Improved performance for every interaction

    Max is about real time, so performance is crucial to all Max users. To prepare for Max 8, we searched through every corner of Max to find ways that we could speed up operation and loading, and the results are even better than we hoped. Max 8 starts up 4-10x faster, loads big patches faster by a factor of two, and improves upon Max 7’s user interface redrawing speed.

    Faster Loading

    When you’re in a performance environment, every second counts. Max 8 lets you get right back to work by providing a 4-10x faster launch time coupled with massive improvements in patcher loading. We stress-tested loading huge patches and found we could improve load times exponentially in some cases.

    Smoother Response

    We know the most important performance details are related to running your work. We reduced the impact of UI drawing on the performance of the patch, making it less of a drain to get the visual feedback you need.

    Explore more Max 8 features

    Max Console

    The Max Window is already a popular way to gather information about how your patcher is working. For Max 8 we made a number of improvements to support getting a quick view of just the information you need, when you need it.

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    Focus on What's Important

    The Max Console now supports several window-specific filtering options such as limiting display to only show messages from a specific patcher. You can also filter by text matching, specific print objects, and object type.

    Know When to Look

    The Max sidebar button now displays a small white dot to indicate when there are messages to view. If there are errors, it will be red. This keeps you clued in when there’s something important going on without keeping the console open.

    Patching Improvements

    Patching is at the core of everything you do with Max. In preparation for Max 8, we’ve been working on a few new features to improve patching and streamline your work. With enhancements to the way you can organize your objects and inspect information, it's much easier to navigate through and build out your patches.

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    Once a patcher gets big enough, being able to move around and organize blocks of objects becomes a big chore. For Max 8 we’ve added the ability to group objects together so they can be easily selected and adjusted as needed.

    Event Probing

    Probing – watching what’s passing through patch cords – has been around for years in the Debug Menu, but it was limited to an audio signal or Jitter matrix. Now it also works for events and messages, giving you an immediate glance at what’s really going on in your patcher.

    Pan and Zoom

    As your patcher expands, quickly navigating around the canvas is essential. For Max 8 we’ve added the ability to pan and zoom using the mouse. This lets you move around and focus in on the parts you are working on while also being able to easily jump out to a global view.

    Patch Cord Insert

    You can now shift-drag an object over an existing patch cord to insert that object into the patch cord. You can also shift-drag an object away from a patch cord to remove it. This means the common task of adding or removing an object between two other objects happens in a single step.

    Vizzie 2

    Eight years ago we introduced Vizzie - a modular and easy way to get started with Jitter visuals in Max. Previously Vizzie processed video pixels on the CPU, resulting in performance problems with large patches. For Max 8, we’ve updated Vizzie to take full advantage of the processing power of your graphics hardware for a big speed boost. In addition to the improved frame rates, Vizzie now easily integrates with 3D graphics and other work that relies on OpenGL in Jitter.

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    Modernized Processing

    With Vizzie 2, we take full advantage of modern texture processing shaders (OpenGL) to improve the performance of each Vizzie module. You won’t need to do anything special to access this power - just make sure you’ve added a PROJECTR module to your patcher and start patching your Vizzie system.

    OpenGL Integration

    Integrated OpenGL in Vizzie also means more flexibility. The standard interface and modularity of Vizzie make it a great way to add visual processing to your Max patch, even if some of your patch is not based on Vizzie modules. With Vizzie 2, there’s no longer a barrier between the quick prototyping available in Vizzie 2 and the generative graphics available in Jitter.

    Node for Max

    Popular in creative coding and web development communities, Node is a JavaScript framework for software applications. It makes it easy to use web services, whether pulling information from a remote data source or interfacing with a social network. The Node for Max feature lets you do it all from within a Max patcher.

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    Simple Access Point

    To work with Node, start with a node.script object. By sending that object messages, you can launch, monitor and communicate with a running Node process. Then, the max-api library lets you print to the Max console, write directly to Max dictionaries, and send messages back to your patch. Even if you’ve never written a line of JavaScript before, this is an easy and fun way to get started.

    Node Package Manager

    The Node Package Manager (NPM) is a huge stockpile of libraries that Node users have created to solve a variety of problems. Similar to the Max Package Manager, NPM contains packages covering everything from machine learning to music theory to simple servers. Use Node for Max to access the wealth of possibilities.


    Inspired by the intuitive MIDI and Key Map function in Ableton Live, the Max 8 Mappings feature allows you to quickly connect your hardware to your patch without any additional programming.

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    MIDI Connections

    Select a slider in your Max patch, then move a MIDI controller. You’ve instantly made a MIDI-mapped connection between your controller and the slider. Want to tweak scaling or range limits? Use the Mappings editor.

    Keyboard Mapping

    With Key Mappings, you can assign keys on your computer keyboard to buttons and sliders in your patch. Select a button on the screen, type a key, and you’re good to go. Use the Mappings editor to use keys as momentary triggers or toggles.

    As of November 2, 2017 anyone who purchases a full version or an upgrade to Max 7 will receive an upgrade to Max 8 for free. Anyone who is an active Max subscriber when Max 8 is released will have access to the new version.

    Extra Details for Ableton Users

    We are planning to release a Max 8 upgrade with many performance and workflow improvements that we will begin to detail in the coming months.

    Ableton Live 10 is using a preliminary version of Max 8 as the Max for Live Editor. This is not the full Max 8 application, and is not intended to be used outside of the context of Live 10. Here are a few things to know about what’s going on.

    1. In order to make it easier for the Max for Live user, Ableton is now including a version of Max inside the Live application. (Previously it was a separate download.) The version of Max 8 bundled inside Live 10 will not affect your use of either Max 7 or Max for Live in older versions of Live.
    2. Beginning with the Live 10 beta, we chose to provide Ableton with a preliminary version of Max 8 whose user-facing features are identical to Max 7 but which contains many changes under the hood. By doing this, we hope to get a lot of testing on these changes as part of our Max 8 development project.