MAX 7 vs M4L


Thinking of buying a Grid now that I have a Teletype on the way, but I have some uncertainty about the role Max 7 plays with Grid.

I’ve always associated Max with Ableton though I’ve never used Ableton, nor do I have plans to as I enjoy Bitwig for my DAW.

I see a lot of references to Max in the forums but I never really know for certain if people are talking about stand alone Max or Max for Live. So, which is recommended?

Will I lose out on functionality if I opt for Max 7 instead of the version for Ableton?

In one thread it said all Grid sales were coming with 9 months of free subscription to Max 7, I can’t find anything about that in the current shop.


The last grid I bought directly from the store (about a year ago i think) definitely came with a 9 months max license.

There aren’t any major differences between Max and Max for Live - the latter is mainly the integration of Max into Live with a few extra tidbits for DAW integration (e.g. the Live Object Model, which allows you to manipulate objects in Live from Max for Live) and a few restrictions on how audio and midi are accessed (as they’re supplied through Live). You’re not really missing anything if you “just” use Max.


Most references to Max around these parts are, as far as I can tell, referring to standalone; M4L will be specifically described as such. M4L is Max - if you have Max For Live, you have to download Max anyway. However, as @x2mirko points out, it’s mainly about how it integrates inside Max.

Certainly many of the popular patches referenced are standalone. Also note that you can play Max patches in the standalone/free Max Runtime; you need the full version to edit, manipulate, and make your own.

Correct me if I’m wrong, Max-heads?

(Max itself is much older than Ableton…)


The creators of Ableton Live even used Max to prototype their ideas for Live! (I don’t have a source for that right now, heard that in a podcast - it was either Robert Henke or Gerhard Behles who said it, not quite sure anymore).


i’ve discontinued the max license inclusion. max has a free 30 day trial if you need time to figure out if it’s for you or not.


and there is a subscription model as well isn’t threre? So you could rent it and test it.


Thanks @x2mirko and @infovore that was exactly what I was looking for. I just wanted to be sure there wasn’t a dependency that was looking for Ableton and that without it I’d only be seeing a partial experience.


I think an important thing to note if you are getting the grid to use max patches (rather than getting max to begin developing max patches for the grid or otherwise), you can use the full version of max 7 for free. you only cannot save any edits you make. This is what @infovore is describing and its really really useful because so many great tools are already available - mostly from ppl here!

using M4L means purchasing the full Ableton Suite with M4L which is quite expensive and if you aren’t already interested in using Live, it would be pretty useless.


Bits and pieces of concepts were prototyped in Max before Live was developed but Live itself was never a Max patch. More history here:


these are the Live blocks that interface Max, everything inside the blocks (build your…) is Max. in other words, “M4L” is the ability to use Max in Live


I teach Max7 and Ableton and M4L for the most part is the ability to RUN M4L patches inside ableton and Max will let you create your own everything for the most part. I have built several M4L patches based on Spenxer Russel’s work on Xenakis as well as some interesting code i developed [Forked] reagrding Linear Predictive Coding [LPC Synthesis] they were of course for 32 bit and that is being phased out. I also worked for a while with Fluidsynth~ and Fripp~ which are a soundfont loader and a Robert Fripp-ish delay overdubber thing which are both also 32bit so FML.