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Native Instrument Maschine
4.15 4.15 out of 5, based on 10 Reviews

maschine, native instruments, sampler, Drumsampler, goovebox, Midi controller,

11th January 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by Fox Wildboar

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Native Instrument Maschine

Hello! This is my first Review here on GS, but I have been a GS reader for a few years now. I bought the Maschine a few weeks ago, and spent several sleepless nights dissecting it's features. I noticed that most reviews here are on products in the audio domain, so I figured I'd post a review on a MIDI/Sequencing device. Here's what I thought of Maschine:

Most 16-pad sampling devices (MPC, Roland MV, etc) function as a stand-alone unit, complete with built in A/D, MIDI I/O, and built-in sampling software. Hip-Hop heads cherish these devices, as they've been used by many, if not most of the big hip-hop producers.For the tight-budget producers, there are MIDI-only alternatives, such as the Akai MPD18(MSRP $199), which require interfacing into your DAW of choice. It appears that NI tried to bridge the gap with the Maschine. Maschine doesn't have any audio i/o, but comes with a proprietary software specifically designed for the Maschine.

Upon first toying with Maschine's Software, it became painfully clear that using it with a keyboard and mouse is EXTREMELY tedious. The UI is hard to navigate, and is basically ugly, IMHO. The Maschine DAW is clearly designed to be controlled with the device itself. Most of the buttons on the Maschine are labeled to correspond to their function in the software. The backlit led screens ensure that you don't have to look at the computer too often. Having said that though, it is nice to see that there is communication in both directions (changing the hardware reflects on the screen, and vice versa) Once I started fiddling with the hardware, things began to coalesce.

For those of you who are familiar with the MPC, Maschine should feel very familiar. The Sampling Section of the Maschine software is very intuitive, and has a variety of options for how to trigger record for the sample (beat sync, threshold) I started my journey with maschine by sampling my own voice through a microphone on threshold mode. It took about 5 minutes to make a 16-pad drum set out of vocal blips and beeps. The Pads are very responsive which allows for very expressive drum patterns to be produced pretty quickly.

My next experiment was with chopping long samples (dexter gordon sax licks) into phrases. This too was relatively painless. Being able to see/chop/edit the waveforms from the hardware is probably my favorite feature of the maschine.

Once I started laying down drum sequences and patterns, things got a little hairy. The sequencing/pattern/scene interface felt foreign when controlled via hardware, and was downright headache-inducing via software. For laying down simple ideas and compositions, its good, but for complex arrangements, stick to your DAW. (or export audio from Maschine software to your DAW) After an hour of struggling, I decided to test the MIDI/CONTROL Function on the machine. That's when I fell in love.

Using the MIDI Control feature of Maschine, you can bypass the proprietary software, and use maschine as you would any other Midi controller. I like using it to trigger Drum Racks from ableton, and used the knobs and faders to automate software effect parameters.

All in all I was very happy with the Maschine, and now use it in my daily workflow. I was dissapointed with the software, but MIDI mode was a viable alternative. The unit itself has great build quality...brushed alumnium frame, lightweight, and easy to carry...

For $500 street, this is IMHO the best bang for your buck


**Build Quality - Rugged, yet lightweight and small enough to gig with

**Functions - Lots of knobs, faders, and 16 uber-responsive pads

**Built in Library - I didn't cover this in detail, but a lot of usable sounds in here...5.6gb of goodness

** VST Plugin Support...use vst plugins within maschine and use maschine itself as a plugin, pretty impressive.

** Built in software is a nightmare. Some may like it, but for me, MIDI/Control is the only way to use Maschine

**No Audio I/O....gotta get an MPC for that

**Must be used with a computer...not a con exactly...this is inherent in the design.

I hope you enjoyed my review!

13th January 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by RonGherkins

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Native Instrument Maschine

I've owned maschine since March or April of 2010. Since then, it's gone through several software revisions that have been free updates to existing customers (2+ years for some), so I will be reviewing my current version (1.7) with all of its new software features.

Sound Quality 8.5-9.
It's digital, and it doesn't degrade the audio. What more do you want? The sound library is now around 7 gigs and great, although mostly focused on drums which is what I personally wanted. 24 bit, and high quality imo. 2 additional mini content updates added since I bought it which is a big + in my books.

Ease of Use 9
Contrary to the above, I don't find maschine a pain to operate with a mouse and keyboard, although I'd say that's missing the point - the workflow can be as unique as the user. You can operate completely like a computer sequencer, you can operate it completely with the knobs, pads, and buttons, or you can do a combination of the two. Whether you're using it as a midi controller, vst or stand alone program the ease of use is near childlike in simplicity. Designing your own midi templates for third party programs is a breeze, but you can also just google "X maschine template" and do even less work.

Features 8
Needs time stretching and 64 bit

Other than that, it's pretty full featured I'd say - unique hands on workflow (if you want it), supports plugins, strong library and sequencing options (legit swing/step sequencer(both on screen and on the controller)/2 good sized lcds/one of the best midi controllers you can own for ableton live. Or maybe just one of the best midi controllers period.

Bang for Buck 10
This is MY bang for my buck. I've got so much free content and updates pushed to me since I bought it, it's worth mentioning again. The caveat is if maschine 2.0 comes out with new software or a new controller and old users are left pay for an upgrade. Could go either way, and that, combined with the mpc ren. coming out might change that for some.

Either way I feel like I've got my moneys worth - I once dj'd a party with only maschine, I once took maschine on a boat in the middle of a lake (it's usb bus powered only), it's been to clubs, studios, and other countries. I'm hard on it but it's pretty hard to scratch up and can take a beating. It sequences my drums, and controls my ableton live on a daily basis nearly flawlessly.

MPC USERS (all I'll say on the maschine vs mpc debate) - If you are looking for a standalone MPC replacement, this isn't it. If you're looking to replicate the workflow ITB and you have a daw to run in conjunction with it, this is the best product out, and will probably continue to be that until at least a few revisions of the renaissance.

Maschine also has a large community, and a lot of really neat 3rd party options out to make your maschine look amazing and unique. Faceplates, woodtrim, knobs etc.

TLDR: Big maschine fan here, after putting it through all its paces.

16th January 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by alistcat

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Native Instrument Maschine

Hands down, I love the Maschine, if it was lost / broke / stolen, I would get another. It's even worth the extra money for the real version vs the micro.

For the purposes of this review, I'm assuming you know what a Maschine is, fundamentally, you want to know if it's any good. Yes, it is.

You should know that I was fundamentally broken in the beats department. Everything I made was either contrived or crap. One of the main reasons I got Maschine was to help this, and I think I've gotten better. That should the question of any instrument that's worth working with, does one improve in relation to the investment of time, money and energy?

Maschine Plugin / Standalone. I'm not sure what irritates people about this interface, it is aesthetically pleasing, and once you learn your way around, it feels fairly intuitive. There are things which don't work as well as I would like, the MIDI editor is slick, but sometimes doesn't do what I want the first time. The arranger doesn't support drag and drop for scenes. The little things like that, which can be addressed by updates, are my only qualms with the computer interface.

The included kits / samples are fairly high quality and diverse, if you're into electronic / hip hop music. If you're looking for an acoustic sound, there are a few options, but most are fairly lackluster. The notable exception to this are the included Abbey Road kits. Regardless, I can usually find something to match the mood of what I'm looking for.

If you're not into stock sounds, this is where Maschine shines, IMO. Any sample, you can drop, slice, velocity / keytrack map. Maschine supports live sampling, so anything which goes into or out of your computer, can be used as a source. If you want to see how samples work together, you can group select in the browser, and drop them into a bunch of pads. If you feed it a drum loop, you can slice it to tempo or manually, and put it on the pads very quickly. It doesn't do everything, you don't get any envelope control, for instance, but the things it does do, it does very very well.

It's tricky to grasp the fundamentals, but once you do, it's amazing how fast you can work on it. The buttons are solid, the knobs are smooth and feel very durable. It's all about the vertical strip of 8 buttons next to the pads, these control the modes of operation, and you'll generally be hitting these with a thumb or another hand while doing other things. This focus on one handed usability (shift control also being centrally located) is huge once you're into your work groove.

The pads can take a pounding, and at times I found the Maschine to be a little quiet for my liking. You can adjust the sensitivity to your liking however.

I have a few, but most of them are probably gaps in my knowledge instead of weaknesses in the software. For instance. My workflow generally consists of building beats a few sounds at a time. When you undo, it undoes the last note, not the last sequence input, so going back to where you started can take a bit. You can't just select / delete the midi for a single pad, without using the mouse.
The midi in at times doesn't pickup my keyboard during rapid phrases, think one out of 1000 notes. This is mildly irritating, and is my biggest pet peeve. No, it's not my keyboard, I thought that first, and it checked out.
It also doesn't support midi in from the computer, only from the port.
I've also had the editor bug out on seriously complicated loops and corrupting my sessions.
The controller editor software, where you edit your midi information is OK, it supports some cool operations (such as CC pressure control on the pads). But it is very tedious to do large amounts of editing.
You can't do anything about the metronome volume or sound, unfortunately. However, you can roll your own very easily with the Note Repeat button.

There are some bugs and glitches, but this is music, do things ever just work? No, we sweat, agonize, toil and trouble to get the things we invision. Once you get over the mild learning curve, Maschine is sheer joy to work with. Just to have a quick sequencer to lay down a steady beat makes practicing guitar and piano much easier, and much less bother then dealing with a drummer. ;P

2nd February 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by elwood88

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Native Instrument Maschine

Hey there,

First time for me writing a review in enlgish so I hope it is good enough to give u a good overview on the NI MASCHINE.

THE Native Instruments MASCHINE:

Maschine is a groove Production Studio made by Native Instruments. It’s a Software based system which can be totally controlled by a solid built hardware controller.
Included are a 6 GB Sample Library with very fine audio samples and a bunch of internal NI FX..

Here some facts, thoughts and experiences:

You can run the software in Standalone mode or as a Plugin in any DAW, in my case Ableton live.

The software works with scenes and patterns(clips) comparable to the Ableton session view, but with more limitation..
You got 8 Instrument groups (labeled A – H) where you can put 16 different sound/instruments on the 16 trigger pads.
For every group you got 16 midi Patterns(Clips) that can be recorded.
This all comes together in the scene view where u can choose which pattern of which group should be played in which scene.. Complicated??
Scene view is not limited on scenes if u want to do bigger projects.
Very cool for writing and a live performance but I think way too complicated for doing an arrangement or a mix down for a whole song.

The hands on feeling with the controller need some practice, but when you got it it’s amazing how it improves your workflow and how much fun you get out of making beats.. You can built a demo of your song without a mouse click and with the two displays on the controller there is no real need for a monitor.

Using it inside Ableton Live 8:

I basically run it as a plugin in Ableton and use the 16 midi ins and 16 audio outs to route the midi & sound in & out of maschine into separate audio tracks for processing.
To get the midi from Maschine into Ableton u can just drag and drop the midi clips into lives session/arrangement view.
Same with exporting audio clips. If you want you can right click a group check pattern drag mode to audio and do the same thing.. It may take 3seconds for processing the midi to audio, but then u got the audio loop of the midi clip to lay down in Ableton.. Just be sure you enabled Loop optimize in the preference tab of Maschine so the loop length stays the same.
With the use of Abletons External Instrument you can send midi and receive audio and it’s much easier than creating a midi + audio track for one sound out of maschine.
Making a good pre routed preset takes some time to fit it to your needs but it’s worth the effort.
I created many presets myself and exchanged with other people using maschine and everybody is using it different. Like anywhere in music there is no magic way to go.

Hardware Controller:

The hardware controller also can work as a standard midi controller.
Just change to midi control mode via a shortcut on the controller (SHIFT + CONTROL).
There some very good preset templates for the control of NI software and u also can emulate some other stuff like Mackie control unit.
Many self made Templates are linked in the NI FORUM.

NI made their own Template for Ableton live but in midi control mode there is a bug with this specific one.
After the controller works 10-20 minutes (doesn’t matter if it’s in midi/maschine mode) it loses the midi connection to live.
The ableton template made by NI doesn’t work anymore and you need to un + re plug the controller.
This doesn’t affect the controller when u switch back to maschine mode and also the other templates f.i. controlling massive work fine. May it’s a problem with LIVE.
I wasn’t able to fix this issue and many people in the NI forum struggle with it. No feedback from NI till now.. I STILL JUST GOT MY SUPPORT TICKET NUMBER!!

Things to mention:

Ableton + Maschine as a Plugin is very CPU heavy and not recommended for use with a slow laptop/PC/Macbook..
I run it on an I MAC I7 3,2 GHz, 8 GB RAM and it works perfectly with really moderate CPU usage..
When I bought maschine I first ran on a 2008 Mac Book and it really made me think of selling it again cause it made me more troubles and glitches as I had before..
May its cause Ableton 8 got some serious bugs and still runs on 32 bit..

Another problem is u can just save the output routing of maschine when u save it as a startup template or when u save it together with a ableton live set. The routing gets lost when you try to save it for a specific drum kit or when u load another kit on the group inside maschine. This bug hopefully gets recognized by NI.

Now some positive stuff again:

With the latest software version it is no problem to run external 3rd party software Plugins and the house made Komplete 8 with all its instruments is seamless integrated into the maschine software. The Komplete Synths and samplers can be controlled by the hardware and the presets are tagged pretty well in the Library.
Importing your own sample library is very easy and can be tagged also.

The Triggerpads look and feel 100 % professional and got no issues after nearly one year of regular use..

The latency when playing live is very good when u got a MacBook pro and run maschine in standalone mode with low Samplrate.. could get a cpu problem when u use it as a plugin in your daw with many other tracks and processing going on, but till now I aint got a problem with my I mac. and in standalone mode even the white macbook gets very good performance out of it when i just use it as a triggerpad for drum sounds..


I own the maschine since April 2011 and since there I had many struggles and also very pleasant moments with it, but I would never give it away again.
It’s a very creative an easy to use tool and brings back the fun on making music to any digital workstation.
Like all music stuff it also brings some pain in the ass bugs with it but which piece of gear doesn’t.
If you know one please tell me..
For me it’s the only one of its kind on the market and with some further improvement it totally fits my needs.
The price range isn’t low budget but what u get is worth it…
NI aint got the best customer support but they do kickass music stuff…

Hope you found something useful in there. For specific questions just send me a private message…


8th March 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by Dj K 4 Yahweh

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Native Instrument Maschine

Hi there,
Great review!

i bought the maschine too & soon i'm gonna use it with Live 8... what minimum requirements (Processor, Ram, HDD/SSD) are needed on a laptop to run maschine as a plugin in live 8 while running about 10 audio tracks with about six 3rd party plugins on each track, plus VSTIs?


17th March 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by Drac4209

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Native Instrument Maschine

I have owned the Native Instruments Maschine for a year now, and here is the lowdown:

Native Instruments Maschine is a combination of software and hardware integrated seamlessly to provide a pleasurable production experience.

The Package:
The Maschine comes in a nice box, with plenty of cushioning to prevent injury in-transit. Pulling the controller out of the box you cant help but get that static-shocky my opinion a plus. The disk enclosed will allow you to install the Maschine software, however it is recommended that you go online and upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible to optimize workflow.

The Hardware:
The Maschine Controller is built rather beautifully, and the frame is surprisingly sturdy. It connects to you computer via a USB cable, with an additional Midi In, and Midi Out port on the back...this allows for some interesting controllability if you have multiple computers running.

The controller itself has 16 (4x4) Big "Drum Pad" Buttons, 41 Other Button Elements (Menu Navigation, Group Selection, Transport Control, Etc), and 11 Knobs. The buttons are velocity sensitive, and I must a phenomenal job in allowing "realistic" playability. All of the pads are extremely durable, and the knobs are smooth to the turn...distancing between elements is near-perfect (I would prefer a tiny bit more space between the knobs, but it is nothing to complain about).

When using the controller in midi-mode, all of these elements are assignable to control stuff with the exception of:

The 8 "Group Select" Buttons: These will still select a group for the 16 big pads.
The "Shift" Button: This button is used as a sort of anchor, and remains consistent regardless of the mode you are in. (Holding Shift will allow fine-increment parameter adjustment in both modes) & (Shift + Control will always toggle between drum machine and midi control modes).
The (<) & (>) Page Buttons: These are used to scroll through potential knob pages, which affects the function of the 8 knobs and their respective top-buttons.

You can customize how the controller acts in midi mode using the Controller Editor provided by Native Instruments, it allows for multiple templates with on-the-fly switching between templates right on the controller.

The Software:
Here is how the software is structured: (Bear with me...)

1. The Sounds: You have 8 groups, in each of which you can have 16 sounds.
Each sound, when loaded onto a pad slot...becomes a module called "Sampler": This module allows you to modify various aspects of that particular sound, including Tuning, Portamento, ADSR, Filter, Compression, Drive, Sample Rate Reduction, Bit Crushing, Velocity-Sensitive Envelope, and a Modulation ADSR that is linkable to things like pitch, etc...along with some other stuff.
On top of this "Sampler" Module, you now have 3 other slots...into which you can put various Maschine FX: Compressor, Beat Delay, Grain Stretch, Reverb, ETC.
After The Sampler Module and the 3 other modules you get to the output for that is where it gets fun!
The Maschine utilizes midi-as-audio to allow 16 channels of audio back to your computer, this means if you are using it in Ableton you can assign tracks for respective components...For the mean time we will assume that the output of your Sound goes to Group and the output of your Group goes to Master.
Each group can have 4 Modules on it, and the Master can also have 4.
So for any sound (Assuming above routing) the path is as follows:
Sampler (+Modules S2,S3,S4) -> Group (+Modules G1,G2,G3,G4) -> Master (+Modules M1,M2,M3,M4) = Sound + 11 Possible Modules (4 shared by group, 4 shared by master)
I know this sounds confusing, but it is just an example of how much control you actually have over your sound now!

Transport Structure:
Here is a quick breakdown of how Maschine's transport functions work:

You have 8 Groups, 64 Patterns, and 64 Scenes.
Each Scene = 1 Pattern From Each of the 8 Groups.
Each Pattern = One Sequence of all of the Sounds in that Group.

The way this works is you build a pattern in a group (like a kick/snare thing) then tell that pattern to launch from a specific scene, then for the next scene you can do a variation (like add a hi-hat or something...), then when you trigger the scenes (Either standalone or via Program CCs via your DAW) it will play those scenes - and the patterns enclosed within.

Some Other Coolness:
The Maschine is able to transpose every sound to full-keyboard range, this means that you can have "Group B" (For Example) be all bass sounds...this gives you 16 different basses just in that one group!
The Browser is relatively efficient, although it could be organized better IMO...thats getting picky! You can load up entire drum kits, or swap out individual sounds quickly.
Pretty much everything is automation-capable, from filter-sweeps to grain stretches the possibilities are really does allow you to play a drum machine like an expressive instrument: very cool!
You can quantize, navigate, and browse all from the controller...which for a seasoned producer is HUGE: Not only because it improves workflow, but also because it lets your eyes rest so you can go back to actually feeling the track.
Maschine + Laptop = Most Productive Vacation Ever! (Assuming you didn't forget your headphones! ).

Some Not-So Coolness:
First and foremost: The Maschine itself has no processing of its own, it relies entirely on your computer. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is definitely the most hindering element of the see full functionality of this thing would take some MAJOR processing power; just a heads up. it #1 pet peeve with this thing;
There is no sidechain. No seriously...they built this BEAST of a device, but you cant sidechain within the Maschine software (At least no way that I have found of yet...)
N.I. people if you read this: Please please please give us at least 2 side-chainable channels, and implement them into the Compressor and Gate modules at least! This may not seem like a big deal, but I usually use 6+ sidechains on ALL of my tracks...and to not have it within Maschine is a MAJOR hinderance. Thank you!

For those of you still reading: I hope you found this review somewhat helpful.
The Maschine is a vast production environment that is only truly done justice by full-emersion and personal testing, get it, love it, & don't break it!

- Peace Out & Happy Music Making!

27th April 2012

Native Instruments Maschine by ft13

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Native Instrument Maschine

A few months ago, i finally had enough hard earned cash to finally purchase something i have been looking at since launch: Native Instruments Maschine.

I've always liked the MPC series, but they were "out of my league", so to speak.

As my studio grew, i knew i was in need of something for drums and i *almost* broke down and got an MPC, but then Maschine was released upon the world.

Since i have aquired Maschine, my work flow has never been the a good way!

The ease of use is ridiculous. It's something i'm used to being a long time fan and user of NI products.

I have never built drum loops and sequenced faster then i have using Maschine. It is something i will NEVER part with and will ALWAYS be a part of my studio, thats how much i love this piece of gear!

The only downside that i have run into is the fact that it doesn't utilize dual-core processors, but rumor has it they are releasing a patch to resolve this issue. It's only a matter of time and the fact that its a simple patch and not something i have to "re-purchase" is just awesome. I have the patience for this....

So, to sum things up, Native Instruments have done themselves in this time by making a superior piece of gear that i, along with tons of others, will now never be the same without. No longer will i ever get stuck with "writer's block". No longer will i NOT have fun being creative. No longer will i struggle trying to get whatever is in my head into music-form.

If you have the money, i couldn't suggest a better piece of gear to own and put in your studio!!

11th January 2013

Native Instruments Maschine by kreuzkoelln

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Native Instrument Maschine

Native Instruments is satisfying a lot of types of musical personas. DJs, producers as well as composer always find something to use from this Berlin-based unique company. The powerful groove production tool called Maschine is the link between these professions. Let’s take a closer look at the recent update.

Maschine MK2 comes either in a black or white chassis that can be customized with faceplates of five different colors. This can be a rather pricey modification since these faceplates sell at 69 Euros. The original controller package includes the Maschine 1.8. software and the award-winning, highly distinguished Massive software synthesizer at a price of 599 Euros. Noticeable this isn’t the cheapest piece of gear you’ll be acquiring thus a detailed insight is demanded.

Sixteen pads that can light up in as many colors react perfectly responsive and not too sensitive, menu buttons and turning knobs have a comfortable heavy touch to them. Through and through the updated controller feels worth more than its forerunner. The master section comes with a sizeable rotary knob that can be used for adjusting tempo, volume or the swing rate, enabling new tricks on the fly.

Since the Maschine as a standalone software has been allowing third party plug-ins it has been on its way of becoming a sequencer of its own kind. Even though the live possibilities are numerous the recording sessions held purely with Maschine remain crude. There seems to be a lack of detailed audio editing, being one of the very few negative points.

I’ve been testing the Maschine in my Logic-based workflow as a plug-in instrument. It integrates sufficiently to the environment though if you’re having time changes Maschine will be thrown out of sync and the undo-feature closes Maschine instead of its real function. Hopefully these bugs are to be fixed in upcoming updates.

Another key feature is the Maschine as a MIDI-controller. Not only Native Instrument softwares such as Traktor are greatly controllable, sequencers such as Ableton Live, Logic and Pro Tools can integrate the Maschine to control internal instruments. If you’re planning on doing so keep in mind that mapping this extensive controller can become a pain in somewhere.

All in all this is a serious controller-software-bundle with interesting and creativity supporting features dotted at a rather high but still acceptable price.

16th January 2013

Native Instruments Maschine by Daisuk

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Native Instrument Maschine

I got my NI Maschine about three months ago, and it has been, by far, the instrument I have used the most since then. It's great for creating beats (especially organic "off" beats), but also generally for sample based stuff and also for all the effects possibilities. I don't find it as useful/powerful with soft-synths, but that may be because I'm not a big fan of soft synths in the first place.

The Maschine can do so much! The software that comes with it is very useful as well, I actually prefer using it as a DAW over Ableton Live now, although for the mixdown of a track, Ableton Live seems more useful or easy to use. You can do everything with samples on this thing, slice 'em, edit them, spread them out over the very sweet pads (which are extremely nice to touch and very touch sensitive), not to mention the live sampling feature, which basically lets you sample anything off of your computer (or any sound source) on the fly, and pad it out over the pads.

Very easy to use and intuitive interface, lots of fun to use. Powerful built in effects on the Maschine, but you can also add VST-FX and use them through it, which is pretty awesome. Most of the "in-box" samples (that comes with the maschine) are pretty high quality, ,although I do miss some real power to the kicks, they seem somewhat flat.

Easy to spread out instruments over groups, but you can also use the groups and patterns in various other ways. There are literally tons of ways to use this thing. It obviously have both MIDI in and out.

So, a bit messy, this, but to sum it up;

+ great for beat creation
+ great effect box in its own right (with possibility to use VST-fx)
+ great DAW
+ very intuitive and well-organized
+ fun and easy to use
+ lots and lots of cool features; step-sequencer, routing possibilites for effects, swing, note repeat,
+ a great sampler on its own, lots of sampling features
+ very touch sensitive pads, great to use
+ solid hardware
+ fantastic (large) and high quality pack of samples that comes with the unit
+ incredible unit for the price (you can get one used really, really cheap)

- a lot of the kicks that comes with it sound a bit thin
- using VST instruments with it can be a pain in the ass, but this probably due to my dislike of a lot of VST's in general
- lacks some minor details to be a fully fledged DAW (along with the software)

Can't recommend it enough! One of the most fun instruments I've ever used.

30th March 2015

Native Instruments Maschine by baskervils

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 1 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.5
Native Instrument Maschine

Native Instruments is an interesting company. They make deep, great sounding instruments. I've been recording for 15 years. NI software may have the steepest learning curve.

Using NI gear is not for the faint of heart. Power users can go deep, but don't expect to install and play with little effort.

Maschine is a beautiful device. The hardware is wonderfully built. The sounds are excellent.

Native Instruments software isn't really a DAW. They exist in this strange world that is part plug-in, part DAW, meaning that you can record MIDI directly into standalone versions of their software or plugins, but if you are using Maschine as drums as part of an overall piece, you need a 3rd party DAW. This is when everything starts to become problematic, depending on your DAW

If you want to use Maschine with Ableton Live, it's a disaster. The integration is awful. Setup is convoluted and difficult. Recording requires constant fiddling with the i/o to hear playback.

If you are using a DAW and they already have a control surface, I would recommend avoiding Maschine. A possible compromise is using Maschine sounds with your DAW controller, like Push. Some developers have created apps to help bridge this.


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