Opinions on Maschine?

Anyone here using or used Maschine? What do you think?

I’m interested to give it a try because I really like the idea of having a MPC-style workflow that also includes quick x0x-style step programming. The groups and scenes approach to arranging or live improvisation also seems refreshingly straightforward.

The built-in drum synths appear to be excellent, which is nice as I prefer tweakable drums over drum samples.

Finally, after a bit of a hiatus, NI seems to be actively developing the software again having added scale modes and arranger improvements recently.

I have a maschine mikro mk1 and find it useful for making beats, however it’s not as much as a creative instrument that I would have liked. I prefer hardware which is interactive without mouse clicking and predefined sounds/setup. I think the power is there, but the spontaneity is not.
It does however make very interesting and complex sounds/beats and has the capability for inputting the rhythms live so for sure it’s a great tool. But for workflow something which was more standalone and controlled from the hardware itself would be nicer. Maybe the newer version with coloured pads, more controls and larger screens (e.g. studio) would satisfy this need. In summary it’s a very nice complement to more analogue and dynamic gear :). In some ways that’s what you need for rhythm something solid, punchy and regular, but I’d just prefer something with less mouse interaction.

Thanks, helpful. The consensus online seems to be that the regular Maschine is more usable without any computer interaction than the Mikro. Even though I like the smaller footprint of the Mikro, getting the regular model might make more sense for me.

@t2k All three version of Machines ( Mikro,Standart and Studio ) need computer connection. They can not be used independent.

I know they’re controllers and that everything happens in software. :slight_smile:

For your comparison/decision it would be interesting to try in a shop how easy it is to control the software only from the hardware. My impression is that there is still some menu diving to do, which on a smaller screen might also be a challenge. Then again my shruthi’s work fine :-).
For me the difference in price (and desktop space) between the mikro and standard made the choice easy. My main issue with the software is that you don’t create “songs” but instead a series of scenes are chained together. So it’s more like a sequencer than a DAW, even though visually it looks more like the latter. Finally I would say that VST integration inside a DAW also depends on the DAW. For example, AFAIK in Sonar it’s not possible to resize the window so it’s much easier (for me) to use standalone and then import.

For me the difference in price (and desktop space) between the mikro and standard made the choice easy.

Yup, that’s also what attracted me to the Mikro initially. However, having those 8 dedicated knobs with displays above them should come in handy when editing the drum synths.

It’s a bit surprising how big a price difference there is between the Mikro and the regular model.

My main issue with the software is that you don’t create “songs” but instead a series of scenes are chained together.

This is exactly what makes it so attractive for me; it’s one of the very few sequencers out there that allows you to create patters and then reference them so that an edit to a single patter is reflected in all the referenced instances in your track.

So it’s more like a sequencer than a DAW

Again, that’s something that seems interesting to me, but I might very much end up being wrong about this.

Finally I would say that VST integration inside a DAW also depends on the DAW. For example, AFAIK in Sonar it’s not possible to resize the window so it’s much easier (for me) to use standalone and then import.

I am planning to use Maschine stand-alone, so that should be fine.

You don’t want the mini. The 8 knobs give you elektron style parameter locks/x0x sequencing but with the plugins of your choice.

Also unlike every(?) daw it will happily slave to midi clock and can be used to fill a hole in a hardware setup.

Yeah, that’s another thing that came up repeatedly; seems that not being a DAW, or more specifically, not offering real-time loop time-stretching has allowed them to be one of the few pieces of software left that can sync well to external clock.

Had a Maschine MKII. Nice looking hardware. The pad feel is fantastic and the software makes it easy for groovy beats making. Yes there is a difference between Mikro and the bigger version. The studio to me is too big. I didnt like the “stuck to a laptop” feel so I sold it off. Get a UDG case if you want some protection for it.

I’ve been using Maschine (got the regular MkII model, not the Mikro) for the last few weeks and I’m happy to report that I’m really, really liking it so far. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon period, but they seem to have really nailed a pattern-based hardware groovebox workflow that takes the best elements of all the MPC/x0x/Elektron boxes I’ve owned or had the pleasure of playing around with, and then improves on those.

It’s very much not a DAW in the sense that it doesn’t allow you to record audio across multiple patterns in your arrangement. It also doesn’t allow you to capture a performance (mutes or automation) across multiple patterns. Oh, and it also doesn’t do real-time time stretching.

The software does feel a bit awkward in some cases; there’s still no Retina support, and right-click is used to delete things in some cases where you’d expect a context menu. Both of these are supposed to get fixed some time in the future.

But what it does, it seems to do in an extremely rock-solid way. It’s so far the only piece of audio software that I haven’t been able to crash. It also just keeps on going when you unplug the controller (and picks back up when you plug it back in), or when you unplug any other USB audio or midi device.

Built-in effects and drum synths are very nice, and the included instruments are fine too. It comes with one of the most well-organized drum sample libraries I ever came across.

And the pads are lovely. They’re much better than the pads on the Analog Rytm, and even a little nicer than those on the Launchpad Pro.

It has the best and fastest sampling workflow I’ve ever seen. I really got spoiled by how easy and quick the sampling workflow was with OctaMED on the Amiga back in the early 90s. As a result of that experience, I always ended up doing less sampling with any proper sampler I got after that than I planned to. This has now changed; it’s just extremely pleasing to quickly create sample instruments in Maschine from my external gear, or even to just sample a groove I play on a keyboard, and then tighten up the timing and create variations by chopping up that loop.

Oh, and NI really nailed file management. Their system for organizing and tagging is the best I’ve seen in any piece of music software or hardware so far and makes it extremely quick and easy to find and load stuff straight from the controller. Ironically, they managed to make file management feel less like using a computer than when you perform the same tasks on an MPC, Octatrack, or Analog Rytm (the awkward and slow two-step process of loading samples on the Rytm without any way to pre-listen made that I never really got into sample layering on it at all; don’t get me started on how you get samples into the Rytm…).

All of this is nice, but in the end, the most brilliant thing for me is the way everything in a project is organized in a strictly hierarchical way.

You get 16 sounds (one for each pad; can be anything from a single monophonic sample to any polyphonic VST/AU plug-in) in a group. Each group also has an unlimited number of patterns organized in banks of 16. You can create an unlimited number of groups (again in banks of 16) which are then mixed to a single master output.

At each level (sound, group, master) you can add an unlimited number of effects and you can change the default routing for both the inputs as well as the outputs (allowing for external input, multi-channel output, aux send effects, and side-chaining).

Somehow, this results in a very nice balance between things being organized enough so that you don’t even get confused about how things have been set up, but still flexible enough to do everything I like to be able to do.

To summarize, I’m finally creating tracks again! :slight_smile: