MaxforLive Time Randomizer


(2 customer reviews)

Factoid is a Max For Live device that allows you to create endless rhythmical variations of audio clips. It uses machine learning to decompose a sound into a set of layers that are randomly shifted in time to change the temporal structure of the clip. Create new drum patterns on-the-fly, turn melodies into textures, randomize full mixes and experiment with any kind of sound!

Developer: JJ Burred
Compatibility: Ableton Live 9.7.5 | Live 10+
OS: Mac & Windows
Min. Requirements: MaxforLive 7 or 8 are Essential to use with Ableton Live

– How does Factoid work?

Factoid is based on a modified version of an algorithm called Non-Negative Matrix Factorization (NMF). Simply put, NMF can automatically extract interesting patterns from data. It has been used in fields such as computer vision and movie recommendations. I had to heavily adapt and tweak it in order to meet the real-time needs of music production.

– Can you obtain the same kind of time randomizations with Factorsynth?

No. Although both Factoid and Factorsynth share the same decomposition engine, they handle the obtained components in quite different ways. Factorsynth’s key idea is the decoupling of each component into temporal and spectral shapes, whereas Factoid does not perform this decoupling and leaves each component as a waveform. On the other hand, Factoid is able to displace the components in time, while Factorsynth can’t.


Factoid is a Max For Live device by J.J. Burred that allows you to create endless rhythmical variations of audio clips. It uses machine learning to decompose a sound into up to 8 layers. Those layers can then be randomly shifted in time to change the rhythmical structure of the clip.

Factoid is not a loop slicing device: based on the same machine learning decomposition engine than Factorsynth (matrix factorization), it is often able to extract components that overlap in time in the original sample. For example, in a drum loop, it can often separate snare from kick even if they play at the same time in the original clip.

When a clip is loaded into Factoid, it is analyzed using matrix factorization. This produces a set of waveforms (the layers or elements) that are displayed superposed, each one with a different color. Each of the waveform layers can individually be shifted in time (left or right) by clicking on the “randomize” button. The interface allows to choose the number of desired components for factorization, and to control the time randomization in terms of quantization and frequency contents.

Factoid is a lightweight and easy-to-use device intended for live performance: you can sync its output with the Live set’s tempo, and adjust the clip’s pitch, just as with regular clips on session view.

2 reviews for Factoid

  1. lautopoiesis (verified owner)

    the idea is nice, but the spectral artefacts make the sound way too muddy..also the praised machine learning could be smarter, cause the shifted time layer don’t come up with musical useful results..

    • Darren E Cowley (Admin)

      Thanks for using Factoid, and sorry for the issues you’re experiencing. The artefacts are inherent to the decomposition into layers (they are leftovers from the other layers), and reducing them is an active research topic in matrix factorization. If we find a robust method to reduce those artefacts, it will be incorporated into future versions.

      Also, please note that the machine learning part is only responsible for the decomposition into layers, it does not decide on the time shifts, which are completely random. In other words, there is no rhythmic modeling or generation in Factoid, just quantized randomisation.

      Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you need support!

  2. Benjamin

    I especially like it for drums or soundscapes! It is also interesting for melodic content, but it sometimes takes a bit longer until you find something useful.

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J.J. Burred is an independent researcher, software developer and musician based in Paris. With a background in machine learning and signal processing, his work aims at developing innovative tools for music and sound creation, analysis and search. After earning a PhD from the Technical University of Berlin, he worked as a researcher at IRCAM and Audionamix, on topics such as source separation, automatic music analysis, sound classification, content-based search and sound synthesis. His current main activity concerns the exploration of machine learning techniques for new methods of sound analysis/synthesis aimed at musical creation. LINKS: WEBSITE – FACEBOOKYOUTUBESOUNDCLOUD  

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Factoid User Manual

v1.0 – 28/12/2019

– Initial release

Our Products are generally provided as Zip file downloads which in all cases will need to be extracted and saved to your hard drive prior to installation. Details on the different file type provided and what to do with them are below.

.alp Files – These are Ableton Live Packs and will install directly into the Packs Section of the browser of Ableton Live. When you double click on them you will see a pop up window asking you to confirm that installation is ok as the files are described as “Legacy”. This is fine and you are ok to proceed, the packs are created using the format for an earlier version of Live and so remain compatible with the current version.

.amxd files – These are individual MaxforLive Devices and can be stored anywhere on your hard drive. We’d advise creating a folder for them and then adding that folder as a location within the Places section of Lives Browser.

Control Surface Scripts – Please refer to the individual User Guides provided with your download, an abridged version of the installation will be shown further down this page.

ClyphX Pro – Please refer directly to the manual and installation video for this specific product.

Novation Circuit Packs – These are provided as individual Sysex Files and as a complete bank file. All are to be installed using a version of the Circuit Editor and not via Novations Components back up utility.

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