Synthesis with Max: Subtractive

Level: Intermediate

What you will learn in this course

Cycling 74’s Max / MSP offers a vast playground of programming opportunities to create your own synthesis devices. In this workshop you will build your own synthesis device that utilizes a subtractive architecture. This workshop aims to provide you with suitable skills to begin exploring subtractive synthesis devices in the Max MSP environment.

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Deploy MSP oscillator objects
  • Build various filter responses via MSP filter objects

  • Construct modulation sources for subtractive synthesis devices

  • Define the sonic timbre and strengths and weakness of subtractive synthesis

Session Study Topics

  • MSP oscillator objects

  • Filter networks & responses

  • LFO & envelope properties

  • Subtractive’s timbre. Strengths and weaknesses


  • A computer and internet connection
  • A good working knowledge of computer systems
  • An basic awareness of audio processing
  • Good familiarity with MSP
  • Access to a copy of Max 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

About the workshop leader

Ned Rush aka Duncan Wilson is a musician, producer and performer. He’s known best for his YouTube channel, which features a rich and vast quantity of videos including tutorials, software development, visual art, sound design, internet comedy, and of course music