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Native Instruments Maschine Reviews

4.5 stars based on 43 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    Maschine is the next evolution in beat production. When I create music on my computer I am using Battery or Ultrabeat. When I am DJing I use my Korg Electribes. I also use Ableton Live for live performance. Maschine merges all of these worlds into one unit. The live performance aspects of this are more than equal to its studio production aspects. The bi-directional communication blows my mind - you don't even need to look at your screen.

  • Scott DeMarko

    Maschine is by far one of the best drum machines and MIDI controllers I have ever owned. The included sounds & kits - including the famous 808 and 909 - are incredible. The electro kits sound amazing and there is a plethora of effects and tuning you can do to really customize the sounds to your liking. Sequencing is incredible and the visualization of Maschine with the digital display and backlit pads makes this the ideal drum machine for any enviroment. If you're in the studio or taking it out on the road it's easy to see, easy to setup, and with a shift + MIDI button press it becomes one of the best controllers I have used with Ableton, Serato, Torq, Traktor, and more! Its an all-around workhorse that any modern producer or live DJ needs to have in their arsenal.

  • from USA/Costa Rica August 19, 2012Music Background:
    PRO DJ

    Maschine

    Definitely check out the You tube clips regarding The Maschine. Check it out and I bet you would be back to buy one of these bad boys.

    I love it and still learning. Its helps to have the dvd tutorial. Which can be purchase via sweetwater.

    Also, as far as pricing and promotions and support. Sweetwater ( Ben Porter) and his support team are awesome.
    Thanks again.

  • from Illinois July 27, 2012Music Background:
    Hip Hop/Rap

    Impressed

    This is a great investment. It's easy to use and the pads are perfect. I'm impressed with it more and more each day. If you have to chance to buy one, don't pass it up.

  • from Atlanta, GA July 17, 2012Music Background:
    Hip Hop Producer, Sound Design

    No Brainer

    ...in one word, "sick!" If you like making beats and you don't buy this for $399 you're robbing yourself of a lot of fun. The ability to use the controller for just about everything is the coolest thing ever; it keeps you from thinking about the computer functions and keeps you in the creative flow of things. I use it with Ableton, the greatest DAW of all times, and whats cool is if I want to play a sound or instrument loaded on one of the pads, I just touch the pad and play it on my Akai MPK mini that sits just below the Maschine on my desktop. This makes production ridiculously fast. I bought Maschine for $399 and got a $30 voucher with it that I'll use to buy Komplete 8 for $199 (crossgrade). Thats Maschine and Komplete 8 for less that what you might pay for either one normally. Go get Maschine asap.

  • from United States June 29, 2012Music Background:
    Music Producer/DJ

    Awesome drum machine/controller

    I really like how easy it was to set up Maschine with Ableton Live. After installing the software, all I had to do was put the Maschine in the Ableton control mode to use it as a clip launcher, and it is very easy to switch back to the Maschine plugin. The pads are pretty accurate for such a compact device, and the knobs are right on target. The Maschine has so much to offer even beyond the plugin and whatever DAW it is used in.

  • from Gastonia, NC June 7, 2012Music Background:
    Producer/DJ

    Perfect!

    This thing is AMAZING! I usually run it with fixed velocity but I can change it to sensitive mode by hitting two buttons. Sampling is made REALLY easy with a FREE application called soundflower. you adjust your audio drivers while it's running and you can instantly record ANY sound onto the Maschine, chop it up with the knobs, and start sampling. There are so many features on this thing. My favorite thing to do with the Maschine is load up a drum kit, then duplicate one of the samples that has a nice tone to it. i'll adjust the pitch to the duplicated samples and throw in some effects to give them a good lead tone. Then I'll be drumming and playing a neat solo with the pads AT THE SAME TIME! This thing is so much fun. I've been messing around with it for just a little more than a week and I've already got it all figured out. And the next software update is rumored to have a TIME STRETCH feature, where you can adjust how long part of a sample plays back. With how simple, fast, fun, and professional it is, while still having tons of features and amazing sounds (not to mention the portability,) I think this thing is the best drum machine/sampler out there. There is a lot you can do with the Maschine, and a lot you can figure out fast. If you're having trouble with the Maschine, make sure you have read the manual. If that doesn't do it, almost any problem you have can be answered by Native Instruments, Sweetwater, or Youtube. Get it!!!!! You won't regret it.

  • from Seattle, WA May 30, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Off tha chain!!!!!!!!

    The best money I have ever spent on gear hands down. And its so easy... R.I.P. MPC :)

  • from May 24, 2012

    OMG!!!!

    Won't be touching an MPC again for a long time. NI killed Akai with this.

  • from College Station, Tx, USA May 18, 2012Music Background:
    Producer

    This is the ultimate beat making tool for all producers!

    The Maschine Hardware/Software has unlimited possibilities for any genre of production!! I recommend this product to any serious producers out there!!

  • from Memphis, TN May 2, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Producer 10+ Years

    this thing is MAJOR

    Top notch... 5 stars...
    Best $600 I've spent in my LIFE!

    I would say this "Maschine" is one of the biggest game changers since the MPC4000. If you've ever used a MPC or the MV8's, you can probably use this thing right out the box... Simple and Powerful.

  • from Stockton, CA April 9, 2012Music Background:
    DJ / Musician

    My new standalone controller

    Maschine whas replaced Logic has my goto standard for music production. Seamless integration with Reaktor & Traktor. Ease of use & workflow are phenomenal. It was integrated into my existing setup without incident.

  • from March 19, 2012Music Background:
    Dj,turntablist,producer,Remixer... Hiphop,RnB,Dance,Electro,Dubstep,

    Best product I ever bought

    I started in the mid 90's DJing and working on an ASR 10.Ive owned an mpc 2000 and mpc 4000,Motiif,Mo phat module,and countless software programs.And this unit is the best thing EVER! If your reading this,just stop and buy this maschine.

  • from Sacramento, CA March 6, 2012Music Background:
    Recording engineer, composer, and artist

    Maschine

    The first Maschine hardware that I receieved was defective. The right LCD display did not function properly. After one call to Sweetwater, they had another one on its way to me! The Maschine from Native Instruments is AWESOME!!! The hardware is very intuitive and well layed out. This hardware takes the need to be a DAW wizard out of the equation of composing music. The ability to use the hardware to bring up instruments, samples, and VST's takes you back to a much simpler and more creative time. I don't have much of an opinion on the Maschine software because simply put, I don't seem to notice it much. I spend the majority of the time looking at the hardware and working directly off of it. I would highly recommend the Maschine to anyone who is looking for a hardware controller with a solid pad surface and an extremely useable software interface.

  • from O.P, KS March 3, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Maschine is Awesome

    Maschine is the best purchase I've made in recent years. It brings a whole new creativity to my music.

  • from Snellville, Georgia USA January 30, 2012Music Background:
    Producer

    Incredible Maschine

    This is truly the MPC killer. I own both Mpc 4000 and the Maschine but i have not used the mpc since I bought this. In just 1 day I was addicted. Simple to use and highly intuitive it makes sampling a breeze. Just push one button and your sample is sliced and mapped to your 16 pads.
    The sounds are vast but can be filtered for quick searches. And last but not least the maschine can be run in Mpc60 or Sp1200 mode. What else do you need I am sold.

  • from Fort Wayne In, USA January 23, 2012Music Background:
    Reccording Engineer,Music Producer

    The best investment I've ever made with in the last 10 years of making music

    Iv had my Maschine for almost 3months now and all i can say is wow. This single device has incressed my workflow significantly, I can make music in a matter of minutes.i can sample beats as good as any big name producer and you can make your own drum kits with the sampler add to the library add plug ins so many things....once you figure everything out (granted iv had this,this long and still dont konw everything) you will be unstopable!

    And yes i thought it was alot of money but its worth every penny!!

  • from Montclair, NJ December 9, 2011Music Background:
    Producer

    Native Instruments Maschine

    This is by far the best groove box production right now. It is absolutely wonderful. The sounds are endless and the manipulation you have on this machine and creative are limitless. Native Instruments does a wonderful job importing ideas from other great MPCs and workstations to create what is the future of today and tomorrow.

  • from Boston, MA December 1, 2011Music Background:
    Producer/ DJ

    A New Standard!!!

    The Maschine is really a breakthrough. It makes putting tracks together quick and easy. I was so Impressed with NI's hardware I purchased toe KOMPLETE 8 Ultimate set for expandability with sounds. Even if you can't afford more virtual machines there is about 7GB of sounds, samples and loops in the Maschine software.

    The only con is the limitations of the software, but then again it's not a complete DAW. But that's where the other features of Maschine come in.

    Drag and dropping, MIDI mapping, and the stand alone VST of Maschine make this con a quick work around. I can use Mashine in multiple ways with any DAW...and if you have Ableton...the hardware works seamlessly. .

    If you are into producing you will absolutely love the NI Maschine.

  • from Madison, WI November 25, 2011Music Background:
    Musician, Recording Hobbyist

    Awesome

    The Maschine is awesome. It is super fun to use/play and there are so many different ways to use this thing that I'm sure it would be a great addition to anyones setup. I have completely changed my workflow with this as the center-piece and I haven't really touched any of my other gear since I got this thing.

    Everything about the Maschine is intuitive and geared around not having to use the keyboard and mouse for much at all. The software interface is really streamlined too, so when you so do use it it's quick and you never have to stop the music. Buttons, knobs and pads are all high quality.

    The stock sounds are great and there are tons of them. I hope to get NI Komplete to put this thing over the edge. My Maschine came with a (very) slimmed down Komplete and the automapping of parameters in the different NI plugins with the rotors and buttons on the Machine rocks. I'm super happy with the Maschine. Love it.

    Not convinced? Spend a night watching some of the youtube videos of Jeremy Ellis playing the Maschine live.

  • from melbourne, fl USA November 4, 2011Music Background:
    certified audio engineer and music producer

    maschine

    maschine is the best software/hardware device ever.. ive used all sorts of things to produce. started out on fl studio, then reason, then mpc, and then i graduated to maschine.. if you love both software and hardware for beat production, maschine is the perfect thing for you.. it basically combines the advantages of a DAW with an mpc-like groove box.. I've used maschine from the very 1st year it came out, and now since 1.6 you can use plug ins and virtual instruments with it.. imagine an mpc 5000 connected to a whole studio of synthesizers, sound banks, and racks.. that's exaclty what Maschine is like since the 1,6 upgrade if you use it with plug ins, minus all the annoying wires and large amounts of space taken up by equipment.

  • from San Luis Obispo, California November 4, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician and Vocalist

    Maschine

    Wonderful piece of gear.. Integrated easily with Digital Performer. Relatively easy to learn and the results are amazing,

  • from kansas city, ks November 1, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    NI Maschine

    quite possibly the coolest new addition to my project studio. Easy to work with and almost limitless possibilities.

  • from Elizabeth, NJ September 8, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Maschine

    NI Maschine doesnt go lacking in any category, it is By far the greatest beat machine ever created. Period!!!!

  • from Richmond, VA July 7, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician, Hip-Hop/Soul Producer

    Amazing!!!

    For years I had been searching for that perfect match of hardware and software to produce music. I have found it in Maschine! It's so easy to use and bridges the gap of analog and digital music production. I'm used to both. Now it's like it's all bundled into one. And sampling is a breeze for hip-hop production. And the stock sounds are amazing. I haven't even loaded my own kits into it. The best feature is the fact I can use other virtual plug-ins right within Maschine. No matter the brand, it all loads up whether it's NI, Arturia, IK, etc... The fact that I can produce a whole track within Maschine without even opening my DAW is just phenominal. Then just export all the wavs and then open in my DAW for vocal recording and mixing. You can't beat it!

  • from New Orleans, LA June 22, 2011Music Background:
    Musician/engineer

    Simply the best!!

    I was as happy as can be with Maschine 1.5. It is the easiest drum machine I have ever touched. The 1.6 upgrade is all icing on a very tasty cake. I am abl;e to do things with drum programs which looked great but were a hassle to program. If you cannot program Maschine, you do not belong playing music. I have never been happier with a single purchase in my life. JUST BUY IT!!!

  • from Puerto Rico April 11, 2011Music Background:
    Having lots of fun!

    Mashine

    The 1.6 update gives you more options to plug-in. It's editor is a lot easier.

  • from Los Angeles, CA November 27, 2010Music Background:
    Emcee turned Producer

    A well-researched hub to my studio

    As a non-MPC user who got into production recently, I was looking for something that was full-featured and fast. There is nothing on the market at ANY pricepoint that is better than the Maschine. I was going to get maybe a decent 700 dollar midi controller with pads to run with a DAW and a sample pack. Total, that could run me 2 grand. Or, I could buy the MPC 5000 which would also cost me 2 grand. Or I could just ask for this for my birthday and pray that someone decides to make a 34 year old man real happy. Shout out to my fiance!

    1. This thing only works with your computer. It cannot work without it. All the power, all the storage, all the sounds are coming from your computer. That's why it's so small. In fact, this along with a decent laptop and small soundcard interface is still smaller and cheaper than an mpc 5000 with a ton more space and power. (Would YOU buy a comp made by akai? Neither would I. But that's exactly what MPC buyers are doing). An NI Maschine + any decent new computer = BETTER than your boy's MPC 5000.

    2. The GUI is amazing. In making my past albums, my producers and I used everything from MPC's to midi controllers to analog synths to Reason, Cubase, etc. etc. etc. Never have I seen anything like the scenes and patterns that comes with the bundled software. It's seriously daunting at first, but a quick trip to youtube and you'll find a tutorial that shows you how to work with it, and then you'll wonder why every sequencer isn't built this way.

    3. 8 banks of 16 pads with 2 effects per pad/bank/project. With the included sounds, you can compose an orchestra. I don't know of a single MPC that has more. You want 10 kicks in your project? Go ahead. 5 snares? Sure. A bank for just sample chops? Go to town. You will NOT run out of space. If you do, you're doing a lot wrong anyway. No, you don't need to layer 10 kicks. Stop it! But I do like to mix sounds that otherwise wouldn't make sense. I don't like to sample, so I'll instead create an 8 bar jazz loop complete with a full jazz brush kit, then layer it with 808's, Vinyl kits, trance kicks, etc. to make the song sound sampled when it isn't. (Completely doable with the included stock sounds, but drums can be found anywhere online, not to mention this thing even reads MPC format kits.)

    4. It has keys. Not just pitch shifting one shots, actual vsti's. Now, it's true you can't use other VSTis with the Maschine, but word just came out about the next upgrade, where any VST plug in or AU will be compatible in a couple months. Remember: all the guts of your Maschine is actually not in the maschine, it's in your computer. You will upgrade your GUI on the maschine and you're on your way. Meanwhile, if you want to upgrade your MPC 5000, you have to (a) wait for it to be INVENTED, then (b) go buy it. AGAIN. The maschine is upward compatible. At best, you'd need to buy a new external to hold all the sounds you'll buy to run with it if you don't already have them from before.

    Basically, there is very little that the Maschine can't do that you would want it to do. Come the next upgrade that's already been anounced, there is likely NOTHING your Maschine won't be able to do, but there will be tons that it would be able to do that your MPC never could or will, and for a ton less than it would take for you to be able to pull it off with software and midi controllers. The only complaint I hear a lot of now is "no time stretch" (which I don't use anyway, but a lot of people do, and the MPC apparently can do it. But add plug-in compatibility, and you'll have it.

  • from Seattle, WA April 6, 2012Music Background:
    Hip Hop Production

    Maschine is great !

    The Maschine is a great tool. I am an MPC user that wanted to integrate the benefits of computer prodution with the feeling of hardware beat making. The Maschine fit the bill. As far as getting up and going it really didnt take very long to understand the basics of Maschine. After having it for a few weeks My work flow has improved drastically. There are still things I like about my MPC that Maschine won't be able to reproduce. For example, The MPC's effects processor. It is very basic but when you hear it you know it. Maschine also has great effects but they are just different. All in all I highly recommend buying Maschine. Especially if you are coming from an MPC.

  • from Santa Fe, NM March 3, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Well designed

    This is a very well designed piece of equipment, and easy to use. The perfect thing for satisfying home production, which is how I use it. I hate mousing around on the computer, and the need for that is greatly reduced with Maschine. It's also fun for impromptu performance.

  • from Charleston, SC November 8, 2011Music Background:
    Performing Artist

    Inspirational Hardware

    From the second this thing came out of the box, my mind started swimming with new ideas for how to incorporate it both in the studio and on stage. It's a sleek pad with a lot of potential to be incorporated into an existing setup. It synced up wonderfully with my MIDI keyboard, and the included Maschine sequencer software is great too.

    Like any new bit of software, it comes with a learning curve, but from the second you start playing with it, you'll get new ideas - like varying the tempo of live songs on the fly, or its possible applications as a stutter editing device in live playback. And for the price, its unbeatable. It may be a bit too step for the starting project studio, but anyone who's been at it for a few years owes it to themselves to pick one of these great pieces up.

  • from Ann Arbor , MI August 17, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, musician, hobbyist

    Awesome!

    Well, I have to say that i am very impressed with this product, Out of the box it was a little bit of a hassle configuring everything so it would run right but soon after i was like a rocket ship going into hyper drive.

    Pros-
    -buttons/knobs are Solid
    -Case is solid, very sturdy
    - very user freindly
    -Can change rhythm/improvise on the spot
    -GReat for live work!

    Cons-
    -A few Minor bugs(I assume thos will be fixed Asap)
    - Very Addictive!

    I honestly Cannot think of any thing bad about this product, I have a couple issues but after all said and done it was my own fault. So, Other than that i would like to say that if you love music and have a home studio, Its a must have and def in the price range of a lower budget studio.
    Enjoy!

  • from Michigan October 21, 2010Music Background:
    Student

    Maschine almost perfect (Inspires and Saves time)

    I am actually blown away, but I can't quite give it 5 stars.

    On the positive, if you work on hip hop, dance, industrial rock or any similar kind of music where a sampler/workstation is the center of your world, maschine will essentially save you massive amounts of time. I swear I've gotten more done in 6 days than the last 4 years with maschine. All my constructive feedback below would still leave me to suggest you get maschine, it's the center of my studio now. It's made writing that much more simple and productive. Just forget MPC's, maschine has them covered now.

    On the negative it doesn't work as well as advertised in Pro Tools 8 and there is no VST plugin support or similar way to use the maschine sequencer to easily trigger Kore, Reaktor, or Kontakt players. Having the ability to use all your NI sound packs with maschine as instruments is all that's really missing from maschine. You can of course do this in your DAW through midi, but that's a bit cumbersome and it IS buggy in Pro Tools. The drag and drop of midi and audio comes up with an error and I seem to not be alone with this, but works prefect in Ableton so this seems to be AVID/Digidesign's fault, not Native Instruments. You can however get around this by dragging the midi/audio from Maschine onto your desk top and immediately drag it from your desk top up into Pro Tools. It leaves you deleting off your desktop at the end of the day and adding a second or two of time doing a double drag, but still is way above having only the option to batch export, so.

    If you're in the market, I wouldn't hesitate buying it.

  • from Ocean City, MD September 26, 2010Music Background:
    Musician, recording engineer

    An awesome adition to any home studio!

    Like many musicians, I was frustrated in recording music, due to the technicalities behind getting the sound I want(commercial CD). To the point of stopping writing for years at a time. From mastering... to getting the right patch for the song, it was all bringing my creativity to a halt.

    Enter the Maschine. I have been eying this unit for years. I bought a Fantom G a couple years ago and love it as a workstation, but the patch quality was lacking... which again, put a halt to writing. Not only did I want new patches, I also wanted an easier way to get my rhythm down on the go... besides heading up to my studio and playing my 18 Piece Roland TD-20 set. Not only does Maschine allow you to get your drums and bass down, it does it in a way that is so easy... it actually brings back the fun in writing. You can have an entire songs worth of drum beat and bass down in minutes. That isnt an exaggeration, it is that easy.

    It comes with 18,000 patches on board(6GB's worth) and another 3500 free for registering the unit. The Achilles heel of my music production is Piano sounds. On the Fantom G, they are thin and very fake sounding. The first piano patch I tried on the Maschine, sounded as good as... or better than any piano I have ever heard. Clear, but warm with crisp grab and bite. I was amazed at how good it sounded. It was my holy grail for my studio.

    Now, not only am I writing quicker... I have fun writing again. Something I havent in 20 years. The Maschines ease of use is what sets it apart from any other unit like it on the market. The creative minds at NI, really thought every aspect of this unit out and maximized its potential.

    So, why the 4.5 in the Overall category? The unit is flawless, except for one oversight that would have made this perfect... Headphones out and the ability to use it without a PC nearby. Had it been a standalone unit, I would have been in heaven... as it would have been the ultimate portable instrument.

    As is, though... There is nothing else like it on the market and you would be hard pressed to find even the highest end keyboard with sounds anywhere near as good as the Maschine. It is portable, if you have a laptop or a Slate Tablet PC, as I do... and that means a lot for the creative musician on the go.

    I cant recommend it enough!

  • from bay area,ca July 1, 2010Music Background:
    hobbyist

    maschine is sweet

    maschine is great.i just came home from work and it was here.pluged it up and its the best software/hardware combo out there.pads are great and very responsive.havent had it but 5 hours so i havent dug in to deep just yet so thats the 4.5.my sales rep Sage was awasome to we played phone tag but he still responded to every call and got me my maschine on time..thanks

  • from Phoenix May 31, 2010Music Background:
    beatmaker aspiring engineer

    Revised Maschine Review

    I wrote a previous review of the maschine when it first came out and was previously dissatisfied with the overall buggyness of the software, the freezes and crashes and such.

    I have since upgraded to 1.5 and really took the time to learn this gear better and so far its alot better than the original version i had so many problems with. It runs alot smoother than when i first picked it up in which it would crash or freeze just about every time i used it.

    The pattern based scene style of laying down tracks is different for me but after grasping the concept of it its a real fun way to lay ideas down and construct arrangements.

    The drums, loops and one shots the maschine comes with are great, there are some other decent sounds in there as well that you gotta do a little pecking around to find but for you old school cats out there Midi out will solve any issues in regards to limitations in the sound set. I even saw how thy used the midi out to use sounds from reason and other programs.

    Still not really comfortable using it as a plug in but i'm still having learning curve issues with logic so it might just be a personal problem. Still seems like a continuing gripe in the NI maschine message board (great place to get tips BTW) For me i had slight latency issues and it seemed like maschines sequencer was bouncing al over the place when they both were running a 4 bar loop. IDK... Drag and drop audio and midi are sure to end ail any gripes in this department. The sampling is pretty good as far as my limited experience with samplers go. Alot smoother than my process in reason having to use 3 different programs to record in logic chop in record and lay out ideas in reason, with maschine you can do everything all inside one program. The hardware is built great, i wish the pads were more raised up like an MPC or MV and the other buttons were hard plastic instead of rubber but they still feel nice and are very responsive, i use the hardware in midi mode in reason and logic and they do the trick just fine. It would be tight if the hardware was upgradable

    I wish some of the other buttons did more in other programs though. I've set the knobs to control various parameters in Reason but i had to set it myself. The buttons i havn't figured out how to put to use if at all possible aside from the group buttons that switch octaves in midi mode

    All and all I do recommend this product to anyone who is into making beats. This is the wave of the future and its a matter of time before we see more maschine like copycats with the hardware with integrated software. I'd recommend one of these over any standalone groovebox at this pricepoint.

  • from South Elgin IL March 12, 2009Music Background:
    Hobbyist - Hip Hop and Dance

    The Maschine

    The maschine is a great it gives you the ability to work with software and hardware at the same time. The sounds are great with 15,000+ sounds that come with it. You can bang your beats out or go to pattern mode and lay the patern out on the pads. I have not sampled on it yet but will soon. The work flow on this is great. I would of gave it 5 stars but it needs more sample chopping options which might happen with an update. If you are thinking about maschine go to NI website and watch the videos to learn how it works. I have made my best beats in the last 2 weeks with Maschine.

  • from Austin, TX May 23, 2012Music Background:
    Producer, Engineer

    Intuitive Production

    I picked up Maschine because I was looking for an improvement in my production workflow. I was tired of writing beats using a mouse and my DAW's on-screen grid or my midi-keyboard. I have piano and drum training so I'm used to playing real instruments and this has helped bring back the element of rhythmic playing, which I like. Overall, it does what it claims to and pretty well. As I'm still getting used to the software, it's hard to rate that part of the product. It's intuitive enough, and while some DAW shortcuts are shared with other popular platforms, others are not which means learning new ones and keeping them separate in your head when running 2 DAW's at once. The hardware device is about a 3.9 out of 5. Build quality is nice, but not superior as the entire body is made of plastic, save a very thin veneer of what feels like brushed aluminum on the face of the device. The rotating knobs are not click-stop, but rather free flowing with a medium-grade resistance. Unfortunately every knob's resistance is not exactly the same so the same pressure used to turn one won't be the same on the next. Because the knobs to do not employ click-stops and because of their varied resistance it's very easy to pass over your intended selection when scrolling through menu options. It gets aggravating over time because you have to be very methodical about your scroll speed. Also, because the knobs are digital, sometimes there are sudden inaccurate jumps. For example, if you're tweaking a frequency cut-off and you are slowly reducing said frequency, sometimes when you reverse the flow, the cut-off will suddenly jump to the bottom of the range instead of tracking back up it. Not entirely accurate. The last little gripe I have about the hardware is that the record button lights up orange just like the majority of the other pads, which can lend to leaving the record enable on accidentally. I would recommend they use a red LED behind the record button to help better highlight when in record mode. Keep in mind too that this is not going to be a "do everything" box. You'll still want to use your favorite plug-in instruments and effects as the standard 6GB library and generic built-in effects won't suffice for long. Also, don't expect to side-chain a compressor. That being said it does improve workflow and definitely speeds up beat writing.

  • from Los Angeles, CA April 4, 2012Music Background:
    emcee/beatmaker/engineer hobbyist.

    Maschine is the best drum machine, but still flawed!

    We're past the Maschine and MPC debate. Simple answer: it's 2012. Stop buying computers made by akai 20 years ago. Use a controller. Right now, Maschine is king of the hill, and Native Instruments is a monster with an ever growing and extremely impressive plug in bundle.

    Problem: it's 2012 and no one makes single core ANYTHINGS anymore, so why doesn't maschine support multicore yet? It supports VST/AU plugs, but with my 4-core 8gb ram PC, I can't use more than 3 or 4 plugins from Komplete 8 Ultimate without cpu spikes. Because of this, I have to take away a star. That, and the lack of sidechaining and true time-stretch, but I can do without those. Multicore for an interface that has been the heir apparent to Kore is an absolute MUST, and Native Instruments is dragging its feet. Literally the best plug in bundle ever, and they limit how you use them with Maschine being so antiquated.

    Add multicore, this gets 10 stars.

  • from Indiana August 18, 2010Music Background:
    music producer

    i recommend it!!!

    def worth the money and it's only going to get better. i would recommend this to all. I was looking for a groovebox sampler that would give the feel of the other hardware pieces and this is it. the workflow is nice swift. i will just keep it short and simple. a great purchase. I'm satisified

  • from Greensboro, NC March 12, 2010Music Background:
    ee & rec eng/producer/lifelong musician with 32 yrs experience

    1.5 Beta is a regression in some respects

    since the other reviews have covered most topics, I'll just say that the Beta release of 1.5 is very buggy and actually f'd up bugs that were fixed in 1.1 !!! wtf is up with that ? I used to test software, and someone should get fired for releasing that to the public...in addition it added some great functionality, but it's the little things that grate me after I'm used to them working...don't update until you hear the reviews, you'll just end up being stuck with projects that won't load from the new version if & when you reinstall and get the previous version running...NI is a great company, but they seem to been very challenged in combing hardware & software...it's still going to be a truly innovative product for the foreseeable future...

  • from Austin, TX, USA. December 8, 2009Music Background:
    Sound Designer, Mix Engineer, Musician

    Not an evolution, but rather a revolution.

    Comparisons to the famed Akai MPC series is inevitable, but Maschine is not another imitation. Once you get past the now archetypal 16 pads, the speed at which you can work will likely blow you away. Native Instruments has successfully merged the world of ever more capable software and the great feel and immediacy of hardware, in one product. Despite the initial growing pains, with the 1.1 update Maschine has matured into a winner and will only get better with the already announced 1.5 update. There are still a few features missing, like no time-stretch, no scene repeat counters, and such...but for what it is, nothing bridges both worlds of hardware and software better than Maschine, at the moment. I haven't touch my beloved MPC in months, and that's a surprise for me as I bought the Maschine initially to augment, not replace. This is an electronic producer's dream, a songwriter's go to tool, a sound designers new secret weapon, and an old crate diggers new inspiration. Maschine is quick becoming the yardstick to measure the competition by. NI has a winner on their hands. Give me Maschine, and Live 8 and I happy.

  • from Eugene, OR May 5, 2012Music Background:
    Music technlogy engineer, audio engineer, software developer, techno head, beat junky

    Not for me... found it to be a waste of time.

    I was initially really excited about the Maschine. Its a good VST host, it comes with a really good sample set, and the quality of the controller is top notch... hands down the best feeling drum-pad controller on the market. I was hoping when I bought this that it would be a game changer, but I found that it actually set me back and prevented me from getting work done. The workflow is just too different and the learning curve is very steep. I usually use Ableton Live and I love that workflow, especially with an APC40.

    The only benefit of the Maschine is that there is a previous and next button for the samples... only problem is that they are in the upper right hand corner and are uncomfortable to hold your hand over because they are just out of the way (imagine holding up your arm for several minutes... it can be exhausting). They should have but the buttons in the lower left corner. Other then that, a Novation Remote SL or Nocturn is superior for controlling effects. I have Spectrasonics Stylus RMX and that software is the shiz-nitz! I like it WAY better then Maschine and Battery 3 combined. I like to output drum buses to separate channels and process them with Live's effects (Or Rob Papen RP-Distort or plug-ins similar like Ozone). This also alows you to use a HUI mixer for levels and pans... which you just can't do in Maschine. I'm not a fan of Native Instruments compressor algorithms.. they are too transparent and don't have enough punch for me... in general, Live's effects are way better. You can only have 4 inserts per channel on the Maschine. I find this to be extremely limiting for more advanced sound sculpting.

    What killed it for me is that I have an UltraNova and I thought that they would work well together but I was sadly disappointed. In fact, I just put in a bad review about the UltraNova because of this but I have recently realized that the Maschine was the weak link. They do NOT work well together. Maschine just doesn't work well with hardware synths in general (good with software synths though). You can sample but its just a pain to sequence MIDI and record a double loop (in and loop bars). I personally like using the APC40 or a launchpad to get clips into Live... if I don't have that with me, I require a transport control which are not on either the Maschine or UltraNova. Also, you can't really sequence the drums in your sequencer... it makes you sequence them in Maschine and there are just so many quarks its just not fun (for me)... I'd rather have a TriggerFinger, padKontrol, or MPDxx.

    So the jest of this review is that if your expecting this to be a game changer, you have to be prepared to completely change your game. Its not just a nice hybrid controller, its a drum Maschine... Its pretty sick and is a very capable sequencer, but it you have to completely change your work flow. For me, it was a huge road block for my mobile setup. Its a good MIDI controller but then again, you wont be able to use the Maschine software that way and then its just a waste of money. The quality of the pads are really good though, probably the best available. I just ordered an MPD26 and I'm not looking forward to the stiff pads, but I just need my old workflow back. Don't let this scare you off if these issues don't effect you but if they do, I'd be weary of the time investment.

  • from cypress ca August 26, 2009Music Background:
    electronic producer

    don't get it until 1.1 update come out

    even after 1.1 come out you have to check before get it

    only good thing of maschine is a controller itself has very nice feel, nice pads and you don't have to watch computer screen while you make beat.

    currently, maschine is totally unusable with any host application daw out there trust me don't get it unless you just want to make some beat for fun in stand alone mode(no midi out no sync with outboard gears) or you have enough money so,can spend $600 on midi controller.

  • from Phoenix Arizona September 12, 2009Music Background:
    Beatmaker aspiring recording engineer

    Great concept extremely buggy, waiting on an update

    I was very excited to pick up the maschine around the time it first came out, i was in awe of what it can do from all of the videos NI put out for it. I even returned a perfectly good Akai MPD 32 and dropped another 300 bucks to get it, thats a decision i currently wish i did not make.

    The unit itself is built very well, much better than any other pad controller out there very solid construction. It is the software that is the problem, it is very buggy and locks up and crashes all the time when setting up pad banks. It is particularly bad in stand alone mode. The sequencer i'm not really too fond of either, it is a bit choppy and it is a pain to have notes land and playback where you tapped or keyed them in. It seems as if the record button throws things out of wack, its ridiculous. I have to manually put notes where they are supposed to be.

    I sometimes use it as a plugin in Logic 8, it works decent as a plug in. What i dont like is you can only get 8 outs to a daw from it right now so i will only use it for drums. The transport controls do not work in other sequencers which is a major drawback to me because i like to use it as a controller in reason 4 and logic, because all of the bugs its unfortunately i do with it.

    I'm hoping in the next update they work out the kinks of the software and give it alot more functionality in midi mode. At this point i'm done with the maschine until i get word of another update personally i wish i would have stuck with the MPD since all i do with the maschine now is use it as a midi controller for drums and loops in reason 4. It doesn't even do that the way i would want it to since most of the buttons and knobs do not do anything in other programs.

    I think NI is having a problem getting it working properly on a Mac, they are having even more problems now that snow leopard just came out. I'm still on the leopard OS though and have a bunch of problems using this device. The functions are relativity simple to figure out if you have any experience with sequencers and groove machines. I've never had no many issues with any other software in my life.

    I will give you the pros though, the drums in this thing are top notch, the other sounds in the box are pretty good too. I'm hoping in another update they can let you chain sounds in one bank together, you sample within the program though which is pretty close and cool in itself. The sampling is pretty solid but i wish they gave you a little more functionality in chopping stuff up, i'd rather use recycle for now. Its rumored in the next update they will allow rex files in it which would be super sweet. The effects in the box are also very good and versatile.

    I think when they work the bugs out the maschine will be awesome, I've been able to make a couple decent slappers with it just trying to learn the thing. I think maybe a recent mac OS update started the problems because it wasn't always this bad. I was actually getting the hang of it quite nicely then it acted up and made it so i didn't want to use it anymore

Reviews

  • Mitch Gallagher
    8-26-2011

    There's a reason that groove boxes such as the MPC and the SP1200 remain in high demand. They're the perfect tools for putting together a beat or even constructing an entire song. But wouldn't it be cool if you could combine what a groove box does with the advantages of a computer? And wouldn't it be even cooler if you still had the same sort of hands-on control over your grooves and song production when using a software version as you did when using a hardware groove box?

    Enter Native Instruments' Maschine, a combination of groove/song- production software and an integrated hardware controller that connects to your computer via USB. Maschine offers everything you need for sampling, beat creating, groove work, and even entire song production. It can run standalone or as a plug-in within just about any Mac or a Windows DAW.

    Maschine includes more than 6GB of material, plus you can add/create your own sounds, loops, and patterns. And we're not talking just hip-hop and electronica here. With its acoustic drum sounds, you can use Maschine to easily create drum/rhythm tracks for any style of music. But if you are working in groove-box-friendly genres, Maschine is simply an ideal tool.

    The key words in that last paragraph are "easily" and "simply." With the tight integration of the hardware controller, you barely need to look at the computer screen at all. So, when you're cranking out grooves, you won't be distracted by the computer.

    A great addition to Maschine is that it can now accept VST and Audio Units plug-ins. You can use either processing plug-ins or virtual instruments. You can apply plug-ins to individual sounds, to loops, to entire parts, or to the overall mix. And here's a cool bonus: when you run Maschine as a plug-in within a host DAW, you can load plug-ins into the Maschine plug-in. It's amazingly powerful and flexible.

    From capturing sounds to programming beats, from arranging songs to designing intricate grooves, Maschine does the job. Native Instruments did it right with this one.

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