Join Yeuda Ben-Atar for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Buffer Shuffler, part of Learning Max for Live.
- Now that we've downloaded Max for Live Essentials Live Pack, it's time to install it. I'm going to go to my downloads folder, and I'm simply going to double-click on the MaxforLiveEssentials.alp. It's going to automatically install to Live's library. Once you've finished the installation, you will see on the right side, some information about this Live Pack with some links that can take you to the actual devices. All of the Live Packs can be found under Places, Packs, Max for Live Essentials.
The first device we're going to start checking out is under Max Audio Effect, Buffer Shuffler. The Buffer Shuffler allows you to rearrange your audio in real time, as well as to sequence effects like pitch, gate, stutter, volume, and panning. It is important to note that because this is a buffer audio effect, it does require the audio to be played once before it can apply the real time sample offset and effects. So here I have an audio clip, let's take a listen.
(drumming) I'm going to load the Buffer Shuffler. Notice that you can also check out the presets of this device. But in this case, I'm just going to load the initialized patch so we can start fresh. I'm going to drag it to the audio track. Here we have the Buffer Shuffler. On the right side of the device, we can find the Patterns browser. Here you can store and load different patterns.
Next to it we can find the global section. Here you can change the global volume as well as the effect amount with the DryWet knob. You can even bypass it with the Bypass button. Next, we have the pattern length and resolution section. Here you can set the length of the original audio clip. So, in this example, I'm going to keep it at one bar, and note that you cannot change these parameters when Live's Transport is active.
(drumming) Underneath that, we have the Resolution button, which will allow us to represent the audio with more or fewer steps. I'm going to set it to 16 to give us a high resolution. On the bottom we can find the Display section, which will allow you to turn on the wave form display. Let's do that. And to switch between the main step editor to the Rules window, which will allow you to set a system of rules when using the randomization engine Buffer Shuffler features.
Now let's go over to the main window. I'm going to go back to Steps. To the left, you can select the type of effect you are currently sequencing. The first two are for real-time sample offsets, meaning that you can rearrange your audio in real time. By default, the left and right sequencers are linked, but you can unlink them to create different sequences for the left and the right channels, which will give you a stereo effect. So let's see that, I'm going to play it once again. It's a buffer effect, so we need to play it once and then we can start to rearrange it.
(drumming) I'm going to hit the reset button to reset it. Let's go to a smaller resolution, let's try eight. Let's unlink the left and right, and let's give it some different patterns, and we can hear the stereo effects that it creates. (drumming) Excellent, now reset and link.
Underneath each step, you will find the direction sequence, which will allow you to reverse the step or mute it. (drumming) Underneath that, we can find the randomization section for the steps. If you hit the Dice, it will randomize the sequencer. By default, it will simply randomize everything when you hit Dice, but you can change it to move all the steps Up, Down, Left, Right.
You can Reverse, you can Invert, you can Permute, or you can hit the Neighbor, which will create repeated random choices. You can even turn on Auto to change the sequence every time it finishes a cycle. (drumming) Let's turn off Auto and you can hit the Reset button to reset to default. To the right, we have some randomization options, Auto, Dice, and Reset, but these refer to the direction sequencers.
So if I hit Auto, (drumming) It's only going to randomize the direction sequencers. Let's reset that. And finally, you have the Smooth knob, which, by default, is set to 100 percent, and will cross-fade between steps. So that was the sequencer for Sample Offset. Next, we have six other effect sequencers, each one of them with it's own randomization engine and adjustable values.
So, if I change something here, and turn on the automatic randomization, and then I go to the next effect, which is Stutter, we can see we have a completely different values and another randomization section. Let's go back, I'm going to turn off the Auto and reset the direction sequencer. Now, the stutter will give us a repeating effect. So, if I turn it up here, let's listen. (drumming) The Gate will cut out the steps, the Pitch will repitch, and Shift will apply frequency shifter to the audio.
Amp will change the volume, and Pan will change the stereo image of the sound. It is important to note that the pitch and shift effects will introduce slight latency to the global effects, and that's why they are turned off by default. One known problem with the Buffer Shuffler is, if you are using the auto dice randomization system, the device will keep generating long lists of undo history for Live, so it will make it very hard to use Live's undo system.
Let me show you how to fix this. Let's hit the Edit button on the top right corner of the device to open up the Max Programming environment and see how this device was actually built. Here I'm going to click on the Patching Mode, and I'm going to unfreeze the device. Next, I'm going to right-click on one of the grids, choose Object, New View, let's expand this. Also here, let's go into Patching Mode, and let's unlock it.
Now, let's right-click on the grid, choose Inspector, go to All, scroll down, and change Parameter Visibility to Hidden. Close that, and repeat that for all the eight sequencers. Then you can save this preset. I would recommend saving it under a different name, like Buffer Shuffler No Undo, and that will solve the problem of the Buffer Shuffler taking over the undo list in Ableton Live.
So the Buffer Shuffler is a great tool to rearrange in real time your audio clips, whether it's drums, baseline, melodies, harmonies, or even vocals.