Maschine - should I switch?

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mitya33
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Maschine - should I switch?

Post by mitya33 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:16 pm

Hi guys

I got into the world of syntehsis and music-making last year by taking the plunge and buying the amazing MODX8. I did this because it was a compromise between a decent piano (I'm primarily a classical pianist, but with a massive interest in electronic music) and a synth, and since I needed a new piano, it was a good compromise purchase that covered both bases.

Since then, I've learned a lot, and I'm also looking at other workflows. And so it's entered my head that perhaps I should have gone for Maschine (or similar) and a dedicated electric piano (with a better key action than the GHS on the MODX8, which is passable but not something you'd ever choose for dedicated piano-playing.)

Fun as the MODX is to play, it's particularly irksome that it doesn't have a step sequencer, MIDI editor or wave editor, all of which Maschine does (if I'm right?). Playing in drum parts on keys, even though I can quantise for errors, just isn't as efficient as tapping them in with a step sequencer. Nor does it have a looper - you'd have to set up and assign an arpeggio. None of these are criticisms per se since I'm not nearly informed enough to level them; I'm just talking subjectively, and from still very much a noob standpoint.

With this in mind, I have several questions, specifically relating to the Maschine MK3.

- When you buy the hardware box, do you get the software with it? Or do you buy that separately? I can't seem to answer that question however much I look round NI's website... I didn't even twig until quite late on, after watching the Maschine intro vids, that you need software at all. The video literally had a dude just using and talking about the box!

- I'm weary of buying into ecosystems that lock you in and make you buy more and more stuff (hey, Apple). I note that there's many Maschine products; if I bought the MK3, do I need the Jam or Mikro, or other components? And I imagine with the software, too, there's a tonne of upsells and stuff you may need/desire later?

- How heavy is the software in terms of PC requirements? I'm on an 8gb Intel i5 (latest gen) - what, in your experience, does it play nicely on in terms of specs?

- I've heard it said that Maschine isn't really intended for full-on music production, i.e. sequencing an entire song. Why is this? How does it relate to NI's other software, Komplete Kontrol?

- If I buy Maschine, does it come with a stack of samples and voices, or do I have to buy these separately? Does it have a community-led library like Yamaha's Soundmondo or Roland's Axial?

- I wonder if anyone with knowledge of both the MODX/Montage (basically the same device in many respects) and Maschine could comment on how much I'd be giving up (if anything) by moving to Maschine, either in terms of number of patches vs hands-on functionality. Is this a downgrade, or just a sideways move to a very different wokflow?

Sorry for the essay, and thanks in advatnce to anyone who can help! ;) ;)

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meatballfulton
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Re: Maschine - should I switch?

Post by meatballfulton » Tue May 07, 2019 5:49 pm

Yamaha confused the heck out of their customers when they came out with Montage/MODDX. They are not workstations and do not have a fully featured sequencer. The old Motif series were workstations and had full sequencers.

Yamaha maintained the 128 song capability but the Montage "scratchpad sequencer" is designed for people who have good keyboard chops to simply play all the parts in real time without making mistakes, needing to quantize, etc. The idea is they would then transfer the sequence data to a DAW (ideally Cubase, which is bundled with the synth) for any further tweaking, using the Montage/MODX simply as a sound module at that point.

If you just want to make beats and do step sequencing without using a DAW you bought the wrong machine, period, end of story.
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ninja6485
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Re: Maschine - should I switch?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:34 pm

When you buy Machine, you should get both the hardware and the software. I have the original version, which at this point is probably a dinosaur. It's fully capable of doing whole songs, and since it came out they've taken it into the DAW direction, so I would safely assume you would have absolutely no issues whatsoever doing whole songs on the newest version of Machine. Since I haven't tried the latest edition, I really can't give any specific reccomendations, but it definitely has the features you're looking for.

Incidently, Akai has a new MPC which is basically a stand alone DAW in a box that works without having to be hooked up to a computer. THAT could be cool, but it's not cheap.

Whether or not you should switch is a different question. You might be able to just load up a basic DAW, connect what you have and work with it in your computer in a way that would approximate working in maschine. It obviously wouldn't be the same workflow, etc, but at least you could get stuff done
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mitya33
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Re: Maschine - should I switch?

Post by mitya33 » Sat May 11, 2019 4:51 pm

Thank you both for your advice.

@Meatballfulton, well, OK, sure, but that doesn't really help me right now. Anyway I've explained my rationale for why I bought the MODX - it was an excellent compromise at the time between my need for a new piano and wanting to get into synth. At the time I loved the idea of one machine basically doing everything. Sure, it's not a full-on sequencer or DAW-replacer, as you say, and I knew that going in; I can still make whole pieces on it via scenes and the scratchpad sequencer etc.

This thread is really about my maturing tastes. I always knew I might one day sell and move to a setup that more matched my preferred workflow. I didn't necessarily know what that was when I took my first steps.

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