Using Maschine 2 as a main "DAW"?

WonkyFresh Member Posts: 11 Member

So, I've been using only Maschine for a couple of years now to make music. Would you recommend to use Ableton/FL Studio/other DAWs for finalizing my songs? How much can you really improve the sound and and final mix on Maschine compared to other production programs? Sometimes mixing and using plugins doesn't get me to results I want, so I'm often thinking if I'm even able to make my songs sound better on Maschine? 😐️


  • DeepThumb
    DeepThumb Member Posts: 169 Advisor

    Hi, I would start with the question: What am I missing in Maschine? Why do I think that my songs could be better or faster finalized using a DAW?

    Some very experienced musicians and producers told me that in the beginning they had created hyper complex routings between Maschine, other tools and their DAW and thus spend hours and days not making music.

    After some years now they just export what they want from Maschine as simple audio files and import them in their DAW (if at all...).

    Well, there are some fancy soft synths and sound mangling tools that don't run (or not yet) as a VST3 in Maschine. On the other hand every DAW requires days of intense learning.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,740 mod
    edited February 2022

    @DeepThumb has a super valid point on his first question, that's what I would ask myself as well. The point on people eventually just settling on exporting audio is also what I see the most, mostly because it's the most practical approach altho possibly destructive depending on what you will do later to the exported audio, it somewhat can require committing to initial ideas.

    If you feel like they're unfinished because you need extra tools that MAS does not offer, or things are more practical elsewhere then, yes, go finish up in a DAW. Setting up a simple send FX is basically a 1 click operation in a DAW but in MAS you have to route Pads into to each other, mutes and solo rekt those FX, etc... just an example of a typical mixing scenario.

    @WonkyFresh said:

    so I'm often thinking if I'm even able to make my songs sound better on Maschine? 😐️

    It depends if you're talking about the mix, sound design, or actual composition.

    I asked myself the same question some time ago. To answer it I simply compared my Maschine projects to DAW projects, not only in terms of in which I made better music but also in which I actually finished more stuff that I'm happy with and had more fun making, it's very tricky to answer but I reached a conclusion, I guess you could try the same.

  • Solncev_
    Solncev_ Member Posts: 42 Helper

    for me, MAS is a great tool for writing arrangements and for initial processing. NI plugins do not have latency, so they are well suited for MAS.

    then i just convert everything to wav and start mixing in studio one where i can use my console 1 and high latency plugins.

    I think that it is convenient and practical to separate the processes of arranging and mixing.

    separating these processes gives me the opportunity to say to myself "that's enough, you're done with the arrangement"

  • WonkyFresh
    WonkyFresh Member Posts: 11 Member

    Hey, thank you so much for your time to answer @DeepThumb @D-One @Solncev_ !

    Yes, probably my questions weren't enough accurate to get an easy answer. I was kinda interested to know about other producers who only use Maschine too. I'd like to keep my music making "simple", so if I can make everything on Maschine I will. Actually I've been making music for a very long time (from the 90's trackers to FL Studio), but I know there's A LOT of things I should learn more about. I really like the sound of some beats on Native's own Maschine expansions. So probably it's just more about learning how to use plugins effectively! I think my main "weaknesses" on producing are about loudness and compression/limiting. Especially I would really like to create great sounding drums. Time to start focusing on those things now!

  • Vacuum Collapse
    Vacuum Collapse Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
    edited February 2022

    I typically work with Maschine only, but I also finish tracks in Reason or FL Studio. Here are a few shortcomings of Maschine: There is no VST3 support, though there is an unofficial wrapper that you can find online. There are no advanced routing options, so you can't directly route Scaler 2 to a VST for example. Another example, with Shaperbox I am not aware of a way to use the keyswitches, since you can't route midi to FX. Automation over multiple scenes or sections is tedious with Maschine. There is no plugin delay compensation, so latency shows up when you have long mixer chains, or use more advanced mixing or mastering plugins. You are also missing possibilities like FL Studio's Patcher, or Reason's Combinator, which allow you to set up complex chains of instruments and FX with macro controls.

    With some creativity, many of these shortcomings can be overcome. The most unpleasant one to me is the lack of plugin delay compensation.

  • defyosef
    defyosef Member Posts: 34 Member

    I'd add the lack of aftertouch support, which makes some of the instruments less functional.

    And my personal no 1: lack of tempo and time signature changes.

    Sometimes it feels as if Maschine has kind of split personality in what it aspires to be: if it's supposed to be a groovebox, why does using it as a plugin ended up to be such a chore? If it's supposed to be a daw, why no PDC and time signature changes? Hindsight is 20/20 of course, I don't suspect anyone at NI explicitly wanted it to be like this.

    Needless to say, I'd rather prefer for Maschine to stick to being a groovebox and just try to be better at it. See no point in diluting a fair concept with feature creep. Moreover, NI seems unlikely to catch up with DAW competition and besides this market seems oversaturated anyway.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,760 Expert

    Until now I do everything in Maschine. Working (creating/modifying) with automations/modulations is complicated. And plugin delay also has to be considered if using more complex plugins. For example Eventide's SplitEQ has 70-80 ms.

    So I plan to make arrangements in Maschine, export stems and make mix and mastering in DAW. But as beeing lazy to learn DAW, I keep fighting in Maschine...

  • WonkyFresh
    WonkyFresh Member Posts: 11 Member

    So now I know why there's some latency when I'm using Soundtoys' LittleAlterBoy. I was also about to buy some VST3 only plugins, glad I didn't! :/

    On my Maschine (Mikro MK2) "Tap" button is also totally unuseful. It really doesn't work at all, BPM never stays even close to what it really is. I've used the same feature in FL Studio and it was very accurate.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,740 mod
    edited February 2022

    LittleAlterBoy should add some 60ms or something due to the look-ahead.

    "Real-time" focused production SW tends to have short tap-tempo detection, 3 or 4 hits only, Maschine does this as does Ableton but something like Cubase can continuously receive tap's and compute an average so it ends up being more accurate, I guess FL must do something similar.

    I generally get within 1 or 2 bpm of a difference, fairly close. How off is the tap tempo for you? If you tap at 80bpm does it show you something crazy like a 90bpm or 70? If the difference is that big something is very wrong.

  • WonkyFresh
    WonkyFresh Member Posts: 11 Member

    Thank you for the info! I think the problem was that I was hitting too many times. I just tried tap tempo with "Try Again" by Aaliyah, 3-4 hits and it showed 93.1 BPM, real tempo should be 93 so it works now! I was just using this feature the wrong way. πŸ˜…

  • afrogrit
    afrogrit Member Posts: 57 Helper

    My quarrel with Maschine is that it does not route midi notes within tracks, every DAW out there has this feature. Impossible to use tools like Scaler.

  • tetsuneko
    tetsuneko Member Posts: 556 Guru

    For me, Maschine has two big issues which make finishing releasable music challenging:

    β€’ The lack of PDC (plugin delay compensation) makes using certain mixing & mastering plugins difficult/impossible

    β€’ Maschine does not allow realtime recording into its Song Mode

    Running Maschine as a plugin in a DAW solves both of these issues.

  • Sequencesounds
    Sequencesounds Member Posts: 62 Helper
    edited April 2022

    A clunky workaround, but you can use midi fx like Scaler, HY sequencers, Rhythmizer in Maschine using Bluecat patchworks or Bidule (both paid - there may also be some free alternatives)

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