Maschine Vapor Gray - How to see the label buttons better?

Peter Harris
Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw
edited February 9 in Maschine

First let me say how much I LOVE my Maschine Plus and esthetically how much I like my Vapor Gray version.

However I find that the button labels are often VERY hard to read- especially when a button isn't actively backlit or under certain daytime lighting conditions. Especially in the first few weeks after my purchase when I really relied on the button labels to understand what everything did. This was bad enough that I considered ordering a replacement in a different color scheme or looking into whether I could order a different set of button covers with higher contrast printing from one of the other color schemes.

Short of that, do you have any other suggestions for dealing with this problem? A way of switching all buttons to illuminated for example?

Comments

  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI BerlinAdministrator Posts: 909 admin

    Does connecting the power supply to add extra brightness or adjusting the brightness in settings help at all? 😕

  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    Thanks for the suggestion but I always have the power supply connected. It's just a function of the combination of the labels on the pads on each M color edition. On the vapor gray version (whose case I love aesthetically otherwise) the letters are translucent which looks great when they are backlit but makes them almost invisible in daytime use. (See photo.) On the other hand it does look great at night!

    Can other owners take pix of theirs in other color combos for comparison? I know some for example have dark opaque printing like the standard version, don't they?

    BTW yes, I understand that every product design has its own positives and negatives, just trying to see if there are any workarounds in this case. Still love my M+ anyway and I guess it just makes me have to work harder to learn the button text by memory. 😉

  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI BerlinAdministrator Posts: 909 admin

    Hold up. Is it the same one as this?


  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    Yep. That's the one. I know, it looks VERY different depending on the ambient room light and different pad brightnesses. That's the graphic that made me choose the color but it doesn't really look like that much of the time because the button labels are translucent not opaquely printed as it appears.

    Unless I got a weird batch or something? Aren't you NI staff? Does mine in the photo look wrong compared to other ones you've seen or you've never seen what it really looks like in an actual photo instead of a staged graphic?

  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    For comparison, this is the same unit at night in a dimly lit room without being powered on. Crazy, right?!

    When it's off the opaque white buttons appear labelled in a dark color but they are in fact just translucent cutout text without backlighting. But the translucent pads with the same cutout style labels are completely invisible, essentially illegible, right? Sometimes I think I'm going crazy...

  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    And here, it looks best switched on when it's in a dimly lit room at night. Button labels clearly visible and illuminated pad labels clearly visible. Under these circumstances only non-illuminated pad labels are illegible. (Much as they are also in the first photo above.)

    Would love to see comparable photos of the other colored models in similar day/night back-lit/front-lit scenarios out of curiosity.

  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI BerlinAdministrator Posts: 909 admin

    Yours looks fine! Exactly like what we've got here. It's the lighting in the first pic that completely changed the color. Is this 'the dress' debate 2.0? 😄

  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    So I'm afraid you never answered my underlying question which was whether there was some way to improve the visibility on the vapor gray pad labels. If not, is there a way to order a replacement set of pads that has the black labeling (like the more common black Maschine/MK3 schemes) so I can actually see it more easily? And if so, how hard is it to swap them out? Would it invalidate my warranty?

  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI BerlinAdministrator Posts: 909 admin

    Sorry thought I answered already. Perhaps my previous message wasn't clear. It looks the same as the other units so I don't think it's defected. Thanks for sharing the feedback - the label's contrast really does affect the visibility in a dimly-lit room. We'll collect this for the team.

  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    Not sure why you are not reading my questions thoroughly so let me try AGAIN. I've never been suggesting it's defective, I've been asking two things:

    1. Is there a hot-key or other way to force the pad/button backlighting to be on even if the pads are not populated with sounds in a particular kit?
    2. Can I buy a replacement set of pads pads where they have the dark printing on the drum pads (like the dark colored M/M+ editions) instead of the knock-out transparent labels as they do in the vapor gray scheme?
  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI BerlinAdministrator Posts: 909 admin

    My underlying answer is that there are no out of the box solutions unfortunately, since we don't offer replacement pads on our website and replacing the pads with third-party items can lead to the termination of your warranty.

  • D-One
    D-One PortugalModerator Posts: 473 mod
    edited March 29

    @Peter Harris

    Is there a hot-key or other way to force the pad/button backlighting to be on even if the pads are not populated with sounds in a particular kit?


    I find that the button labels are often VERY hard to read- especially when a button isn't actively backlit or

    The buttons are actually always backlit but dimmed, this can't be turned off but depending on lighting conditions if it's set to very low it's indistinguishable. Go to Prefs ➡ Hardware ➡ LEDS

    That controls how bright the LED's are which also affects the dimmed state of buttons and pads, if it's already at 100 then you're out of luck.


    Can I buy a replacement set of pads pads where they have the dark printing on the drum pads (like the dark colored M/M+ editions) instead of the knock-out transparent labels as they do in the vapor gray scheme?

    The only thing NI sells is the Knob button caps, in full sets, nothing else. Quite annoying when something for users who like to fix things themselves breaks.

  • D-One
    D-One PortugalModerator Posts: 473 mod
    edited March 29

    Would love to see comparable photos of the other colored models in similar day/night back-lit/front-lit scenarios out of curiosity.

    Translucent on black VS on white/gray will always be easier to read.

    Sure, here:

    In direct sunlight on a very cloudy day (the power adapter doesn't reach outside, but the difference is negligible anyway) - On a sunny day, I normally can't see anything, not even distinguish the Pad colors but the black/white buttons are fine, very readable. (not a critique on the MK3 / M+, all devices with LEDS struggle in such conditions.)

    Indoors but very close to a window: (no power plug again)

    Indoors far away from a window (semi-dimmed room) - NO power plug

    Indoors far away from a window (semi-dimmed room) - with power plug


    Keep in mind the accuracy of pictures/video is pretty terrible since exposure and aperture completely change the way a camera receives light.

  • Peter Harris
    Peter Harris Canadian in Los AngelesMember Posts: 169 Saw

    This is so helpful D-One! I really appreciate your participation on this because I felt like I was getting nowhere before.

    I hope NI pays attention to this sort of discussion and comparison because it should really inform new product development especially color choices for pads and screen printing, and when they make a mistake like the translucent buttons with knockout text it would be nice if they offered users a replacement set with the black printing as an alternative but if replacing them would void the warranty then I guess there's no point. I have actually been thinking of printing my own in black text on clear labels that I can stick on top of the pads but haven't done it yet. In fact if I put the text on the lower right of the pads then it wouldn't even interfere with the existing knockout text when it's visible In the right light conditions.

    I find that especially surprising because aesthetics, font choices (esp. anti-aliasing) and color groups/gradients etc were clearly so well considered in the product development cycle. That was one of the biggest factors when I switched from the Akai MPC One to NI Maschine/M+. (Except for some of the nice GUIs for plugins like Hype, the interface designer in me couldn't stand the DOS text-mode feel of the MPC hardware and the software looks like old Borland modules jammed to the main interface until it's completely overwhelming.) Overall Maschine feels like designers and UI/UX specialists were involved alongside the engineers in the creation of the whole visual and technical language of the product line. Akai products feel to me like they were built by programmers without any importance given to design or usability.

  • D-One
    D-One PortugalModerator Posts: 473 mod
    edited March 29

    No problem. Hope so, this feels like a mistake but then again you're the first to mention it. If you put stickers on it you'll make your pretty unit look like a guetto DIY project... 🫣

    I find that especially surprising because aesthetics, font choices (esp. anti-aliasing) and color groups/gradients etc were clearly so well considered in the product development cycle.

    All that consideration and R&D was already done for the regular MK3/M+ so I doubt much attention is given to small-run LE color releases, they prob just change the color and move on I assume, that would explain the issue. MAS had white units before but back in the day (before the MK3) the button prints were not cutouts so it was not an issue, the Studio, for example, looked like this:

    Very readable compared to yours, white is really the worst color for contrast that could be picked for an MK3/M+ with cutout ilumination. You can suggest that to support but doubt it will change anything, I've had my share of arguments with HW support for not providing parts for repair.

    Would it invalidate my warranty?

    Good question, the M+ is the only NI device I've ever had that has no "warranty void if removed" sticker.

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