Big news today! Native Instruments launched a new Maschine unit called JAM. Does this mean we should ditch our old ones? Turns out, maybe not.
The new Maschine resembles something like the Ableton Push, but designed for the Maschine software. It’s 8x8 grid appears to give you a tactile hardware version of Step Sequencing, Mixer, Keyboard/Chord performance, and Scene/Pattern switching.
but, my favourite things are...
1- NO SCREEN
This may seem counterintuitive but it actually speeds things up. Well, as long as it’s functions/lighting are well designed. and yes, they do indeed appear to be. Things are just put in the right place, and the light up pads tell you all you need to know. Systems like this are faster, and more like a real instrument.
2- SMART STRIP CONTROLLERS
They control the new performance FX well, and the led meters easily indicate their status at all times. Notes feature means that it's even possible to use the strips to play melodies and chords.
3- BACK LIT COLOR PADS TO INDICATE/CHANGE PATTERNS, SEQUENCE, CHORDS & MORE
You can even see at a glance what patterns/scenes are playing, and easy switch them up. Even choosing scene loop length. It really feels more like a hardware equivalent of what the software was always capable of. But it it is so literally at your finger tips that it has become even more of a real performance instrument.
4- LOCK FUNCTION STORES PARAMETER SNAPSHOTS
I have been wanting this for so long! :) These can revert back to their original settings or morph between multiple lock states.
5- EASY TO READ LIVE
When browsing for samples/songs etc from the hardware, the computer will use large easy to read fonts. Good for Live on stage
6- NEW PERFORMANCE FX
Looping, re-pitching, filters etc, but perfectly mapped to a ribbon for instant access to all groups
7- VARIATION ENGINE
Turn this on and beats and melodies are randomly generated based on customisable values. You can then modify these on the matrix and add feel with the humaniser. Did someone say “Happy Accidents”? :)
8- IT LIKES OTHER MASCHINES
It gives you easy access to many things the other Maschines don't. Effects, changing patterns, scene snapshots and more. Also it doesn't cater to finger drumming, or have a screen. It seems together, these make quite the pair. So, no. don’t sell your Maschine. Get it a friend. Or if you don’t have a Maschine yet, it can work as your sole Maschine controller too.
However, I’m still waiting on a few software updates. This is great for live performance and initial track sketching, but there are still some issues with arranging tracks until completion. This new product release seems like it would have been perfect timing to introduce a feature like the ability to record your entire jam session, as an arrangement of scenes, patterns and automation. I’d also like more integration or loops/loop manipulation and time stretching. However, it’s likely that these things are coming soon. Overall, this is a very exciting new unit, and software upgrade. I am looking forward to getting stuck into it asap and giving you guys the full scoop.
What do you think? Comment or ask me a question about it below
P.S. Native Instruments are also running an introductory offer until December 31st, where Maschine 2 software owners get the choice of two Maschine Expansions from an eligible 20 – free with any registration of Maschine Jam.
P.P.S Maschine Jam is released on September 29, and costs £319/$399/€399.