Several models for defining musical events are included. They can be used by defining objects such as sections, shapes, masks, or note structures. It is also possible to play, plot, modify, and examine objects in a number of ways. Extensive online help is available.
In addition to Midi output, the AC Toolbox can write files suitable for use as data in other programs. Score files for Csound and binary OSC files for SuperCollider can be produced. Files for formatting musical notation with FOMUS can be written. Realtime floating-point Midi output via a firewire interface to a Capybara or Pacarana (Kyma) is supported.
Spectral files produced by SPEAR can be used to generate pitch and other data. Midi controllers can control AC Toolbox stream output in real-time.
An important method of creating data in the Toolbox is the use of generators. A number of generators have been included reflecting various approaches to the creation of musical material including tendency masks, stochastic functions, chaotic systems, transition tables, recursive subdivisions, metric indispensabilities, morphological mutations, spectral composition, etc.
The AC Toolbox is implemented in Lisp and input syntax reflects the conventions of this language. It is also possible for a user to extend the Toolbox by adding Lisp functions. Additional generators, tools, and transformers can be defined in Lisp to use with the Toolbox.
Midi output uses CoreMidi, QuickTime Musical Instruments, or Symbolic Sound's Capybara and Pacarana sound computation engines.
The AC Toolbox is distributed as an application. The source code is not distributed. An extensive tutorial in HTML format and a folder of files containing objects related to each chapter of the text is included in the distribution. PDF and EPUB versions of the tutorial are also available.
Version 4.5.7 has been tested on macOS 10.5 and higher. It works with macOS Sierra. It is distributed as an Intel-only application. Earlier versions are available as a universal binary (Intel and PPC).