The 256 list-problem

Feb 9, 2010 at 10:52am

The 256 list-problem

Im using max 4.5, so hopefully this is not an outdated problem

What is the common approach to deal with list-operations for lists over 256 items
Coll takes f.eks only 256 items. Same with message object and alot of other objects
I found out that text-object can take more, but I have still problems when I want to do different kind of groupings (zl group 2) etc

(The latest problem is working with the Interleave object which takes inputs from message boxes so again I have the same problem of the 256 limit)

Feb 9, 2010 at 11:52am

The 256 list element limit is gone in max5. Max4.6 has a few ways round it, but you’re better off upgrading really. The mxj list package can deal with larger lists, and if you have jitter there are a few options too. Search the forums, there should be loads of old posts about this providing they haven’t gone awol in the website upgrade.

Feb 9, 2010 at 11:56am

There are list objects as Java classes deep in Cycling74′s folder:

Open /MaxMSP 4.6/Cycling ’74/java/help/

I don’t remember what’s their size limit.


Feb 9, 2010 at 2:25pm

if you download the berkeley cnmat objects collection (here : , they have somewhere a nicely done patcher telling how to deal with those limits, with several solutions. Max 4 release still available, if i read well. But yes, the best way to deal with that would be an upgrading to max5…

Feb 9, 2010 at 3:15pm

In max 4.x there were no real limitation on the list size, but most of the objects were limited to 256 items as you experienced. Besides the “mxj list.*” and jitter matrices objects you can also have a look to my ejies, there’s some java classes which deal with long lists.

Feb 11, 2010 at 7:30pm

Thanks for advice. I will study them. Im doing a project with the colorblobs object so I cant updatee to max 5 yet.

The cnmat link is broken

Feb 12, 2010 at 11:21am

another vote for CNMAT.
FTM may be another solution.

Oct 19, 2010 at 5:19pm

In the message box reference page it says “Any message of up to 256 items can be contained in a message box.” Presumably this is incorrect? I’m using the latest version of Max.

Oct 19, 2010 at 5:54pm

another solution would be to avoid using such long lists (dont laugh).

Oct 19, 2010 at 9:01pm

Yeah, but I’m not looking for a solution. :) I was just asking for clarification: I’m confused why it says in the reference page that the maximum length is 256 items, when I have no trouble storing and transmitting longer lists than that using a message box. Of course, they could have just forgotten to update the reference page, I just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t missing something.

Oct 19, 2010 at 9:04pm

Message boxes can now contain many more items. If you’re using [zl] objects and you need them to work with lists of greater than 256 items you need to set a maximum as the first argument before the zl mode name. For example: [zl 512 group 300]


Oct 19, 2010 at 9:07pm

On a similar, but related note, the [zl] help patch says that the default maximum number of items is 256… if you know ahead of time that you don’t need that many items, does changing the maximum to a lower number use less memory?

Oct 20, 2010 at 1:05am

it does indeed. You’ll probably have to use a lot of them before noticing anything though ;-)

Dec 31, 2010 at 4:16pm

In the CNMAT Spectral Tutorials they speak about lists in Max 5:

Tutorial #08-max&lists


You must be logged in to reply to this topic.