Cycling ’74 have updated Max 5’s pricing and streamlined a bit in the new release. (That means Max for MIDI and basic data crunching, MSP for audio, synthesis, and signal processing, and Jitter for video, 3D, and advanced data processing.) Since this impacts a number of our readers, it’s worth going over this.

Updated: The story now reflects a clarification from Cycling ’74 over which Jitter objects work in Max/MSP.

New academic pricing:

  • US$250 per student
  • US$59 for a 9-month authorization
  • US$109.45 for a permanent upgrade from Max/MSP 4

Student discounts

See also education and teacher discounts; 1-4 licenses for either K-12/higher ed faculty or your institution are now US$475.20 for the full Max/MSP/Jitter

Academic pricing is now only for Max + MSP + Jitter — none of the tiered pricing from before for just Max/MSP, etc. And if you bought after October 1, the new version is free. Plus, if you own an academic license that didn’t include Jitter, you get it now with your upgrade.

I recommended the 9-month license for my students ($39 of it gets subtracted from your final order) when I was teaching Max at Brooklyn College, and people were really happy with it.

New full pricing

  • US$699 for the full Max 5
  • US$495 for Max/MSP + a limited, unsupported set of Jitter objects (see below)
  • US$199 upgrade

Pricing details and Max 5 overview

Note that Max 5 at this time doesn’t yet include the ability to export patches as plug-ins via Pluggo. ReWire, etc., still work, but if your main application for Max is building plug-ins for other hosts, you may want to hold off.

This came up in comments, so I’ll say it again — we’re not covering Max because I think it’s the only alternative. On the contrary, Reaktor and Pd are also each cross-platform patching environments with their own unique strengths, to say nothing of other synth environments (ChucK, Csound, SuperCollider). Each of those can work in academic settings, as well. But there’s no question Max 5 is big news on this scene, a major update to the tool that first popularized visual patching as music software

How much Jitter do you get in Max/MSP?

Cycling ’74 revised their site; while Max/MSP does now include a limited set of Jitter objects, they’re officially unsupported if you haven’t bought Jitter. In other words, you can use them — and this means developers working on patches can share those patches with people who don’t have Jitter within the limited subset — you just don’t get support from C74. I think if you want to use Jitter objects, you should just buy Jitter, but this is still good to know (particularly for teaching environments, I might add). Here’s the list:


… Note this doesn’t include the important networking objects, so it’s just FYI.

  • I imported a MIDI only Max 4 patcher – no problems. Same for a complex synth using poly~ and subpatches.

    It’s great to be able to select objects for to appear in Presentation (front Panel) mode.

    However, another audio processing patch – with nothing complicated – crashes every time . . .

    More investigation needed . . .


  • It's those darn rounded corners making it crash isn't it.

  • Don't forget about <a>Plogue Bidule. I use it for playing keys live.

  • 4lefts

    whoa… so for the equivalent of £55 i get max5 and jitter, even though i didn't have jitter before? or is that just wishful thinking? if that's right, that's a proper good deal. i may need to replace my 1.33ghz G4 ibook…

  • @4lefts: I believe that's correct, yes.

  • David Zicarelli

    Just to clarify, the retail price of the Max 5 upgrade for people who do not own Jitter is $199, but you do not get a Jitter authorization for that price. If you want Jitter but do not currently own Jitter 1.5, the upgrade price is $299. This is a special deal because we really want everyone to own Jitter. If you don't take advantage of the $299 deal now, it's a lot more expensive to buy Jitter on its own later. Of course if you're in the UK, you could bet on the dollar being worth even less in the future and it will probably work out for you.

  • I love Cycling '74 about as much as i love Pocky. Which is a lot. The same amount i love CDM give or take. Which makes for a great little relationship… if only you both involved Pocky somehow. Let's workshop this please 🙂

    PS: Awesome news!

  • Mark

    I was wondering how I could upgrade as I use the 9-month-student-version and that one didn't come with a serial but with challenge/response codes…

  • Sizzurp Sippa

    I would purchase Max/MSP for $200-$250, just to play with once in a while, even if I don't plan to make it a cornerstone of my setup. For $700, I am just not interested. It seems to me there are a lot of folks like me.

    $700 just doesn't seem like the optimal pricing for their product.

  • Andrew Benson

    @Mark, You should be receiving an email soon with upgrade instructions. Same goes for anyone eligible for a free upgrade.

  • @ Sizzurp Sippa:

    I think Cycling's sales model somewhat covers the folks who just want to play with it a bit by offering a free 30-day, fully functional demo period. It's a programming environment, so it's not really something you can get much gratification or solid experience out of by using it so infrequently. 30 days is a great amount of time to try it, see if you like it, potentially get hooked on it and go on learning endlessly. Plus, while the entry point might seem high, upgrades are not. Cycling are *very* good about free incremental releases.

    I've been Maxing for years. For myself, I'd happily pay twice the asking price now I know what I can do with it.

    @ Dave Dri:

    Tried the Green Tea Chocolate striped Pocky? Something about it seems very Max 5 to me. They're both delicious.

  • O.

    I hoped maybe I could still buy Max and skip the audio&video processing. I just want the MIDI goodness.

  • @Niall: You still can get just Max, only not via the academic discount. But I don't think you'd want to do that anyway. There are some really brilliant things you can do, even with Jitter, that are unrelated to video. Check out the examples folder and docs. If you love MIDI goodness, you'll love it even more with, say, 3D interfaces, or matrix processing, etc. There are very simple applications, too, like using Jitter's network objects to do sync your MIDI patches over a network, etc. So I don't think there's any reason you wouldn't want those extra objects.

  • Hullo, Peter,

    Thanks for that. That wasn't apparent in C74's pricing summary, but you can see it on the netsuite site.

    I appreciate the upsell, but my needs are fairly simple and specific. I need a grokkable tool to realise those relatively basic ideas, not a lifestyle 😉

    I'll read the docs for the additional bits all the same, though. Cheers.

  • It's not an upsell … I still think it would make more sense to just call the whole package Max, honestly. It's a little hard to describe how these fit together, but because of the way Max's architecture is put together. If you have fairly simple MIDI needs, I would actually look elsewhere first, depending on what you're trying to do. For basic MIDI utilities, I tend to look to more specialized tools.

  • AFAIK, there are no specialized software that provide what I need – mostly step sequencers and MIDI clock dividers with some rules and event processing. There's PD, Bidule, etc, but I have some hope for Max 5, because it looks considerably more accessible for the Rest of Us. Anyway, I don't mean to turn this into the Niall Hour, sorry.

  • s,there are,there is,g

  • eric

    Don't forget USINE.  Poor man's max…. gives you a presentation layer, unlike bidule, and the math and routing tools are a lot easier to understand than bidule's.