Physical Modeling Waveguides In Max

Membership plan: Going Deeper | Topics: Sound Design

Course overview

In this workshop you will learn how to build physical modeling-based synthesis devices that use digital waveguides. Digital waveguides are computational physical models made up of delay lines, digital filters, and non-linear elements. They are well suited for the modeling of instruments like strings (bowed and plucked), woodwinds, brasses, etc.  This workshop aims to enhance your skills in building physical modeling-based synthesis patches via MSP and Gen~ via the Max environment. Experience with MSP and Gen~ is required (i.e. previously completing the Getting Confident with Gen~ course).

What you'll learn

  • Workshop 1: Understanding Digital Filters Usage in Physical Modeling
  • Workshop 1: Understanding Exciter-Resonator Paradigm
  • Workshop 1: Building A Karplus Strong Synthesizer
  • Workshop 1: Building a simple Waveguide Model
  • Workshop 2: Understanding Scattering Junctions
  • Workshop 2: Building a Waveguide Ladder Structure
  • Workshop 2: Building a Vocal Tract Model
  • Workshop 2: How to Implement Multi-Dimensional Waveguide Networks

Who is this course for?

  • Sound designers looking to explore physical modeling synthesis
  • Creative technologists looking to expand their skills in synthesis

Course content

  • Waveguide Patches
  • Waveguides 1. Filter Design Basics
  • Waveguides 2. FIR & IIR
  • Waveguides 3. Comb Filters
  • Waveguides 4. Physical Modelling
  • Waveguides 5. Karplus-Strong
  • Waveguides 6. Waveguides Basics and the Lossless and Damped Plucked String Model
  • Waveguides 7. More Filters (Tuning, Damping, Dispersion)
  • Waveguides 8. Slide Flute Model
  • Waveguides 9. Vocal Tract Model


  • Computer and internet connection
  • Access to a copy of Max 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

Course schedule

Meet your instructor

Massimiliano Cerioni is a Berlin & Rome based AV composer, performer, sound designer and engineer. He is the founder of the independent audio software project Culto, which has released its first M4L device Simbiosi in 2021. He uses coding, augmented instruments and electronics to create compositions, performances and installations.

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