How to Create Music and Sound with Max MSP 6.1 on Mac
Max MSP is a visual programming environment that allows you to create custom applications for music and sound. You can connect objects together with patch cords, manipulate data with expressions and functions, and integrate external devices and software. Max MSP 6.1 is the latest version of Max that runs on Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
In this article, we will show you how to get started with Max MSP 6.1 on Mac, how to build a simple patch that generates and processes sound, and how to export your patch as a standalone application that you can share with others.
Getting Started with Max MSP 6.1 on Mac
To get started with Max MSP 6.1 on Mac, you need to download and install the software from the Cycling '74 website[^1^]. You can use Max MSP as a fully functional demo for the first 30 days without a serial number or authorization. After that, you can still run and edit Max patches, but saving is disabled. If you want to purchase Max MSP after the demo period expires, you can follow the instructions on the website[^1^].
Once you have installed Max MSP 6.1 on your Mac, you can launch it from the Applications folder or the Dock. You will see a splash screen that shows the version number and some options. You can click on New Patcher to create a new patch window, or Browse Lessons to access step-by-step tutorials and videos that teach you the basics of Max[^2^]. You can also access the Help menu from the menu bar to find more resources, such as reference pages, examples, forums, and documentation.
Building a Simple Patch in Max MSP 6.1 on Mac
A patch is a program that you create in Max by connecting objects together with patch cords. Objects are the building blocks of a patch â they perform specific tasks, such as generating sound, processing data, displaying graphics, or communicating with other software or hardware. Patch cords are what you use to pass messages or signals between objects.
To build a simple patch that generates and processes sound in Max MSP 6.1 on Mac, follow these steps:
Unlock the patch window by clicking on the lock icon in the lower left corner or pressing Command-E.
Create a new object by double-clicking on an empty space in the patch window or pressing N.
Type "cycle~ 440" (without quotes) in the object box and press Enter. This creates an object that outputs a sine wave signal at 440 Hz.
Create another object below the cycle~ object and type "dac~" (without quotes) in the object box and press Enter. This creates an object that sends audio signals to your computer's audio output.
Connect the outlet of the cycle~ object (the small circle at the bottom) to one of the inlets of the dac~ object (the small circles at the top) by clicking and dragging with your mouse.
Lock the patch window by clicking on the lock icon again or pressing Command-E.
Turn on audio processing by clicking on the speaker icon in the lower right corner or pressing Command-Period.
You should hear a steady tone coming from your speakers or headphones. You can adjust the volume by using your computer's volume control or by creating a gain~ object in your patch.
Congratulations! You have just built your first patch in Max MSP 6.1 on Mac. You can experiment with different objects and connections to create different sounds and effects. You can also save your patch by choosing File > Save As from the menu bar and giving it a name.
Exporting Your Patch as a Standalone Application on Mac
If you want to share your patch with others who do not have Max MSP installed on their Macs, you can export your patch as a standalone application that they can run without any additional software. To export your patch as a standalone application on Mac, follow these steps:
Save your patch if you haven't already done so.
Choose File > Build Collective / Application from the menu bar.
In the dialog box that appears, choose Application as the type of file to aa16f39245