Max 6 Coming In The Fall – Will Focus On Accessibility, Performance, Quality And Workflow

Cycling ’74 has announced Max 6. The update, due this fall, focuses on accessibility, performance, quality and workflow.

Here are some of the highlights:

Accessibility:

  • The retail price of Max/MSP/Jitter has been lowered to $399. If you purchase Max 5, you’ll get an upgrade to Max 6 for free.
  • Cycling ’74 is introducing a subscription plan for universities that will make it possible for academic customers to serve to more students at a lower cost.

Performance:

  • Code generation technology will be available as an inexpensive add-on to Max 6. It focuses on areas where traditional patching has not been able to deliver the combination of performance and programmability needed, namely DSP and GPU programming.
  • In the DSP realm, the new gen~ object is a new domain of low-level signal processing operators that let you build recursive filters, delays, spectral processors, and sound generators, all using 64-bit floating-point internal precision.The performance gains over equivalent Max patches are stunning. Where you could actually implement the same algorithm with MSP objects, a gen~ version will be up to 15 times faster.
  • Now you’ll be able to create high-performance image processing algorithms graphically, and Max’x code generation technology will write the shader program for you. But the power of code generation extends beyond processing images — you can also use it to generate materials for shading interactive 3-D objects. In this application, the code generation technology is automatic — you just specify the parameters of the materials and we generate the shader program.
  • Other areas of improvement include Javascript, where Cycling has integrated the latest Mozilla runtime engine for significant performance gains. They’ve also exposed an efficient 2D graphics API in Javascript that can be used to port existing HTML5 Canvas code to Max. Max now runs the audio of every top-level patcher in its own thread for effortless multicore processing.

Quality

  • Max 6 includes audio quality improvements. The cycle~ object now uses a 16K wavetable for far better signal-to-noise performance. You’ll be able to use any sampling rate you wish, thanks to high-quality resampling filters. And, to eliminate errors with large numbers, long envelopes, and recursive algorithms, MSP processes all audio with 64-bit precision. Older 32-bit third-party objects are still compatible however.
  • Max 6 also focuses on quality of experience using the software. You’ll see more clarity and refinement in the interface, such as curved patch cords, which make an unexpectedly dramatic improvement in understanding how a patch works.

Workflow:

  • Cycling ’74 observed and interviewed users, from those who’ve never seen the software before to those who’ve been using it for decades. On the basis of these studies, they identified areas for improving patching workflow and usability, and you’ll see the results in Max 6.
  • The act of making a new object has been dramatically enhanced, with access to documentation at every step of the process. It begins with the object box, which now offers you a way to make objects even if you can’t remember their names. Then there’s the message box, which tells you about the messages understood by nearby objects as you begin typing. Arguments and attributes of objects and messages are also displayed as you type.
  • A new object called attrui integrates attribute monitoring and editing, eliminating the need for a lot of patching. Attrui knows the best way to edit any object attribute. For example, if you want to change a color, attrui lets you edit it as a color, not four numbers.
  • Max 6 has also been reorganized to show the most common information first. Every help file now has a simplified initial presentation of the five or so most basic things you need to know. Advanced features are shown in a tabbed interface grouped by functional area.
  • Max 6 has a new Project feature, where you can see all the patchers, code, and media files you’re using. Projects enable you to maintain multiple versions of files as well as archive and share your work more easily.

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