jk.softstep, version 3, software for interacting with SoftStep in Max/MSP, updated for 2021

I am pleased to share with you a major rewrite of my jk.softstep, a set of abstractions made with standard Max objects for interacting with Keith McMillen Instrument’s SoftStep within Cycling ’74’s Max/MSP programming environment.

Version 3 offers many new features and is now available in the Package Manager (Open Max, then File-> Show Package Manager->filter for softstep) or free from this website. The changes introduced make this incompatible with previous versions of jk.softstep, but I think users will enjoy the new features. One thing that is the same: with this package installed you will no longer need the KMI SoftStep editor as you can access and change features directly in Max.

After you have installed the jk.softstep Package, there is an overview patch in the Max Extras menu (Extras-> jk.softstep examples->1-jk.softstep – overview), as well as illustrative help files for each abstraction. I recommend you spend some time in the overview patch in the examples, it is fairly thorough.

  • New features include:
    1. Attribute-style arguments – no longer a need to memorize what each argument does
    2. LED control now is in the main abstraction, additional abstraction no longer needed
    3. Sensitivity – changes the way pressure is scaled on the individual pads. Lower numbers make it feel very sensitive, larger numbers less. Sensitivity also available as an initial argument (@sens) in jk.stepcore.
    4. Smoothing – you can add data smoothing to prevent jumps in pressure…and if you dial it way up or way down there are some very creative options for control. Is also available as an initial argument (@smooth) in jk.stepcore.
    5. Toggle backlight on and off without re-initializing jk.stepcore. Is also available as an initial argument (@el) in jk.stepcore.
    6. Reverse polarity of expression pedal input. Is also available as an initial argument (@pedpol) in jk.stepcore.
    7. LED arguments – you now have 20, and you can add more for larger menus and other needs. They are now attribute-style arguments: @0, @1, are followed by the descriptions r (for red), g (for green), gs for green flashing slow), rf (for red flashing fast), off (for off), et cetera.
    8. MIDI device selection works better with Windows
    9. Special outlets were added for NAV to be used with multisliders, xy, and dials
    10. The handling of multisliders, xy, and dials were made consistent between pads 0-9 and the NAV pad
    11. Helpfiles and Example patches improved
    12. Some ridiculous redundancies in the patch were de-redundified

It has only been tested with Keith McMillen Instrument’s SoftStep 2 in Cycling ’74’s Max 8. I would love to hear from people who have tried it with older versions.

Also, if you like this package, check out my jk.push (for Ableton’s Push) and jk.lpx (for Novation’s Launchpad X), both available in the Package Manager in Cycling ’74’s Max.

If you have any questions, please contact me at https://www.jeffkaiser.com/contact/. These and other packages, patches, and Max for Live plugins can be downloaded from https://www.jeffkaiser.com/max/.