Exercise 5: Sound File Players, Envelopes, and Delays

Learn how to use a basic sound file player in Max and design your own delay effect from scratch.


We’re learning how to...

  • use a sound file player object,
  • design a basic delay effect with feedback and smoothly changing delay time, and
  • create a stereo delay effect by providing a separate delay line for each channel.

How to Do This Exercise

Working on the assignment is a three-stage process: studying the tutorial patches, watching some short instructional videos, and making a patch that sends a sound file into a stereo delay effect.

  1. Download Exercise 5 Max Tips. This folder of Max patches shows you how to play audio files and implement a delay effect with feedback.
  2. Watch the following videos, in the order listed. You could go through the tutorial patches carefully instead, but the videos will probably get you closer to understanding a solution for this assignment. Use either way: tutorial patches or videos. Or better yet, use both!

    Feel free to watch the videos at whatever playback speed works for you.

    1. Playing Sound Files
    2. Making Smooth Audio Ramps
    3. Basic Delay Concepts
    4. Building a Simple Delay Effect in Max
    5. Adding Feedback to Your Delay
    6. Making a Stereo Delay
  3. Make a patch that creates a delay effect with feedback. Use a sound file player to test it. Encapsulate your delay effect, as shown in the last video above. Duplicate the encapsulated delay, so as to create a stereo delay effect, with different delay times for the two channels. Save some delay parameters in presets.

    To summarize, your patch should have

    • a sound file player, which feeds
    • two delay effects in parallel, which connect to
    • the two channels of a live.gain~ and ezdac~.

    It would also be nice to have the ability to adjust the wet/dry mix for the delays. You could add another live.gain~ for the signal coming directly out of the sound file player — this would be the dry signal — and connect both faders to the ezdac~. For a better solution, the last video above shows how to build the wet/dry mix control into your delay effect.

Be sure you understand what each of these Max objects does:

  • playlist~
  • phasor~
  • line~
  • tapin~, tapout~


  • Be sure you satisfied the criteria listed above.
  • Submit your Max patch in Canvas.

Grading Criteria

This exercise is graded pass/fail. You must submit the exercise by Thursday midnight to be eligible for a pass.

Your patch must

  • operate correctly and
  • implement the functionality described in the “How To Do This Exercise” section above.