I want to write code that gets a signal or audio samples in, manipulates them and they go to the output. I don't want to be messing with all the 'visual programming' fancy crap, unless I am in a hurry.

For instance, I'd like to apply random mathematical operations like sin,cos,tan to the audio signal just to see what happens and play around. Now, I am not asking 'how to apply a tan function to the signal', because I bet there is some non-intuitive way of getting this done. Applying these functions is just an example.

What I'd like is a code window with a signal IN and a signal OUT, allowing me to manipulate it within that code window. Being restricted to preset building blocks - however modular - just is no fun.

If M4L does not allow this, what software does? Surely I am not the first person on earth who thinks about actually writing his own sound manipulation code on-the-fly. I guess I could learn to code VST plugins myself, but then I could not hear the direct results of my code without first compiling and restarting my DAW. Unless I write a plugin that does what I am asking for here.

Anyhow, it's a newbie question (I guess), so bare with me.

1 Answer 1


Max has Gen which allows writing code for more low-level DSP operations.

I'm also going to push for SuperCollider, because it exactly fits your descriptions -- in particular your disdain for visual programming and interest in writing audio algorithms interactively. There's no way to make a VST plugin with it, however, so in your case it could just serve as a prototyping stage.

  • Thanks, that SuperCollider thing looks awesome! FYI, one thing I found that also does a similar thing is ReaJS for Cubase. Allows JavaScript for sound manipulation/creation. The only thing I miss is being able to use it in a synth slot.
    – Tom Arrow
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 17:25

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