MaxMSP Patching At 30,000 Feet

I work at a computer most of the day, so when I am home and I want to make some music I am more inclined to set up my little hardware studio or pick up a guitar. Lately I have had to travel for work a fair bit, and as carrying a bunch of synthesizers and cables is not really an option, and as some of my diy gear might slow me down going through airport security, when I travel, I turn to my laptop, my iPhone and my iPad.

I already wrote about some of my favourite iPad music apps earlier this week, so I thought today I would share the MaxMSP patch I made while flying to New York on Thursday night.

I’ve had Max for a while and have gone through most of the tutorials, and I wanted to start building some basic modular building blocks, along the lines of a hardware modular system. I decided to start with an oscillator module. What I came up with so far is a patch that can output either a sine, sawtooth, triangle or square waveform. It has controls to adjust the frequency, the volume and the pulse width of the square wave. From this basic module I will add modulation inputs for frequency (FM) and pulse width (PWM) and put it all into a patcher of its own.

If you take a look in the individual waveform patchers you will see that each of them implements the begin~ object which stops the chain from doing any processing if it is not selected. Also, for the sawtooth, triangle and square wave, I used saw~, tri~ and rect~ respectively because all three of these objects have good anti-aliasing.

This was a fun start at creating a modular synth in software, kept me busy for a couple hours on my flight, and was a lot easier to lug around than a trunk full of analog synths. I think maybe when I fly home next weekend I’ll start on a filter module. In the mean time you can grab the patch

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