Vecchio Portfolio

Download My Patch or access the Max Code (Max code does not include MPG 3rd party external folder or images folder)

My creative project was based on a concept that I have been interested in for some time now, timbre manipulation through additive synthesis. My purpose was intended to create a musical device that a person with little experience with Max or similar programs would be able to pick up and enjoy while still allowing deeper control for more advanced users and users wishing to create more unique styles and sounds from this device. Often Max patches sound interesting and offer great control and manipulation but result in the same all around sound time after time and I am hoping to break that mold. Now, the general concept of my project is that you have 4 channels each with 5 sine waves each and a group of preset graphs for each channel representing amplitude over time to determine determines timbres for these combination of 5 sine waves per channel. These tables can be altered and saved easily, allowing a moderate amount of creativity and control to the user. The program itself is currently designed for the Macally Airstick to control many aspects and values of the sound being produced.


Macally Airstick:

The colored buttons change to the different channels which are color coordinated to match the device for users. The XYZ buttons on the side determine what the movements on the X or Y axis of the Airstick manipulates.

X Button: X-Mode, Mode 1: Pitch/Volume
X Axis: The core pitch of the set of sine waves in the active channel.
Y Axis: The overall volume level.

Y Button: Y-Mode, Mode 2: Chorus Delay/Mix
X Axis: The amount of delay used in the chorus feature.
Y Axis: The mix of clean to chorus in the active channel.

Z Button: Z-Mode, Mode 3: Freq Mod/Depth
X Axis: The amount of frequency modulation applied.
Y Axis: The depth of the frequency modulation applied.

In addition, several other buttons and provide additional functionality which will be covered in their respective sections.

Finally, the Joystick Setup subpatcher is easily accessible so customizing for advanced users is available, allowing more forms of personal expression.

This Patch includes the MPG Package for multiple performers, so please read on that here.


One Channel

Here is a screen shot of one of the four channels (specifically channel three, C, or yellow). The graph in the middle shows the shape of the combined 5 sine waves of that channel which is the sounds being played. The 4 buttons on the right will increase in redness to display the maximum amount possible being applied (bright red being maxed). Though this does not offer complete and maximum control to the user, it is easier to understand for the general user and small differences in these values are hard to perceive anyways. Double clicking on the "p AmplitudeTableC" will open the following editable Amplitude over time table (in the following example, it is amplitude table D for channel 4, D, or Green)


Amplitude Table:

This is an example of the amplitude table. A user can draw the amplitude over time graph to make any custom sounds. Leaving the last point at zero ensures no sustain. Generally, at least one or two of the 5 amplitude table presets should not end to ensure a sustain.

The Harmonic multiplier takes the pitch being sent from the X axis (or manually entered) and multiplies it by the multiplier. While integers keep the pitch in octaves, using non-integers allows for the usage of 3rds, 5ths and other relations of the users discretion.

The R and L show the panning channel which is hardwired from that channel so that using presets on one channel still slightly differ from identical presets of other channels. This allows for a deeper instrument with more "character" rewarding users who spend hours or longer learning and mastering the abilities of this musical device.

To change between the 8 presets on each channel, the joystick has been divided into 8 equal sections. Pointing the joystick in different directions changes the preset in clockwise order where straight up is Preset 1 and pointing it directly to the right loads Preset 3 and etc.




To the Right a screen shot of the chorus function can be seen. It is mostly an edited version of the chorus function displayed in the Max help files (why re-invent the wheel, eh?).

AChorusVol is a value from the X Axis while in Y-Button Mode (Mode 2 for the Axis controls) that determines the mix between clean and chorus being output. The clean output has a direct connection to the dac so full chorus with no clean is not possible without editing the patch. This is done on purpose and lowering the volume of the clean line by using the Y Axis while in X-Button Mode (Mode 1 for the Axis controls) directly affects the volume of the chorus line.

AChorusDelay is a value from the Y Axis while the Y-Button Mode (Mode 2 for the Axis controls) that determines the amount of delay being applied. 5 Milliseconds is the minimum to add depth to the sound and 20 milliseconds is currently the maximum.

AZJ is a value received from the 2 E-F buttons to determine the amount of feedback sent through the chorus lines. this is affectionately known as Chaos Chorus and high levels with a medium mix of chorus offers subtle abnormal variations in pulsations and feedback. A favorite feature of many users.




Final Conclusions

This project was a lot of fun to work on and it really helped align the way I translate logical processes from my imagination into Max. There are still many ideas floating around my head for things I would like to change given more time. Adding more user friendly help options and explanations, allowing more customization or a "wizard setup" for other controllers than the Macally to be used plug and play, and recording and looping feature, more timbre control, and especially merging it with my customized Ambisonic 5 speaker layout program and even.. well you know, the list goes on and on but that has been my biggest issue in Max. The possibilities are endless and so are these ideas. For things that went well though, designing the UI was a big part for me because again, I would like a powerful musical devise that deviates away from the intimidating design of many Max patches. Using color coordination and alternative Max tools to display data such as the increasing strength LED lights and mostly user friendly amplitude table graphs has helped bridge the gap a little bit, though some knowledge of Max may be required to understand certain aspects and techniques. By letting a few non-Max users try it out, I have changed a few things but more or less they were able to grasp its usage quickly. Of course, my real goal for the instrument is for it to be like playing the blues, any starter can get it down but to make it your own and to really connect through it, a lifetime can be spent getting acquainted with its characteristics and flaws (or quirks). Only time will tell if this goal will ever be accomplished by a hobbyist like myself. * or an A would be a suitable substitute, hint hint ;) *

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