Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Maschine - Background on the Beast -

Okay, so everyone wants to know about Maschine.  Deservedly so.  This is the single most useful, inspirational, FAST, extensible, *fun* music making device I've ever used.  Hands down, nothing comes close, how does that sound?

In a previous post, I was mulling finding a balance between hardware tactility found in the old pad based samplers of yesteryear, ie the asr-x pro's, the mpc's, and the flexibility and creativity of software devices a la your garden variety daw like FL Studio or Abelton Live.  The catch was always that the hardware was more fun, more real, more emotional, more groovy, but limited and slow.  Something like naming a few samples could take an afternoon.  We went through that back in the day  because we had to, there was no other way.  But once you've experienced the facilities afforded by mouse, keyboard and computer, with a screen roughly 50 times larger than the basic lcd screens found on these old boxes, well... it is very hard to go back.

So, software is strong on the speed and flexibility, but it has always lacked that tactility the boxes encouraged.  Software has always felt cold, uninspirational.  Just a bland piano roll'ed grid... it is kind of hard to get excited.  Spend most of your time staring at a screen to figure out what is going on.  Yuk, it can just kill creativity, any kind of flow or vibe you get while working on music.

But Maschine has come along and kicked that ying yang duality in the nutz.  It is literally the tactility and grooviness of hands and ears based music, but when you need the keyboard and screen and mouse (and eyes), they're there.  For naming files, or instantiating fx, or any of the myriad mundane tasks that go into making music with technology.

This thing is literally what I've been waiting for since music making/production moved to the computer.

Ni is a bit of a gnarly company, and maybe they are getting too big for their own good, maybe too big for our own good, as I can see them choking out smaller developers, especially in these "difficult economic times", but by god I love them for making Maschine, and all the while, the notion sits squarely in the background of all thoughts of Maschine... this is embryonic.  This is the beginning of what Maschine will really come to be.  NI themselves have really just realized what they have, so much so that they are dumping Kore entirely to make Maschine the centerpiece of what they do.

With that said, there is a lot that is wrong with Maschine, and I'd like to do a few posts about that, because, honestly, when you encounter some of Maschine's limitations, you have to ask yourself, have these Germans ever actually used a beat box, so glaring are some of their omissions.  But I'm late to the party, I bought in at 1.6 where many of the most ridiculous oversights have been corrected.  There are still some, and you'll be hearing about them.  The first will be the pads, as that is what this post was supposed to be about, but larger thoughts entered.  Though I've got a secret decoder ring hint: they suck.

More later, thanks for reading.

And to that ox guy, no wasn't stoned, just psyched to be posting again!

19 comments:

  1. another great article. i got to refer my musician friend to your blog!

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  2. i've heard of this but never seen it in action.

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  3. That sounds cool. You making something right now?

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  4. Never even heard of a Maschine before, very interested for more future posts on it! Going to do some google research too! Glad to hear you are psyched about the blog!

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  5. i've never heard of it, but, i'll try :)

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  6. really still leaning on picking one of these things up. maybe after i grab the s4, but im kinda hesitant to hear the downfalls on it.

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  7. Great write up, my mouth is watering already. Gonna have to break down and get one.

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  8. I going to have to give this a try.

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  9. I think they may have misspelled that word but it still sounds pretty badass.

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  10. First time I've heard about it, good info

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  11. Cool, I'd know that this would be useful for some people I know. I don't personally need this program though.

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  12. Oh ships, I didn't know that. Time to research, thanks for the tip. Tell me they've got pdc?!

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  13. Pdc is one of the main things i'm hoping for but the only details listed for the update so far are 'Advanced sound browsing and parameter mapping for NI instruments and effects' :s

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  14. ... how about generally redone automation. One of the major (second teir) issues NI could use to deal with. See forthcoming post.

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