With Komplete 11 just being released I wasn’t expecting anything else from Native Instruments. The Maschine Jam has taken me quite by surprise, but it’s a good one. Just look at it!
It looks amazing and really familiar. Obviously there’s some Ableton Push in this device but the wonderfully coloured nature follows other devices such as the Novation Circuit, Launchpad and Akai APC. There’s 8 x 8 pads taking up most of the room. A row of serious looking buttons sit between the pads and the 8 fader/controller type ribbon strips. There’s some nice LED metering going on along side and transport controls along the bottom.
The 8 x 8 matrix can operate as a step sequencer, or for pattern triggering and performance. Switch to keyboard mode and you can specify scales and play the pads as notes. The faders are called “Smart Strips” and can be used for volume of course but you can map them to any controller. They can also be used in a weird way to play instruments in a sort of strumming type fashion.
Of course it’s all Komplete 11 compatible and will integrate perfectly into the horribly unintelligible Maschine browser system. I always get lost in it – but it may just be me.
I really like the Maschine eco system. I have an original Maschine controller and often pine for the colourful soul of the Mk2. For capturing ideas the Maschine software offers a very creative workflow, very different to most DAWs. The integration makes arranging patterns and building up songs really easy. I can see how the Maschine Jam fills in a lot of the gaps in more melodic production as well as providing a more expansive way of playing with your patterns. In some ways the original Maschine tries to do too much and you end up having to juggle pages to keep up. Maschine Jam appears to bring the performance elements and creativity right to the surface.
It looks amazing and is probably a load of fun to play with. Maschine Jam will be available on the 1st October for £319 and comes with the Maschine software a huge library of sounds ready to go. You can pre-order now.
More information available on the Native Instruments’ website.