Max/MSP is a graphical programming environment, which means you create your own software using a visual toolkit of objects, and connect them together with patch cords. The basic environment that includes MIDI, control, user interface, and timing objects is called Max. Built on top of Max are hundreds of objects, including two powerful collections from Cycling '74:
- MSP, a set of audio processing objects that do everything from interactive filter design to hard disk recording.
- Jitter, a set of matrix data processing objects optimized for video and 3-D graphics.
- Create and run an arbitrary number of applications and tasks, depending on the memory and processing speed of your computer.
- Design cross-platform programs and user interfaces interactively using hundreds of modular objects and UI widgets.
- A series of over 40 interactive tutorials teach you to use Max step-by-step.
- Interactive on-line help gives you a working demonstration of every object and its features.
- A fast and easy way to use your computer to control hardware (or vice versa) using systems such as Teleo from Makingthings or the iCube from Infusion Systems.
- Built-in support for an unlimited number of MIDI input and output streams (using MME on Windows and Core MIDI on Macintosh). Plus support for serial devices and mouse tracking.
- Quicktime movie playback.
- Interactive program editing and debugging features, such as foreground/background, message tracing, object inspectors, intelligent copy and paste.
- An easy-to-use cross-platform SDK for extending the software that's been adopted by a large community of users letting Max do everything from networking to statistics. (Check out the Max/MSP Resource Guide for some examples.).
- Over 150 objects covering all the basic elements of synthesis, sampling, and signal processing.
- MME, DirectSound, and ASIO audio hardware support on Windows, and Core Audio support on Mac OS X. Customize and save hardware interface setups to optimize for low latency or greater CPU efficiency.
- Over 25 interactive tutorials present a complete course in digital audio.
- Full-featured waveform display and editing object.
- Unlimited simultaneous hard-disk recording and playback streams using files from 1 to 32 tracks.
- File playback includes varispeed, looping, backwards play.
- Graphical filter design and envelope/function generator interfaces.
- Support for AIFF, WAV, Sound Designer II (Macintosh only), AU, MP3 (requires Quicktime) audio files.
- Support for building polyphonic MIDI-controlled synthesizers and samplers, or polyphonic anything.
- Hosts VST plug-ins and synths (in any configuration you can imagine).
- Tons of cool examples showing techniques such as FFT-based filtering and convolution, 5.1 spatial surround processing, crossovers, audio-rate sequencing, and vocoding.