Synth DB

The Ultimate Synthesizer Database


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Sequential Circuits | Max


The Max's strength lies in multitimbrality: 6 voices, 6 oscillators and even 6 VCF's! However this synth has too many limitations on basic needs: cheap construction and parts; editing requires an external software editor and a Commodore 64 (or Macintosh, see Patch Files below); there are no real-time performance controls - not even pitch bend or modulation wheels; too many presets (80) but far too few user patches (20). The preset sounds consist of basic organ, string and brass type sounds, but exploring this analog synth can lead to some cool sounds. The VCF, VCA and VCO sections all have separate ADSR envelope generators. The LFO can control the VCO, VCF or VCA. A nice touch are the two separate on-board sequencers - sort of a Sequential tradition.

For those of you who want to edit the sounds on the Max, you will need Sequential's Model 920 software and an ancient Commodore 64 computer or you can use Mark of the Unicorn's Unisy nsoftware editor for Mac/PC (You can even use modern MIDI controllers). This is the only means of editing sounds, without which you are stuck with the 80 presets and whatever may be in the 20 user patches. The sequencing specs are dramatically enhanced by the Model 920 software as well, boosting the note capacity from 500 notes to 3400. Since it was originally planned to be used with a C64 computer the Max lacks in non volatile memory but everything can be backed up over MIDI and restored when needed. Strongly consider the Multi-Track or even the Six-Track before diving into the Max because it simply does not compare with the programmability and ease of use as even its closest relatives.

BrandSequential Circuits
Engine TypeAnalog
Voices (max)6
LFO1 LFO with Triangle & square waveforms. Controls VCO pitch, VCF, or VCA envelope
Engine Detailed6 VCO's, 1 per voice (saw, triangle, pulse waveforms)
Filter (VCF)6 24dB/oct lowpass VCF's (one per voice)
Envelope (VCA)3 ADSR
Memory20 User patches, 80 presets
SequencerTwo 6-track real-time sequencers (records up to 500 notes total and 2 songs)
Key typeKeys
Extra infoNeed Sequential's Model 920 software for programming and sequencer boost
Produced:1984 - 1984
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.


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