Maschine+ features or the lack of them - is it really made to be played?

Options
t-minus
t-minus Member Posts: 2 Newcomer
edited August 2023 in Maschine

Having done some investigation on a few fairly basic yet absolutely crucial data management & playability questions, many of which the manual just doesn't cover clearly, I've got some pre-pruchase concerns wrt. the Maschine+. I hope you can enlighten me / others in similar shoes needing to transfer their existing, matured (and copyrighted) projects to more modern gear - a decent candidate for which, surpsiginsgly among just a few, appears to be the Maschine+.

TRACK MUTE AND SOLO SAVED WITH PATTERNS

Is there really no track mute / track solo option at all (ideally independently configurable incl. override hierarchy, and definitely saved with patterns)? I really hope I and some others already owning an M+ are just wrong, flat out unusable for live performance without.

PATTERNS ONLY

Can one play using patterns exclusively, switching in between patterns seamlessly on the fly, with patterns all reset to actual saved state upon leaving them? Do they play exactly as saved upon returning to them? Pattern reset (to saved) on the fly is great of course (is there any?), but shouldn't be required to use. Rudimentary feature for sure, but absolutely crucial for live performance again.

UNFORCED AUTOSAVE

Please tell me there is no auto-save feature whatsoever, or if there is, can it be completely disabled? Comes hand in hand with the above really - forced autosave kills (re)playability.

NOTCH FILTER

Is there really no notch filter on the M+, stock, in FX/Filter? Shocking. Can you at least cook one up using parametric EQ setting attenuation dB and assigning center freq (equivalent of cutoff) to a knob linked to a track?

MULTITRACK EXPORT / RENDER

The manual does explain scene & group data saving, export as well as rendering, but none of this specify to actually export a pattern (or arbitrary choice of tracks inside a pattern) exactly as they would have been played, to individual stereo tracks each, identical and sample-accurate in length. Can it? By sample-accurate I do mean wanting to see exporting / rendering (?) an N-track 180BPM 8-bar pattern at 96kHz producing N .wav stereo files exaclty 1,024,000 samples in length, and exactly how they would have been played solo, trigs envelopes effects filters etc all applied, and full length regardless or MIDI signatures. Can it do this? Consider mastering prep.

Tagged:

Comments

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,317 Expert
    edited August 2023
    Options

    My only suggestion: Maschine+ is what it is. And probably it will not be developed more than this.

    So…if you like what it does…go for it. If you want it to do more…think well about it

  • basehead617
    basehead617 Member Posts: 132 Advisor
    edited August 2023
    Options

    I'm a little confused by all your questions, maybe since I don't play live, but here goes -- the below is based on Maschine Mk 3 not Maschine+ but as far as I know these things aren't different. Maybe someone else can confirm.

    Re: TRACK MUTE AND SOLO SAVED WITH PATTERNS

    There are no 'tracks', there are Groups and Sounds. The Mute and Solo settings of groups and sounds are not per pattern, correct - it is global in the project. If you want to for example have Pattern 2 without the kick drum, you have two options -- delete the events e.g. press PATTERN + 2, press EVENTS, press ERASE + Kick's Pad. Or you could press CHANNEL -> OUTPUT on that SOUND, hold AUTO and turn the level down on the Kick's SOUND for that pattern.

    Re: PATTERNS ONLY

    Patterns do not set or return to any state simply by switching to them or editing them. You cannot say to reload the pattern from saved state from the project, no. It sounds like you can do what you're talking about with Lock States - they are meant for playing live.. you can press LOCK, then make any changes while in the pattern, then press LOCK again to go back to the state before you pressed LOCK. With Shift-LOCK (EXT LOCK) you can also store those states in pad slots and choose between the different states rather than having to make the same tweaks again to get back to a state.

    Re: UNFORCED AUTOSAVE

    There is an autosave setting 'Automatic Backup' that can be disabled.. but it also doesn't save your project file (that stays 'dirty' with an asterisk), it's a different separate file I believe.

    Re: NOTCH FILTER

    Yes there is a Notch type in the built-in Filter plugin

    Re: MULTITRACK EXPORT / RENDER

    Not sure what you're asking here - what you can choose in the export is:

    • format, sample rate, bit depth
    • normalize yes/no
    • Loop optimize (I forget what this is)

    Then it depends on whether you're in IDEAS or SONG mode..

    in IDEAS mode you can choose:

    • All scenes or selected scenes
    • Source: Master - will export one stereo file per scene
    • Source: Group - you can select/deselect groups for the export, it will export one stereo file per group per scene
    • Source: Sound - you can select/deselect sounds for the export, it will export one stereo file per sound per scene

    in SONG mode you can choose:

    • the selected LOOP range, or ALL
    • Source: Master - will export one stereo file
    • Source: Group - you can select/deselect groups for the export, it will export one stereo file per group
    • Source: Sound - you can select/deselect sounds for the export, it will export one stereo file per sound

    All the files are the same exact length and file size, from a quick test. Can't speak to sample accuracy.

    As for 'as it would have been played' I'm not sure what you mean - the export will export the current state of the project, not anything you did during a 'performance' unless the performance was AUTO-mation in the project.

  • t-minus
    t-minus Member Posts: 2 Newcomer
    edited August 2023
    Options

    Many thanks basehead, great info, better than manual, much appreciated and useful.

    Indeed, by "as it would have been played" I only meant pattern post-proc, just figured in light of recent forum experience I am better off jargonless if I am after answers. IDEAS and SONG mode exports are pretty good as per your info, great.

    I've got the manual version as of 13 May 2022, maybe not in sync with latest firmware, but p.95 doesn't mention any notch filters. Says LP2 BP2 HP2 and EQ, hence my question if you can cook a notch filter with EQ at least... maybe a recent addition then.

    What kills the M+ for live (or any performing style use, for that matter), is the lack of per-pattern sound/group mute and solo, and the unavailability (?) of an *option* to auto-reset patterns as soon as they're left (could be achieved with lock automation - can you perhaps sequence a particular lock state reload to either pattern leave, or 1st occurrence only of pattern entry?). The counterpart option to keep pattern states in memory until reboot is cool for track building, but definitely crippling for live performance, unless defeatable without button presses (no time, cannot do sooner than leaving, and too late once pattern is left). Despite the sound quality praises I've heard, I sadly cannot rely on an M+. A distinct pity, espeically on account of the lack of such utterly simple software features. I really wanted one for its sound quality, capacity, and relative structural simplicity (okay, and because I need to find a new rig centerpiece that is playable as a capable sample-based live instrument, but also has suitable export options for mastering prep).


    Verdict: NOT made to be played, based on user info & manual so far. Sorry NI.

    NI can contact me (musician, professional engineer, software architect), I am sure we can agree in a consultancy contract if they really struggle to render the M+ "made to be actually played". However, I am now thinking that in light of the current lineup across the major brands I've seen over the past few days, we should really consider developing our own sample-based instrument instead, focusing on live performance and in-situ track (re)sequencing, as opposed to deeper, but somewhat awkward DAW-in-a-box features. There hasn't been any such gear released in the past 20 years it seems.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,982 mod
    edited August 2023
    Options

    Maschine is simply not designed for live performance, it never was a priority, it is designed for production.

    Of course, it is possible to perform live if you work within its own set of limitations, as with any instrument; this means learning the device well and finding workarounds for things that you imaged you would be able to do.

    All similar devices/sw of this category be it an MPC, Push, Electron stuff, etc.. All share this problem, they all have their own limitations and pros and cons.

  • Percivale
    Percivale Member Posts: 209 Advisor
    Options

    Maschine+ was a result of many requests for a standalone? That should tell you it's intended to be played live. For me, I could not see those many requests mostly coming from a need to move their production studio tool around and about. [Lock] state is another clue as to whether it is performance oriented. Elektron boxes have the CTRL-ALL and reset, everything was designed to be fast and finger firing, so definitely not intended or primarily designed for "production" use. MPC - no experience. Push definitely intended for production due to the symbiotic use of the software.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,982 mod
    Options

    That wasn't just my opinion, a few NI employees said it before including Kai B who at the time was Lead Product Owner for the Music Production department in NI and is now Lead Product Manager, I can't provide a screenshot as it was in the old forum but feel free to believe whatever you want, I am not here to convince anyone... I just trying to provide insight when I can.

    All those things already existed in Maschine controllers, being standalone doesn't make it more "for live" if it's functionality you care about. Being primarily designed for Y doesn't mean it can't have features focused on Z.

  • Percivale
    Percivale Member Posts: 209 Advisor
    edited August 2023
    Options

    Like you, I'm expressing a view point and what I wrote wasn't necessarily intended for you to address. To digress, asking the original employees who developed Roland 808/909 machines - they will tell you their vision and purpose for these products. What happened in reality was something else. Same thinking here, NI employees may state their intent and purpose for having a standalone variant when the real situation could be something else. I will not repeat the possible reasons for doing so.

  • tetsuneko
    tetsuneko Member Posts: 638 Guru
    edited August 2023
    Options

    I think the OP is trying to shoehorn his performance workflow on the M+, without understanding that Maschine has a few important paradigm differences to how other grooveboxes function.

    Mute states are not saved, and are not per pattern, but you can have unlimited patterns, and switching between them happens in legato style. So, for example, if you have a pattern where you want to mute and unmute 4 elements on the fly, you DUPLICATE this pattern (you can use color coding to better identify what is where) to four slots, delete the elements you want a specific instance of the pattern to mute, and now you can jump between these variation patterns as the sequencer plays, seamlessly, legato style. Since the pattern switching happens legato (also configurable to other launch method if you prefer), the result will just sound like you had muted sections from the pattern. Legato switching of patterns also means that you can have fills / variations of patterns, and you can then dip into these at will while the sequencer plays, all without messing up the flow or trainwrecking. Traditional grooveboxes usually play a pattern from beginning to end, and when you change a pattern, it is queued and switches after the current pattern reaches its end. Maschine can also be configured to play like this, but that's not its default behaviour.

    Lock states are kind of like snapshots in Reaktor, if you know that one? You can configure moving to a lock state in several ways, switching to a specific snapshot can be gradual or abrupt, and can be immediate or quantized to a predetermined amount of beats/bars

    And again, as stated, Maschine does not have "tracks". Or if you insist, you can think of it as each group having up to 16 tracks. Each pad cell in a group ks it's own universe, with its own plugins, effect chains, sends, io assignments etc

    Now then, M+ is far from perfect and still has users reporting performance issues.. Sometimes, I still experience crashes when loading a project, the timestretched audio tracks have glitching issues AFAIK, and the internal scheduler does weird things when you add plugins to a project while it is playing, so I wouldn't call Maschine+ a bulletproof workhorse built for the rigours of a touring musician.. it suits some poeple's workflows better than others.

    If you are really serious about considering whether Maschine+ is for you, I recommend you borrow a unit or purchase one from a vendor with a 30-day return policy. IME, you need to have the unit in your hands and see how it works for you before you can be sure

  • Burnside
    Burnside Member Posts: 11 Member
    Options

    +1 on the recommendation to get your hands on one and try it out. With any standalone Groovebox (and I've tried almost all of them as brains for my live setup) you'll have to make compromises and workarounds and build them into your workflow, but in working with these limitations you'll discover new performance opportunities.

    I'd be interested in knowing what hardware you're moving from, or are you moving from a Laptop/DAW based setup, because there isn't a standalone box on the market that will do all of this right now (Push3 comes close, but still needs a laptop to properly do the multitrack/export stuff):

    Track mute & solo: These states aren't remembered per pattern. But that's not a dealbreaker: duplicate the pattern, and delete the MIDI for anything you want to 'mute'. Has largely the same effect.

    Pattern reset/recall: This doesn't work exactly as you described, but it's super easy to duplicate patterns on the fly. So if I ever want to do what you're describing, I duplicate the pattern, make my MIDI changes/performances to the duplicated version, and switch back to the previous pattern when I want to recall. The lock function is super powerful (better than the Elektron CTRL+ALL, IMO), but only works for parameters.

    Autosave: only happens to a temporary file in the event the device crashes (off the top of my head). Every time I've re-loaded a project or group it reverts back to the version when I last manually saved it.

    Notch Filter: it exists.

    Multitrack export / render: This is much easier to do in the software, so I'd copy across any live files to my laptop and render in the software version (or as a VST hosted in Ableton). One thing worth flagging: I don't think Maschine+ by itself will properly record every aspect of your performance (e.g. it won't work like Ableton's session record). My workaround for this is: Any live performance I want recorded as multitrack, I will use controller mode & the Maschine VST hosted in Ableton - you can then record 16 stereo tracks of audio straight out of the VST, and it'll be recorded as you performed.

  • Percivale
    Percivale Member Posts: 209 Advisor
    Options

    If not already, can I request for MIDI Learn capability (and save as a Preset) from Maschine+

Back To Top