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Chapter 1P - Sound synthesis wi t h Max/MSP 1p

Now that we'v e built a patch and seen it wor k, let's revisit w hat we did:
The cyc le~ obj ect is an oscillator (a sound generator t hat prod uces a periodic
wav eform, in th is case, a sine wave), and th e number '440 ' t hat we type d into
it s interio r indicates th e freq uency th at w e want it to produce; in this case, w e
specified that the sine wave 10 shou ld repeat itself 44 0 ti mes per second_1 1
In more forma l terms, eye le~ was t he name of the object, and 440 was the
argument ; a value used by the object to specify its operat ion . In th is case, the
argum ent 440 caused cycle- to produce a tone at 44 0 Hz.
The signal out let of the cycle~ object was connected to the inlet of the gain-
object, whic h caused the signal generated by cycle - to be passed on to the
gain- object, whe re it could be modified, as we have seen, by moving the
volume fader. The modif ied signal was then passed on to the ezdac- object
(the litt le loudspeaker), w hich attenuated the signal and routed it to the sound
d river,12 which managed a digital-to-analog conversion that transfo rmed the
numeric representatio n of the sound into an audio wave that you could hear on
your headphones or speakers. (This conversion, by th e way, is where ezdac~ got
its name; it is a quasi-acronym for EaZyDigital-to-A nalog Converter.)
Let's now broaden the f uncti on of th is patch. Let's make it possible to actua lly
see what is happening in addit ion to hearing the sound. Savethe current patc h
(w hich you w ill need again in the next section) into an appropriate folder, for
example "My Patches", and close th e Patcher Wi ndow. If you haven't already
downloaded and unpacked the "Max/MSP Chapter Materia ls Vol 1" archive
that can be fou nd at www .virtual -sound.com/cmsupport , do th is now.

Open the fi le 01_01.maxpat , w hich you wi ll fin d in the "MaxMSP Chapter


Materials Vol 1!MaxMSPPatchesVol 1!Chapter 07 Patch" fo lder (see f igure 1.9).

r'e-440
1· -07599 ) •

: I! :
IT:] !\ .

Fig.1.9 The fi le 0 1_01 .maxpat

10 In t his case, it is actually a cosine wave, as we wi ll see in t he next chapter.


11 A ll of t hese concepts we re laid out in Theory Section 1.2.
12 A sound driver is a piece of system sof tw are that enables programs such as Max/MSP to manage
incomin g as we ll as outbound audio signals.
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