Sequential Circuits Max

Sequential Circuits Max Image

The Max's strength lies in multitimbrality: 6 voices, 6 oscillators and even 6 VCF's! However this synth has too many limitations on basic needs: cheap construction and parts; editing requires an external software editor and a Commodore 64 (or Macintosh, see Patch Files below); there are no real-time performance controls - not even pitch bend or modulation wheels; too many presets (80) but far too few user patches (20). The preset sounds consist of basic organ, string and brass type sounds, but exploring this analog synth can lead to some cool sounds. The VCF, VCA and VCO sections all have separate ADSR envelope generators. The LFO can control the VCO, VCF or VCA. A nice touch are the two separate on-board sequencers - sort of a Sequential tradition.

Sequential Circuits Max Image

For those of you who want to edit the sounds on the Max, you will need Sequential's Model 920 software and an ancient Commodore 64 computer or you can use Mark of the Unicorn's Unisyn software editor for Mac/PC (You can even use modern MIDI controllers like the Oxygen-8). This is the only means of editing sounds, without which you are stuck with the 80 presets and whatever may be in the 20 user patches. The sequencing specs are dramatically enhanced by the Model 920 software as well, boosting the note capacity from 500 notes to 3400. Strongly consider the Multi-Track or even the Six-Track before diving into the Max because it simply does not compare with the programmability and ease of use as even its closest relatives. It is used by Cirrus and Richard Barbieri.

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19 Visitor comments
Robert Silent
September 11, 2009 @ 8:04 pm
There's an error in this. The memory is volatile so if you turn off the power, those 20 user presets get erased so you're essentially stuck with those 80 factory presets. There's a nice piece of software that took me a year to find that makes editing patches on a PC super easy.
Just search for "Free patch editor software for the Six-Trak and MAX".
Mark
July 13, 2009 @ 12:17 pm
Oh yeah! my mom got this synth at a garage sale for $25, with the power adapter, and the brassy, bright sounds were pretty sweet. SOO retro! I would have been soo much happier I could program waveforms however. But the Sequencer is pretty tight. I don't think i have the manual, and i have no synthesizer experience, but with some trial and error, i was able to make a decent 6 track multi-sound recording.

But, each track counts as one of the poly-phonies, so you can write 6 monophonic tracks with different voices, or a track with 3 sound polyphonies and 3 extra monophonic tracks.

pretty decent.
Jagular
April 29, 2009 @ 6:16 am
My oh my, what a wonderful looking synth.
As long as it sounds right, well, what else can I say?
syn
December 24, 2008 @ 9:38 pm
Hey, don't knock the Max! You could buy it as a very cheap entry-level machine ($600 compared to $1300 for the Six-Trak!), but it was meant for people who already had a MultiTrack or Prophet who wanted to slave 6 more voices to their rig. Also, the Commodore 64 was ubiquitous in those days and very cheap, too!
 
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 6 VCO's (saw, triangle, pulse waveforms)
  • Memory - 20 User patches, 80 presets
  • Filter - 6 24dB/oct lowpass VCF's (one per voice)
  • LFO - 1 LFO with Triangle & square waveforms. Controls VCO pitch, VCF, or VCA envelope
  • Keyboard - 49 Keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - Two 6-track real-time sequencers (records up to 500 notes total and 2 songs)
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1984
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