Hey guys! It’s the return of one of the most rinsed thread ever I guess.
To keep it short: I’m looking at these three badboys, trying to decide which one to buy. I’m clearly “classic” hiphop oriented, but also trying to bring elements of UK bass music (grime, old school dubstep, jungle) in my beatmaking. Still, working with samples is what I know the best right now… but I like having some synthesis power when needed. Not adverse to computer involving workflow (I have a very powerful desktop…).
I’ve seen most reviews and vs on the internet, but I’m looking for power users reviews on pitfalls, limitations etc. For instance, I read here and there that AKAI firmwares are still buggy as hell. Meanwhile, NI users seem pretty angry about Maschine evolution. And while the Plus seems like a good middleground, the CPU seems a bit underpowered.
PS. I already have an OT, I’ll keep it till death.
First off, the CPU is not really less powerful then the Akai one, it is just that the Synths and Patches on the Maschine are neither optimized for standalone, nor are the tracks limited like on the Akai Maschines.
Those patches that rise the Maschine+ CPU that high in the videos come with 6 or more FX as insert per Sound, something you need to find workarounds for on the MPCs.
That by side: it all comes down to workflow and personal preferences. And this is something that is 100% Taste! Do you like the Maschine Workflow or the MPC Workflow better. Do you care about the content that come with the Devices, and if so, do you like the ones from NI or from Akai better.
There is just one thing, where I could name a preference: if you want to work with a lot of synths, you have unlimited more possibilities with NI, because in my opinion, the synths on the Akai maschines plain suck, but this is again, personal preference.
If you don’t need/want to work stand alone and am okay with having a computer with you, you don’t need+. If you are okay with working attached to your computer, the Maschine let’s you use every VST plugin in your tracks.
So if you are okay with taking a laptop with your, I would say, it’s Maschine MK3 vs. MPC, because besides Standalone, there is nothing on the Maschine+ that is not in the MK3 (besides minor stuff like a different color and Aluminium casing)
I forgot to mention: right now, I have no DAW and no VST at all, I used to do it all OTB. And I don’t have a laptop, but a huge ass (but uber powerful) desktop (I’m a motion designer / video designer, so yeah, powerful computer needed).
What I like about Maschine is the ability to mix’n’match patterns into scenes, the locks (reminds me of OT scenes), the sounds… and the hardware / software look slick, which might sound stupid, but is in fact really important to me as a designer.
The Plus is something I consider because after all these OTB years, turning on my computer, waiting for it to boot etc. is not something that brings instant joy in my heart. Some days, I only have 30 minutes for music, I’d rather not spend it on computer related stuff. And from what I gather, you can still use the Plus as a controller and access Komplete and the full feats on the computer when needed, right?
The MPC speaks to me in a different way: it’s a classic lineage of machines in the hiphop history… yet, the new ones don’t really give me the same feeling the old ones had. Still, it’s focused with a wealth of options. But I don’t know if after all the Elektron years, I will be able to enjoy the “stiffness” of the MPC workflow. I’m used to plocks, to scenes, to evolving sounds. MPCs are a bit lacking on this front.
Just bought the + and loving it. The workflow is lightening quick for me compared to my MPC Live. I feel I get much more done not tethered to the computer. I’ve bought a load of hardware synths over the years and was using the MPC Live to sample and sequence them. But I was an old Maschine user and always preferred the workflow, so when the + came out I took the plunge back into Maschine and have not regretted it. The Live is going up for sale. If you’re not bothered about stand-alone get the MK3 and use all your VSTs on your computer. For me I’m getting the best of both worlds, using Maschine stand-alone with my hardware and then bringing it into my computer if I want to use things like Omnisphere etc.
Maschine+ and MPC both have a computer build in with a Linux OS that needs time for boot up too. While it is faster than starting a computer, logging in, starting the DAW etc, it far away from instant
I went with the Force before, so don’t know MPC differences, but I prefer the Maschine workflow a lot more, but have to give up lots of modulation possibilities for my move to the M+
For me, Maschine ecosystem is really about the (synth) sounds and effects. It’s a powerhouse in that regard.
Second I really like the workflow, for me it’s “groovebox” style, and doesn’t give me an overload on options, but just keeps the juices flowing without interrupting me. But this is personal preference, some people like MPC style workflow, some like Maschine.
I bought a second hand Maschine Mk3 to get a feeling for the workflow after all the M+ hype, and i’m hugely impressed, it’s really awesome what NI did here.
TBH, i work with computers all day, so i like to sit on the couch and make music. I have a Macbook Air and just put it in a corner, connect MK3, and in 3 seconds i’m ready to go. All can be battery powered and ran from USB only (Hello Push2, i’m looking at you, you power-eater!).
So with the mk3 I don’t feel i’m working ITB, i work with the controller, don’t look at the screen. TBH with a desktop it’s a different experience i guess. But you can buy a second hand macbook or Surface or other laptop, and use it with the MK3. This gives you flexibility and extensibility when you need it, for probably less than the M+.
I would suggest buying a 2hand MK3 (they go for around 390 euros these days) and see if youy like the workflow. If not, sell it again at no loss, and try the MPC. If you like it but don’t like the fact you need to connect it to a computer, you can go for the M+.
For me the differences have been on the software side and how about things are organized. Both systems are great, but sometimes it comes down to a subjective view, which “feels” better.
I used Machine vers. 1.x and 2.x for a while. I wanted an idea collection tool and the option to play with my ideas. I also wanted to control external gear from the computer. I used a decent laptop, but it was not boot, record, play. It was not a bad experience, but I had too many issues with stability to keep me happy.
After getting Ableton I had exactly what I wanted to use ITB, got Push and was even happier, and after having a MPC I had the same good feeling for controlling external gear as well. As you see, very subjective.
Best suggestion I can give would be, try to play or work on both, and listen to your inner voice.
I think both systems are thought out very well and can do a great job, but will have a couple of issues, which might annoy the one or the other of us. If there was any show stopper, loopop would have told.
Other issues might be found by setting Google in action or check out Akai or NI related forums.
This is a fact that many people don’t realize or want to believe, but stand-alone boxes are just computers in smaller boxes.
And most critics will use the argument that most of this “standalone” “dawless” “awai from a computer” is more of a lifestyle marketing blabla and not a real advantage from a musical point of view. But in the end these boxes are computers for music, which I think is an advantage.
automation is not as powerful as it could be: it’s relative to current settings (which can be handy or not), you cannot automate directly from the mixer (ie volume rides), you cannot easily automate over an entire arrangement (without jumping into clips which still feel somewhat underdeveloped and awkward at this point), you cannot record mute/solo automation.
line input is relatively low, even with gain at max
you cannot record internal synth/fx parameter automation when controlling from an external controller (external midi CC is recorded without issues, and parameter automation from the controller also without issues)
there is no realtime visual indication of dynamic effects, like compressors. So it’s “ears” only or looking at the software
macro’s can be even more powerful, with layering multiple parameters, individual ranges and directions etc.
no custom chords
all of the above is nitpicking though, it doesn’t take away from a very good and smooth experience and workflow.
You need to have it at you desk, you have to boot it up. You have to login, you have to hassle with native access, you need to start the daw.
I know where you are coming from, and that’s why i wrote, that I think most people don’t have to go the M+ route. But there is not „real“ computer on my desk. I tried MK3 for a long time. It is by no means near M+ (for me)
It’s also about what a particular user is up to or from what background he/she comes from …
at its beginning it was the idea of a software supported by a tactile controller and mimicking some MPC workflow, but adding its own new ideas as well. There was no Push. Ableton was controlled by mouse, keyboard, and IIRC Akai lauch pads. Machine took advantage of the entire NI universe, including Komplete, and a specialized hardware controller.
started as a stand alone sampling workstation with a decent MIDI sequencer to control internal and external events, before personal computers were ready for this or affordable. With the Q-Links we can control and record most internal and external devices. MPC made a trip to be a controller interface for a more sophisticated software, but many have not been happy with the idea, and asked years to get a stand alone MPC again. And here we are with MPC One, Live, and X.
As I see it, the MPC stays strong at sampling, re-sampling, beeing the center of an OTB setup with many external devices. Nowadays there is very effective support for creating and editing samples, kits, an many parameters including midi events on the fly, even controlling gear over CV. It’s a MIDI/Music Production Center, not only a drum machine or a groove box. A closer look to the “new” MPC series shows a very flexible audio and fx routing, which we know as standard from digital mixers. That machine can take us from the idea to the master.
Machine with its internal “plug-ins” for sound creation has an advantage in this territory. That’s a unique selling point. Machine+ with its plug-ins is a great machine for everybody wanting most flexible sounddesign with synths in a small box. The only thing what’s really missing to be a great mobile music creation machine is a battery