Once again, Native Instruments has upped the ante on the future of the hardware/software drum machine with the announcement of Maschine MkII, Maschine Mikro MkII and the Maschine 1.8 software update. Dubbed “the new generation of Maschine,” both Maschine and Maschine Mikro will receive a major overhaul with new updates to hardware and software, and the addition of the Maschine Stand and colored Custom Kits. But the other announcement, that will have far more reaching effects on work flow and production for any musician vested in the NI Ecosystem, is that Native’s excellent Massive software synth has been included in the new Maschine 1.8 update, providing the user with a new arsenal of virtual synth firepower! More on this later.
The new Maschine hardware is now available in a choice of a black or white chassis, but can be modified with a variety of colors with the new Custom Kit overlays. New backlit multicolored pads provide advanced visual orientation, and the pads have also been updated for increased sensitivity. Re-designed displays provide a wider viewing angle for increased clarity, and the surface layout has been refined with the addition of a master push-encoder and new buttons with a click action.
» Increased sensitivity of the new pads
» Color-Coded Buttons
— The new color-coding lets you see your sounds, and it will enhance your workflow.
» Massive Virtual Synth Included
— When Maschine 1.8 is released, all Maschine users will get the full version of the excellent Massive – the synth that gave birth to the earth-shuddering bass tones and speaker-troubling leads that have helped define the bass music genre. This monster synth contains 1,300 ready-to-go sounds, all instantly browseable via the Maschine hardware. Maschine’s eight control knobs offer direct access to Massive’s eight Macro controls, for perfect synergy between hardware and synthesizer, and a lightning-fast workflow.
» New Master Section
— The Master section has been redesigned. Control volume, tempo and swing with the new multifunction master push encoder – select modes with the new toggle buttons and accurately click through values without having to look at the screen or display. Navigating and scrubbing are much easier, and changing note pitch and detailed tweaking becomes extra-precise thanks to the encoder’s superb physical response.
» Time Stretch & Pitch Shift
— The Maschine 1.8 software includes time stretch and pitch shift capability. Stretch smoothly from one BPM to another, aided by the automatic BPM detection. Or stretch your audio to a specific length – to fit one sample to the same length as another, for example. What’s more, make your beats match harmonically, by tuning your samples with the pitch shift function.
» New Effects
— The latest free software update includes new effects, specially selected for beat production. Transient Master, NI’s dynamics and mixing effect, has now been fully integrated in the Maschine 1.8 software. Ideal for positioning drums and percussion, it lets you mix from front to back, giving each sample exactly the right amount of space. New Tube, Tape Saturator and Tube Saturator effects bring the secrets of analog warmth and natural, harmonic compression to Maschine, for even greater sound coloring potential.
» New Look & Feel
— The new hardware is a leap forward in usability, reliability and aesthetics. The inverted displays provide higher contrast, a better viewing angle for performance or studio, and a sharper look in dark environments. Slightly heavier than before, the controller also works better in a studio set-up and on stage due to the re-worked layout of the controller’s USB-connector and MIDI I/O – less risk of accidental unplugging. Plus, new rubber feet mean increased grip on the desktop, keeping the hardware firmly in place during even the most aggressive beat routines. Simply assign colors to the groups, sounds, patterns, and scenes, and see the pads and group buttons on the hardware light up in the same colors. Make your kick drums red, for example, and you’ll always know which pads play your kicks.
» Host transport control
— Running the Maschine software as a plug-in in your DAW (ProTools not included), use the transport buttons on the Maschine hardware to control transport in the host software. Requires the latest version of the NI Controller Editor.
» New Browser sample preview mode
— Easily scroll through the browser list and pre-hear samples without loading them.
» Revised select screen
— Now includes individual note length and velocity editing.
» Auto-write pinning
— Pin the Auto-Write button for improved automation recording – tweak with two hands!
» New hardware shortcuts
— Select and erase events quickly and easily.
» Panic button
— Immediately cuts off all sound from Maschine.
» Improved missing sample handling
— Now locates files per project – point the Maschine software to the location for one missing file, and it automatically resolves other related missing files.
» Sampler play position indicator
— See the play marker in the sampler wave display – also shown in the hardware display.
» Save Group with samples
— Now you have the option to save Group with samples.
The forthcoming, free Maschine 1.8 software update introduces the new color-coding system. Sounds, groups, patterns and projects can be assigned specific color schemes, which are reflected in the colors of the pads and buttons on the hardware, providing instant visual feedback and improved workflow.
Furthermore, the new software also includes offline time stretching and pitch shifting capabilities as well as a range of new effects, including NI’s dynamic mixing effect Transient Master. Numerous workflow improvements such as Host Transport Control, Browser Sample Preview Mode, Auto-Write Pinning and more plus a number of new hardware shortcuts allow for faster and even more intuitive control of the software via the Maschine hardware.
Another major new addition to the 1.8 update is the inclusion of NI’s synthesizer Massive, noted for its bass and lead sounds. The full version of the synthesizer is included, adding 1,300 additional sounds to the Maschine library. Anyone updating to 1.8 update will receive Massive, existing Maschine users included. The instrument will be available as a download after software registration.
The more compact Maschine Mikro hardware will also be available in black or white versions, and includes the same increased-sensitivity, multicolored pads and clickable buttons. Maschine Mikro runs on the same software as the larger Maschine, so Maschine Mikro owners also get Massive, color-coding, new effects and all workflow improvements.
The new Maschine generation introduces optional accessories. Owners of the new flagship Maschine can customize their hardware with a choice of Custom Kits, interchangeable faceplates and knobs in five color schemes. Applying the new magnetic faceplate is easy and takes only a few seconds – no additional tools are required. Note that Custom Kits are not available for Maschine Mikro.
The second accessory, the Maschine Stand, delivers an optimized viewing angle and improved production ergonomics. Designed for both studio and stage use, the stand has a rugged aluminum construction with a black anodized finish. Used on a desktop, the stand provides a secure, non-slip hold thanks to a system of rubber holding pins and rubber feet. Particularly useful on stage, the included Mounting Adapter connects the unit to standard snare drum stands, for neat integration into drum setups. The Maschine Stand is compatible with the new black/white MK2 hardware AND first generation Maschine, but not Maschine Mikro.
The new Maschine products, including the accessories, will be available from October 1, 2012. All items can be pre-ordered immediately. Pricing: Maschine $669 / €599; Maschine Mikro $399 / €349; Maschine Custom Kits $79 / €69; Maschine Stand $79 / €69.
The Future: In the past, we’ve discussed the possibility of how Native Instruments would use Maschine as the hub to incorporate all of their products into a NI production environment. By incorporating Massive into version 1.8, it appears that the German concern is indeed moving in this direction. Will a future update of the Maschine operating system bring about the inclusion of the famed Komplete bundle into Maschine?