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Software developer David Zicarelli has formed a new company, Cycling '74 and announced the release of MSP, a set of extensions to Opcode's MAX 3.5 graphical programming environment. MSP consists of over 60 objects that synthesize, process, analyze and delay audio signals in realtime on a Power PC Mac OS computer. The objects can be grabbed and grouped in a graphical manner to create custom applications that leverage the power of the MAX environment. MSP is useful for musicians, sound designers, educators and researchers. A free Runtime version is available that runs any application created with MSP. It includes the complete set of objects, tutorials, and a number of useful demos.

"MSP will be the vehicle for our future developments in musical signal processing," comments David Wessel, Director at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) at the University of California. "We have been using MAX for years to connect performers to the world of synthesizers and samplers and now, with MSP, this programming environment deals directly with audio signals - a real step towards coherent integration. Flexible control and extensible reactive real-time software synthesis are here at last. Bravo!!"

Using MSP will be a familiar experience to those who have used a patchable analog synthesizer. An oscillator is connected to a filter using patch cords and the sound instantly changes. The 60 objects cover synthesis, input/output, signal processing, sampling, math, control and signal analysis. C programmers can create their own objects to add to this basic collection. MAX 3.5 is required to create and edit MSP applications and is available from Opcode Systems at www.opcode.com.

As part of its educational focus, MSP includes 25 hands-on tutorials written by Christopher Dobrian, author of the highly-regarded MAX manual. It also features an array of online help features and an onscreen oscilloscope that can monitor any point in a DSP patch.


No additional hardware is required to run MSP. A Power PC MacOS computer with Apple's Sound Manager provides 16-bit stereo audio input and output at 44.1kHz. MSP also directly supports 16-bit and 24-bit PCI-based audio hardware from Digidesign and Sonorus with support for cards from Lucid

Technology, Korg and Emagic in the future. MAX 3.5 is required to create and edit MSP applications and is available from Opcode Systems at www.opcode.com.

Availability: MSP can be downloaded at the Cycling '74 web site at http://www.cycling74.com. Users transform the trial version into a fully-functional copy of MSP by purchasing an authorization code online

for $295. MSP is also being distributed by the IRCAM Forum user's group (www.ircam.fr/msp), which is also providing MSP versions of IRCAM software to Forum users.

Cycling '74 distributes and supports music software by David Zicarelli, including MSP and M 2.5 (a new version of the classic interactive algorithmic composition program). He wrote the first graphical patch editor, Opcode's DX7 Editor in 1985. Zicarelli also wrote a collection of innovative compositional programs in the 1980s that were distributed by Intelligent Music. These programs included M, Jam Factory, Ovaltune and UpBeat. In 1989, he developed a commercial version of MAX for Opcode Systems in conjunction with Miller Puckette at IRCAM. With a Ph.D in Hearing and Speech Sciences from Stanford University, Zicarelli also teaches and lectures on computer music.

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