AskVideo has released Maschine Virtuosity, Diva Demystified & MachFive 3 Unleashed, three new video courses.
Maschine Virtuosity – Watching Jeremy Ellis demonstrate his legendary finger drumming techniques on Native Instruments’ amazing Maschine is like throwing gasoline on a fire… the result is very, very hot! Learn the secrets of drum pad performance in this exclusive course from the world’s foremost finger drumming virtuoso.
Diva Demystified – u-he Diva is a hungry synth! Hungry to produce the most retro synth sounds of the not-so-distant past. Dig into this deep, Dinosaur Impersonating Virtual Analog synthesizer with synthesist, Rishabh Rajan, and see how you can bring the sounds of the past rushing back to the present!
MachFive 3 Unleashed – MachFive 3 – MOTU’s massive, mothership of a sampler – is full-featured and very deep! But have no fear because MOTU software consultant Matt Vanacoro is here to demystify it! So get ready to learn MachFive 3 faster than the speed of sound in this inspiring 29-tutorial course!
The courses are available to AskVideo’s Full Library Pass members (starting at $25/month).
First there was the Maschine, then came Maschine Mikro, and now Native Instruments has updated both to mk2 with new software features, an improved controller, and additional hardware accessories.
For those who have never heard of Maschine before, it is basically a combination of music production software with a dedicated hardware controller. A tightly integrated system that can be used standalone – including hosting of 3rd party plugins, or as a plugin in another host. The groovebox-like hardware controller can also be used to control external hardware and software via MIDI with Maschine’s MIDI mode.
Now, I realize I am a bit late to the party with this review, and to be honest after checking some earlier reviews I found pretty much everything I would like to say has already been written at Oh Drat. So I’ll try my best not to ruminate and list everything you can already find at the Native Instruments website anyway, and instead just mention a few things I found particularly interesting when using the new Maschine.
Multi-colored pads and group buttons on the Maschine mk2 controller.
While the rainbow colored, toy-like appearance did not appeal to me a whole lot at first, I found myself using color coding on sounds and groups pretty much from day one. I already did the same thing in other music production software to indicate groups of instruments, sounds, effects, etc. and having the same kind of thing in Maschine is a definite workflow improvement for me.
Besides having multi-color LEDs, the pads also have a much improved sensitivity. I thought the pads on the original Maschine were really good, but to me the Mk2 is an order of magnitude better still. The sensitivity is just amazing, even at really low velocities. I can now confidently tap away the night without worrying about waking up my kids in the next room.
I also enjoy the new screens a lot better, easier on the eyes and improved readability. It has helped me to do more from the hardware controller where before I would jump to the computer screen. The fact that you can now audition samples from the hardware before committing helps a lot too.
The new screens on the mk2 are very good in places where you have very little light.
On the whole many of these changes are seemingly minimal improvements, but in fact they are most useful. Like the little click response on buttons, something I didn’t even know I wanted until the mk2 came along, what a lovely improvement.
On the software part I feel that Native Instruments has an extremely difficult job. Besides implementing some of the new features to go with the hardware, there are tons of feature requests from existing and potential customers. It is not likely you’re ever going to be able to please everyone with any update, much less a point update.
Time stretch/pitch shift is a much requested feature that was implemented, but… for some reason it is not a real-time process. While the results of processed audio is impressive, it kind of stumps me why can’t just have a preview and commit function?
The additions of the Transient Master module, some new tape and tube saturation models for the Saturator module, and a free copy of the Massive software synthesizer are nice bonus.
With MASCHINE 1.8, all MASCHINE users get the full version of the modern legend MASSIVE – the synth that gave birth to the earth-shuddering bass tones and speaker-troubling leads that have defined 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.
It is my guess that over time, Native Instruments is going to be integrating more and more of its sounds & effects into the Maschine package.
There are a bunch more improvements, of which I want to mention one that may seem minor but it certainly made my day. You can now use both your hands for recording automation of parameters by pinning down the “Auto Write”. I record automation a whole lot so this little feature is a godsend to me.
What didn’t get much attention is MIDI. I work pretty much completely in the box so it’s no big deal to me, but if you use a lot of external gear and need full MIDI implementation with MIDI CC and multiple outputs, version 1.8 does not yet bring what you’re looking for. Native Instruments never said they would implement this in the update so can’t blame them really, but it would be good to see full MIDI support nonetheless. I haven’t a clue how much work it is to get it implemented, perhaps it will take version 2.0 to get it…
The custom kits are available in a variety of colors.
Some companies were already offering custom stickers and modifications for the original Maschine, so Native Instruments cleverly pulled the market towards themselves by offering a custom kit with faceplate and knobs in various colors. Granted, the pricing of these kits is a bit steep, but I have to say they look really good. Great quality and replacing the magnetic faceplate and knobs is really easy.
The stand is also something you could probably do yourself for less money, but again, great quality piece of hardware and it looks sleek. It can be mounted on standard drum hardware with the included Mounting Adapter.
Alright, to finish I want to show the obligatory Jeremy Ellis video. It should be said that this makes me want to sit down with my Maschine all day, but realize that it is not likely you will ever get anywhere near the amazing stuff he does. At least, this is truth in my case.
Also, for a great overview of everything new in Maschine mk2 and the 1.8 software, check out this excellent video by Dubspot’s Matt Cellitti.
So what do I think?
Product: Native Instruments Maschine mk2 Format: VST/AU/RTAS/Standalone Price: 599 EUR / $669 USD Like: Amazing pads, great screens, many workflow improvements, fun! Don’t like: No real-time time stretch, No full MIDI implementation Verdict: 9/10
Improved pads, screens & workflow, new effects and the Massive synth included. No earth shaking features perhaps, but with mk2 the Maschine platform is moving along rather nicely.
At the same retail price of the first model, Native Instruments is definitely offering a superior package with Maschine mk2. For those who already have the original Maschine, the software update is free. Personally, I enjoy the pads and colored LEDs so much to justify getting the mk2, but whether the controller improvements are worth the upgrade or not is up to you.
There is still a lot of room for Maschine to grow, and I am pretty confident that Native Instruments is going to tackle some of the top feature requests in future upgrades, but as is, Maschine mk2 remains an amazing piece of gear. Native Instruments calls it fast, intuitive, powerful and flexible. I call it a joy to work with.
Native Instruments has presented a brand-new video of Mostly Robot, the all-star band made up of five exceptional artists: Jamie Lidell, Tim Exile, Jeremy Ellis, Mr Jimmy and DJ Shiftee.
Conceived by Native Instruments and utilizing an advanced array of NI hardware and software, Mostly Robot played their debut performance at this year’s Sónar Festival in Barcelona to great acclaim.
This new video covers both the actual performance and preparation of the show, blending interviews with exclusive backstage and performance material, and giving viewers the opportunity to witness the birth of this modern supergroup firsthand.
Mostly Robot: Behind the Scenes of Sónar 2012.
Native Instruments also announced further festival appearances of Mostly Robot.
Coinciding with the launch of this video, Native Instruments is also happy to announce new concert dates for Mostly Robot in Europe at the end of the summer, where the band will share stages with the crème-de-la-crème of electronic music. As with their debut show, the live performance will be accompanied by an inventive visual performance by renowned visual collective Pfadfinderei.
September 8th, 2012: Berlin Festival at Night with other acts such as Modeselektor, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinousaurs, Simian Mobile Disco
September 13th, 2012: Electronic Beats Festival Budapest with other acts such as Junior Boys, Nicolas Jaar, Modeselektor
Native Instruments has announced it is offering a chance to win a trip for two people to witness the debut performance of Mostly Robot on June 14th at Sónar Barcelona.
Mostly Robot is a band conceived by Native Instruments, featuring five exceptional musicians who each represent a different area of the company’s musical expertise. The artists – Jamie Lidell, Tim Exile, Jeremy Ellis, Mr Jimmy and DJ Shiftee – will perform in a truly ‘live’ format, with each musician playing independently of the other, synced only by the human element. The music will be accompanied by an inventive visual concept from Berlin’s design collective Pfadfinderei.
The lottery is open to everyone, and the winners will enjoy a four day break in Barcelona – featuring flights, accommodation, two full festival passes and a tapas meal with the band.
Native Instruments has unveiled the details behind the upcoming debut performance by Mostly Robot.
Conceived by the music technology company itself, the band is made up of five highly-renowned musicians, each celebrated in their own field: Jamie Lidell, Tim Exile, Jeremy Ellis, Mr Jimmy and DJ Shiftee.
Channal Robot: (left to right) Jamie Lidell, Tim Exile, Mr Jimmy, DJ Shiftee & Jeremy Ellis
Each of these well-known musicians represents a different area of Native Instruments’ expertise – utilizing a vast range of hardware and software in a live band format. On stage, the artists will pioneer a creative interplay between technology and each other’s musical virtuosity, placing themselves in the tradition of inspiring jazz concerts by improvising with each other. Mostly Robot play truly ‘live’– instruments are synced only by the human element, with no MIDI clock or prepared grid obstructing their creativity. What’s more, the Sónar showcase is a rare moment to catch a glimpse of yet unreleased song material from individual band members.
Additionally, the music will be accompanied by an inventive visual concept from Berlin’s design collective Pfadfinderei. Using the note events, controller data and audio material created during the live show, visual elements are developed in real time on screen so the audience can follow the musical wizardry of Mostly Robot.