Maschine 1.5 Update :: Making A Good Thing Even Better

03.08-NI-Maschine-1.5-update-pic1Making A Good Thing Even Better…
by Heinrich Zwahlen

Native Instruments has finally released the long awaited (and hotly debated) new version of Maschine, now available as a public beta to all registered users.  It delivers on a string of very important features that will make it much more functional, both as a plug-in in Ableton (or any other DAW), and as a controller.

The main improvements in my view have to do with host automation and support for MIDI CC’s, as well as the ability to configure Macro controls.  The added MPC program import might be equally import to entrenched MPC fans.

The above features alone will likely entice new people to start looking at Maschine as their MIDI drum production and performance tool of choice.

03.08-NI-Maschine-1.5-update-pic2On the production side of things, we now can export patterns as MIDI, much the same way we can with audio.  You can now simply drag n’ drop a drum pattern on a MIDI track in Live to create a MIDI clip, which may then be processed with groove templates.  This also makes it easier to play different sound modules, given Ableton’s inability to transmit VST plug-in MIDI out on multiple MIDI channels.

03.08-NI-Maschine-1.5-update-pic3A new Macro page has been created in the group section…

03.08-NI-Maschine-1.5-update-pic4Which you can use to remote control group and sound parameters conveniently from one location, and as a connection point to controllers for host sequencer automation.

Assign Macros for automation in Ableton, making Maschine happen in Live, or use MIDI learn with your controller via right click and the turn of a knob.

Macro knobs can receive a CC assignment and show up in the automation list of the host sequencer.



MPC sound programs can now be loaded for instant availability on your drum pads.  You also have the option of importing all banks to separate groups or just a single bank.


Or, you might just want to emulate the sound of classic drum machines with the new vintage sound engine.

Another nice feature is the ability to instantly assign a sound with 16 different velocities across all the pads from bottom left (softest) to top right (loudest).

03.08-NI-Maschine-1.5-update-pic9New sampling features have been added by popular demand…

Including some basic destructive editing functions, along with a very smooth zoom and scrolling function, controllable with two knobs.
This feature might even be useful as Ableton audio editor.

Slicing has been upgraded with a new split slice mode that let’s you create a certain number of slices instantly, mapping them to the pads for previewing. In addition, we still can slice by grid or transients. The new manual mode allows for fine tuning of the slices in case the transients were somewhat off. Controlling that process with those hi res knobs and the software display makes that process an unprecedented pleasurable experience;-) remember… a hardware controller is about using less of that mouse.

Speeding up the workflow…
Is the name of the game, and some important actions are much easier to execute in more direct ways (shortcuts) with this update.

Quick changes of volume and tuning for groups and individual sounds…
Is now just one press away on the group selectors or an individual soundpad, then just turn the volume or tuning (tempo) knobs.  This option really opens up new performance possibilities.

Quick replace record by holding rec. and erase button simultaneously.

Silently selecting a sound
by pressing the select button while hitting a pad – another important update for live performers. You can now select a pad for editing without causing that pad to sound.

Selecting MIDI events and adjust ranges…

By pressing the select button also gives us a new option in the left display of the controller, where we can now select/deselect all events of a pattern. Whereas in the right display a range of notes can be selected – something that previously could only be done in the software.

New Voice settings…
With polyphony control has been improved on a sound level for gating/re-triggering, legato mode, and playing with glide.

03.08-NI-Maschine-1.5-update-pic10 Last but not least, there are some important additions to the file menu…

Save project with samples…
Is similar to ‘collect all and save’ in Ableton Live.  This feature helps your projects travel better, or simply  consolidate before backing up.

Defaults under Preferences…
Can be used to set up a start up Template, which helps you to get ready quicker so you can start programing some beats..

My conclusion: I really love this upgrade.  Maschine is also now much more functional in Ableton Live, and the improved integration is very constructive and fun to use.

Happy invasion!

- Heinrich Zwahlen