“Collaboration” I think is the key word in the upcoming, unknown Ableton-Cycling ’74 product. It’s difficult to avoid confusion when talking about a product you can’t talk about, but Cycling ’74 founder David Zicarelli does that today. The highlight for me is this passage on the next version of Max/MSP/Jitter, which is independent from the Ableton announcement (i.e., don’t expect Max 5 to be a Live plug-in or anything like that):

… the thing we are making with Ableton is not going to replace Max/MSP/Jitter. In fact, we are hard at work on a new version of Max (version 5) that will be most significant and dramatic transformation of the software in its twenty-year history. As I said in the Ableton story, we have been strongly influenced by Ableton’s attention to detail in the Live user experience, and I think you will see that influence reflected in Max 5. But, just to make sure you understand, Max 5 is not the project we are doing with Ableton.

Not a whole lot of additional information on the Cycling ’74 – Ableton deal, but he does say it will allow C74 to “include a new group of people who can benefit from what Max has to offer” and “give our old friends access to some powerful new tools and approaches.” He’s actually saying a whole lot there, but I’ll leave you to decode it.

Our Collaboration with Ableton

Hey, I have to relish this; it’s not every day the developers of two of the most important products in my artistic life start working together. Sometimes I actually see more of Max/MSP and Live than I do, like, other human beings. Okay, that’s a little scary. But some people can only say that about Microsoft Office.

  • Adrian Anders

    I hope Max v.5 comes with a revamped gui engine… as that I think is the single greatest weakness of the platform, especially when making pluggo plug-ins.

    Even the high-end Tritone plugs are a little off looking due to its Max/Pluggo roots. I personally have a hard time working long periods with many pluggos because their interfaces aren't as logically organized and structured as their Synthedit or Synthmaker counterparts. A GUI revamp of Max I hope would allow future pluggos and Max standalones to have a look more in step with the GUIs of today's OSs.


  • I'm also hoping for an improved GUI engine / creation toolkit. while it's nice for the advanced programmers to have access to JS and other advanced features, it'd be great for someone like me to be able to put together more appealing interfaces for my patches / pluggos.

  • @Peter – I'm not sure which of us is more excited about this collaboration… I'm willing to call it a draw! 🙂

    @Adrian – There has been much talk on the Max list regarding the coming Max 5 gui, some small percentage of it is even from Cycling staff. I'm under the impression there are amazing things in store for us.

  • Angstrom

    I'm not a max person, I went the SynthMaker way partly because I can export VSTi plugins, partly because every time I look at Max its brute ugliness repels me.

    I know, I know, I'm shallow. But those two things – lack of portability and fugliness really dissuaded me.

    so the statement:

    "We have been strongly influenced by Ableton's attention to detail in the Live user experience, and I think you will see that influence reflected in Max 5"

    made me happy that I may one day be able to approach it without shielding my eyes.

  • Vance Galloway

    I'm pretty thrilled by the collaboration of my two favorite audio software companies, as well. Good to get some little clues about what may/may not be store for users in the next many months. Personally I'm hoping for ways to integrate automation of MAX patches into Live's timeline. Then again, I have no real insight into what the two companies are actaully planning together. I have great faith and respect for the people at both companies, so I have nothing but happy expectations.

  • @Angstrom: You can export VST/VSTi, via the Pluggo library. It should be *more* portable than SynthMaker, because it's better equipped to develop for both platforms.

    Fugliness: no worries. You're not alone. Some of us have a sentimental attachment to the current Max interface, but there's no question it's getting an update in Max 5, and even the most nostalgic Max user can agree that should be a good thing. Aesthetic appearance impacts readability impacts productivity, so it's more than skin deep.

  • Angstrom

    RE: vst export, ah right, I always thought end-users were required to download pluggo which acted as some kind of intermediary max runtime host that sat in a vsti slot. Which would be a massive PITA

    I guess you can export directly as a VSTi with no need for users to visit cycling74 and install extra stuff?

  • Peter-

    Hey, I just talked to a max/msp tech and he mentioned that they were going to also support Audio Units in the very near future. A new easier way of patching together things would be nice to newbies and is long overdue with Max. Being able to go underneath the hood is the most important, at least for me. Also, be on the lookout for new LiSa STEIMs software program in the fall of this year. This has nothing to do with max, but I've used LiSa for 10 years until using max now..

  • Dri

    Ive tried really really really really hard to keep away from Max/MSP. Really hard. When i studied at the Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane i wrote some pretty rubbish music the whole time as i was more lost in Reaktor ensemble programming and the finer points of engineering and theory. Thanks to a friend i got back to writing music with the brilliant Ableton 2.0 becoming the amazing 3.0 becoming the exciting 4.0 becoming the world conquering 5.0…. and now after 6.0 comes this not so cryptic Max/Msp press release….

    Peter is excited.

    Im scared. I actually like living a rather fun social life… i really do…. sigh… oh well…

  • as someone who would hardly touch Max/MSP with a long stick ($500 and i dont even get the source? no thanks..) im excited about this. ive tried building LIVE in PD – thomas grill's excellent xsample library provides most of the necessary functionality on the audio level, but ultimately the lack of dynamism in pd itself (to create and destroy said objects upon patch load, or even mid-playback) placed a serious hurdle. as did the gui – theres a rewrite of the GUI using a fully MVC client/server architecture, but even with that i was looking at writing yet another one – you cant send waveforms over a socket, need shared memory – learning C++ and building a more flexible open source live would have been a lot of work, much of which would be getting better at C/C++. way more than $500 of my time..

  • so bring it on. i heard apple removed the Environment from the new 'logic-not-logic' – maybe we can get an environment that doesnt suck in Live..

  • what does this mean for current max/msp owners? should I finally buy that copy of jitter? will the new product be free for max/msp/jitter users (survey says xxx!?)? love to see these two tighten up some loose ends for inept users like me.

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