An alternative programming utility that lets you design audio, music and media related applications in an appealing an interactive environment
Behind every application that is specially created to ease tasks are found various lines of code that make sure each function of the application runs smooth and without errors. However, programing languages are not something you learn overnight, but there are alternatives. Max is one of them, giving you the possibility to design your own media applications without writing any code at all.
Intuitive design makes it easy to use
If you have at least minimum programming knowledge, running the application unveils an interface completely different from what you would expect. The center area is your workspace, with a side panel being home to elements you can put to good use.
Choose from multiple preset elements
The application puts a breathtaking amount of elements at your disposal, each with its own function. By simply dragging them from the side panel over the workspace you get them ready for processing. Depending on the type of application you want to create, available categories let you easily choose elements you need.
Link elements through connection points
These all come with connection points dedicated to specific tasks, for example, in the case of a button you find input and output signal points. A tooltip displays exactly what can be processed if a certain connection point is used, when hovering the cursor over it.
Music enthusiasts will find this application useful, with the possibility to create your own effects rack. A large variety of audio and MIDI elements are available, in combination with buttons and knobs providing a fully functional audio station.
All things considered, Max is by far a fun and intuitive way to design applications for your needs. The creation process is only limited by your imagination, available elements providing more than enough functions and customization options. What’s more, the rich help manual and tutorials make sure you always stay on track.
- Multicore processor
- 2 GB RAM
- Quicktime recommended for Jitter programming in Windows 32-bit
- OpenGL 1.4 (or later)
- Broadband internet connection for installation
LIMITATIONS IN THE UNREGISTERED VERSION
- 30 days trial period
- Nag screen
- Working with time is easier in Max than traditional programming because you use objects to create visual “timing machines” whose behavior you can see, hear, and modify as they operate.
- Working with interactivity is easier in Max because you can design interfaces visually, and the interfaces are then part of the program itself.
- In Max everything can be connected to everything, because everything speaks numbers. Another way to say this is that modularity is a core design principle of everything in the software.
- MSP Features:
- Building Blocks:
- MSP offers the basic building blocks for synthesis and audio processing: oscillators, filters, delays, and envelopes. You can specify the time values of envelopes and phasors in tempo-relative units. The ability to combine low- and high-level components is one of the unique aspects of working with MSP.
- Sampling, Recording, and Playback:
- MSP provides a group of objects that work together for sampling and sample playback. All use the buffer~ object that manages sample buffers up to four channels.
- MSP supports up to 512 input and output channels. On the Mac, MSP provides support for Core Audio and on Windows, there is ASIO, DirectSound, and MME support.
- User Interface:
- MSP objects for audio signal display include an oscilloscope, spectral display, level meters, waveform display, and a sonogram. You can use faders with internal smoothing, design multi-band filters graphically and edit functions with arbitrary numbers of breakpoints.
- The poly~ object lets you use multiple copies of any patcher you make. It supports output mixing, note allocation and voice stealing, dynamic patch loading and voice allocation, and can run patchers in different threads to support multiple processors.
- If you want to develop your own low-level audio algorithms, Max/MSP provides an ideal platform with its C-based API for new unit generators. Max takes care of file I/O and user interface construction as well. Another option for lower-level development is mxj~, a modular Java-based system for audio development.
- Jitter Features:
- Although the Jitter architecture is general, it is highly optimized for use with video data, and performs with breathtaking speed. A robust set of mathematical operators, keying/compositing, analysis, colorspace conversion and color correction, alpha channel processing, spatial warping, convolution-based filters, and special effects deliver the building blocks for your own custom video treatments.
- 2D/3D Graphics:
- Jitter’s integrated 2D/3D graphics support provides the tools to use hardware accellerated OpenGL graphics together with video, including the ability to texture 3D geometry with video streams in real-time, convert audio and video streams directly into geometry data, and render models, NURBS, 2D/3D text, and other common shapes.
- Ease of Use:
- Jitter is tightly integrated with Cycling ’74’s Max/MSP graphical programming environment which lets you visually connect data processing objects together with patchcords to create custom applications in a similar manner to analog modular synthesizers.
- Jitter’s strength and flexibility comes from the use of a single generalized matrix data format when working with video, 3D geometry, audio, text, or any other kind of data. Jitter matrices may be composed of one of four data types: char (8 bit unsigned int), long (32 bit signed int), float32 (32 bit floating point), or float64 (64 bit floating point).
- More Details:
- Jitter objects also make available many aspects of their internal state in ways which will be new to even the most seasoned Max/MSP veterans. Get details about performance, networking, programmability, interoperability, and key features.