Maschine Plus / Akai Force ??
I really like my Maschine more, I love the workflow, but I'm starting to ask myself questions for the future...
I keep thinking that the edition of the automations is a real lack, an oversight of Ni, it bothers me not to have it and not to see the curves graphically.
Otherwise I really like everything, but I tell myself, in view of Ni's policy, that I won't have anything more on the M+ in the future, that the functionalities will remain fixed... So I looked at the Akai Force whose workflow also seems very good to me, better than the MPC One, and in addition now there is a Song / Arranger mode, the possibility of using third-party expansions, and the editing of complete automations. And the firmware evolves again and again, so I'm seriously starting to consider moving from M+ to Force.
I would like to know your opinions
You are right, the real competitor of M+ is not the MPC, but the Akai Force.
(Akai had planned to merge the OS on the 2 platforms but for the moment it is clear that the MPC does not have all the functionalities of V.3)
I had an MPC Live before the M+ and I'm also considering returning to Akai.
Development at NI seems to be completely halted.1
I think the Force workflow is closer to Maschine than to MPC.
And I have the impression that nothing will happen on M+ while it evolves on the other Grooveboxes1
Eh, for what the Force is, I'd rather just spend the cash on a laptop w/ midi controllers & Live 11. It's got 2GB RAM, can only run 8 audio tracks, and AIR Plugins sound like poop. I've resolved to just using a computer & eventually getting a Mod Dwarf for quirky modular vocal FX. If I ever use the Maschine+ live, it's going to be as a supplement to the computer rather than the center of my setup, as a way to be able to run NI Plugins & layer additional loops/sequences on a separate device, kinda like how the Dwarf can run Max or PD patches independent of a computer. I'm not even a professional musician, and I've spent so long trying to find the "perfect" workflow or gear setup but everything leads me back to "just use a computer, stupid."0
Well AkaiOS started with lots of missing functions but Akai seems prone to update these after long time so kudos to them.
You maybe are asking yourself why NI doesn't go the same direction and I hope they keep improving their M+ over time but the difference between Akai and NI embedding technologies makes it a bit harder for berliners...
Akai proposal is build upon the merging from desktop MPC software developed by Peter Thom
"Aside from doing several audio programming gigs for companies including Euphonix, Pinnacle Systems, and Presonus, he also worked on his own pet project in the late 2000's, a software drum machine. He sold it to Akai Professional in 2010 and it became the code base for the MPC software that launched in 2012. He worked for Akai until 2015 and then decided to pursue his own dreams again. Eventually, he came up with the concept for Looptunes because he wanted a performance-oriented tool that inspires and creates music fast." http://www.sonicreef.com
and Retronyms MPC apps https://retronyms.com as certain features from iMPC2 where finally at hardware (like Ducker icon)
So as you can see booth very prone to work on iPad and under its limitations to optimise code and bring great user experience.
None of them gone well at iOS market (Tom was hired by another brand I can't remember) but that derived into Retronyms being part of Akai new OS development team (not 100% but the evidence is clear IMO).
Meanwhile M+ was prototyped over Arduino // Raspberry Pi and Linux (yocto) from old plugs (x86) so similar approach but very different like iOS vs Android IMHO. I can't be totally sure about it (because I don't understand the implications of Qt developing related to port into Yocto) but my gut says that first approach (Akai) was bloated in comparison with old jjOS (probably baremetal and assembler tools) but fair lightweight vs whatever NI fit inside the M+.
Some links for your pleasure...
Even they stated...
"The decision to use Linux came even before choosing a CPU – the team ran benchmarks on a number of different platforms before settling on the Intel Atom based on a combination of raw performance and other elements like thermal behavior and long-term availability. NI’s OS, however, is not exactly what you may think of when you imagine Linux.
“The OS is tailored to this specific hardware, and it only runs a minimal set of services that are used by the main application,” says Vincenzo. “That’s the main reason you cannot directly compare the specs of MASCHINE+ to laptops or desktop computers.”
Everything about MASCHINE+’s software has been tuned in advance to run smoothly with the hardware. Among other things, that means it requires less onboard memory than a desktop might to achieve a similar level of performance. That’s not to say the team doesn’t work hard to squeeze out even more performance, however. “There has been a huge effort to optimise the way system resources are used,” Vincenzo tells me. “Especially in terms of CPU, RAM and disk I/O – and we’ll continue along this path for the future updates.”
That ongoing tuning process is part of why you can’t run every single instrument or effect from KOMPLETE on MASCHINE+. But already, it includes dozens of instruments and effects. There’s even unofficial support for brave users with a REAKTOR license to experiment using their own ensembles on the device, for instance. That’s something you can’t do on any other standalone device (unless you build your own); it opens up unique hacks and mods for advanced users."
... at the video interview they say that ARM options was considered and not discarded.
The problem was Apple Silicon release times showing how overpriced (1.6k at release) was M+ against the combo of Mk3 and Mac mini or Macbook air with the full spec software, fanless, battery powered... if only someone could point them or users to prevent make that mistake... oh wait!
Akai isn't perfect or cheap btw but almost is trying hard to release what was promised and keeping the trust in the brand (or regrowing since Numark had a bad reputation to leave products in the desert... like they did with old Rane hardware recently and like they did with CDX/HDX among others or even the MPC1000... saved by third party ex-employee!)
Anyways, since this is my opinion and even my assumptions could be totally wrong... I will say standalone (the older the better) should be a good solution from any brand but if you are going to invest your money/time research a bit about how trusty and experienced are the teams behind so you can expect more or less improvement.
If Apple finally let’s Logic run on iPad pro then gameover. Even nowadays there are some apps like Roland Zenbeats (compatible with Verselab MV-1) or Loopy Pro (with some native control like Apc40 or Launchpad) so it’s more a confort matter than money.
DubFx had a Force before getting this setup but obviously his workflow is live looping centric.
NI had all the pieces for getting the best of all worlds and ditched them (iOS support, hardware division…) to go M+ “all in” and here we are…
Food for thought.2
@Mutis thanks for all the information and your thoughts!
However, what you and @Kubrak seem to miss repeatedly is that for a music producer the computer technology is just tool and irrelevant compared to the question how well a workflow matches personal preferences.
Thus, Logic on iPad won‘t have a major impact any other DAW. Users will stay with their beloved Bitwig, Cubase, Live, Logic, Maschine (which actually is a beat box), Reaper etc.1
Of course, taste is personal but bangxbuck iPad has the best offer. Just check the Koala sampler vs sp404 (and mk2) example…
You can find lots of videos about this topic. Luckly Koala is also available for Android (and raspberry pi) and can be used with any midi class compliant device (like the sp404mk2) but unfortunately isn’t possible with Maschine (any) since there aren’t class compliant midi devices… Do you see where I’m pointing…?
Peter Thom gave up his company because of a very large job offer from........Apple.
Not sure if that has any bearing on Logic for iPad though?
Force vs M+
Force is vastly superior in feature set RE the firmware (AIR plugins sound great, otherwise is simply a myth, and is absolute "My dad is harder than your dad nonsense" ) with this vastly superior feature set comes a much more complex user experience, you have a similar amount of buttons but so many extra features that you will have more clicks and "Oh no, not a touch screen, they suck, even though we use them all day on our phones and they work perfectly"
Akai updates are continual and not sporadic, but MPC/Force has a much much larger userbase now compared to Maschine, never mind M+ even smaller userbase, so anybody who thinks that NI can keep up with Akai is kidding themselves.
Build quality of the Force is really really good, but sit it next to the M+ and ask anybody which is nicer to touch and feel, M+ every single time.
Conclusion, if you want continued updates and extra features/plugins, and those are your main consideration, get the Akais, if you are used to Maschine workflow, and want a much more basic device with a much simpler workflow, get the M+, because no matter what anybody says, they are both phenomenal devices.1
@ozon I haven't written a word in this thread.... So, not sure what you refer to. Maybe to that that I say that it is possible to use MS Surface Pro with Maschine/Maschine+ (something like iPad, but for Win)....
And on Surface one may use any DAW/SW that runs on Windows. So, my reasoning is, that WinWorld has what AppleWorld does not.0
Thank you for your answers
It's very interesting.
I think I'm going to like the Force workflow, and I guess what you're explaining is pretty much my idea of the Force.
I also think maybe in a few months to resume a Maschine plus, which I like a lot and which, why not, could accompany the Force (and also because I would like to finish some projects I did on it1
there are rumors about future AKAI models.. In particular a MPC LIVE "mini"...I'm curious to see what will happen
but I would have preferred a AKAI "Force mini"..
(unless the MPCs finally benefit from the V3)
I have always found the hardware of the Force too imposing, and a little unbalanced, not very elegant (it must be said that I have very a bad experience with the Push v1 -and its pads- from which the Force is inspired...)
in fact AKAI and NI have two completely different issues... At Akai there is a very mature and very complete OS (and which continues to grow)
especially the V3 on the AKAI Force
they get a little lost in the different hardware formats
While on Maschine+ the hardware is excellent but the OS is really not up to a standalone device2
It's exactly that.
The Maschine HW is really successful, the size, manufacturing quality and ergonomics are really on top, but the OS, even if it has become very stable, has some essential and incomprehensible shortcomings.
Unlike the Force whose OS has evolved a lot and in the right direction, but perhaps less ergonomic level HW, even if the size which is not very different from that of M+, does not bother me.
And I can power it with the same external battery as M+ to take it everywhere0
Force Mini already exists, just run 'I am Force' on the MPC One.
Forces hardware is not less ergonomic at all, in fact in a lot of areas it is so superior, it boggles belief that M+ is so antiquated, take the dials for example, compared to Force, M+ is terrible, like I said, vastly more advanced featureset will always equal more clicks/touch screen.
There are a lot of unhappy M+ users, be it lack of power or lack of updates, the only unhappy Force users generally are people who wanted a more complete integration with Ableton live, take that for whatever it is worth.
Personally I would be unhappy to lose either device, but if the Force breaks it will probably get replaced, if the M+ breaks it probably wont, a Mk3 is good enough, and the M+ is really a second class citizen with NI developments, it actually disgusts me that Soundwide haven't pushed all the plugins using the Raum framework on to the M+, to the point that Soundwide will not get another penny off me until they improve development, I have even fallen two versions behind with KUCE.3
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