Profile PictureNathan Blair

Video to Audio FX

Nathan Blair
2 ratings

Have you ever wondered what reverb looks like on a video signal?

This set of max for live devices converts video to audio and back in real time so you can apply any audio plugin in Ableton to your video signal. This opens up a new realm of possibilities for video processing, and provides an intuitive and visual lens to the processing going on behind the scenes in audio plug-ins.

DISCLAIMER: These devices are not without their quirks and glitches. You may or may not encounter unexpected behavior in the form of scanlines, stutters, and dead pixels.

This product comes with two max for live devices:

NTHN_VISUALIZER: (version 2.0)


  • Read audio signals into video channels

  • Select video channels to map left/right audio to (hue/sat, hue/val, sat/val, monochrome)

  • Variable frames per second (fps). Changing fps will change video resolution

  • Full screen and hovering display modes

  • Read transmitted video from the "NTHN_VIDEO_SENDER v2.0" device

  • Resolution is locked at a 4:3 ratio and is based on two factors: frames per second and audio sample rate. Increasing your hardware sample rate and decreasing fps will increase resolution.

NTHN_VIDEO_SENDER: (version 2.0)


  • Read webcam signal and video signal and output as an audio stream

  • Must be used with a "NTHN_VISUALIZER" instance

  • What video channels are sent into audio depends on what you select in the "NTHN_VISUALIZER" device

  • Video framerate controlled by the "NTHN_VISUALIZER" device

Known Issues and Workarounds:

  • Scanlines, dead pixels, and stutters: In short, Ableton is not meant to send, receive and display synchronous video pixel information. Because of this, you may encounter some strange behavior in the viewer. You might be able to fix this by changing the fps on the viewer or by changing the hardware sample rate or buffer size. Alternatively, you can replace the device with a new instance. If none of that works, try restarting Ableton. Unfortunately, there might be bugs without a work-around. Feel free to reach me @nthnblair on twitter if you have any questions that you can't solve. I'll do my best to provide support and bug fixes.

Important Usage Notes:

  • Only one of each device in a single project file is supported (you always need the visualizer, but the sender is optional)

  • Putting devices with latency in between the sender and the visualizer will cause the received video to be offset (typically by a fixed horizontal amount). Unfortunately I have not found a reliable way to detect this latency and compensate for it using max for live, so I recommend avoiding devices that introduce latency in the signal chain for now.

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Video to Audio FX

2 ratings
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