"This is a never-before-seen effect yielding unlimited sonic exploration": Alexander Panos' Color Transfer bundle has some of the coolest Max for Live devices we've seen all year

"Color Transfer" Max for Live Bundle | Out Now! - YouTube
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One of our favourite things about Ableton Live is its ability to integrate with Max, a visual programming language that tech-savvy music-makers can use to design software tools of their own to run inside the DAW via Max for Live.

The latest innovation to come out of the Max for Live community that's blown our collective minds is from software developer and electronic musician Alexander Panos. 

Color Transfer is a bundle of three Max for Live devices - Timbre Resynth, Cepstral Morph and Formant Shifter - for experimental sound design and creative effects processing, making use of innovative timbral manipulation techniques to produce some truly unique sounds and textures.

Panos' flagship device, Timbre Resynth enables you to "resynthesize" any sound with the timbre of another sound. Take two inputs - a vocal and a synth pad, for instance - and the device will analyze the spectral information of one signal and resynthesize the other using this spectral analysis. The frequencies contained in the vocal will be reconstructed using synthetic oscillators that reflect the timbre of the pad, creating an entirely new sound that shares qualities of both.

It's a complex process, but one that's best grasped by listening to the phenomenal sounds it can produce; watch Panos' tutorial below and the demo video above to get a sense of the device in action. Timbre Resynth is equipped with a variety of controls to fine-tune its output, including a polytuner that will quantize the analyzed frequencies to a set of pitches defined by the user, and an LFO that can be used to modulate the resynthesis in time with your project's tempo.

Cepstral Morph operates along similar lines, fusing the spectral content of two sound sources together by combining the spectral shape and pitch information of both input. The device is equipped with an XY pad to navigate the continuum between the two signals its blending, along controls for intensity, phase blending mode and FFT size. 

Rounding out the trio is Formant Shifter. The most conventional tool of the bunch, it works in a similar fashion to formant-shifting plugins like Soundtoys' Little AlterBoy, but unlike many of its kind, Panos' Formant Shifter is capable of handling complex polyphonic input, meaning you'll be able to formant-shift anything from vocals to guitar chords to an entire track, if you so wish. 

If you think Panos' Max for Live devices are impressive, it's worth checking out his music too - the 2022 album Nascent is an incredible piece of work.

Color Transfer is priced at $99 and will only work with Ableton Live 11.1 and up. To use Max for Live devices, you'll need to own Ableton Live Suite or have purchased the Max for Live add-on for Standard. 

Find out more on Alexander Panos' website.

Tutorial: Timbre Resynth | Color Transfer - YouTube Tutorial: Timbre Resynth | Color Transfer - YouTube
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Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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