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Music Media

IRCAM's jMax released under GPL 48

Computermusician writes "IRCAM announces the distribution of jMax, its software environment for music performance and real time digital audio processing, as free software under the GNU General Public License. Max, the grandfather of jMax, has been in use at IRCAM and other places (Aphex Twin) since the 80s. Check out more details " Once again, good stuff that will help Linux in the multimedia market.
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IRCAM's jMax released under GPL

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  • Mirrored it over here as well; tar.gz


  • -02-03_audio.html Cycling 74 - developer of the award-winning MSP (copyright David Zicarelli) and MAX (copyright Opcode/IRCAM). Users can graphically create their own media and audio manipulation programs using MAX and its signal processing add-ons, MSP.
  • I still don't totally get this. Would you use it to compose music, and recored it to .wav or .mp3 or whatever for distribution? (i.e. Cakewalk or Cubase) Or is it used at concerts to mix existing peices in realtime? Or both?

    Any users of the original Max care to comment on it's usage, and where they have used it?

  • One thing that might make the circle even more complete is the fact that Hyperreal [] is on the same server as []. Hyperreal has a lot of information on electronica and I believe the Aphex Twin FAQ lives there too. It also hosts the IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) mailinglist on which Richard James or many of his other names gets mentioned.
  • ...I've heard that at his gigs, he goes on stage with just a Mac laptop and produces real-time stuff...

    If so,.. that's pretty amazing. How exactly does/would he do it? I've not used Max/jMax (I'm downloading jMax now, of course), but I was just wondering how someone could write/play music like that..... cool..
  • by McKing ( 1017 ) on Wednesday July 21, 1999 @02:10PM (#1791519) Homepage
    I'm compiling this right now but I wanted to ask a question while I wait.

    I would like to know how close the linux community is to something like Cakewalk Pro or Sound Forge for digital recording. I could care less about MIDI, I just want to set up a multitrack recording system on a linux box instead of buying the software mentioned above and NT. I am interested in this for personal as well as professional (programmer, live sound engineer, _and_ musician) reasons. I have been saving up to buy 2-3 4-channel analog I/O cards and the software to do digital recording/mixdown, but if I can do this on a linux box then I will be in hog heaven!

    Please post any links to this sort of thing (I already know about the program named "multitrack", I just haven't taken the time to download a recent version and look at it). If there were a group devoted to working on this I would like to join and donate some time as both a programmer as well as a "sound guy"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    He uses Max, not jMax. Of course he'll tell you he writes his own software. :) Yes, Max runs on Macs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go to

    Every apps are listed.
    For what I know G-seq and Koobase are 2 audio/midi projects still in developpement cloning Cubase audio.

    Multitrack can't do 48khz. Only 16 mono tracks...

    There is ecasound, a new shell oriented (with an optional GUI) audio app (can do multitracking and audio fx) which may worth a try.

  • BTW, has anyone out there been able to get the java portions of this thing to compile? I am using the blackdown java port (1.1.7v3) and the swing 1.1.1fcs from Sun, and I can't get the stupid classes to compile. It dies every time on the first of the java files (after cranking away for a good five minutes) with a deprecation error. I don't program in java very much (although I've looked at it and written a small applet or two), but the SwingSet program and appletviewer program from the swing and java distributions work fine, so I'm sure it's not the actual java installation (unless the versions are mismatched or something).

    Please post any tips. Thanks in advance!
  • This is real good news. You can build all kinds of realtime widgets.
    Max is not just for Audio, I use it to generate event based motion paths, stop action, and for realtime animation.

    Oh, yeah and music too.
  • Yes, it's great that even niche applications find their way out into the open. (Not wanting to slight IRCAM or jMAX. :) )

    The music sector needs some free and open source stuff very badly, especially stuff that caters to the middle ground and high end. This is the equivalent to mp3 on the production/composition side and will help free music from the grip of rich and successful producers and labels who also have their fingers in music software, the sampling industry and a host of other places.
  • >I mentioned this on an IRC channel that I'm a member of, and 2 or 3 >people from the channel immediately went, "No way! Where is it?"

    That's great, but what is it and what does it do? I've never heard of this software before.
  • If OSS supports it, then it look like it will.
    I think it does. I'm sure the live is (though by creative), so therefore, logic would assume there is SB64 PCI support.
  • It sounds like you got swing 1.1.1, what you really want as far as I can tell is swing 1.0.3 which CONTAINS the jfc 1.1. I could be wrong since I haven't gotten around to compiling yet, but since jMax depends on jdk 1.1.6 minimum, swing 1.0.3 is about the only package that would make sense with that since swing 1.1.1 requires jdk 1.1.8. So I just assumed that when they said jMax required swing 1.1, they meant it required jfc 1.1, hence swing 1.0.3. I hope that was helpful. If somebody else doesn't correct me by the morning when I compile it, I'll post whether it worked or not ;P
  • No, swing works just fine, it is the precomiled classes that have errors in them (not finding some of the jmax classes. I am in the process of recompiling all of the classes and recreating the jmax.jar file. I had to start at the bottom level and work my way up to make sure that the classes that other classes depend on get built properly. Make isn't doing them in the right order and errors out every time I try to do a top level "make java_all".
  • by MrEd ( 60684 )
    This is great for Linux! It's very good to see creative software coming to the alternative-OS community. I'm just a little sad that Be hasn't attracted enough attention to deserve a port. I hope that the reception of jMax will be warm enough for them to consider porting to other platforms.
  • Whatever this is, it's big. So it seems to be some sort of high-end interactive audio programming software . . . would this be used to develop autonomous audio-processing software (write CoolEditPro for Linux!) or to turn a PC into a super-high-end sound-editing machine? The site's kinda thin on "what it is" exposition . . . .

    Is there anyone here that's worked with Max/jMax before?
  • by edgy ( 5399 ) on Wednesday July 21, 1999 @07:53AM (#1791537)
    I mentioned this on an IRC channel that I'm a member of, and 2 or 3 people from the channel immediately went, "No way! Where is it?"

    Then minutes later, "Looks like I got to get my shit together and install Linux"

    :-) This can only be good for Linux.

  • Since I write almost all of my GPL software under the influence of Richard D. James (Aphex Twin) it is only fitting that he has used software under the GPL as well. The circle is complete. The similarities between Aphex Twin and Linux are too numerous to mention. It is a symbiosis I could not live without. I could not sleep without Linux. I could not sleep without "Sel. Ambient Works II." I could not code without Linux. I could not code without "I Care Because You Do" It goes on and on... (sorry about the ramble just happy to see Aphex Twin mentioned, albeit indirectly, on slashdot!) If you have not heard of Aphex Twin, I suggest you stop what you are doing immediately and go purchase the above two albums. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've used Opcode's version for the Macintosh. It isn't for audio editing and it's not a programming library. Primarily it's a graphical real-time toolkit for creating interactive musical works, though of course it can do other stuff as well. When I was using it it primarily handled MIDI, though I would imagine it can handle real-time sythesis now too.

    I think it's probably going to be as useful as CSound to the average user (ie not very).
  • This is seriously good news. I worked in Max pretty much all through college, but then after I graduated, I went to wintel for apps like Sonic Foundry and so forth. I'm really glad that jMax is back on a better platform, and I'm excited to start working in the newer audio DSP stuff. (Max through v2.5 only did MIDI processing.)
  • Since the source is under GPL, who says *they* have to do the port?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, 1999 @10:39AM (#1791545)
    MAX is a graphical programming language used to manipulate MIDI data and audio signals written originally by Miller Puckette and David Zicarelli at IRCAM, then later ported to Macintosh and released commercially by Opcode. MAX allows nontechnical musicians to hook up graphical objects (representing a variety of functions in MIDI, audio, data and processing) in almost any configuration to achieve things they would never be able to do with traditional MIDI/Audio sequencer. It's perfect for tweakheads who want to create their own interactive processing setups, and now it's on Linux, and GPL'd!!! I have been using Max in performance now for about about two years, controlling effects, synthesizer timbres, and realtime audio, and I must say that MAX is a relatively simple program to learn that has great depth and potential. A great day has indeed arrived...
    jMax is available on the following platforms:
    SGI stations: Indy, O2, Origin, Octane, Onyx with R4000, R5000, R10000 and R12000 processors. Supported audio interface are the built-in audio interfaces and the ADAT board ref. PCI-AUD-ALL. Linux for Intel processors. Supported audio interfaces are the cards supported by the OSS driver.
    Porting on Linux Power-PC, Linux Alpha, MacOS X and Windows-NT are in progress.

    Wohoo! Even us Linux-impaired will get to hack sound!
    - - -

  • The server only allows 10 simultaneus connections, soon to be /.ed.

    Here is a mirror for those that want to have a look:

    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?
  • Very good page! 'preciate the link!

    Hmmm . . . jMax looks rather like Quack on steroids, no?

    (FYI, Quack is a shareware sound generator/mangler program for WinXX. It uses the modules-connected-with-cords paradigm as well, though it probably doesn't do half of what this puppy is capable of)
  • You mentioned that Aphex Twin (aka Richard James + other pseudonyms) used this. Very interesting. I'd like to know more.
    I heard he was using Macs to compose on.
  • If this question is wrong, flame away.

    My system has a SoundBlaster 64 PCI (OEM version)built onto the motherboard. Will it work with that? Hope this doesn't appear to stupid, just ignorant:).
  • Amazing.

    I neither could not sleep without S Ambient WOrks volumne 2, neither could I code without "I care because you do", I too am extremely happy that Aphix Twin is mentioned on slashdot.

    Funnily enough, I live in Paris and my ultimate aim is to work for IRCAM, yet I did not know that Aphex used their stuff ....

    its all coming together!

    I have big ideas, i'd be happy to share them with you ....
  • Aphex Twin is a genius, I've heard that at his gigs, he goes on stage with just a Mac laptop and produces real-time stuff, if this is what he uses to do that, then I'm in heaven.

    One problem, the ftp site only allows 10 ppl on at a time, which is not very accomodating for the /. effect, any mirrors?

  • Real Audio clips at along with everything you could ever want to know about him.
  • he uses more than this. but yes, he is a genious. I used to be obsessed with high art Jazz. I never listened to anything else ever. thought I was pretty good and thought that jazz was a high and mighty form of music. Then one day, four years ago I accidently landed on a live Aphex gig in Sydney. Aphew Twin's music had ALL of the musical pirouettes that high art Jazz had, but in a new language. it blew me away.
    dont ever let any high and might jazz or classical muso tell you that techno is crap. Point them to aphex and if they dont dig it then they are bull shit artists.
  • by MrEd ( 60684 )
    Yes, GPL, I hadn't noticed that - Well, perhaps there will be some effort put in from the public. I've been told it's hard to get ported programs working properly with threads and such, it's too bad there's such a scarcity of Be programmers.

  • He was one of the first artists (along with Björk to get me into electronic music. I don't listen to him much anymore, and his recent output is largely unlistenable, but SAW 85-92 is one of the great classics of IDM. And the Window Licker vid is fucking hillarious! :)
  • Selected AFX Loops []
    It's not MP3, and the songs aren't complete, but it's quite a comprehensive site. it has a little of almost every song he's ever released.
    if you insist on mp3 just do a search for either "aphex twin" or "afx" in an mp3 search engine.
  • by spot ( 3593 ) on Wednesday July 21, 1999 @12:44PM (#1791558) Homepage
    wow, this looks great. I have been using Max on the macintosh for some time (my GPL visual musical project bomb [] works in Max), and been very frustrated by the proprietary environment (despite the wonderful people behind it).

    with max, you can have either MIDI or digital audio (with the MSP extension) flowing along wires that connect boxes. the boxes are objects that you can write in C. It's really good for doing real time control & interactive things.

    jMax is scriptable in tcl (no java here, despite the name), and looks like it has the same midi/audio capabilities.

    lately i have just started working with pd, which is miller puckette's current software platform. it uses the same box/wire and midi/audio ideas. see his page []. It works on linux and also has a OpenGL graphics package GEM, so you can do 3d graphics with music.

    now i have to choose between pd and jmax! oh sorry day :)

    information is free.
    the only question is:

  • Max was developed at IRCAM for NeXT and SGI (I think) and named for Max Matthews (of Bell Labs). Opcode [] licensed a version for the Mac [], and sells it for US$495. The Mac version is pretty much what everyone uses. It's good for manipulating MIDI any way you want, but don't try using it as a standard sequencer. There is another program called MSP by cycling74 [] that uses MAX for digital audio. The whole thing has a non-intuitive patch cord interface that go between opcodes, Opcodes can be written and added by anyone in C - and there are tons of them that do pretty much anything.
    - daniel

Torque is cheap.