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NI Maschine and ambient music

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  • #16
    I have been using Maschine for my own genre of music for about 7 years now. Great tool! My only gripe is in the software itself you can't be as complex in arranging as say, ableton and see the whole scope of things. It's been a learning curve learning how to tweak parameters in an exact way etc but i've gotten quite the hang for my ambient/downtempo/psychedelic productions. Was pleasantly surprised to see a thread about it as i never see anyone speak of it outside of hip-hop/house stuff (as you mentioned) ! Keep up the good work brother~


    • #17
      Originally posted by betadecay View Post
      Did you ever finish the manual for NI Maschine?

      Of course not I used the "Getting Started" guide (but I stopped it somewhen) and a video course: - which I found very useful.

      Are you still using Maschine?

      Yes. I must confess, that I was not very productive in the last year, but I took Maschine with me in my summer vacations and made some new tracks with it.

      What is your opinion after more than one year of use?

      I strictly recommend Maschine ;-)

      Joke aside: it is a good tool for processing incoming audio (e.g. I like the internal Granular Delay effect). I recently added a Boss RC-202 Loop Station to my setup, now I can process the looped sounds (coming e.g. from my Folktek Conduit, the microphonic Soundbox or a Korg monotron duo [why is this little thingie not called "duotron"?]) in Maschine and play other instruments in parallel. But none of these tracks is on SoundCloud/Bandcamp yet... I will upload them somewhen later this year.

      Maschine is pattern oriented, so if you worked with a time line oriented DAW like Samplitude before (as I did), you must learn to arrange your tracks in a more pattern oriented way.

      You can play instruments live or let Maschine play them automatically via a MIDI pattern - everything is possible.

      On the other side: Maschine is great to trigger samples - impossible in Samplitude.

      The big advantage to me is: I can play all the Maschine tracks live - what I find extremely nice. All the tracks on my last album "Echoes From The Past" were played and recorded live in my home studio. So if I ever want to perform on stage, I am prepared.

      Here I play live with Maschine: - the iVCS3 from the iPad (the "toads and frogs") is fed into Maschine as well as the microKorg, the percussion and the pads are played automatically and the microKorg is played manually. In the beginning, I use it simply as a MIDI device to trigger a VSTi in Maschine, later the choir is audio from the microKorg himself. I have mapped some functions to the rotary knobs in Maschine, to control the volume of the instruments as well as some effect parameters.

      Of course, one can use automation curves for these things, but then a live performance would be more like hitting the start button and then leave the stage for a drink and wait until it's finished. Possible, but not really live.

      Maybe you have some special tips for ambient music makers using Maschine?

      Yes: be careful, sooner or later you will like to use drums and other percussive things ;-)

      Note: I do not know other similar tools (like ableton live/push or other groove boxes) - perhaps they are more useful. Maschine is close to a DAW, but ableton is far more elaborated than the Maschine software. Perhaps you should also have a look at these things.
      Thanks for your elaborate answer.

      The thing is, I am a long time user of Cubase and I love it, working with midi in Cubase is terrific.
      I have tried almost all other DAW's, mainly just out of curiosity - but I have always stayed with Cubase. And apart from avoiding the trouble of learning a new DAW, not one has the same Midi-capacities as Cubase.

      But at the moment composing linear in a DAW has gotten a bit, how do you say that, long in the tooth.
      I am a bit tired of setting up a new piece in the way I always do, it gets boring. And I don't feel the creativity.

      Then I saw someone performing with a Push/Ableton Live and that looked very promising.
      But I know Ableton LIve a little bit, I have a Lite version, and I never clicked with it.
      I know that apart from the session view you also have a timeline view (I don't know the name), but the whole philosophy behind it just isn't my thing.
      And then the GUI with all those tiny knobs and buttons - it drives me crazy. (I have bad eye sight.)

      So that brings me to Maschine.

      I have viewed a lot of YouTube tutorials and it still got me interested.
      But there is one thing bugging me.
      Those Patterns and Scenes seem rather 'boxy' to me.
      I mean you can't layer sounds across 'borders', every sound is contained within a pattern. And you can't have a pattern across two other patterns. Am I correct?
      Or is there a way to avoid that? Or to work around it?

      Thanks for your patience.


      • #18
        Originally posted by enso lake View Post
        Those Patterns and Scenes seem rather 'boxy' to me.
        I mean you can't layer sounds across 'borders', every sound is contained within a pattern. And you can't have a pattern across two other patterns. Am I correct?
        Or is there a way to avoid that? Or to work around it?
        I do not really understand, what you mean. You can use the same pattern in diferent scenes, that is no problem. But yes: a pattern (or a single note) cannot exceed a scene.

        What I also find a bit annoying: consider you have a scene with a long pattern (1), eg. 4 bars and another pattern (2), eg. 1 bar. While the long pattern is played once, the shorter one is repeated 4 times - (2)-(2)-(2)-(2) to fill the 4 bars. It is not possible, to play 4 different short patterns instead: (3)-(4)-(5)-(6). This is only possible with creating a new 4 bar pattern and the copy-paste.

        What I do not know in the moment is, whether this applies only to loop mode (where a scene is repeated endless until power off or until one switches to another scene) or not. Anyway: I like the loop mode, it keeps my patterns shorter. While a short pattern/scene is repeated for 4 or 5 times, I can slowly adjust volume, cutoff... Otherwise I had to create much longer patterns/scenes for this.
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        • #19
          I've been using Maschine for years -- I was previously an FL Studio user. I find that, despite the "groove box" design, it is fine for ambient work, whether using software synths, samples, or external hardware or a combination of those. I do like having the extra real-time control over software parameters.

          When I use it for sequencing, the pattern/scene metaphor works well enough for me even if I don't actually repeat anything. Thinking in terms of a section that I can copy, paste and then edit the new copy is friendlier to me than a strictly linear sequencer.

          Even now that I'm using less MIDI sequencing and more modular sequencing and manually improvised music, I still find Maschine's interface friendly enough to just set up audio and MIDI routing and effects.

          When I first started using it, the very first thing I did was go through the "Getting Started" guide -- it only took a couple of hours if I remember right, but perhaps it was shorter at the time than it is now There certainly have been new features added since I first got it.


          • #20
            Hi Dream Walker,

            That is good to know.
            I am still on the fence about buying one.
            My biggest issue is that you can't layer scenes / patterns freely.
            There is a rigid grid so their borders always line up.
            But I guess one can work around that.
            Although I don't know if that is worthwhile.