Maschine: second impressions


Maschine DAW.jpgAs I wrote in Welcome to the Maschine, I was impressed by the novelty and potential of Maschine, though all without trying it out in anger. Now I’ve has a Mikro Mk 3 for a short while, what do I think so far?

Impressions

I’m still pleased I bought it, and am still very much getting to grips with it. As a novice, it isn’t a magic wand, but does give me a different perspective on music creation, something I felt I needed.

Some things are really simple, and others less so. Here’s a mix of things I like and dislike.

Likes

  • The software runs well standalone and inside GarageBand
  • It can also run as an FX plugin, not yet used in anger
  • The Mikro Mk3 is a sturdy piece of kit
  • There is a lot of functionality behind menus and buttons (the manual is huge!)
  • Many of the NI sounds are brilliant (and I only have the basics of Komplete)
  • Making beats on pads is natural, if only my timing was any good!

Dislikes

  • It can be a CPU hog, even when not much is happening. Still early days on this and I may be running more on my iMac than I realise
  • Automation is not simple. For now I think fades will be something I do post-production in Garageband
  • Arranging patterns is both simple and annoying. If you have an idea for a 12 bar slow intro, ending in a couple of bars of bass line emerging, you have to set it up as two scenes. You can’t (as far as I can see) have a pattern not start when a scene starts. It’s a mindset thing but irritating.

Other notes

As a would-be keyboard player, the clever scales / chords features are OK, but I may use less as my keyboard skills improve. I have a midi-controller but it won’t fit the desk as well as the Mikro MK3! In hindsight (and with a crystal ball) I might have waited to get a controller and then invested in the A25. Given the A25 didn’t exist when I got my controller. and I hadn’t started with NI, it’s forgivable!

I also note there’s lots of material on YouTube, but I find less on blogs. I like reading as well as watching, so I’m finding working from video so much a bit annoying, but it is the best way to explain many features!

That’s it for now, more in a month or so. Do share your thoughts!

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