Cycling '74

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Cycling '74
IndustryComputer software
Founded1997; 25 years ago (1997)
FounderDavid Zicarelli
Area served
Number of employees
Subsidiariesc74 Music

Cycling '74 (also known as "C74" and stylized as '74) is an American software development company founded in 1997 by David Zicarelli, headquartered in San Francisco, California and owned by Ableton. The company is best known for their work with the digital signal processing software environment, Max.


Cycling '74 (C74) was founded in 1997 by David Zicarelli to serve as the distributor for his various collections of software.[1] The company's official website states that "the name Cycling '74 comes from a 1974 bicycle catalog from which some of the images that decorated our original site were inspired". The Wayback Machine provides an archive of the website (from December 1998) here.

C74 began producing the MSP extension to Opcode Systems's 1990 program "Max" in the mid 1990s, and in 1998 started distributing both products together.[2] There is no longer a version of Max without audio processing, so the two environments are now technically inseparable.[3]

In June 2017, Ableton announced they had acquired Cycling '74.[4][5]



C74 is perhaps best known as the distributor and current developer of the Max/MSP digital signal processing environment. The company has published the program since 1999,[6] and in 2008 released a major overhaul of the package (released as Max 5). A major Sound on Sound article (August 2008) focused mainly on the new GUI of the software.[3] The new interface was designed using the Juce package. Aside from re-designed graphics, the development of the new system concentrated on the original code base, and has provided integrated documentation and debugging. From the release of Max 5, MSP and Jitter were included in the one package.


MSP is a DSP plug-in for Max, allowing realtime audio synthesis.


Jitter is a plug-in for Max that allows realtime manipulation of 3D graphics and video first released in 2003.


Pluggo was an extension to Max that provided capabilities for VST design. Pluggo was required to export Max "patches" for use in digital audio workstation (DAW) host environments, but has been discontinued[7] since Max 5.

Max for Live[edit]

Max integration into Ableton Live, developed by Ableton and Cycling ’74, to build unique synths and effects, create algorithmic composition tools, or fuse Live and controller hardware into new music machines. Unlike Pluggo, you can edit the device created with Max for Live directly from Live by pressing the edit[8] button.

Record Label[edit]

Founded in 2000, c74 Music was created to release music produced using Cycling '74 technology. The same year, the label released its first record - a live compilation album by the Freight Elevator Quartet.[9] The current artist roster is:


  1. ^ Battino, David; Richards, Kelli (2005). The Art of Digital Music. Backbeat Books. p. 110. ISBN 0-87930-830-3.
  2. ^ Max/MSP FAQ Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Sound on Sound Magazine, August 2008: "Cycling 74 Max 5 - Graphical Programming Environment For Audio & MIDI"
  4. ^ Wilson, Scott (2017-06-06). "Ableton acquires Max for Live developer Cycling '74". Fact. London, UK: The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  5. ^ "Cycling '74 + Ableton". Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  6. ^ Cycling '74 || About Us
  7. ^ "Pluggo Technology Moves to Max for Live | Cycling '74".
  8. ^ "My Perspective on Integrating Max and Live | Cycling '74".
  9. ^ C74 Music