more news from namm 2009

The more i learn about the upcoming max for live, the happier i get. it seems you can indeed load any max/msp patch. and even jitter. probably with a bit of adaptation, but a conversion tool shouldn’t take long. the promised integration i raved about yesterday, might extend even further than i thought. through the use of custom max objects, it will allow people to use open source stuff like processing or ruby inside max for live. some of these objects have already been created for max and no doubt people will be inspired to adapt them for max for live or create new objects where there are none.
why is all this so exiting? being a closed system, live offers the stability you need to focus on making music. but you also get forced into a mold. max for live offers a backdoor into the system. there’s a strict door-policy, but once you’re in, enjoy the party. effectively, you get the stability of a closed system, but with all the possible craziness of an open system. it will surely result in many new and inspiring ways in which people use live.

other cool namm news was volta by motu. it’s a plugin that allows you to send control signals to cv inputs on analog synths. all you need is an audio interface. volta has built-in lfos and sequencers that can be beat-synced. it can also pass on automation from your host. this is one of those products that makes you wonder why it took so long.

Volta First Look from stretta on Vimeo.

it’s mac only for now, which is the bad news for me. but i expect other manufacturers to join in and hopefully improve on volta. i really don’t get why this has to be done through an audio interface. maybe so people can use hardware they already have, but i’d prefer a plugin interfaced to a dedicated usb hardware box with, say, 16 outputs and 16 inputs. that should be cheaper than a 16in-16out audio interface. why the inputs? to me, modular synthesis is all about controlling everything with everything. controlling the rate of a software step sequencer with a hardware lfo, anyone? and what about controlling parameters of vst synths from your hardware modular?

this might even dent into the market for hardware control modules. buy some cool audio generating and processing modules and do all the control from the computer. no doubt we’ll get discussions about how analog control signals just sound warmer, but to most it means being able to buy a fully featured analog modular for less.

now if somebody just made that box and allowed it to be used by max for live…