Maschine MK2 Review

Hercules DJ Control MP3 LE DJ Controller ReviewThe Maschine MK2 is great for those who just want to get their feet wet at making beats as well as hard core beatmakers.

Several improvements have been made to the previous version of the Maschine and while they’re not drastic, the upgrades will certainly keep fans and newcomers happy.

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The Maschine MK2 is a musical powerhouse; it’s a hybrid hardware/software unit that includes everything you’d need to create and perform original music: a pattern based sequencer, sampler, multi-effect unit, and USB/MIDI software plug-in controller—the swiss army knife of musical production systems.

[wp-review] PROS:
Pads are ergonomic and color-coded; Inverted LCD screens are easier to see

Time stretch functionality isn’t in real time; Still not a DAW substitute

What differentiates the Maschine MK2 from its predecessor is its improved user experience. The modifications and additions made to this new unit make the workflow easier and less time consuming.

The most obvious example of this are the pads—they’re now more ergonomic with sensitivity so delicate that double-triggering will become a distant memory. The pads are also now color-coded so that colors can be assigned to groups, sounds, patterns, and scenes, thus providing instant visual feedback. And speaking of feedback, all the buttons (with the exception of the 16 main pads) now “click” whenever pushed, so there’s always instant confirmation after pressing a button—a nice added bonus.

The LCD screens also don’t force you to squint anymore; they’re now inverted with two new high contrast back-lit displays, making them easier to see.

The Maschine MK2 hardware is similar to the MK1 with the exception of the 3 rotary dials that originally controlled the volume, tempo, and swing. The three knobs have now been replaced with one big knob to navigate and control all of these functions plus more.

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What’s got fans of the original Maschine really talking is the new time stretch feature included in the Maschine MK2. With the MK1, you had to resort to 3rd party software to match samples to the tempo of a song. Now that this feature is fully integrated into MK2, performers can save more time—another instance of NI’s goal toward greater efficiency. It’s worthwhile pointing out, however, that the time stretch feature isn’t in real time. You have to push an “Apply” button every time you want to make an adjustment which can be frustrating especially when your creative juices are flowing. Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction.

>> Read more reviews for the Maschine MK2 on Amazon <<

Don’t expect the Maschine MK2 to be a substitute for a DAW like Ableton Live. It’s simply too hard to use the MK2 to do all your navigating, editing, and routing. Whether NI can and will address this shortcoming in future versions remains to be seen.

Maschine MK2 Review The Maschine MK2 includes the free 1.8 software (now updated to 1.8.1). And with the exception of the multi-color features, the software is fully functional and available to Maschine MK1 users (now if only Akai were as on the ball about updating their MPC!) Fans of the NI MASSIVE synth will be excited to know that the 1.8 software comes with the full version of this genre-defining modular virtual synth for bass and lead sounds.

Additionally, the Maschine MK2 includes over 6GB of ready to use samples, loops, and sounds; over 3GB of sounds from KOMPLETE ELEMENTS (drums, beats, strings, and synths); and iMachine, a demo song creator specifically made for mobile devices which can be imported into the Maschine MK2.

Although the MK2 doesn’t depart from the MK1 significantly, the changes made are much more than cosmetic. And if you’ve never owned the MK1, the Maschine MK2 offers everything an integrated software/hardware music production system should have and we barely even scratched the surface. Without hesitation, we give this latest NI product a big thumbs up.

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