractal shape (in terms of timing between echo taps) can be defined, then number of iterations and iteration scale can be controlled. The kinds of textures you can get out of it are really surprising, and have been inspiring to me. There is a natural beauty and harmony to fractals, which can contribute a more natural feel to your sounds.

    This device is mostly implemented in Javascript in Max For Live. Super fun to make.

    Fibonacci Note Echo

    This is a MIDI Effect device that will repeat notes, with each repeat delay following the Fibonacci Sequence. You can control the number of repeats, time scale, pitch, and velocity change.

    This was my first Javascript-based M4L patch. It was a great learning experience to figure out how to code up both the logic and visualization in M4L's Javascript environment.

    zs Send Duck Rack

    An audio effect rack that provides controls like an effects send, as well as a ducking feature for any effect.

    zs Feedback Matrix

    This effect rack device is two independent effects channels (chains) that have complete feedback capability, both per-channel and between channels! You can put any effects in either chain, and experiment with feedback and cross-feedback.

    KS-Synth

    A polyphonic Karplus-Strong synthesizer. This was my first foray into [poly~] and can create a surprisingly wide range of sounds.

    Tempo To Ms

    Displays a grid of durations, in milliseconds, of various note lengths at the current song tempo.