Maschine+ coming from an octatrack user

qtechno
qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member

Hello community,

First post here so please bare with me a little. I'm a techno producer and have been working for a while on a live set and I would like to understand how could I go about translating it into a Maschine.

The way I work is mostly in the box, I record each song and arrange it in 6 pre-mastered audio stems:

  • Kick +bass
  • Low percussion
  • Hats/Rides
  • High Percussion
  • Main Synth
  • Pads/FX

Ive done this this way, because I am using an Octatrack where the 6 first tracks are for these stems, track seven is to resample stuff on the fly, and track 8 is the master track. The Octatrack is kind of inflexible compared to a Maschine but it's served me well over the years. The Octatrack's project organizational structure basically has 16 "banks" with 4 "parts" (a Part in Octatrack lingo is something similar to a Group in Maschine lingo, where each part contains all the settings for each Track) and 16 "patterns" each bank. This means that in any Bank, I have access to only 4 Parts and I can only use one Part per Pattern.

I know that this is all annoying terminology if you are not an octatrack user but in case anyone has used both devices it might be helpful background.

Normally, per song I use 3 Patterns, one Part. This means in these patterns the sounds and settings assigned to the Song won't change. And for the most part they are just slices of the different stems looping. Any move to the next pattern is triggered manually by me.

All of this resides under one project, because this is a live techno set and it is important that I do not stop playback at any moment.

Now, I've been watching videos and reading the manual for the Maschine+ and I would like to understand what would be a good way to approach having a similar type of structure where all my songs live under one project. I will continue using pre-mastered stems, which I think is also a good idea since Maschine+ seems to handle audio clips very efficiently (if compared with internal the synths).

How could I go about this?

If before I was using one Part per song, should I now be thinking of using one Group per song?

Do I create three patterns out of this Group? Will I still be able to play patterns where everything is running but I can control the mute states of the group?

Once I slice a Sample does that mean that the whole Group has the different slices assigned to the pad or can I still have one Sample per pad where I parameter lock the slices in different points of the grid?

Anyways, I am sure there are a lot of inefficiencies about how I am handling this so I would appreciate any musicians playing mostly sample based sets with their machines chiming in...

Thanks,

Q

Tagged:
«13

Comments

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,753 mod
    edited December 2023

    Do your live sets only require a standalone or are you also using CDJ's and such?

    Are all your songs the same BPM or do they vary?


    If before I was using one Part per song, should I now be thinking of using one Group per song?

    Do I create three patterns out of this Group? Will I still be able to play patterns where everything is running but I can control the mute states of the group?

    That's probably the more manageable approach, this way you stay in a Group per song, mutes for PADs/Tracks are available, and the Patterns would effectively switch your song's parts.

    But any other approach would be valid, you could also have a 6 Groups each dedicated to those stem requirements, then you would use the Group Mute buttons instead and still have more experimentation control to trigger different Patterns from different song parts together.

    I advise taking a look in the desktop app version to compare different approaches as it's way faster to learn and setup than standalone. There are other approaches like Song Mode and triggering Scenes too...


    Once I slice a Sample does that mean that the whole Group has the different slices assigned to the pad or can I still have one Sample per pad where I parameter lock the slices in different points of the grid?

    You can apply Slicing to a whole Group (Pad Mode, one Slice per Pad) or to a single Pad (Keyboard Mode).

    Groups have the 16 slice limitation and take over the whole Group, Slices to a Pad can have as many slices as the range of the piano roll, -C2 to C8+, so big difference there... So if your stems are long only the 2nd option is viable.


    Maschine+ seems to handle audio clips very efficiently (if compared with internal the synths).

    Depends, if time-stretch is required some modes are quite prone to issues and overload CPU quickly, 6 stems per track at around say 10 tracks could be impossible. Depends.


    Anyways, I am sure there are a lot of inefficiencies about how I am handling this so I would appreciate any musicians playing mostly sample based sets with their machines chiming in...

    Whatever method you pick it will never really be perfect, Maschine is not really designed to be a multi project live performance tool, so you kind of have to accept inefficiencies and workarounds.

  • qtechno
    qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member
    edited December 2023

    Thanks for you answers @D-One

    Do your live sets only require a standalone or are you also using CDJ's and such?

    Actually this is something I didn't mention but it's good that you brought it up. I'd like to have the possibility of running an external synth or drum machine if I want to. Does this need to be assigned to each Group or Group bank that I am using? This would mean I might have to duplicate this "pad" settings per group or group bank?

    But any other approach would be valid, you could also have a 6 Groups each dedicated to those stem requirements, then you would use the Group Mute buttons instead and still have more experimentation control to trigger different Patterns from different song parts together.

    You mean I could be filling up Group A with sliced up Kick+bass pads of 16 different songs, Group B with sliced up pads of low percussion, etc? And then make my songs on the fly kind of pick and choosing patterns? That would be indeed quite nice. Similar to what you'd do in an Ableton Live performance.

    Depends, if time-stretch is required some modes are quite prone to issues and overload CPU quickly, 6 stems per track at around say 10 tracks could be impossible. Depends.

    This is a techno set and not a super complicated one at that, I won't have tempo changes and I've got all my stems pre-recorded at 142 bpm, so I'm hoping if I disable time-stretch somewhere it shouldn't be handleable? If really long samples are a problem, I could always keep my Octatrack and play those stems from there... or the other way around and keep my Octatrack be my drum machine and do synths and atmospheric stuff in the Maschine... Not sure which of the options is smarter and esaier in the Maschine's CPU.

    Also, is it "cheaper" to use the Audio engine instead of the Sampler? Any advantages or disadvantages? From my understanding those things basically loop the whole stem as long as there's a gate... but I saw on that Stimming review that there's no way to trigger this gate other than having your finder on the pad, which seems like a crazy oversight by NI... but Stimming was using some beta version of the software so maybe this has been fixed.

  • Mac-Kee
    Mac-Kee Member Posts: 7 Newcomer

    Hey Q,

    do yourself a favour and discard the idea of changing your setup to Maschine+.

    I've been playing live myself for over 7 years with the Ocatatrack and the Rytm. My setup is a bit different and therefore more flexible, but it doesn't come close to the perfection of a fully produced track. Whatever.

    I also had the great desire to switch my live set to the Maschine+, but what I then experienced made me go back to the Oktatrack, which at least doesn't crash unexpectedly, has no audio glitches, no problems when playing stems when it is tiggered externally with midi. It also has no sample dropouts when running in slave mode and much more.

    It took me a lot of time and effort to get my live set onto the machine, but it would have been worth it if the machine plus was a stable system. But it is not!

    Native Instruments doesn't care whether you as a user can use the overpriced device properly or not. Nobody really seems to care about updates and bug fixes for the biggest problems. - So my advice is to look for a creative way to use Oktatrack for Live that gives you more flexibility. It is possible. But save yourself the trouble of using Maschine+. 

    Unfortunately, the desired changeover cost me an enormous amount of time and in the end I had to go back to Octatrack.

    Cheers Sven

  • qtechno
    qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member

    Damn, is it really that bad? I mean, I've seen people playing with it live and it seemed pretty great. I thought most of the stability issues had been fixed? Stef Mendesidis, most notably swapped his dual Octatrack set by a dual Maschine+ one and it sounds much better than before (cant share it here because this forum gives me the "You have to be around for a little while longer before you can post links." error). I am exploring different ways in which to keep playing with both together.

  • tetsuneko
    tetsuneko Member Posts: 564 Guru

    I could totally see a liveset happening with two Maschine+ units, since you can switch to the other if one of them crashes

    However, I would not risk playing a gig with a single Maschine+ just yet. With a good 3rd party SD card, the stability is improved from the stock microSD card, but you might still experience the odd crash or glitch every now and then

    I really wait for the day to come when Maschine+ performs as stable as the desktop version.. but until we get there, I use other gear (Elektron for example) for playing shows

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,248 Expert
    edited December 2023

    I’m not a live performer and never tried such a use case, but from experience wouldn’t expect the Maschine+ to handle that kind of load. You would end up with 6 stems x 3 sections x 16 songs = 288 loops of probably at least 8 bars. Within a single project. That’s maybe ten times more than anybody tried before („to boldly go where no man has gone before“).

    It could work better if you can make Patterns of your percussion stems using one shot samples (e.g. a single kick), achieve some re-use over the 16 songs and add few (!) effects for variation.

    @djadidai do you have any experience with such a setup?

  • qtechno
    qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member

    @ozon that's funny because the Stimming video shows him really trying hard to make it crash by stacking more and more loops on top of each other and the thing seemed to handle it just fine. And this was a ****** beta from when it just came out

  • djadidai
    djadidai Member Posts: 381 Pro

    I will elaborate more later on but,

    my M+ uses the stock sd card and I have a pretty big live project prepared, of course I’ve sampled most of my synths internally, especially those that are key for the tracks, but still keep one instance of the synths active without actively playing something (poly, massive, monark, prism, fm8, drum and bass synth) and I have routed sounds to aux (I have a group dedicated for fx) so it takes a little planning and some smart usage but I haven’t had the sound glitches and reboots or whatever, and I’ve used it for live performance connected to external gear at the same time but it’s the master sync. It’s been pretty damn stable for me since last years update tbh. I’d have the courage to bring it out, but not ONLY the M+, I’d make sure I can start something quickly just in case (tr6s). After running it live for 3-4 hrs with external gear I’ve noticed a few times (1-3ish) that it gets “fatigued”, but that’s after a few hrs! Most live performances in clubs are around one hour I guess. Mine works and I’d trust it enough to bring the beast out but with a small safety :) however when I play around in the studio I have 5 units going at the same time so every one gets a little bit of everything :)

  • qtechno
    qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member
    edited December 2023

    @djadidai good to hear. I've seen pros actually using it live so I was wondering. Some of the comments here seem so apocalyptic :D I was getting ready to send it back

  • qtechno
    qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member

    Well, I'll be damned... This answers my questions on how he has no problem while playing with two maschines. I guess I definitely can't get rid of my octa, but it also means I cannot use the Maschine as the main out to spice the Octa out with a little bit of limiting and EQ

  • djadidai
    djadidai Member Posts: 381 Pro
    edited December 2023

    You can connect the octagon to a pad in m+ with midi and audio and have full control of the octa via m+ and of course also applying all percs of M+ on the octa.

  • qtechno
    qtechno Member Posts: 13 Member

    I guess it would be safer the other way around... I make the Octatrack the master and run the M+ thru the Octatrack. Then I could:

    • Use one Project per song on the M+
    • When it's time to move to the next song, I resample it on the Octatrack and loop that.
    • In the background I open the next project/song on the M+

    Wouldn't that buy me some safety net and make it easier on the M+ CPU/RAM? As long as the M+ can change projects and start playing still sync'd to the octatrack's tempo I guess this could work pretty well

  • djadidai
    djadidai Member Posts: 381 Pro

    I don’t know the octa but by the way you described it that sounds good! Then you don’t have to overload a project on the m+, the trick is then to make sure to start next project in time with the octa, I assume the sync will be broken when changing projects so you’d have to restart from the octa anyway, as on the m+ in opposite roles. Try and see if the next project on the m+ auto plays when switching projects.

  • tetsuneko
    tetsuneko Member Posts: 564 Guru
    edited December 2023

    Using an OT & Maschine+ might work well indeed, assuming you can get a solid clock slave sync happening for the Maschine+. If OT can send MIDI clock from it's USB MIDI output, that's what I'd try syncing the Maschine+ with, as it seems to sync OK in my tests when synced via USB MIDI.

    Then you could indeed use the OT resampling trick, open the next project on the M+, and mix that back in, on and on.. and in the event of a crash, you'd just play stuff from the OT while M+ reboots..

    I applaud any "Pros" who have the balls to use Maschine+ live tho.. Call it "apocalyptic" if you want, but I expect 100% stability from the tools I play gigs with, its got nothing to do with being a professional

  • djadidai
    djadidai Member Posts: 381 Pro
    edited December 2023

    I’ve only used the 5 pin midi ports and it works well for me both as master and slave. It is so much better since last update that came a year ago. There’s good use of the usbs on the back, a jam, a keyboard, an interface or something.

Back To Top