Max has evolved from being a fiendishly complicated software design environment for code-heads into a slightly more accessible coding environment. If you struggle with circuit diagrams, however, it’s probably still going to present something of a challenge. It’s an application that lets adventurous techy types build their own instruments and effects and then save them out, often as instruments for Max For Live to be used in Ableton Live.
It’s certainly not a toy and is priced accordingly at $399, with upgrade pricing making things a little less painful. Version 7.1 adds some much-requested new features, chief of which are a package manager and an updated Snapshot system. The Package Manager now allows you to get much quicker access to Max object libraries and system enhancements, and get at new content while still managing your existing packages.
The Snapshots system lets you save the state of the entire patcher – or modular design environment – instead of just of hosted plug-ins as before. It’s now possible to create, recall and edit snapshots in the new Snapshots pane. This might not sound revolutionary and some may even say it was overdue, but it’s a welcome addition nonetheless. Elsewhere, Max is still an incredibly powerful piece of gear that rewards time, effort and skill. If you prefer making your own plug-ins to buying someone else’s, you can check out more about the update at https://cycling74.com/max7/