Forums > MaxMSP

I love Max, its great, so why am I having to look into PD!

Oct 30 2012 | 11:30 am

I love Max, its great, definitely my preferred software development platform, so why am I having to go over to PD to get stuff onto iOS and Android devices? I’ve tried c74 but in all honesty its a bit buggy and fairly limited, it doesn’t detach you from a desktop, you remain shackled to it. Is libpd the only way of doing this? And if so WHY? Why can’t Max do this if PD can, considering their shared heritage and the fact that Max costs us £/$’s and PD doesn’t? Answers on a postcard to…

Oct 30 2012 | 5:32 pm

As much as I would like to see Max on iOS, to be quite honest with you, I would rather they
concentrate on fixing bugs and adding features to the current release of Max.

What is the compelling argument for why you should add another hardware platform? What
new capability would you gain that would justify refactoring the entire Max code base to be
able to compile it for ARM? How much would the Max iPad app cost? 500 dollars?

In the end, do you REALLY need this app? I do audio production, I push my MBP to its
limits running Max and Abelton Live, there is NO way an iPad can come close to that
power. Plus in the studio I have access to a huge high quality sample library that
will never fit on my iPad. Plus I have access to real instruments like the piano!

Making beats at your local coffee shop sounds really nice until you realize how limiting it is.
Maybe if I traveled a lot I might see a good reason for having a mobile creative environment.
Actually, there are plenty of them already available on the iPad.

Oct 30 2012 | 5:36 pm

Actually you just might get something like that some time soon… If, like me, you spend too much time on this forum you might have spotted the call for user testing that popped up twice in the last weeks. It specified that the testers bring their iPads… Let the speculation begin ;)

Oct 30 2012 | 8:08 pm

I saw that too, dtr. My guess, however, is that it is more of an interface-to-max system, probably via osc or something similar, and not a port of Max to iOS. One can always hope, though!

Oct 30 2012 | 9:10 pm

Anthony, from the sound of it for what you do you don’t need Max on the iPad, but the joy of Max (in my humble opinion) is that it allows us to stretch boundaries, explore and make technology our play thing, CONNECT ANYTHING! I don’t want this to make beats in a coffee shop in a conventional sense, I want this because tablet computing opens up myriad possibilities in regard to the future of musical instrument design. I don’t want something as "powerful" as Ableton live and Max because the projects I’m working on don’t require that kind of processing power, they require self contained environments that are capable of generating audio in response to the manipulation of a host of integrated sensors and outputting audio to an output on the same unit. I’m not looking for a new version of Max on the iPad costing loads of cash, I just need something like libpd that can access and use Max’s audio engine. It just annoys me that a free piece of software like PD seems to offer more flexibility than something as expensive as Max, and has done for at least the last couple of years! If PD can do this why not Max?

I hope that what you other guys are flagging up is a sign that Cycling 74 have something in the post!

Oct 30 2012 | 9:43 pm

What parts of the Max experience are important for you to have on a mobile platform?

Oct 30 2012 | 10:57 pm

I have clients who would like to have max patches I have made controllable from mobile phones. At the moment they use remote desktop-style interfacing to control the ‘server’ patch remotely. I don’t know much about networking, but I guess a transparent networking interface would be a must. ie UDP over wireless etc. Needless to say OSC protocol is obviously a requirement. Maybe from a patching perspective even an extended send/receive suite of objects where you simply type in a tcp address or a url as an argument/attribute and they connect remotely. It would have to be on android as well as i-blah. Plus UI-building stuff, like versions of kslider, various jitter/gl UI display/control interfaces. I’m not that interested in audio or video, just control, but that’s just my personal requirements for the near future. I guess using advanced audio &/or vid compression decompression over local networks would be important for streaming for a lot of people too.
But I don’t know much about this kind of stuff, so not sure if I’m actually answering you question here…

Oct 30 2012 | 11:03 pm

I think the ability to run patches in presentation mode with support for at least a core group of objects from each package m,msp,j would be a good start. If the Max application itself ever makes it’s way to tablets it would be cool to patch in 3D, similar to the way Jim Williams prototyped circuits.

Eventually it would be nice to sell patches as apps on these devices.
I think a huge cottage industry of programmers would prove beneficial to c74 and could potentially revolutionize education.
I gather c74 doesn’t support this path though..

Oct 31 2012 | 1:38 am

I do this all the time using Lemur on my iPad and on my iPhone to control Max patches on my laptop. I have a few OSC-Route objects that parse arriving OSC messages from my devices and I can essentially control anything I need.
TouchOSC (a significantly cheaper alternative to Lemur but not quite as smooth) works fine too.

I have clients who would like to have max patches I have made controllable from mobile phones.

Oct 31 2012 | 7:46 am

I would pay $100 for an ipad app that could mirror the gui of a max patch on a laptop and control it remotely. No audio processing necessary

Oct 31 2012 | 8:12 am

In response to Andrew Benson’s query (mainly since I think this is already what you guys are working on…): I purely want interface control on my iPhone or iPad. Ideally, this would be such that I could go into a special, secondary presentation mode in my patch – this secondary presentation mode would give me preset window ratios for iPhone/iPad/Android/Whatever, and let me pull interface elements _from any subpatch_ of my patcher into it.

Also ideally, this would be exactly as functional as presentation mode currently is. By that, I mean [waveform~]s with transparency and waveform display, multisliders, LCDs, pictctrls, etc etc. All overlap-able and with functional transparency. Oh, and bpatchers, and tabs, and the ability to do the [thispatcher] scripting to move the bpatcher’s viewport focus.

Possibly even some new objects, like a multi-touch capable pictslider that outputs XY coords for Z number of sliders (though this could easily be faked with transparency and multiple pictsliders).

This method (while undoubtedly more difficult to implement) would be seamless for max coders – no need to have another object that receives input from the external controller – objects that are in the secondary presentation mode are implicitly linked already, and if the same object exists in both the main presentation view, and the secondary view, they mirror each other’s inputs and state.

Oct 31 2012 | 9:39 am

Some kind of interface linked to an iPad, ala fantastick, but totally integrated in max, is what I need. I don’t care about running max on such a small screen.

Oct 31 2012 | 10:01 am

I want to sever myself from the desktop. I want to hold a musical instrument and have the audio come out of its crappy little speaker! I would love to be building self contained instruments that can access all of the tablets/smart phones sensor data and touch screen and use it to manipulate the audio and output that audio to the tablets DAC.

Oct 31 2012 | 10:33 am

Max on the iPad… Well, I’m actually programming something I’d love to see working on an iPad (or whatever other handheld device running Android or even Windows 8), and I’m sure its "horsepower" would be more than sufficient because my program gets a very complicated conditional logic and hundrets of windows with interface elements to control a complex matter, but where audio is concerned, the maximum my "app" requires is a pitch shift of stable frequencies. Many people I spoke with about my project told me it would be ideal to get it on an iPad, one of the reasons being that you’re supposed to use it often and in situations you may not like to encumber with your computer.

So yes, I understand that where programming with Max requires ad least a laptop (with a nice big display) and where surely many Max patches push even very recent and potent computers to their limits, not all sensible Max projects need that power. There’re other reasons a Max user would love to see at least Max Runtime run on iPads for, even if this means paying for it. I include myself in these users.

Oct 31 2012 | 10:41 am

I’d love to be able to patch and also run patches on portable devices. I do much more work in the max side of max than the msp/jitter world. I’d be very happy to take a stripped down version of max (ie with minimal to no msp/jitter) around with me in my pocket. I’d be over the moon actually.

Oct 31 2012 | 11:16 am

As someone developing iOS applications I would like to see something similar to libpd, e.g. using the msp audio engine inside an actual app. Doing audio is always the most painful part to development and having the tools and power of max (esp. gen) at hand would help a lot.

+ A runtime would encourage most users to try develop instruments for mobile devices.

Oct 31 2012 | 11:19 am

An embedded option (be it iOS, linux (rasberrypi) etc…)

Just being able to physically ‘blackbox’ stuff independently of a ‘host’ computer. In the case of iOS then being able to interact with it there.

Oct 31 2012 | 12:45 pm

What are the real use cases for this?

I find that for the most part I use my tablet to "consume" and to "control" but I never actually "develop" on it. I’ve tried several of the creative tools that have shown up specifically for the iPad (including such things as mind maps and electronic circuit simulators, the latter which works similarly to Max in terms of creating boxes visually and then connecting them together) and find them all woefully impractical for anything serious.

Heck, it’s even a pain trying to write any non-trivial text document on those things, never mind trying to edit them after.

Oct 31 2012 | 12:48 pm

I don’t want to edit on the tablet, just run patches. There are countless real case uses for this.

Oct 31 2012 | 1:21 pm

What are a few examples? I’m really curious about this issue in general. I’ve played with a lot of the music-related apps (including most of the synths and even the new Auria mixer) that show up for the iPad and I have yet to find anything that make me feel I could use my iPad INSTEAD of my laptop for anything serious musicially, other than as an auxillary controller or to view my sheet music.

One problem (at least for me) in this arena is that I never want to run something in isolation, I generally need a bunch of tools available simultaneously and the workflow ends up not being feasible on a tablet. If size and portability is key, then I suspect one would be better off with a small Macbook Air or even (shudder) one of those Windows ultra light notebooks.

Oct 31 2012 | 1:22 pm

Barry, list some.

Oct 31 2012 | 2:07 pm

How specific do you need me to be?

I’m working on a project at the moment developing a series of musical applications for kids with profound special educational needs. The iPad and other tablets have been revolutionary for this demographic in regard to access and engagement. One barrier to music making that many of these kids experience (apart from physical and cognitive difficulties) is that teaching staff find music tech too complicated, so loads of kids that would otherwise benefit don’t. We are building stuff for the iPad that works when you turn it on, no OSC routing, no pissing about with networks, open the app and it just works. The audio is played out of the iPad speakers which helps the kids identify a cause and effect relationship – having audio played out over speakers that are remote from the instrument your playing on is a very big leap cognitively, something that some of the kids we work with have real issues with. So there is one specific use.

The overarching potential here, for me, is to build apps / patches that can run within a portable device, take advantage of its sensors, and route audio directly to that devices DAC. That in it’s self is only limited by the developers imagination. You should be able to build visual interfaces in something like openframeworks or processing and then plug the max audio engine into that, like libpd does.

The amazing thing about Max is that it is used in an incredibly broad range of situations and contexts, not just for high end music production.

Oct 31 2012 | 4:44 pm

Hi Barry,

as far as i know, i’m sorry but what you want won’t happen any time soon, and it’s due to some big difference between Max and PD : Max is closed source, and you can’t use "parts" of it as you can with PD because of that closed source-ness, and you always need a complete Max environment to execute any max code, which is virtual machine like a java runtime environement (correct me if i’m wrong please !) and which Apple don’t and probably never will want on any of their iOS for supposedly security reason. That’s why they didn’t include Java or Flash on their tablets (again, i’m not really sure 100% of this), and if i understood correctly again, why there isn’t a possiblity for Max developpers to sell apps built with Max on appleStore for iOS devices.
(i might said many stupid and half understood things here but i would be more than glad to stand corrected :) )

Oct 31 2012 | 5:19 pm

Actually Apple has relaxed some of their constraints and some programming environments are now available for iOS (including libpd). I don’t know how hard it would be to get the Max environment running under iOS, certainly OS X and iOS share quite a few of the frameworks, particularly for MIDI and audio.

I don’t think the core Max is running inside a virtual machine, although it can certainly communicate with such environments, Java for example — certainly most of the core objects are written directly in C and compile to native code.

I agree completely with the comment that Max can be used in many different situations.

I suspect it’s mostly a question of ROI.

Nov 01 2012 | 5:52 am

Hi all,

This is a topic I have been thinking about quite a bit lately and I agree that Cycling 74 should look into this. Here is my specific example. I made a guitarlike midi controller powered by two Arduinos. I use max for everything, so I have to perform with my laptop nearby, connected by a short USB cable. Here is a video:

I want to have something like a Raspberry Pi inside of my midicontroller so I don’t need the laptop in performance. I have heard of people running PD on Raspberry Pis. It would be awesome to make patches on a laptop then copy them over to some sort of microcontroller or a Raspberry Pi that could run Max. I predict it’s coming soon, but I’m here to complain about it and maybe it will come faster.


Nov 01 2012 | 10:16 am

Exactly. I would prefer an embedded option (Linux runtime) a thousand times over an iOS (neutered object selection) version though its possible there’s more money in going iOS.

Nov 02 2012 | 3:51 am looks decent

Nov 06 2012 | 3:18 pm

I would like Max on the IPad or the Max type of idea. The iPad has a video and photo camera, a mic, lots of sensors and I would like to be able to play with them in the same way that I can with similar things using Max on my laptop. I also want to be able to publish directly from my iPad to places like YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox etc. I also want to be able to integrate social networks like Facebook, twitter and have ways to use networks to link multiple mobile devices simply. Each connected mobile device could act as a sensor in an array of sensors or as a production, mixing, streaming device etc. So if I need another sensor I just borrow another phone or ask a friend to come along.

I want a modern Max type of program. The presentation mode would hopefully include an interface that includes things like Lemur and TouchOsc but also things like the TC-11.

I don’t really want something to control Max on my laptop. I have Lemur, TouchOsc, BeatSurfing and soon TC-11 for both MIDI and OSC control. I also have lots of MIDI controllers like the LPD8 or Oxygen or APC40. Personally I have no lack of control and unless it offers something specifically different I would not buy it. I need something for Max style production and experimentation with these new devices not to control what I can already control and do on a laptop.

I am waiting for a day when the camera and mic on the iPad or mobile devices become acceptable for professional work. I want an environment I can sandbox and experiment in and I want to mess with network and connecting lots of devices together for collaboration and live performance.

I am not sure if Max is the software for this but this is what I want and if Cycling could build it, I would buy it.

Nov 08 2012 | 10:19 pm

I have been considering diving into Pd for the exact same reasons. I’ve spent so much time working in Max, and developing skills in Max programming, and I hear of so many people who want to do things on iOS, and instead of learning how to program audio on iOS, I would like to just learn the basics of iOS and be able to do all the audio in Max. I started a similar project a few years ago, building a GUI in Processing and using Max as the audio engine (in the end I was able to make just as good of a GUI in Max with help from JS). It would be even more amazing if fully functional iOS audio applications could be built in Max, or at least custom graphical controllers/alternate presentation modes could be built in Max and brought up on an IOS device.

This may be off topic, maybe not, but related to my thoughts on shifting to Pd, is that plug-ins for DAWs other than Live can be built in Pd. Again, huge Max fan, but the school I teach at focuses greatly on Logic and Pro Tools, and so its hard to press the usefulness of Max for many of my students when plug-ins can only be written for Live, as most of my students don’t use Live (unfortunately), and Live just doesn’t work its way into our curriculum like Logic and Pro Tools does.

Nov 08 2012 | 10:34 pm

"This may be off topic, maybe not, but related to my thoughts on shifting to Pd, is that plug-ins for DAWs other than Live can be built in Pd."

Maybe you know, maybe you don’t know, but years ago (ye olde Max 4 time) there was Pluggo, which allowed nearly anyone to write vst plugins with Max. C74 scrapped it and "replaced" it with M4L, which might be (but maybe not) the poorest decision ever from them (not the M4L part which is great and way beyond just a "plugins builder" thing for sure, but the "scrapping Pluggo" part). Sure thing is it made a lot of noise among maxers. And today they are kinda talking about letting everyone write compiled code (i.e. eligible for vst architecture ?) thanks to Gen but the wait is not over.
(And maybe, if it’s helping at all, you can write AU plugins with the Jamoma externals)

Nov 09 2012 | 1:51 pm

"This may be off topic, maybe not, but related to my thoughts on shifting to Pd, is that plug-ins for DAWs other than Live can be built in Pd."
actually using both max and pd regularily, i must have missed that one.
can you point to a source, please?
(my -quick- googling only pointed to the new possibility of creating gui plugins for pd)

Nov 09 2012 | 3:34 pm

@vichug – yes, I was essentially lamenting that Pluggo no longer exists. I unfortunately had only done some minor work in Max4 and purchased Max at Max5. Programmer friends of mine that started with Max4 still use it from time to time strictly for building Pluggo devices. I’m always reminded of the fact that I can’t host my Max patches as VST plug-ins every time I use a Reaktor ensemble in ProTools or Logic; Reaktor is powerful, but I just don’t enjoy working in that environment, and find it very much user un-friendly, particularly when compared to the ease of patching in Max (which is also one of the reasons I do very little programming in Pd at the moment). But in the end I realize that this is probably a lost cause, as we are now on a second major version of Max with no support for programming plug-ins for other DAWs other than Live.

@kochhw – I got worried for a second that I had led you on a wild goose chase, and that I may have just imagined some sort of fantasy land where you can host Pd patches as VST plug-ins, but fortunately I did find a tool that lets you host Pd patches as VST plug-ins. I must have briefly read a headline about such a tool from the Pd mailing list, because it took me some digging to find it online, but here it is:

Nov 09 2012 | 5:22 pm

ah, right, the pdvst project, but as far as i know, its been abandoned…last changes seem from 2004.
whereas supercollider is active in the AU direction – as are the people @ jamoma.

the nice thing with pure data was indeed to put patches on the iphone with rjdj, but rjdj now is gone from the appstore.
appearently this guy is taking over:
but nothing released yet.

but then there is pd lib also, which lets you roll pd into your own apps for iphone or android. tad bit more involved though…

Nov 16 2012 | 3:29 pm

Why could we want this? Well look here :

This App is cool new music thinking. We would like to come out with things which can be used in a different way. Also, the App was downloaded 3 million times!!! Just imaging it would be yours and you only charge $99c for it….You could pay back the investment you made for Max.
It was done with RJDJ and PD. That Max can not do this is the reason to start doing it, isn’t it?

Nov 17 2012 | 2:09 pm

"You could pay back the investment you made for Max."

Haha the financial lingo intrudes everywhere.

Nov 17 2012 | 6:06 pm

Hi tep,
thinking of making a bug out of your talent does not harm.

Nov 18 2012 | 12:26 am

Sure Hans, just kidding :)

Jul 03 2013 | 7:40 pm

They listened.

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