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Short links for April 7th, 2010

Cadeli Drum Machine

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Cadeli Drum Machine, a Drum Machine for Andoid:

  • You got 8 patterns of 8 tracks each.
  • Design drum patterns in a matrix, add accents to notes.
  • Pitch and Volume control on each track.
  • Tempo control.
  • Export drum patterns as wav files (mono/22khz).
  • Automatic electro/techno style pattern semi-randomly generated.
  • 3 drumkits included (jungle, electro, accoustic)

# Help Us Fight Copyright Violations

Kid Nepro writes:

So I’m sitting at home, minding my own business when I get an e-mail from someone (I can’t say exactly who) that goes on to tell me that there is an auction happening on ebay that has some of my sounds for sale. The e-mail went on to ask me if I knew anything about it.

Air Harp

# The First Round of iPad Apps Is Here: Updated Round-up, More Thoughts

Peter Kirn takes a look at music apps for the Apple iPad:

I’ve completed my round-up of some of the most compelling music creation applications coming to iPad at or near launch: iPad Apps for Music Making: What’s Coming, The Bigger Picture

The revised post includes some new videos and apps introduced over the weekend, so check out the full line-up. My thinking was that putting everything in one place makes it easier to find, and to get a sense of the … well, the bigger picture.

# Roland MC-307 “HipHop East” Loops

Cyberworm posted some new free samples:

45 loops (12 construction kits) sampled from Roland MC307. 65-93 BPM. wav format, 24 bit, 44100 hz, stereo, 62 mb

… and some more Roland samples, this time from the MC-303

# Dan303: Drums By 303. Free drum samples.

Clean and Vocoded one shot drum samples. The drums were taken from the roland MC303 groove box and vocoded using the built in vocoder on the Korg Microkorg.

protrekkr

# protrekkr v2.0 released

ProTrekkr (formerly known as NoiseTrekker by Juan Antonio Arguelles Rius aka Arguru) is a tracker program combining a software synthesizer together with a traditional samples tracker which can be used to create electronic music (like psytrance, trance goa, hard acid, IDM, chip, techno, etc.) for small sized intros, demos or games.

Currently the tracker is supported on Windows, Linux, AmigaOS4, AROS and Mac OSX.

# MOON8 – 8-bit version of Dark Side of the Moon.

Have you ever wondered what Dark Side of the Moon would sound like if Pink Floyd had written it for NES, instead of for a rock band?

THE PROTODECK

# THE PROTODECK, a midibox-based MIDI controller for Ableton Live 8 with Max For Live.

THE PROTODECK controller features:

  • 87 potentiometers
  • 90 buttons
  • 81 rgb leds
  • 2×20 LCD
  • 2 PIC 18F4620 (20MHz RISC processors)
  • fully custom rgb led drivers
  • fully custom firmware
  • 2 MIDI IN/OUT interface
  • power supply unit included in the box
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Sequentix announces Cirklon

Related: , , , , , , , Posted in news on Feb 22, 2010 - comment 0 comments
Sequentix Cirklon

Sequentix has announced the Cirklon, a hardware sequencer.

Cirklon is a totally new hardware sequencer design, with software based on the P3, but greatly improved both in usability and internal operation.

Cirklon features

  • User-interface based around a 240×64 pixel graphic LED display, 19 rotary encoders with push-switches, 2 assignable knobs, 35 high-quality Cherry keys with integrated LEDs, and a further 35 tri-colour status LEDs.
  • 16 tracks, with 5 independent MIDI INs and OUTs to connect a large number of controllers and synths/sound modules while keeping MIDI latency to a minimum.
  • USB MIDI, native CV/gate support, and a dedicated DIN sync output.
  • 32-bit, 72MHz ARM Cortex CPU runs a proprietary sequencer engine to ensure optimum timing accuracy.
  • All MIDI ports are provided by hardware serial ports in the CPU core itself.
  • CV/gate connectivity will be available in two levels – a pair of 12-bit resolution CV and gate outputs, or an external CV breakout box with a large number of CV outs (details to be finalised).
  • Pattern storage is comprised of 2MB battery-backed internal RAM and 512MB internal NAND flash, with a SD/MMC card socket for data backup.

Cirklon is expected to be shipping in low volume in March, for under £1,000 GBP. Details to be announced.

More information: Sequentix / Cirklon

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ThinkGeek releases Bliptronic 5000 LED Synthesizer

ThinkGeek Bliptronic 5000

ThinkGeek has released Bliptronic 5000, an LED synthesizer.

If HAL 9000 mated with R2-D2 and their electronic offspring was tutored by Kraftwerk it would probably end up something like the Bliptronic 5000 LED Synthesizer.

At once a minimalist musical plaything and a hardcore old-skool synthesizer, the Bliptronic defies categorization as it belts out 8-Bit style style tunes from its grid of glowing buttons.

You’ll notice sound similar to a retro Casiotone with an interface not unlike a simplified Yamaha TENORI-ON… if that makes any sense. Either way, once you start touching the keys of the Bliptronic you’ll be hooked by it’s simple pattern-based approach to music.

Bliptronic 5000 features

  • Unusual retro synthesizer is played with a grid of glowing buttons.
  • Create looping patterns and change them dynamically while playing.
  • Chain multiple units together and create more complex melodies.
  • One octave range. 8 notes can be played simultaneously.
  • 8 different old-skool synth sounding instruments to choose from.
  • Sounds created using FM waveform synthesis.
  • Set the BPM (beats per minute) from 60 to 180 in 20 BPM increments.
  • Built in speaker with headphone jack and line-out jack.
  • Front panel is constructed from brushed aluminum.
  • Includes, manual and 2 link cables for connecting additional Bliptronic units.
  • Requires 4 x AA batteries (not included).

The Bliptronic 5000 is available to purchase for $49.99 USD.

More information: Bliptronic 5000

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Short links for November 13th, 2009

Christian Marclay album cover art

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Even retro record covers can be used to create something amazing

There are those who will throw away their old record covers but there are those that will use them to create some mind blowing artistic stuff.

One of them is definitely Christian Marclay, a New York visual artist, DJ and composer who used record covers of Michael Jackson , Doors, Donna Summer, David Bowie and many others for this piece of art. The relationship of sound, vision, music, art and performance is the focus of his work.

More on Christian Marclay

# Waveformless: Free Sample Friday: Pro One Synthetic Percussion

More samples at Tom Shear’s Waveformless blog:

It's hard to believe another weekend is upon us, but it is, so here are some more free samples to get your weekend off to a good start. This time, it's a set of 21 24-bit synthetic percussion sounds I made on my Sequential Pro One

DIY Sound System with garbage cans

# Two Garbage Cans and a Microphone

Rock the party with this DIY sound system.

Peter Kirn writes:

Say you’re an up-and-coming crew with a turntable and some mics. You’ve got a gig this Friday at the middle school gym (the janitor has been bribed appropriately) and the boys on the corner have been passing out your flyers to all the lovely ladies. Everything’s set, except you heard that Kool Herc is coming to battle. Herc and his mighty sound system schooled you last go-round, so you know you need something fresh to rock the bodies proper. Your DIY solution? The 55-gallon drum sound system.

# Tape Pianos Sample Pack

The Control Centre has posted a sample pack features 38 piano samples in 44k 16 bit mono format.

This samplepack contains 3 pianos I recorded to tape in 1998. A Baby Grand, a Fender Rhodes and an old upright a friend of mine had in her back kitchen. I recorded the pianos using a Tascam 244 Cassette Portastudio and a Shure SM58 microphone. The Fender Rhodes was recorded to tape directly from it's line output. The recordings were then sampled using a Yamaha A3000 sampler.

I recently exported the samples from the A3000 sampler to my laptop computer via floppy disk, and then imported them into Ableton Live's Sampler. To save each piano into your Live Library, load the project, then save each sampler as a preset inside Sampler's preset browser. Live will copy the samples to your library automatically.

If you don't have Live 8 and Sampler, you can still use the samples to recreate these pianos in your choice of software.

Kontakt, Wusikstation, and Mutools available here

# The Octapult (YouTube)

The "Octapult" is a kinetic sculpture designed and built on commission by Bradley N. Litwin of Philadelphia, PA. With 8 synchronized catapults, 160 plastic balls per minute are launched, caught, and recirculated. Made mostly of wood, the work is ~36 inches in diameter. On permanent display in the lobby of Lower Merion Elementary School, Merion Station, PA. Also a performing jazz musician, more of Litwin's work may be seen and heard at www.bradlitwin.com.

# XeroWorld

XEROWorld is the next phase in the evolution of online arts & entertainment — a totally new and unique web destination that seamlessly integrates social networking, interactive events, magazine style-news, and online malls.

Yaktronix Electronically Modified Didgeridoo

# Yaktronix: Electronically Modified Didgeridoo

Kyle Evans modified a didgeridoo to experiment in the combination of the organic sound qualities of a didgeridoo with the advanced signal processing capabilities of modern computer programming and sound synthesis.
He writes:

This custom built didgeridoo features externally mounted modules that allow the performer to process and manipulate the sound of the instrument in real time. All control data is transmitted wirelessly via blue tooth and is controlling several audio processes created in a custom-built software environment.

# Review: Roger Linn Design AdrenaLinn Sync

Tom Shear reviews AdrenaLinn Sync, a new software plug-in from Roger Linn Design that provides the same unique beat-synced filter modulation and sequencing effects of our AdrenaLinn III guitar pedal.

Cyrille Arndt DIY Arduino-based MIDI controller

# DIY Arduino-based MIDI controller

Cyrille Arndt’s DIY, standalone Arduino-based, MIDI control surface work-in-progress.

Current features:

  • Heartbeat
  • On-the-fly generated labels from csv files.
  • Limiters (with capability of inversing the range).
  • Every function of the faders and pads is customisable from the desktop software.
  • Different states for the pads (currently on/off or moment).
  • In the desktop software: Selecting the MIDI port (for example for routing over another software).
  • MIDI channel.
  • 6 presets (more possible).
  • RGB pads can be controlled from software like Live to be switched on/off or blinking.
  • Presets also concern the pads.
  • Auto-switch to generated labels if the software is running.
  • New! The buttons above the faders can have different functions : Notes (triggering clip for example), quick change of the function of the fader, preset switching.
  • New! Presets also concern the limiters.
  • New! The bottom buttons can change the preset or the bank (useful in Ableton Live).
  • New! USB port for adding USB connectivity: allows to program it easily and use USB instead of MIDI in cases where it’s necessary.

# Live Music Makers Ask: How Can We Get in Sync?

Peter Kirn writes:

Synchronization is, by definition, a tough thing to do. But musical engineering is replete with challenges; it’s no longer acceptable to simply say “live with it” and walk away. It seems we need both better shared knowledge about what sync is how to make it work, and better engineering solutions on the software and protocols side to support the way users want to work. And yes, we need a new sync standard that goes beyond what’s presently available in MIDI alone

Bleep Labs Thingamagoop 2

# Bleep Labs » Thingamagoop 2 is here!

New in Thingamagoop 2:

  • Analog VCO controlled by analog or digital signal from Arduino. (A separate Arduino board is not required)
  • Sample and hold, Arpeggios, noise, and bit crush effects with open source code so you can program your own sounds!
  • All the analog sounds of the original Thingamagoop.
  • Controllable LEDacle – Ramp and random waveforms with rate control.
  • New modulators – Square wave amplitude modulator and triangle wave pulse width modulator.
  • Tough, stomp box type body with silk screened graphics in 3 different styles.
  • Easy to access battery – No more screws!
  • Much fuller and louder speaker.
  • CV in and out.
  • Arduino Programmer jack. Easily hook an Ardunio board up to the Thingamagoop 2.
  • Kit now comes with a pre-drilled enclosure.
  • Still assembled in Austin, Texas by Dr. Bleep and friends.

# Tunited

Tunited is a groundbreaking new independent music website which will assist new and independent artists and labels gain increased exposure, challenging the flagging music business’ growing reluctance to invest in this exciting area.

The top 100 artists will upload their music catalogue onto the website prior to launch; it will then be made available to the press and music industry for showcasing before the site goes live.

To become a profile artist, please click on the button below to enter your details and upload your track before midnight on 11.12.09. Your music will be judged by Tunited's panel of experts including Midge Ure OBE.

Nerdkits DIY marquee LED array display

# Voice2LED Project

Josh made a LED sign which displays voicemails from his Google Voice account.

I made the LED sign following instructions from this tutorial on Nerdkits.com. The hardware is some LED’s, a nerdkit, a piece of cardboard and a bit of wire that I got from some Cat 5 cable laying around. I cut out the cardboard and printed a grid to help me lay out the LED’s. I think mine were 1 cm apart. The soldering took forever and it was the first real time I did any soldering so it looks kinda crappy. Oh well. It works. The sign itself is powered by a 9 volt battery and receives data from my laptop through the serial port via a USB adapter. All that stuff was included in the Nerdkit when I bought it. The microcontroller is running code from the tutorial I mentioned earlier. One of these days I’m going to make an enclosure for this thing.

# little-scale: FM is for the PEOPLE – VOL. 1 – Out Now!

Sebastian writes:

Compiled by notorious OPL buff , Oxygenstar, this release serves up a healthy dose of frequency modulation synthesis which varies nicely in both style and technique.

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Livid Instruments now shipping OHM64

Related: , , , , , , , , Posted in news on Sep 09, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Livid Instruments OHM64

Livid Instruments is now shipping the OHM64, an adaptable, programmable, and interactive MIDI control surface designed to give you hands-on control over your performance.

High-quality sliders, knobs and buttons provide the interface for creative expression, whether you’re mixing samples and synths or DJ’ing a cutting-edge set. Constructed with an aluminum faceplate and a gorgeous body of hand-finished wood, the quality is felt down to your fingertips. All of our controllers are proudly hand crafted and assembled for artists by artists in our Austin, Texas shop.

Ohm64 has bi-directional talkback communication allowing the controller to talk to your software, and software to your device. MIDI messages can be sent to the Ohm64 to light up the buttons for an interactive performance. Completely programable and mappable, the Ohm64 provides a flexible control surface that be used with any software or setup. Completely USB powered means you don’t have to worry about adapters and and power strips, and it is plug and play so no drivers are required.

OHM64 features

  • TalkBack — All of the buttons have programmable LEDs, so you can create your own interfaces simply by sending MIDI commands back to the Ohm.
  • USB Powered and Plug and Play — The Ohm64 is completely plug and play and USB powered. This means you don’t need drivers to use it and it works with a single USB cable.
  • High Quality Faders and Knobs — The smoothness of the faders and knobs of the Ohm64 give it a true instrument feel. High quality dual rail sliders and all knobs give you precise hands on control.
  • MIDI In and Out — MIDI in and MIDI out jacks let you control analog MIDI devices or connect other controllers to your Ohm64. You can also send MIDI from your computer to the Ohm64.
  • Crossfader — The DJ style crossfader is designed to withstand heavy use and it comes with a custom wood knob designed for performance.
  • Ohm64 Editor — All of the assignments on the Ohm can be changed, remapped, and saved to the Ohm using Livid’s open source Ohm64 Editor software.
  • Custom Design — Livid Instruments controllers are built by hand (with the help of a few robots) and multiple finishes as well as an unfinished model are offered.
  • Software — The Ohm64 comes with a full copy of the Cell DNA VJ software. Also available is a growing library of open source tools to transform you controller into a custom performance instrument.

The OHM64 is now available from the Livid Shop for $599 USD.

More information: Livid Instruments

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Short links for September 3rd, 2009

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Tactile Metronome – Wayne and Layne

Wayne and Layne Tactile Metronome

The Tactile Metronome is a tap-controlled metronome and "beat looper." "Syncopation machine." "Metronome with an attitude."

You tap the piezo speaker to set the frequency. The display shows the beats per minute, and the two buttons adjust the speed.

"Ehhh." "Boring," you say. Not so fast!

You can tap patterns into it, currently up to 12 beats long. As long as you tap the pattern in three times, it jumps in and continues beeping in that rhythm. The metronome can beep in three different tones, so you can play with more than one at a time.

Tactile Metronome features

  • Easy to assemble kit makes for a great learning experience. All parts are easy-to-solder through-hole, with no tiny surface mount parts.
  • Fully open-source design means that everything is freely available and ready to be hacked, including the circuit schematic, PCB layout, part list, and microcontroller firmware.
  • Piezoelectric speaker is used as the pattern input, by simply tapping in the tempo or pattern. Once the metronome learns your pattern, it starts beeping with the same piezo element.
  • Seven-segment displays provide feedback in the form of beats-per-minute (BPM) readings.
  • Custom, professionally-made PCB provides a solid base for happy tappers. All circuit connections are routed on two layers without the use of vias, reducing confusion while assembling.
  • A Pre-programmed Microcontroller means you don’t need a specialized microcontroller programmer to get started with the Tactile Metronome. If you want to experiment with modifying the firmware, an in-circuit serial programming (ICSP) header is provided to enable easy re-programming.

# Stereoklang – Reason Refills – We have been collecting free or demo Reason Refills for over 7 years and of course we are happy to share them with the rest of the world.

All Reason Refills you will find on this site are non-pirated this means that they are free to use in your music production, however we of course encourage you to visit the orginal sites for more information where available.

Circuit bending work station

# Circuit bending work station

Matt the modulator built a deluxe substitution box for experimenting with different resistor & capacitor values for circuit bending.

Circuit bending work station

  • Resistance pots (4k7, 100k, 1m).
  • Capacitance – 12 caps selector poly 47-pf, 100-pf, 470-pf, 1-nf, 4n7 nf, 10-nf, 100nf, 1-uf, 1uf elec 1uf, 4.7uf, 10uf, 100uf.
  • LED.
  • Signal tracer simply a 1w amp maplin kit to trace audio signal in a circuit.

# Drum processing with Depeche Mode (YouTube)

Kerry Hopwood is the Live Programmer/Musical Director for Depeche Mode. When it comes to staging a live DM show, theres no cutting corners. Kerry puts it simply: We need to use tools that work. In concert, Kerry and Depeche Mode rely on Ableton Live as an integral component of shaping the bands drum sound. In this movie, shot at a concert in Berlins Olympiastadion, Kerry discusses the advantages that Live offers for on-stage sound processing.

Giant LED board

# Giant LED Board project

A project featuring Evil Mad Scientists’ Peggy 2.0.

We built a giant LED board, about 6.5×6.5 feet, with 900 LEDs using ping-pong balls as diffusers. It can play Conway's Game of Life, Pong, and Sketch mode that allows you to create a starting pattern for Life. We output board state information to a MIDI board that allows us to make music based on what is displayed. This gets interesting with Life, creating minimalist generative music.

See it in action here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu5ORo3Im1g

# Free Samples: The Icicle Session – Kent Williams has a new free set of samples.
Kent writes:

Last winter I went out and tapped on icicles hanging down from our eaves over the front porch. And apparently I cut it up into a sample set and didn’t do anything with it. These I release into the public domain. Knock yourself out.

# mOne – Open source step sequencer

mOne
  • Hardware Step Sequencer
  • 8 tracks of 8 patterns with 16 steps each
  • Each track can have its own MIDI-Channel (In, Out)
  • Internal resolution of 24 pulses per 1/4 note (PPQN)
  • Recording through external MIDI-equipment
  • External and interal synchronisation (Play, Stop, Resume, Clock)
  • Modify the sequence during playback
  • Open-Source software concept
  • Programmed with Arduino IDE
  • Based on Atmel ATmega1280
  • USB interface for communication with the PC / MAC
  • MIDI interface (MIDI input, MIDI output)
  • 28 silicon buttons, 2 rotary encoders with confirmation and an LCD display

# Röyksopp ‘Tricky tricky’ remix comp

This is yet another shabby attempt at giving something back to our fans – or rather get our fans involved in our shabby doings… Yes, this is an invitation to all of you dedicated souls out there who want to take part in the Röyksopp legacy!

Röyksopp Tricky Tricky Remix

We feel that track “Tricky Tricky” has so much potential, it deserves a life outside the album. Not only is this a chance at beating us at our own game, you also get to mess around with Karin Deijer-Andersson’s extraordinary vocals! Now, how about that?!?

For those about to remix – we salute you!

Señors B + B

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Review: Native Instruments Maschine

Audio production software has come a long way. Where as in the past one would typically use a number of traditional instruments, synthesizers, drum machines, mixing panels, etc., software has opened the door for many home studio musicians to produce music on a budget.

Although you could easily get along using software exclusively, you may still want to use a controller when recording music, so you can actually “play it” instead of programming everything.

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments has recently introduced Maschine, a powerful combination of software and hardware, or as they put it, a complete Groove Production Studio.

MASCHINE combines the flexibility of computer-based music production with the ease of a groove box into one powerful creative tool. Utilizing onboard samples or your own audio files, MASCHINE’s symbiosis of hardware and software not only ensures a fast and fun workflow, but lets you easily turn your ideas into professional productions.

So let’s take a looks at what this Maschine is all about!

Where’s the installation disk?

I generally don’t read manuals anyway, but Native Instruments doesn’t encourage me much either. I open the box and the first thing I see is this lovely control surface. All I can think is “hook it up man, let’s get going!”

I am a long time Windows user though, so I know better than to just hook up anything USB without checking for drivers first. The installation disc was all the way in the bottom of the box, so I almost missed it.

The installation of the drivers and Maschine software was a breeze; it just takes a while to copy all the content from the DVD. After authorizing Maschine in the Service Center, I figured it was a good idea to download the latest update as well. All set to go, let’s see what we have here!

The Hardware

16 pads, transport controls, LCD displays… The Maschine controller does a convincing MPC impersonation, doesn’t it?

Maschine Controller

The controller is quite compact and has a sturdy, high quality feel to it, even though it is only partly metal. Hooking it up to your computer with a USB cable, the Maschine controller powers up with its lovely backlit LEDs. Groovy! I know design is a matter of taste, but I feel NI did a smashing job with the looks of this thing.

The illuminated pads feel nice and responsive (velocity and aftertouch can be configured to your liking) and all of the 41 buttons are backlit. Great for working in a setup with little light, e.g. a live performance.

The controller features 11 endless rotary encoders, which have a smooth feel to them. The two LCD displays are clear and easy to read (as long as the angle is steep enough; the contrast can be adjusted) and have plenty of space to display the parameter pages.

Besides using the controller with the Maschine software, you can also control external MIDI hardware (via MIDI in/out on the back panel) and other software. The pads, knobs and buttons can all be customized with the included controller editor application.

The cool thing is that pretty much everything in Maschine can be done from this dedicated controller. You would almost forget that there is a piece of software doing all the actual work.

The Software

The Maschine software is basically an advanced pattern-based sequencer application which allows you to create patterns, group them, and arrange them in “scenes”. It can be used standalone or as a plug-in, so you can integrate it into your current setup.

Maschine software
Maschine software, a complete music production environment

Some key features of the Maschine software:

  • Browser – the browser provides an interface to all your projects, scenes, instruments, samples, effects, etc. Searching is easy with tag-based searches, key words, and attributes, quite much like KORE.
  • Sequencer & Arranger – the advanced sequencer, or pattern editor, features both step programming and real-time recording. 8 groups of 64 patterns each can be arranged in up to 64 scenes in the arranger section. The sequencer supports live automation for effects, sampler and mixer parameters.
  • Effects – there are 21 effects (or FX) which can be used as insert effects to each group, sound, or the master (in 2 FX slots). You can also create send effects and multi-effects, or route an effect to external gear.
  • Sampler (engine) – records both internal and external audio, audio editing & slicing, resampling, extensive playback features including various envelope and modulation options, and 8 individual stereo outputs (16 mono outs).

Maschine comes with a sound library featuring 5 GB content in 15,000 samples.
It includes 300 drum kits, 280 multi-sampled instruments, 400 sliced loops, 6,500 one shot samples, 100 FX presets and 55 FX chains. You’ll also get 50 projects which are a good way to explore what Maschine can do.

The included sounds were provided by numerous sound designers and artists, including Matthew Herbert, Montana B, Amon Tobin, Goldbaby, Denaun Porter, Sonic Specialists and many others.

The library features a good variety of sounds, mostly suitable for electronic music, i.e. urban, hip hop, R&B, techno, house, dubstep, etc.

Reader question: Torley wanted to know how much of the sample content is new material.

I asked Native Instruments and they told me that even though a few kits were taken from the Battery library, those were remastered through a special mastering setup of high-quality analog outboard gear. The vast majority of the library is brand spanking new material.

Besides using the sound library, you can also use your own samples in Maschine (currently only wav/aiff, but I think REX support will follow). In order to have them available for selection on the hardware controller you will need to import the samples into Maschine’s library (it will create a reference to the sample, not a local copy/move).

It is probably a good idea to tag your imported samples as well. It may take some time to do, but you will be able to find your samples much faster in future projects. If you are familiar with Kore, you will know the power of this type of browser system.

The Magic

However cool the controller might be, without the software you would only be able to use it as a regular MIDI controller. And although the sequencer works fine without the controller, it is when using the complete package that the magic happens.

Reader question: Benebomber wondered if working with Maschine is intuitive, more specifically when digging a bit deeper (e.g. recording your own samples or tweaking them).

I would definitely say it is. When I got the Maschine I opened the box, installed the software, hooked up the controller and a few minutes later I was creating beats. For more advanced things — like recording and editing your own samples — you might want to work on the screen, but you could also do it on the controller itself. Whatever fits your workflow best.
I personally prefer to use the menus on the controller and leave my computer keyboard and mouse alone as much as I can. Maschine is perfect for this.

Native Instruments has a number of excellent Maschine videos showcasing its features, including live recording, sampling, automation, and how to control Ableton Live. Here’s the Maschine introduction video.

An even better way to understand what Maschine is all about though is to actually get some hands-on experience with it. Maschine is just a lot more fun to work with than it is to write about it, so I would advise you to go check it out at your local music shop. You need to tap those pads, browse the sound library and play with some of the demo arrangements to see how you like it.

Maschine retails for an MSRP of $669 USD / 599 EUR, and is available from the NI Online Shop and dealers worldwide.

So what do I think?

From the moment I held it in my hands I loved Maschine’s control surface. I really like the black finish and backlit pads & buttons, and overall it feels like a quality piece of hardware. I’m a bit of a compulsive tapper — tapping beats on my desk all day long — so I am not surprised that I enjoy using these pads to record my beats a lot more than having to construct them with my computer mouse.

Working with the controller is a delight. Incidentally I would have to look something up, but most of the time I could find everything right away, which is telling of Maschine’s intuitiveness. I like the Maschine controller so much that I find myself using it in MIDI mode with other virtual instruments and effects as well.

Maschine’s software is deep, offering much more than the simple pattern-based sequencer it might appear to be. You have detailed control over your sequences, and a vast amount of quality effects and modulations are available, as well as a quality sound library and extensive editing features.

In standalone mode it basically provides you with all you need to create your music from scratch.

Of course, there is still room for improvement as well. I personally did not encounter any real problems, but it is good to know that Native Instruments is working on some important changes for the version 1.1 update, which should make a lot of people happy (e.g. MIDI in/out, REX support, better slicing options).

In short, Maschine is a powerful piece of software bundled with a superb controller. The two work together seamlessly and it truly feels like a proper instrument. Plus, it is tons of fun to work with!

Visit Native Instruments for more information.

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