NI Maschine MK3

Maschine has been unique innovation in making a computer based setup work like a hardware drum machine similar to the MPC ins some ways, the MK3 takes this to new levels in expanded functionality.

Maschine MK3


Two hi-res full-color displays

The displays on the new MK3 are really nice, give you a great way to browse sounds, plugins, see program data.  You are always in command with displays like this. In the past  most drum machines even the machine itself provided only a small LCD screen that made navigation difficult and cumbersome.  Now with the new displays they make it easy to not have to constantly check your computer screen for more information on your sounds and sequences.

Hosts VST and AU plug-ins

The hybrid hardware/software nature of the Maschine MK3 provides for flexibility you don’t get with regular drum machines one aspect of that flexibility is the hosting ov VST and AU plugins.   This gives you the ability access not just samples but all variety of software synths, samplers, effects, drum modules,  There are so many VST plugins out there it is a world in and of itself.  The on board browser allows you to find sounds as quickly as possible with category organization and tags.    The only limit here is your computing power which can get taxed fairly heavily when loading lots of plugins, effects synthesizers etc… it can add up fast so you do need to be careful, economical with how you use this feature.  But on the other hand having this kind of flexibility can really enable possibilities that don’t exist on many drum machines.


Akai Sample Compatibility 

If you have a bunch of old samples in AKAI MPC (midi production center) format that you don’t use anymore the Maschine can bring them back to life with it’s Akai MPC sample compatibility feature the Maschine has the ability to import samples from your AKAI MPC 4000, MPC 3000, MPC 2500, MPC 2000 (XL), MPC (1000), and the MPC 500.  The Maschine can not only import the samples but also the program data as well.



Threshold Detection

Threshold detection makes sampling an easy process, rather than tapping the sample on button at he exact right time or having to start the sample early to be edited later, with threshold detection the Maschine automatically starts the sample at the right time saving you editing headaches that slow down the creative process.  This really helps when doing a lot of sampling and remixing of sounds via the audio input.


Smart Strip 

The Maschine smart strip is one of a kind in terms of touch strip programming/ playing or tweaking of parameters, for one thing it is longer than most drum machine touch strips.  Using dual touch rather than single touch you get more flexibility to play notes, strum the notes like a string instrument, do pitch bending, and create spacey textural effects in a fun intuitive way by playing the touch pad.



Larger Pads

On many other drum machines, the pads are often about the size needed to accommodate one finger pressing or tapping the pad, while this is ok for just programming a step sequence, many electronic musicians like to play the pads as though they were a hand drum instrument.  In that case two fingers are usually used to play out a beat or sequence in real time on the pads.  The Maschine MK3 gives you larger pads than most drum machines letting you play it as an instrument not just program a step sequence.

Group Macro Controls

Using macro controls you can group assign parameters of your dedicated parameter groups to any/each of the controllers eight encoder knobs.  For instance with macro controls on can to streamline your live playing by grouping your desired parameters and putting them at your fingertips such as effects, groove quantize or virtually any other parameter.   With sounds  it is possible to any parameters in the properties and/or plugins.   Using groups macro controls can be assigned to any parameters in their properties and plugins and also any parameters of a sound in that group. Master Macro controls can be assigned also to any parameters in the master properties and plugins of any channel in the project.


High-Quality Effects

The Maschine MK3 comes with stunning, powerful high quality effects that can transform your sounds and make amazing productions.  The effects can be added to a sound, a group, or applied globally via master effects.  Effects included span from filters to delays, reverb, compression, tape saturation, frequency shifting and more effects are included.

Tag-Based Browser

With the advent of electronic music creation hardware and software sound libraries now measured in the gigabytes, finding the sounds you’re looking for can be difficult if not impossible without some navigational help. Maschine MK3 uses a tag based approach that lets you search for sounds in the same way you might search the internet or twitter looking for specific tags like “space sound” or “hard drums”.  The tag based browser helps you find the sounds quickly.

Drag-and-Drop Pattern Export

Drag and drop pattern exporting allows you to take your patterns and drag them over to into any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, AKA computer and software) to be used in another program, this means the Maschine can be a midi pattern creator and you can use the sounds from another software program.


Is The Maschine MK3 for Me?


The first thing to check to see if you are a good fit for the MK3 is to look at your computer, the hardware requirements on your computer are fairly strict, on both MAC and Windows you need a CPU of Intel Core i5  or better as well as Windows  7 Service pack 1, On Apple MAC you need OS X 10.11, and both need at least 4 gigs of ram to work, and anyone can tell you 4 GB of ram these days is not optimal by any means, even without a powerful music machine like the Maschine MK3 connected 4 GB of ram is fairly slow, i’d recommend at least 8 to have a good experience.

Computer hardware requirements aside, the next question to ask is if you like the workflow of software/hardware hybrid, for many people this is a good thing as you get the power and flexiblity of both, for others they don’t like having a computer in the mix as much and use it more for post production operations.   The best fit will be someone who is well versed in using the computer for production and wants to integrate a strong piece of hardware to enhance beat productions and live performances.  Another fit will be someone who already has a great computer/laptop and wants an MPC like drum machine that can do much more in terms of sound design and production than just sampling and sequencing.