Handling long stems in Maschine Plus

alexleonard
alexleonard Member Posts: 2 Member
edited August 2023 in Maschine

Hey everyone,

So I'm a bit at a loss on this and have been going round in circles for a while. I'm hoping it's not just that I'm trying to hit a square peg into a round hole as such...

So I've long been on the hunt for a machine that would give me plenty of in-studio value, but also double as a companion for playing live shows. Ever since I got into hardware, my live shows have always been a combination of using Ableton on a laptop to trigger some preproduced stems, and then jamming over the top of them with hardware and effects before switching over entirely to hardware for new material, and then slowly bringing in the next set of pre-produced material. I would basically bounce back and forth between Ableton and various hardware machines and it would all result in a continuous set with no breaks.

But I was hoping I could find something that would let me give up the laptop and so decided to try a Maschine+.

I have an ambient gig upcoming and so planned to test out my approach. I've exported a bunch of stems of varying lengths (depending on where stuff is looping) for a few different tracks.

The plan was to sort of lay it out the same way I'd have gone through things in Ableton, but I seem to have encountered issues.

So say group 1 = track 1, 8 sounds, each one containing a stem. This is all in one pattern in Scene 1

They're all loopable and a lot of the variation comes from the fact that each loop is a different length, with Sound 1 being a long slowly morphing pad sound.

The idea is that I leave that playing, fade in and out different elements as I see fit, do some macro effects controls, and and start bringing in sounds from other hardware. At some point the hardware will fully take over as I'll have faded out all the sounds in this group.

Once I've finished with my hardware jam, and start to fade it out, I would then start bringing in the next group on the Maschine+

In this case, a 144 bar loop, again with one main sound at Sound 1 "Warble" which contains the core intro/middle/end loop.

So I guess I was thinking that, similar to Ableton (and using Ableton lingo for a second) I would be able to trigger the next "scene" and all the "clips" in that scene would start playing from their start point. However, it actually just kicks in from whereever the playhead was in the previous scene. So if whilst Scene 1 was looping away the playhead is at 65 in Scene 1 and then I switch to Scene 2, the playhead will also be at bar 65, right slap bang in the middle of my main backing track.

If for example the playhead in Scene 1 was at the very end of the song, say bar 159, and then I switch to Scene 2 (which is 144 bars long), then the playhead loops back to the start and adds the difference between the two pattern lengths, so it continues playback from bar 14 - again sort of jumping past my main stem's quiet intro section.

As I said, it's entirely possible I'm trying to impose the wrong way of working on Maschine, but I wanted to post here to see if anyone had any suggestions. I suspect for my other artist moniker where I'm playing beat-driven stuff, none of this would be a problem, as my pattern lengths would be much shorter. But for long slow-changing ambient backing tracks, I'm struggling to see how I can make Maschine work the way I'd like it to work (especially when trying to play a live set which is a long continuous flow with no breaks - eg I would like to avoid pressing stop, and restarting at the next pattern).

Anyway, I hope I've clearly explained my confusion. So far very impressed with the Maschine+ and I think it's quite close to meeting my needs here, but I feel like I'm missing something. I probably need to 'unlearn' the Ableton way of doing things 😁. I did look at putting the longest stems into clips in their own group, but then that seems to tie me into setting fixed lengths for different parts in song mode, which I don't really want - I want the freedom for each part to loop for as long as I'm feeling it and for as long as it makes sense with my hardware improvisations if that makes sense.

Many thanks for any suggestions and advice!

Alex

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