Cycling ’74 Releases Max 8

Today, Cycling ’74 released version 8 of its Max interactive programming environment. The new version combines innovations and refinements with significant performance improvements.

Max 8 enables the user to experience “a whole new level” of sonic exploration with the introduction of MC, adds optimizations and improvements for better performance, simplifies MIDI and keyboard control of the user’s patches with Mappings, enables faster building of visuals with a completely redesigned Vizzie 2, opens up patching to the Javascript Node.js world with Node for Max, provides a more fluid and optimized patching workflow, and gives access to a powerful new search engine that searches “the whole Max universe.”

Highlights of Max 8 include:

  • MC, a brand-new system of multichannel audio programming that unlocks “immense sonic complexity” with simple patching
  • Node for Max, bringing together the worlds of Max real-time visual programming and Node.js web programming
  • Vizzie 2, a collection of high-level modules for creating interactive visuals now powered by OpenGL
  • Performance speedups
  • A DAW-inspired Mappings (MIDI learn) workflow for attaching hardware control to any
    user interface element

Cycling ’74 CEO David Zicarelli explains: “Max turned 30 this year, and Cycling ’74 turned 20. With every new version of the software, we seek to respect this long and unique trajectory while exploring new ways to amplify your imagination through patching.”

In the coming months, Max 8 will become the basis of Max for Live, placing the vast creative potential of the latest Max environment directly inside Ableton Live. This integration is a product of the decade-long cooperative partnership between Ableton and Cycling ‘74.

Pricing and Availability

Max 8 is available for download now from There is a fully functional, free 30-day trial version for new users. The retail price is $399 US, and the upgrade price for existing users is $149. Academic discounts are available, as well as retail subscriptions for limited-time use. Purchases can be made inside the Max 8 application, on the webshop, or from selected resellers.

More information is available on the Cycling ’74 website.

7 thoughts on “Cycling ’74 Releases Max 8

  1. They’re both flow-based programming environments, meaning you click and drag nodes around and connect them with patch cords.

    Reaktor’s main strength is in creating incredibly unique and powerful soft-synths for the native-instruments environment. If you’re 100% focused on great sounding synths, you’ll be making a good choice.

    Max’s main strength is it’s “connect everything” approach. It combines audio, visual, and data manipulation programming together so you can create not just soft-synths, but music visualizers, VJ software, or interfaces that connect to hardware.

    Also, Max has become very tightly integrated with ableton, so you have all this programming interface connected to ableton’s sequencing and clip launching capabilities. Max can also script ableton’s UI.

    Maschine I believe has similar integration, but I’m not as familiar with reaktor -> maschine integration.

    Reaktor is to Maschine as Max is to Ableton (sort of)

  2. Thanks for those answers. I’ve been curious also about the ability to program MIDI step sequencers with advanced rhythm abilities, and also to use 14-bit NRPN sources.

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