James Madison University

Rampon'n'off

(M.D. Hall, 2017; 2018)
An audio device for Max for Live that can impose a complex, individually designed amplitude envelope on any incoming material, along with pattern sequencing and speed/sync options.

Screen Capture
Screen Capture

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Overview of Features


Envelope Control

  • The graphic display reflects a 52-point amplitude envelope generator. Points can be added with (linear, logarithmic, and exponential) shape capabilities, and can be plotted with exact time and amplitude placement using the provided control dials or, alternatively, by point-and-click with the mouse.
  • The envelope display can be zoomed on either axis, as well as cleared with a single click. Plotted points can be highlighted with the cursor to display specific values, dragged to new positions, and deleted.
  • The maximum time range can be adjusted to the millisecond up to 5,000 ms.
  • Banks of 50 presets (with assignable names) can be saved externally and imported.
  • Compensatory gain/attenuation (+50 to -70 dB) with peak-limiting
  • Extensive MIDI control of parameters. Banks of controls have been set up to work with standard MIDI controllers, including Ableton Push.

Sequencing and Timing

  • There are two playback modes: loop (default setting), for looping playback upon completion of the displayed pattern, and seq, for sequencing through several patterns. Musicians should think of the latter two modes as having a user-specified, intensity-based LFO. Researchers can also playback a single pattern easily by sequencing blank patterns after the desired amplitude contour, and also can sequence several patterns to obtain a single, extremely detailed contour.
  • Toggling modes during note playback can be used to momentarily hold a pattern until resuming an ongoing sequence.
  • Variable (1-16) step sequencer to cycle between presets in seq mode
  • Playback speed can be adjusted via menu to be completed up to 10 times faster or 10 times slower than the maximum value originally contained in a preset.
  • Any pattern can be synced to the length of a measure as determined by Ableton Live's tempo, and the sync function works in combination with the speed menu to permit beat-based looping.
  • Note: For best results with VST instruments, first minimize contributions from their amplitude envelope controls.  

Version History


V1.081718

  • Expanded step-sequencing capabilities from 8 to 16 steps, and the current step is indicated
  • Included a hold-pattern option by toggling loop and sequence modes during note playback
  • Added intermediate-slope log and exponential curve options for drawing contours
  • Updated MIDI parameters for use in Live 10
  • Re-ordered parameter banks to optimize use with MIDI controllers (e.g., PUSH, APC)
  • Programming simplifications to reduce CPU usage
  • Bugfixes: Exiting the step sequencer now appropriately returns the user to the previously displayed preset while in loop mode.

V1.081717 (Initial Release)

Installation and Recommended System Requirements


Software and System Recommendations

  • This device has been created for, and tested using, PCs only.
  • Initial development and testing has been limited to the latest 64-bit version of Max. Users should be using a licensed copy of Ableton Live 9 or 10 in conjunction with MaxforLive. Minimum System Requirements: Windows operating systems (Windows 7 or later) with 4+ GB RAM

Installation Instructions

  • Download the needed file. This is a compressed .zip file. If this is labeled with an alternative extension (e.g., .jmu), then once the file has been downloaded, simply rename the file to have the ".zip" extension instead.. Then extract the file to a temporary location on your computer.
  • Place the device file(s) (they have the extension .amxd) in the desired location, which could be in your Ableton Library, or alternatively, any folder where you choose to store MaxforLive devices.