Patcher Preferences

Patcher Preferences

Max remembers many of your working preferences associated with various details of working in a Patcher window by storing settings each time you quit the application. The first time you use Max, a folder containing your preferences is created.

Some of these preferences are set for things you use often, such as using segmented patch cords or providing assistance on objects and abstractions you use while patching.

Other parameters involve ways that Max responds to you as you patch.

Scheduler parameter settings may be viewed and set using the Preferences Window.


Viewing the Patcher Preferences

  • Choose Preferences... from the Max menu. The Preferences Window will be shown
  • Locate the Patcher category to show the Patcher preference settings.

Getting information about a Patcher Preferences setting

  • Position your cursor over the Setting column of any row in the window to see the setting's info button. Hover over the button to see a brief description of the setting.


When Auto Fix Width is checked, Max will automatically adjust the width of all object boxes, a comments, or a message boxes to accommodate all the text they contain on a single line.

About the scheduler settings:

When Overdrive is enabled, Max gives priority to timing and MIDI processing over screen drawing and user interface tasks such as responding to mouse clicks. If you are primarily going to be using Max for MIDI or audio processing, Overdrive should be enabled. If you are primarily going to be using Jitter, Overdrive should be disabled.

For many Max users, Overdrive is the only scheduler parameter that they will ever set.


Enabling/disabling Overdrive

  • Choose Overdrive from the Options menu. The Overdrive menu item will be checked, and Overdrive will be enabled (the Overdrive Value in the Scheduler tab of the Preferences Window will be updated to indicate your choice).

To disable Overdrive, choose Overdrive from the Options menu. The menu item will be unchecked to indicate that Overdrive is disabled.


Refresh Rate sets the rate, in Hz., at which Max attempts to update the interface (The actual refresh rate may be higher or lower depending on various application and operating system activities, and overall system load). A lower setting (e.g. 5) means that Max will update the interface more slowly, but run more efficiently, while a higher value (e.g. 60) will mean that the interface is faster and more responsive. The default value is 30 Hz.

Scheduler slop is the amount of time, in milliseconds, the scheduler is permitted to fall behind actual time before correcting the scheduler time to actual time. The scheduler will fall behind actual time if there are more high priority events than can be processed in real time. Scheduler slop prevents the scheduler from backlogging in such a case with some slop—a threshold. Typically some amount of slop is desired so that high priority events (like a metronome) will maintain long term temporal accuracy despite small temporal deviations. A lower setting (e.g. 1) results in greater short term accuracy, while a higher value (e.g. 100) will mean that the scheduler is more accurate in the long term. The default value is 25 milliseconds.

Sleep Interval sets the amount of time, in milliseconds, that the low priority thread sleeps between servicing the low priority event queue (Low priority events include user interface events, graphics operations, reading files from disk, and other expensive operations that would otherwise cause timing problems for the scheduler). A lower setting (e.g. 1) results in greater responsiveness, while a higher value (e.g. 20) will mean that more time is available for other applications. The default value is 2 milliseconds.

Poll Throttle sets the number of events processed per servicing of the scheduler's high priority event queue (High priority events include MIDI, events generated by metro, tempo, line, delay, pipe, snapshot~, and other scheduler based objects). A lower setting (e.g. 1) means less event clumping, while a higher value (e.g. 100) will result in less of an event backlog. The default value is 20 events.

Event Interval is the rate, in milliseconds, at which Max attempts to update the interface. The actual refresh rate may be higher or lower depending on various application and operating system activities, and overall system load. A lower setting (e.g. 1) will provide greater accuracy in terms of interface updates, while a higher value (e.g. 20) will result in less CPU usage. The default value is 2 ms events.

Queue Throttle sets the number of events processed per servicing of the low priority event queue (Low priority events include user interface events, graphics operations, reading files from disk, and other expensive operations that would otherwise cause timing problems for the scheduler). A lower setting (e.g. 1) means less event clumping, while a higher value (e.g. 100) will result in less of an event backlog. The default value is 10 events.


Changing the Scheduler Settings

  • Choose Preferences... from the Max menu (Macintosh) or the Options menu (Windows) to show the Preferences Window.
  • Locate the Scheduler category to show the Scheduler settings.
  • Double-click on the Value column for the Setting you want to change to show a cursor and text box.
  • Type the new value, followed by a carriage return. The new scheduler value will be set.