Well, to give you an idea on the acceptability of max, nearly every tech support person I talk to has never heard of MAX/MSP. The E-MU tech support guy never heard of it and had to download the trial version to test it out. So it is questionable whether they even test their ASIO drivers on the app if they've never heard of it.
I'm sure you experienced good results with the E-MU. Are you using it on an Intel duo core system and XP? I am also beginning to suspect whether the Intel integrated high definition audio system has anything to do with the issues. The fact that it is not a driver but inside the chipset seems to bother me a bit.