“Hybrid music production system” is a phrase that is often applied to Native Instruments’ Maschine, especially to the newest flagship version, Maschine Studio. In this case, “hybrid music production system” means that Maschine Studio brings together both software and hardware aspects of music production. We’re talking an instrument, a control surface, displays, MIDI I/O (one in, three out), and more, combined with production software that can sequence; sample; host plug-ins; run as an AAX, VST, or Audio Units plug-in (while still hosting VST and Audio Units plug-ins); and serve as a librarian for beats and full track productions, and that comes with loads of effects and instruments and a library of content.
Available in black and white, the Maschine Studio hardware comprises 16 multicolor pads for playing beats and parts, transport controls, an array of dedicated buttons for selecting functions on the fly, stereo LED meters, master volume control knob, and best of all, two beautiful full-color built-in displays. Those displays let you keep your focus 100% on the Maschine Studio hardware, whether you are sequencing, creating beats, working with plug-ins, or working with audio samples — the computer’s monitor and mouse suddenly become non-central to the process. What this means is that you work with Maschine Studio as an instrument for making music. The software and the hardware merge inside the controller into a very usable and inspiring whole.
If you’re making beats or electronic music, Maschine Studio is a no-brainer. But it’s also a great solution for anyone who works with drum instruments, samples, and software instruments. (That’s most of us, these days!) It allows you to get hands on with music production and to work in a streamlined, efficient way that feels natural for a musician. The bundled sounds, instruments, and effects give you great resources for building your productions, and Maschine Studio also integrates perfectly with Native Instruments’ massive (and immensely powerful) Komplete 9 and Komplete 9 Ultimate instrument/sample library/effects collections.
Maschine Studio takes the “hybrid music production system” concept to stratospheric heights. The integration between software and hardware is super tight, the ergonomics are well thought out, the learning curve is easy, and the feature set is complete. Put this one on the “Very Cool, Must Have” list.