Maschine Mikro 2 workflow question

Shinybeat1444 Member Posts: 6 Member

Dear All,

I have decided that a change in my production workflow will take my hip hop production to the next level, and the change I'd like to make is to actually use the Maschine controller I bought with the provided software.

If I'm a pianist, using Reaper to make fully fleshed-out hip hop tracks, and I want to utilize Maschine to its fullest potential, do I make the beat and arrangements in Maschine 2's proprietary DAW, then export it into Reaper as a WAV file and add my rap verses over it, as well as any piano parts I wanted to add, or is there a better way to do it?

My concerns are recording vocals after making the beat with the same level of control that I have in Reaper when I do it from the ground up without Maschine, as well as giving myself the opportunity to use my keyboards as a MIDI controller instead of the "pads" of the Maschine when I want to transfer my classical piano chops more seamlessly to hip hop tracks.

I still have to learn Maschine, but I wanted to figure out what to do after.


  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,008 Expert

    A couple of things that aren’t even exhaustive:

    • You can work as you said (export what you produced with Maschine software (audio or midi) in your DAW to further arrange it, mix it, add more tracks)
    • You can open Maschine software as a VST inside your DAW and use Maschine to work with them in tandem
    • You can open Maschine software in your DAW and through some routings use the Mikro to control the tracks in your DAW
    • You can use the Mikro as a controller for your DAW in midi mode
    • You can use only Maschine software for everything, opening the pianos VST inside of it and even add your vocals/audio tracks in it (a little more convoluted for long audio takes than your DAW, but feasible)

    All depends on the way you want to work

  • just_jump
    just_jump Member Posts: 72 Helper

    From what's being described I'm not sure why you would bother working in Maschine. If you have a workflow in Reaper and you're using keys instead of the pads for pianos as a pianist.

    That said, sounds like you want to do the beat part of it in Maschine so you could do that separately (in Maschine standalone software) then bring in to Reaper via the VST. That way you get the proper Maschine control via hardware without the DAW getting in the way (transport control mostly gets annoying for me). When you open it up in Reaper it sort of just acts as a drum bus.

    I kinda decided that when working with Maschine in a DAW it often works better (for me) to work in Song mode. I used to work with Idea mode and drag out the audio to tracks as I went along and that got kinda annoying. Always curious to see what works for other people though.

    If you use the controller in midi mode you lose some things like note repeat / arp and scales (pads are just chromatic unless you specifically make a template that is different). So just be aware of that.

  • Shinybeat1444
    Shinybeat1444 Member Posts: 6 Member

    I guess my attraction to Maschine instead of just staying in my workflow I currently have is that I feel like a fraud that I never actually used a drum machine or saw things visually through the paradigm of a drum machine. If I aspire to be RZA, how close do I become him if an Akai MPC looks like a piece of dead alien technology to me? My hope is that trying it this way is a "return to form", a hip hop Renaissance for me, whereby drawing on the structures of old I end up channeling the true spirit of mid 90's hip hop back into my productions.

    Also, having a workflow without a computer screen seems really interesting to me for two reasons:

    • 1. I have a clamshell cellphone for the explicit purpose of not getting distracted by social media or feeling compelled to text people unnecessarily (which, when it's "unnecessarily", I mean "unnecessarily hostile and inviting an argument via text that takes up the rest of the day that you wouldn't have had if you couldn't send long texts easily"), as well as a dedicated mp3 player, so I wonder if doing this for production would also "free me up" to focus more on my productions in some meaningful way, and
    • 2. I wonder if having a workflow that's more minimal with less dependency on a computer screen would help me to listen better to my mixes in regards to arrangement and mixing.

    So yeah I don't actually need it, but something about it feels like it might just force me to see things in a more inspired way.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,725 mod
    edited June 2023

    I don't think the equipment is what truly defines someone like RZA or his style, if anything he's more known to use a Roland MV8000 than MPC's... The MV is actually quite DAW-like, especially at the time.

    As far as ditching the computer for focus, you're definitively not alone, lot's of people pursue drum machine / workstation like devices for the same reason, if that ends up working or not is up to you.

    My concerns are recording vocals after making the beat with the same level of control that I have in Reaper when I do it from the ground up without Maschine, as well as giving myself the opportunity to use my keyboards as a MIDI controller instead of the "pads" of the Maschine when I want to transfer my classical piano chops more seamlessly to hip hop tracks.

    No one from the 90's era was recording vocals into drum machines, that was never a thing, there's a chance RZA might have done it since the MV had audio tracks but I doubt it as it would make for a very impractical Studio Session... Those were paid handsomely in that era.

    People make the beats, track them out to a DAW (usually pro tools at the time), and only then record the vocals there or to tape. It was also typical to arrange the beat in the DAW. 2 step process, still very common today.

    As for the keyboard parts, it really doesn't matter if you record it into Maschine or the DAW, i'd say if your the kind of player that can commit early and don't require tons of editing then recording to Maschine is fine, if you do needs lots of editing then doing it in a DAW is way more practical.

    I think the best advice I can give you is that if you want to stay away from the computer then a machine Mikro is a terrible choice, it's super limited to what you can do on the unit itself and requires lots of mouse use, I'd get at least a Maschine Mk2, used they go for like 100-150$ used.

  • Shinybeat1444
    Shinybeat1444 Member Posts: 6 Member

    Ok that's wonderful for that level of explanation. I know it's the "sunk cost fallacy" to try to continue to use the Maschine Mikro Mk2 if people who have more experience in this say there's going to be more computer work than workstation work with a controller like that and I'm just using it to say that I got...whatever this thing was new when I bought it, so...idk, $150 worth of playing/recording out of it, but it does feel important to me to say that I at least got some use out of it before I went for a bigger workstation pad.

    I just remember the producer I worked with before I felt comfortable enough making my own beats having his loops light up on his Ableton Push, and sure, I could manage to make it look glamorous just penciling in MIDI after choosing a sampled drum kit, but I want to be able to say I TRIED it this way.

    So, with what people said, trying to utilize it, what I'd want to do is make the beat in Maschine in Reaper (as a VST) in Song Mode, track keys as a separate MIDI instrument, then track vocals, then export. And then eventually get a fully featured Maschine Mk2 instead of a Mikro. So I'll go learn Maschine now knowing how I'd go about it. Thanks everybody!

Back To Top