Cycling 74 announces Max 5

David Zicarelli has posted a preview of Max 5 on It looks like a significant upgrade in terms of the user interface and usability of the program. I’m looking forward to finding out more as the release date (sometime in the first quarter of 2008) nears. Thanks to Create Digital Music for drawing my attention to this announcement.

Some features that I find interesting:

Looking forward to usability improvements such as selecting a message for an object and having that message in a box connected to the object automatically. Everyone who uses Max is constantly exhuming help patches and then turning them into frankenstein monsters partly because the message boxes with appropriate messages are already in the help file.

New timing capabilities. Yeah…bring it on.

Multiple undo.

New debugging tools. Current trace is too unwieldy for large patches–and that’s when you need debugging the most.

New, readable file format and Unicode support.

Vst~ provides host sync to plug-ins: I used to wonder what the fuss was all about since Max already has timing and sequencing capabilities. But I’ve found myself wanting to use vsts that require synch more often recently, especially in my work for banjo + electronics (usually pulse-based since it’s often anchored by a traditional fiddle tune or employs traditional clawhammer techniques). Here’s hoping the sync is via a message to the vst~ object so I can sync one vst at 8 beats to the bar and one at 9!

Glad to see better previewing of media incorporated. Always seemed strange to me that out in OS X land I could get a shiny preview but not in Max. (Now if only Audiofinder would speed up it’s waveform/preview performance…)

Some features that I remain skeptical about:

Presentation Mode sounds like a fancier “hide on lock” feature. Will it really be useful?

Not enough information re: changes to preset objects. The ability to edit pattrstorage window data sounds good, but I’m not sure it’s enough to make this set of objects truly friendly.

Finally, I won’t miss the objects that are being laid to rest:

timeline, env, envi, editing window in detonate. RIP.