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
September 25, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

The onboard patch saving/copying was something i really pushed for, it now allows patch creation & saving using nothing more than a midi cc controller. The previous implementation was a huge PINA.

With the upgrade, it really puts the Max in a new league...
September 25, 2013 @ 4:36 pm
I worked with Bob Grieb to design the new firmware upgrade. Basically, everything that po'd me about the max was rolled into an upgrade without going overboard. Some of the choices have made a huge difference including;

-Doubling the onboard midi receive buffer (which allows for a larger increase of simultaneous realtime cc control)

-Fixed a major bug with velocity over midi when receiving cc's.
September 24, 2013 @ 10:38 am
This is a horrible description. this is basically a smaller SCI 6 trak that has good midi implementation ( Kiwitechnics patch editor anyone? ). The other issues such as with patch saving are now fixable: upgrade/
May 24, 2013 @ 8:51 pm
Does anybody know if it's possible to hook the Sequential Circuits Max up to a modern PC, & then edit it using a Commodore 64 "Emulator"?
Defective Nation
May 19, 2013 @ 12:00 am
Thanks greggyclypse, it's a great synth when used with the Novation Remote Zero SL.

Virtually able to access everything from the SL without using a 2nd page, sliders for the envelopes, pots and switches for the other parameters. It's great fun tweaking as you play and all of your tweaks can be recorded in your DAW. You can get great sounds from scratch & then export them to your computer to recall later.

Get one of these cheap & buy a used remote zero mark one cheap too. The parameter's names appear in two strips across the top of the SL so you always know what you are about to tweak.
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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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