Although steadily growing, Native Instruments’ Maschine software and hardware production station has faced criticism over the years about its workflow’s completeness. Many users request that the Maschine production environment become more like a full-featured DAW that’s able to take a project from scratch to finished, polished production.
To be honest, I have seen my share of competent producers take a track to completion inside Maschine without external processing – save for plug-ins, of course. This Maschine video course if a glowing example. But it’s true that Maschine’s arrangement and track editing facilities don’t feel as complete as they do on, say, AKAI’s competing developments like the MPC Studio or MPC One. Indeed, AKAI put in serious effort to drive home the point that its MPCs are full-featured production stations out of the box.
Things are changing
Luckily, the Maschine team at Native Instruments is set to resolve these woes in upcoming updates. The forthcoming Maschine 2.10 update contains major workflow enhancements, as shared by NI Team members on the company’s message board (forum). These include:
Auto-Growing Patterns – users will no longer have to define pattern lengths in advance. Patterns can be punched in free length and silence at the end is trimmed to the nearest bar. The pattern start and length can be defined post-recording. Personally, pre-set pattern lengths have always irritated me a bit, but the ability to get patterns in time and rhythm is still essential for a tight flow.
Pattern start positions can be defined with start offsets. In other words, patterns get play/loop ranges, not unlike samples. Start and End positions can be moved by dragging the loop range left and right, or from the Maschine controller. Additionally, the pattern play position is now indicated on the LED Touchstrip for Maschine MK3 and Mikro MK3.
The future of Maschine
Following the 2.10 update, team NI will stay focused on expanding Patterns, Scenes, and Song-View mode for more flexibility and improved arrangement. Beta-testing for the next update begin this or next month. The “ultimate goal” is to bring Maschine to the point of producing tracks start to finish inside the environment. This sounds promising and definitely interests me as someone who genuinely enjoys the Maschine combo.