switching from Reaktor?

Nov 12, 2008 at 1:18am

switching from Reaktor?

HI folks

Ive made alot of experimental instruments in Reaktor (some very large and complex ones) and Im wanting to share some new designs with people who dont own Reaktor. But Native Insturments doesnt support standalone compilation for its customers. So Im thinking of switching to Max/MSP. Im wondering if there are other people experienced with Reaktor who could highlight the differences, in terms of how structures in Max are different from those in Reaktor?

Nov 12, 2008 at 1:49am

…oh and I guess I should ask the old question about whether a PC platform is ok now (Mac fans can now start the ranting about how awful PCs are.)

Nov 13, 2008 at 7:35am

does no one wish to voice opinions on relative merits compared to Reaktor?

Nov 13, 2008 at 8:13am


I used Reaktor for a while. Not professionally, just more to get up and running.
But i did feel that i was not always getting everything what i wanted from it.
I did press on, just to see if it was just me being crap on it, but in the end, felt just it was not enough for me.

I then a while ago (3 years) found out about Max/MSP/Jitter, done some reading. And then decided that this is something that i wanted to get into, mainly because it had a shit loads more feature than that of Reaktor.
Buliding software, making plugins, and generally making whatever came to your mind. It think that last one was the main deal for me.
I could not buy it at that time, because i did not even have any money to buy toothpaste, hahaha. Student.
But about this February, i made the jump and got both Max/MSP, then a few months later bought Jitter.
I love them, i am not a great maxer, because i am still learning everything. Although do spend a good time making extreme noise patches, just to keep the brain working with max.

Reaktor is great, dont get me wrong but felt that it was a short coming for me.

Max is too much with me now, that i do sometimes even dream of patches to make.
I even dreamed up a simple, amazing, great patch to make for the Machine Drum. All i need now is the Machine Drum, hahaha.

I myself did enjoy my time with reaktor, but now i am on Max/MSP/Jitter, my mind is racing, thinking of what to make next…

Nov 13, 2008 at 9:31am

that’s encouraging, thank you. I started going through the tutorials. I turned to the picture and poly objects first, and I’ll be looking at sequencers next.

I designed a color screen keyboard in Reaktor 5 using multidisplay module, it has four layers stacked like this:
* white key background
* color overlay for natural notes from different sources
* black key background
* color overaly for sharp/flat notes from diffeerent sources
It appears Max supports PICT and Quicktime files, but so far I havent worked out how to control image layers. If one has two images in Max and they overlap, how does one control which is on top?

Nov 13, 2008 at 9:41am

On Nov 13, 2008, at 1:31 AM, Ernest wrote:
> If one has two images in Max and they overlap, how does one control
> which is on top?

The Arrange menu has some layering commands.


Chris Muir


Nov 13, 2008 at 9:49am

later in the tutorials, things like controlling quicktime and PICT become known.
Also in Jitter, it becomes extreme, in a good way. And really easy once you know how everything wires in to each other.

But, before anyone makes the jump to spend $500 for Max/MSP. you have to think, whether you want to go that much into making things. I was extremely interested, because i like to build things.
This way just saves a lot of wires lying around my room and boards and that sort of thing gathering dust.

But really, once you go down the rabbit hole learning Max/MSP/Jitter, it is hard to come up from it…

Nov 13, 2008 at 10:06am

Thanks for the pointers. I like to build things too. I looked at Bidue too, but it seems to have the same limitations as Reaktor essentially.

Can I write to the 4.6 SDK for Max 5? Is there a recommendation for a C compiler and make environemnts on a PC, like, how well does Max play with Gnu or Visual C?

Nov 13, 2008 at 10:20am

Aye Bidue i had a look and demo of, but did not cut the mustard with me.

No you can’t use the SDK for 4.6 on Max 5 :(. The SDK for Max 5 will probably be out around Spring, i think anyhow. I did contact the support people a few weeks ago, just as a thought of maybe when both pluggo and the SDK will be out.

But no such luck as to the release date…

Nov 13, 2008 at 11:03am

Hmm. the last I saw it had been deferred until December. If it’s further away, I guess I should look at Max 4 too.

Nov 13, 2008 at 4:29pm

Hello Ernst, I have been using Reaktor since it was a wee
Generator/Transformer. But I must say, Max is now my second
skin. Building things is so much easier and faster that the
thought of building something in Reaktor is painful.

That being said, I really do miss Reaktors audio macro library.
Max does not have anything like it, MSP is a lower level set
of primitives. In other words, you have to build a lot of things
like yourself. But there are many people out there who have
shared third party externals that have formed the basis of
my own higher level audio library. I have found the best way
to learn is to rebuild Reaktor ensembles in Max.

I still keep Reaktor around, I have a ton of great ensembles
that I love using. There is no reason why you can not use Max
and Reaktor together.

Nov 13, 2008 at 4:55pm

Some things that are excellent for getting started with max:





The ‘Things we wish we’d known’ series by Gregory Taylor is excellent.

Some other things off the top of my head that are different between max and reaktor.

Reaktor only allows an input to have a single cable connected to it – if you want two cables connected, you have to use a mixer of some sort. Not so in Max, any object can have multiple wires connected to the same inlet.

MaxMSP allows for bent cables. I highly recommend utilizing this, as it allows you to (mostly) avoid the spiderweb of cables that complex reaktor patches turn into.

I believe that what Reaktor calls ‘macros’ are called ‘Abstractions’ in Max. Alternatively, you can create subpatchers, which are very similar, but only reside in their parent patch, and are inaccessible from other patches.

Reaktor has two rates: Audio and Control. Max has three (if you have jitter): Audio, Control (scheduler), and matrix. Matrix is an uncontrollable rate, as far as i know. When patches begin to get very complex, it’s good to know how to change the control rate for the scheduler. You can get at all the rate controls from the Max preferences.

Lastly, if you’re stuck on something, check http://www.maxobjects.com to see if anyone else has already solved your problem. 90% of the time, someone has. That other 10% of the time can be hellish, though.

Nov 13, 2008 at 5:05pm

matrix is not an uncontrollable rate. matrices are processed at
scheduler rate.

Nov 13, 2008 at 5:42pm

Ah. That seemed unlikely to me, but I suppose it makes sense. How do matrices affect the Scheduler Poll Throttle? is one matrix still a single scheduler event?

Nov 13, 2008 at 6:31pm

That;’s a really good answer, thank you Joshua!

Nov 13, 2008 at 6:33pm

Nov 13, 2008 at 6:46pm

Hi Ernest,

this may be internet 101 territory, but I’m absolutely sure that site
sells pirated wares.
Caveat emptor.


Ernest skrev:
> It appears Max does not have all the bits I need for my instrument and willneed to do some external development in C. But the SDK only works for v4.6.
> Googling for Max 4.6 I find an ‘OEM version’ offered for $40.
> http://www.bestoemsoftware.net/sale-Cycling74_Max_Msp_4.57.htm
> Is this what I need to buy in order to access the SDK? Full-price retailers offer Max 5 only. The SDK is not available for Max 5, and I cant find any other way to buy Max 4.
> .

Nov 13, 2008 at 8:52pm

By the way, the SDK for writing C external objects for Max 4.6 works for Max 5 unless you want to create UI objects or access new Max 5 features. The first SDK for Max 5 C development is going to be released in days, not weeks or months. Actually hours!

If by the SDK you mean support for building VST plug-ins, it is true that we will not release such a thing this year.

David Z.

Nov 13, 2008 at 9:24pm

Thank you! One of the first things I was going to try was transferring some of my Reaktor 5 UIs to MAX which involve drawing polygons with transparency, so I guess this means I am one of your first excited Max5 SDK developers. I will look into making the externals shareable.

I am also interested in developing some low cost robotics applications with the Arduino, if any one is interested in partnering on that. I will have a website up with more information within the next two weeks.

Nov 13, 2008 at 9:42pm

Quote: David Zicarelli wrote on Thu, 13 November 2008 13:52

> If by the SDK you mean support for building VST plug-ins, it is true that we will not release such a thing this year.
> David Z.

Is there a time estimate as to when VST export will be ready?

Nov 14, 2008 at 12:47am

Looking some more, the panel object appears modeled on CSS and supports alpha too. Very clean implementation by the looks of it, Im impressed. I guess it would be possible to manipulate arrays of panel objects polyphonically, like the polydisplay object in Reaktor.

Nov 14, 2008 at 10:17am

I did the switch to Max from reaktor my self !! Reason = Reaktor is probably one of the wordt documented applications ever . Max/Msp’s tutorials and manuals are second to none , to be honest I learnt more about Reaktor by reading the max manual and that is kind of whaked !!!!!!

Nov 14, 2008 at 10:44am

I just discovered the Makenote object lets one set the note duration. In Reaktor, one has to manage timing of note off events in the ensemble logic.

In my multisequencer designs, each note has its own duration. A short repeating note of the same pitch from one could cause longer playing notes to be unnecessarily discarded. I had to build my own voice allocation in Reaktor. I guess the good news is I know how to do voice allocation, but maybe I wont need it in Max.

Recently I have been having problems sharing Reaktor instruments with Mac users. It appears to be because Reaktor’s handling of TGA image formats is different on Macs and PCs.

Such problems are minor compared to the awful slew of bugs in Reaktor v3.0 and the first two years of 4.0. Reaktor 5.0 is much better. For some reason, Reaktor never implemented an autosave option, and there’s no way to make one’s own autosave as in Max.

Nov 15, 2008 at 10:40pm

Ernest skrev:
> Such problems are minor compared to the awful slew of bugs in Reaktor v3.0 and the first two years of 4.0. Reaktor 5.0 is much better.
What totally killed Reaktor 5 for me was the abysmal OSC implementation
- just shy of no OSC at all. Why would anyone clamp OSC-lists at 8
members? You’d have to be on hard drugs to do such a thing, in my book.

The list goes on, of course. Midi in/out was always horrid.

And the absurd thing – *and this is what kinda pissed me off, pardon the
language* – is that we were somehow under the impression that coding in
Reaktor was EASIER than in MaxMSP….! That idea seems ridiculous to me
now, but I think the idea is prevalent – sadly.

Another “problem” for the max community is that there are three kinds of
higher-level building blocks;

1) help files. Love ‘em, can’t get enough.
2) Jamoma and similar projects. Fantastic piece of engineering, but way
too high-level for me – it would take me more time to strip them down
and understand them than it would take to just roll your own. They’re
sort of a different kind of software in themselves.
3) Externals etc off, for instance, maxobjects.com. ALL sorts of
problems there, including cross-platform issues, redundancy,
obsolescence, end of development, that sort of thing.

I would love a fourth way, a sort of “extended help-file”. I imagine a
dynamic, multi-user community section to each help-file – much like a
wiki in terms of user interaction and content management, but inside ALL
help-files at all times.

The mailing list /slash/ forum has a solution to a common problem? It’s
placed into the community section of the help-file for the object(s) in
question, wiki-style.

One can dream.

Nov 18, 2008 at 10:02pm

Well Im delighted to thse SDK is now available :)

I still have one hesitation: not being able to build VSTs for people who do not own Max. I am wondering about this workaround: can I build something in Max that communicates with a VST plugin written in C or in Pd or synthedit? There is documentation on VST plugins for Pd, I dont know if they work, and of course, Synthedit specifcally creates VSTs. I know this means I would do the graphics or other UI in Max, of course, I would have to do that in the other environment.

Nov 18, 2008 at 10:36pm

> The mailing list /slash/ forum has a solution to a common problem?

Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on how you look at it), the forum never has a common solution to anything. There are always many ways to Rome. This community agrees only on the answer to this question:

“Hi, I’m new here. Just downloaded Max, looks great. How do I start???”

Start with the tutorials…

I like the fantasy though.

Nov 18, 2008 at 10:41pm

Im not so much worried about a common solution, but rather whether any workaround exists at all for building VSTs. Perhaps I can work on a solution myself. Im sure others have at least thought about resolving this issue.

Nov 19, 2008 at 12:11am

There is no work around for not being able to build VSTs.
I hope Cycling releases an update soon. I am waiting pretty impatiently for this as well.

There is rewire if you need to get audio from Max to something
else and vice versa.

Nov 19, 2008 at 1:26am

You also may send people collectives which run in the runtime and standalone applications which run by themselves.


Nov 19, 2008 at 2:06am

Well, that could be an adequate solution. Do the collectives (which require the runtime) run in VSTs, and are we permitted to distribute the runtime with the collectives?

Nov 19, 2008 at 3:10am

Collectives require a MaxMSP runtime, which is freely available from our website.

Collectives do not integrate as a VST plugins within VST host apps. They act like MaxMSP itself.

The same applies for standalone apps, which do not require the end user to download and install the MaxMSP runtime.

You may bundle our installer and its components with yours as is convenient to the design of your app.


Nov 19, 2008 at 1:47pm

Ernest schrieb:
> Im not so much worried about a common solution, but rather whether
> any workaround exists at all for building VSTs. Perhaps I can work on
> a solution myself. Im sure others have at least thought about
> resolving this issue.

The build of VST’s in Max 5 is on the way. But what I am more worried
about, is that VST’s which had been built with Max 4 don’t work in Max
5. I was hunting around and the closest option I found was vst~ for Pd
which eventually could be ported to Max 5. I wonder if that would be
able to run older Pluggos.
I never understood why they don’t work in Max 5, as I can run Max 4 and
Max 5 happily side by side. I am naively believing this should be
possible with different pluggo builds as well…


Les Ondes Memorielles—-x——-
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()———-TJ Shredder

Nov 21, 2008 at 1:27am

I became an authorized Max cusotmer today!

PQE’s tutorials are just great.

I think Rewire is not the best solution. I still prefer Cubase VST/32 to any other sequencer (the SX mixing sounds muddy to me. I liked Cakewalk Pro 6 before that, but didnt really like the upgrades). Ableton is really interesting but I still hesitate, because I’ve seen so many messages about problems with clock sync.

So anyway Cubase VST/32 has a limited number of I/O channels. My soundcard is an old Creamware Pulsar, which helps quite a bit. But Rewire uses up the audio channels, and thus limits the number of audio tracks.

I guess my only hesitation is about developing UIs that would work in VSTs, now and in the future. Could I make UIs in Max4 which can work as VSTs, and then communicate with an external Max5 instance via OSC? That way I could get the advantages of both hopefully.

Nov 21, 2008 at 1:47am

Quote: Ernest wrote on Thu, 20 November 2008 18:27

> I guess my only hesitation is about developing UIs that would work in VSTs, now and in the future. Could I make UIs in Max4 which can work as VSTs, and then communicate with an external Max5 instance via OSC? That way I could get the advantages of both hopefully.

Thats what i do now…Build VSTs ( pluggos ) in max 4 and drop them into Ableton Live. Then use Max 5 to communicate with them using OSC… Works fine for me, would love to be able to ditch Max 4.6 altogether.

Nov 21, 2008 at 2:10am

Now that sounds really interesting. Have you shared any of your apps? I just installed Max4 too.

Sadly Im familiar already with the frustrations of working with older software, when a newer version is available but not feature complete. But It’s the natural course of development. At least Max5 is better than Max4! Sometimes newer versions are worse–like Cubase SX in my opinion–Oh, I’m sure Cubase SX is very well put together and removes alot of its predecessor’s limitations and has lots of great new features, but if it sounds muddy, it doesn’t really make much difference. I’m glad some people like it, I guess, but its not for me.

Nov 21, 2008 at 5:57am

havent shared this one yet. at this point its really configured for my current Live performance set up. kind of primitive as well, at this point it just records a specified amount of audio from the host, in this case Ableton Live, then slices it up across my 2 padKontrols and plays it back. I use OSC instead of MIDI because for me its easier to read than some random MIDI CC message.
I think im one of the few people who doesn’t mind using max 4 still, as long as i have the Max toolbox, im happy…

Nov 22, 2008 at 4:04am

Quote: Ernest wrote on Thu, 20 November 2008 18:27

> PQE’s tutorials are just great.

who or what are these “PQE” tutorials you’re talking about?

Nov 22, 2008 at 4:29am

Peter Elsea’s max tutorials. Pretty much required reading.




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