Which product has a more stable software experience than NI?

RichBass
RichBass Member Posts: 27 Member
edited June 2022 in Maschine

Question to those who have experience with other production platforms: is the experience over on Akai software or elsewhere better and more seamless than Maschine and Native Access? I really just want to turn my production system on and make music. I want the software to detect what OS and processor I'm using and to disallow installation of incompatible versions. I'm looking to be as hands-off on the software/hardware management as possible.

I care way more about a frictionless experience than I do about sound quality, availability of sounds, number or quality of expansions, tactile feel of the drum pads, or even price. I just want the hardware and software to get out of my way. I do not have time to tinker, test, debug, or to become an expert in all the nuances of the various software issues. I just want it to work, every time I turn it on. If this ideal doesn't exist, then which company's experience is at least better? I can handle some flaws, but I need to reduce software headaches. I'd love to get any help on this or to hear about your experience. Maybe this is just the way it is.

For the background on this, I got into NI via Maschine Mikro. Despite not having used it as much as I would like, I was so enamored with the Maschine workflow, the hardware, the sounds, and the whole bit. I soon got a Maschine+, an S49, an M32, the CE bundle, another Maschine, and a few additional instruments that weren't in the bundle. Unfortunately, I've noticed lately that I've been spending more time dealing with crashes and software compatibility issues than actually making music.

Comments

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,249 Expert

    @RichBass wrote:

    I just want the hardware and software to get out of my way.

    Won’t happen with anything based on electronics.

    Learn to play acoustic guitar instead 😉

  • RichBass
    RichBass Member Posts: 27 Member
    edited June 2022

    Fair enough, but I've had far better experiences in other areas that involved hardware & software than I have with NI in music applications. And even guitars break, too. And then we all die, so there's that inconvenience as well.

    So given all of the above, the question still remains, who does it better than NI?

  • toneyrome
    toneyrome Member Posts: 29 Helper

    I don't think there is a "better". You just placed ease of use over a few things that are important things to me. That doesn't make your opinion invalid but it shows how subjective this is.

    Akai's MPC and related software are not intuitive to me but there are people who swear by it and classic music has been made on it.

    Some can give subjective advice about different hard/software but for me there's no substitute for getting your hands on it.

  • RichBass
    RichBass Member Posts: 27 Member

    Indeed, 'better' for me will be different than 'better' for others. I'll update the subject accordingly if it lets me.

    Great point... aside from hearing about others' experiences which will also be subjective, it will be hard for me to know how stable any software is going to be until I've used it and have seen a few update cycles, etc. And if it's going to be 'stable enough' to outweigh the annoyances/tradeoffs. So yea, I probably just oughta grab some used hardware and see how it works for me. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Flexi
    Flexi Member Posts: 366 Pro

    Akai Force and MPC are much more reliable as per latest versions on both companies platforms.

    NI kind of catch up a little with each release, but as of right now, Akai are making huge strides with each new release.

    The build quality of the M+ is superior to anything Akai, but that means little if Firmware updates are not so good.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,755 mod
    edited June 2022

    Nothing is really 100% stable and frictionless... Not even bare Windows / MacOS or older standalone music devices, those have bugs too... Heck, even acoustic instruments require tweaking & maintenance. Sometimes you pick up the instrument and something needs fixing, that's just how it is.

    As far as hands-on control + sw Ableton with a Push2 was the most plug-and-play experience I've had but just like everything else, it's not perfect.

  • darkwaves
    darkwaves Member Posts: 330 Guru

    Have you considered going back in time? Rack full of rompers. A mixer. Hardware sequencer. Not like M+, akai force, mpc live, etc. Go back to something like a mpc 1k. Or just play everything live and record to a multitrack recorder.

    I don't have a ton of hardware, but I do have a roland jdxi, roland xv3080 and a mpc 1k. None of them have ever had a hiccup. The 3080 and mpc are ancient. I've had them for probably 15 years. I bought them used and they were old when I got them.

    To be fair; I'm no where close to a power user with any of them. I've never pushed them; but there's never been a hiccup.

    My hardware is setup so I can go back to that old school workflow at will. Maschine as the sequencer. I often don't have any audio running through it. Just midi. I have a few hardware synths/romplers connected to an audio interface I use as a mixer. I monitor from the interface. The interface connects to my desktop interface via adat; so desktop is the recorder. Though I could plug something like a zoom h6 into one of the outputs of my interface.

    lol. The biggest headache I've had with that setup... my old adat cables were acting up and troubleshooting it was a nightmare.

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,249 Expert

    @RichBass the question is also what are viable solutions for you.

    Currently, with Maschine, you’re using a highly integrated hybrid software/hardware solution. AFAIK, there are only two other similar offerings on the market which already have been mentioned: Akai MPC (Renaissance/Live/X/One) and Ableton Live/ with Push.

    But would you also be open to completely change your approach, adapt to a linear workflow and try a fully fledged DAW such as Steinberg Cubase or Apple Logic (and some other less known but great options like Bitwig)?

    Since you already own it and like the overall workflow, you could also try to go all Maschine+ standalone and forget about the computer for beat making. And then finish your tracks in another DAW. Same would be possible with the MPC Live/One. Go more hardware. Get some great synths instead of plugins and record them directly into your groove box.

    But I think you really have to try yourself. There are demos available of most products.

  • RichBass
    RichBass Member Posts: 27 Member
    edited June 2022

    @D-One , @darkwaves , @ozon , thanks for your thoughts. I spent some time away from it and decided to keep what I have but to the extent I can 'go back in time' to reduce reliance on the computer. I had higher expectations when I purchased, so think I was running too close to the cutting edge for my stability needs. Lesson learned. I also looked at the Akai stuff, but I don't have the time to learn a new workflow or try to understand different issues. I do still love the Maschine workflow. It makes sense to me.

    So, no new gear for me unless it's older, I do like this idea! I can be a generation behind if need be, or even an older school tech that's ok. Besides, I've always wanted Taurus bass pedals hehe. I do like that with legacy stuff, the issues are largely already known.

    So I've downgraded Maschine to a known good copy for my machine/OS config. It took me a while to find it but I found it and it loads. I also like the idea of just sticking with the standalone M+, as I have PLENTY to learn there. And, because I did an update to the + without realizing I wouldn't be able to load the M+ projects on the downgraded Mac, the files only work in one direction, so I guess it works out. Constraints like this should at least keep me from getting overwhelmed with options. I hope that over time, these issues get resolved, but I'll take my sweet time before doing any updates. I learned my lesson and will now move to my position in the late-adopter line :)

    Thanks for your help, I really appreciate the feedback and ideas.

  • DeepThumb
    DeepThumb Member Posts: 169 Advisor

    Hi, if you prefer a more non PC related workflow with keys and knobs Elektron Digitakt and/or the new Syntakt might be worth a look.

    You can produce completely without a notebook but you can also use them connected to a DAW for recording and post processing tasks, e. g. mixing.

  • August Alchemy
    August Alchemy Member Posts: 21 Member


    In addition to NI and Maschine, I have Studio One, Abelton, Cakewalk and Pro Tools. They all have issues but I would say the more straight forward linear DAWS are more stable. For example, I don't think think I've ever had problems with Cakewalk or Studio one. I just hate the workflow. Abelton Live is closer to Maschine in workflow but you can have issues with it also, although not as much as Maschine. Pro Tools was just a pain to me.... to use and to get to play right with any interface.

    Since you already have so much NI stuff as it is, I would suggest to do what I just did and that was to focus on the computer. I ditched the laptop and spent that money on the best desktop you can buy/Build. You'll still have small issues but once you iron out the quirks ( For me Windows 11, cleared all of that up) it has been perfect so far. I built it myself but it was easy and it was literally cheaper than my last two laptops I bought in 2017 which included a Mac and PC, both of which were having serious issues with maschine.

    I'm not blaming your pc for your problems but from my experience the instability issues always seems to be with the dynamic between the Pc and Maschine and what you want it to do. For me making sure that the PC was 1000x more powerful than what I would use it for helped a lot.

  • RichBass
    RichBass Member Posts: 27 Member

    @August Alchemy thanks for your thoughts. As it turns out, I spent more time messing with it (I hate debugging computer stuff. I can do it, but would prefer to get work done), and now sings are pointing to my Mac being the culprit <cue Win/Mac holy war>. Seems to be changing something on the machine that is causing Maschine to not launch.

    Anyway, so I'm adapting. I liked a previous idea about going computer-less, and I do have the M+, and picked up one more, so I'm trying to learn those. But I also like the idea of a dedicated machine... one that isn't connected to the internet so no chance of an auto-update that breaks stuff. Maybe it's time for me to look into that too. Thx again.

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