Machine Learning in Ableton Live


(4 customer reviews)

Factorsynth is a new kind of musical tool. It uses machine learning techniques to decompose any input sound into a set of temporal and spectral elements.

By rearranging and modifying these elements you can do powerful transformations to your clips, such as removing notes or motifs, creating new ones, randomizing melodies or timbres, changing rhythmic patterns, remixing loops in real time, creating complex sound textures…

Developer: JJ Burred
Compatibility: Ableton Live 9.7.5 | Live 10+
OS: Mac & Windows
Min. Requirements: MaxforLive 7 is Essential

Q, Can Factorsynth’s parameters be controlled by Live’s automation envelopes or MIDI mappings?

A, Most of them can (element levels, operation buttons, solo buttons, factorize buttons, main mixer levels and mutes). The ones that cannot be controlled by Live are: number of components, individual buttons on the switchboards, analysis parameters and reset buttons.

Q, How does Factorsynth work?

A, Factorsynth 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. It had to be heavily adapted and tweaked in order to meet the real-time needs of music production.

Q, Can Factorsynth remove a full voice/instrument from a mix?

A, That’s unlikely, unless your voice or instrument plays only a few sustained notes, with no effects and no vibrato. Factorsynth can extract interesting sound events, such as individual notes, attack noises, impulses or rhythmical structures (watch the demo video to get an idea), but it’s not aimed at separating full instruments. That’s the job of source separation, which is a harder thing to do! On the other hand, Factorsynth can often nicely separate drum sets and individual drum instruments (kick drums, hi-hats, snares…).



Factorsynth is a Max For Live device created by J.J. Burred that uses machine learning to decompose sounds into sets of elements. Once these elements have been obtained, you can modify and rearrange them to remix existing clips, remove notes, randomize patterns, and create complex textures with only a few clicks.

Unlike traditional audio effect devices, which take the track’s audio input and generate output in real time, Factorsynth is a clip-based device. It works on audio clips from your Live set that you have selected and loaded into Factorsynth. Once an audio clip has been selected and loaded into Factorsynth, it can then be decomposed into elements. The decomposition process is called factorization, because it is based on a technique called matrix factorization.

Factorization usually takes a few seconds, and can be performed while the Live set is playing. Once the factorization is ready, you can modify your sound in real time by modifying or recombining the extracted elements.

Since it is a clip-based device, Factorsynth will only affect the clip that is currently loaded into the device, even if the track contains other clips. Also, since the device takes its input audio from the loaded clip, it must always be in the leftmost position of an audio effects chain: it will ignore any processing happening before it on the effects chain (you can of course process its output with any other audio device).

The clip that you first load into Factorsynth becomes the master sound. The position of the master sound in the Live Set determines the time in which Factorsynth will be outputting sound. In other words: Factorsynth will be playing whenever the original, unprocessed clip would play (both in Session and Arrangement views).

You can optionally load a second sound, called the x-syn sound (for “cross-synthesis”). This sound is used to add new elements to the palette for sound creation. Still, Factorsynth’s playback position is always determined by the master sound.

4 reviews for Factorsynth

  1. Jamie (verified owner)

    A super Max tool that is different and spectacular. You can break a sound loop into multiple granular parts and rearrange it in almost infinite combinations. You could get lost for days. Top notch work. I highly recommend it for music and sound design. It’s a secret weapon for creativity!

  2. duneglow

    Amazing device. Looking very much forward to it’s future. Would love it if extracted elements could be made to have their own individual mixer channels, so they could be processed independently.

  3. Kieron Johnson (verified owner)

    Factorsynth is absolutely essential. There is NOTHING else like this out there, and for that it’s worth its weight in gold to anyone looking for unheard sounds. It’s still surprising me after a month of heavy use. I can’t think of the last time a piece of software had me this excited.

  4. Salvador España Ramirez (verified owner)

    Top M4Live device. Worth every euro spent. Thanks to J.J. Burred an Isotonik Studios for this jewel.

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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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FactorSynth USER GUIDE

v1.5 – 2/5/2019

– Using the device from Max is now supported
– Multiple device instances are now supported
– Bugfix: keep saved switchboard connections after loading set with warped clips

v1.4 – 28/2/2019

– Manual MIDI assignment of the first 8×8 switchboard buttons.
– Automatic mapping of the switchboard for Launchpad and Push surface controllers.
– Allow to resize main interface window.
– Bugfix: correct instant launching of clips shorter than one beat.
– Prevent drag&drop to input and output waveforms.

v1.3 – 8/11/2018

– Added clear buttons.

– Avoid saving temporal and spectral elements to undo history (won’t be saved to presets).

– Bugfix in session view looping : was missing loop restart during heavy computations.

– Clear output waveform when changing tempo.

v1.1 – 27/8/2018

– Solved several looping problems in session view.

– Bugfix in element drawing when loading from preset or saved live set.

– Use fs_out.wav as default file name when bouncing to file.

– Bugfix: unwarped but transposed clips were not being recorded.

v1.0 – 10/7/2018

– 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.


“Quite magical.” – ASK AUDIO

“A powerful instrument for breaking down audio loops in to timbral and spectral elements that can be remixed and exported in astoundingly cool ways.” – THE PRO AUDIO FILES


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