Is Maschine Plus a beta for an awesome next release?
Hi, I'm from Argentina and I recently bought my Maschine +
My question is simple: Is this product a beta of an amazing upcoming final release and we are all some kind of "beta testers"? I consider M+ has an unacceptable level of bugs and glitches, and these issues can be found with a "normal" use. I'm not adding 5 instances of Kontakt and 6 of FM8. You can see these glitches just using the maschine with it's own factory projects: Distorted noises, system hanging... I've updated the OS to the latest version but I'm afraid this is not an issue you can solve with a OS "hotfix". I don't expect a general copy-paste answer like "please send me logs" or "please provide the steps...". The maschine plus is not ready for production, the design and the idea are awesome, but I can't trust on it for a live set. Sorry for my English but "this community is in English only"
Thank you in advance!
Short answer, no. It is clearly intended to be a “pro” release.
That said, I agree. M+ is not ready for Primetime. Unfortunately, it seems that the new paradigm in tech is to release products half baked. Apple has been doing it for years now. Latest example is my new shiny 11” M1 iPad with 16g RAM that can’t even use more than the tiny 4g of RAM that iPad OS 15 handicaps it to. Will be at least until fall until they release iPad OS16 to address this which means more than a year until devs update apps to take advantage. Absurd.
Thats just one example. Akai Force was a big piece of cow dung for years until a recent update unlocked its potential. M+ looks to be following the trend. I returned two thinking it was one off bugs plaguing the units but like you, am now resigned to realizing it is what it is right now.
I’ve decided it’s worth keeping if nothing else for its upgraded build quality and production value of working without my laptop when at coffee shops, on planes, or when I just want to get going quickly. I’ve learned muscle memory for saving often and each “update” provides more stability.
They’ve been promising a new update for sometime now, here’s to hoping it’s a great one. In the meantime, sending you positive vibes along with wishes that our early investment and patience is rewarded.🙏🏽5
The first thing I recommend for everyone who buys a Maschine+ — Get rid of that included microSD card! My issues reduced considerably after changing out the included card to a legit Kingston U3 SD card. My Maschine+ barely crashes anymore, although CPU glitches still manifest if you try to use too many plugins and fx8
Unfortunately, that’s how technology is developed today: Unfinished with low quality but super cheap. And this is simply because we, the customers, want more, earlier and at a lower price.
Remember the price of professional gear some decades ago: Only professionals could afford an MPC60 (€6'000) or an fully loaded Akai S1000 sampler (€10'000), and the Syclavier was reserved for a select elite. Back in the day, the E-mu Proteus/2 set me back almost twice the price of the M+ (€2'400), and a four channel Audiomedia II PCI audio interface was even more expensive (€2'800) - and required a Macintosh (yes, they weren’t called just „Mac“ back then) computer that went for about five to over ten times the price of an M+ (€6'000 for a IIc up to €20'000 for a IIfx).*
Even the last round of Akai‘s Z8 sampler and the MPC4000 cost several times as much as today’s products with comparable functionality.
However, I guess most customers prefer to cope with some issues instead of going back to those unaffordable prices.
*EUR Prices coverted from CHF at the time according to my memory. Not very exact, but it gives a rough indication.2
The reason all these new machines are cheaper is that they're all leveraging the work of others. Open source software, progression in the computer space, etc. The boxes are just Arm/Intel running Linux. The research time I'm sure is cut much shorter than it used to be. This old stuff was all custom firmware/software. Why can my Roland Fantom play a million sounds, piano's, strings, etc, sound great, never glitch? Because Roland has decades of experience building this stuff from scratch. Unfortunately, Akai just threw out all they knew to build on top of Linux. Not sure that's was a good idea, although I'm sure it's easier finding developers.
With the way these things are built today you can just get a raspberry pi, and MPD218 and a screen. Or just get an iPad and controller and build a box around it.3
I am totally agree.
I think people have to open their eyes once for all as the gamers do when Cyberpunk 2077 was released : undertested product or not finished products on release. And wait updates after update years long to have something convenient enough.
Some people say : "didn't buy it if you know", the fact is, "we never know really the state (thanks to marketing that can't let us know what is right or wrong) and people have to buy it to really know the state", because manufacturers and paid artists which review it will not say : "the products is not yet quite finished, it have bugs, you can't do this or that as suggest the advertisement, and we didn't tell you if or when we will add those functions". Look at all the NI official youtube page. I was shock when in this video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CXKDnJpfLM , you see the CPU going to more than 40% with a basic song and just for jamming not seriously... I check a second time to be sure it was an official video...
And the more detestable is people that didn't express their frustration who just "wait and pray" for new firmware, and invite us to "wait and pray" because "the device have the potential to be way better". Yes it could be, but when? And are we sure the manufacturer will do it? No communication policy oblige, no information. It is like waiting Santa Claus, but we know that Santa Claus didn't exist, only engineer an delivery men/women.
It is not the way it should be when manufacturer respect customer. Manufacturer have to make effort to really finish their products and/or release something really usable on day one, not on day +1 year. We can excuse bugs or missing functions if they are not too much or if the price is well adjusted. And we can excuse them if they communicate often and in detailed enough. I think a tread like this is expected since NI in particular didn't show since now a really efforts as big as the disappointment.
I work for a software company, and the day my company will act like this, I will quit. As I will do with Maschine+. If the communication of the 1.4 firmware that should be announce very soon is disappointing, I will sell my Maschine+ and bye bye NI. And invite all people that are also disappointed about this situation to do the same.
I make effort to like them, but I discover that objectively since now they don't make effort to do it (also by reading years of tread on Gearspace, Elektronauts and elsewhere about NI products). And I didn't speak about myself only, here and around people already give up or didn't expect more than the actual situation (when recognizing that they enjoy Maschine+ but find also that the device is not finished), and other just went elsewhere.
So if it, what is show it is, I will go elsewhere.2
You're in software so you understand the uphill battle they're facing. Porting old as hell codebases (Massive, Kontakt) to Linux, running a custom firmware on an underpowered x86 chip. It's a miracle anything works at all to be honest. We don't even have 4k support or Mac M1 support for Maschine itself lol. I'm guessing the codebase is a clusterfuck. I mean it goes back decades.
The only thing I'll say is this box is really awesome, but again I use it like people have used hardware sequencers since the 80's.... with other external gear. You can't expect an MPC or a Maschine to play 8gb piano's from Kontakt. You can't even expect it to play decently sized instruments. No one expects that from the MPC's. The hype synth supports 4 voices. The tube synth sounds like ***** and keygroups take 4 hours to load.
It's fine if you have 1 or 2 patches of something (hi CPU massive patch, large kontakt instrument, etc) but then you're supposed to sample them ("freeze them") and move on. It's the way people have worked for 4 decades. If you want sound modules that just work all the time then get a Roland Fantom, Yamaha Montage, or old Fantom, Triton, Modx, or something like that.3
Your argument will be acceptable if NI officially communicate about it. But no precise communication was made. Or perhaps do you know exactly how they code the software? I doubt it.
But anyway, you said :
I use it like people have used hardware sequencers since the 80's....
But we are no more on the 80's. And exist gear that have midi and edition functions not related with audio that is way better than Maschine+ and that Maschine+ can have. Those devices was released during the 90's and beginning 2000 : MC-80 as example. But also, anyway, look at the Squarp pyramid today. Midi functionalities on it is way better than Maschine+. So, even NI had difficulties to port the software to a linux environment, it didn't excuse the lack of midi and editing functionalities. I can barely understand with audio, but not for midi and stuff like tagging presets. But you have to admit that the approche of Akai with the new MPC is way better to limit the voices on their plugin, so the device can bear it. I own an MPC, and never I had audio problem by using internal plugin.
And me, I use mainly Maschine+ as a midi sequencer. So audio gliches is a thing, but you can't say "no problem here, move on".
It is understandable that engineer made compromis with an underpower device than computer, but since they didn't do it well by adding limitation and inform customer about those limitations, they are faulty.
The problem for me, is not only the fact that Maschine+ need improvement, but it is also that NI didn't communicate well and enough about what Maschine+ really is and how they will answer to the problem the community report.1
Simply, M+ would need stronger CPU and more RAM memory. With CPU and RAM it has it has capabilities it has. One cannot expect miracles and compare it to capabilities of PC. PC has many times more computing power.
If M+ will be considered successfull, Mk2 with much stronger CPU and more RAM might come. CPU technology advances pretty fast last few years.0
More CPU or RAM will not solve all the main problems.
More CPU and RAM are not needed to edit properly automation / create macro / tag your preset or handle program change "normally".
Imo, the actual CPU and RAM bear easily Drum/Poly/Basssynth and non vst Fx. More limitation should be made for the implemented VST. But I know that those VST are the main marketing argument to buy Maschine+. Those VST was a mistake from the beginning imo. NI should follow the wisdom of Akai by implementing basic plugins and complete edition capabilities for presets / sample / macro and tag first and then take time to implement others plugins. Then people will not think that Maschine+ is a "beta", and will be agree to wait new stuff.
But this choice was not made, and now, yeah people ask a Maschine+ MK2, but again it will not save the Maschine+ concept. Because also, NI would add more things on the MK2, and MK2 will be again no capable to bear them, so people will ask a MK3, etc... It is why I think the problem is on conception.
See how MPC and Force are. They didn't need more specs, just more functions. The disk streaming that was added on Force is a perfect way of overcoming some limitations.1
But it really doesn't. It has more than enough specs to be in this space. The issue is the currently line of instruments were made for with a different set of constraints. They were better off having a Massive "lite" where you could convert your patches to this Massive version with certain things turned off. No need to even have Raum in my opinion or if you did make it so you could only have 1 instance as send channel like it should be. Even the MPC doesn't allow for more than 4 effects. If you add more than 4 plugins it tells you, you can't add more.
They could have done this, but again the people that buy the Maschine are expecting something else than MPC users for some reason. Maybe it's because MPC is centered around chopping samples more than anything, which IMO the Maschine does better. Who's to say this would have been more blow back. Oh I can't add more than 4 effects, I can add more than 4 on my computer with 32 gb of ram and 4ghz intel i9. Whereas MPC users don't complain about that stuff. I think the main thing is they wanted users to be able to use the expansions they already have. I'm not sure if that was or wasn't the right decision. Also Reaktor, Monark, Retro Machines. Why even have those. Focus on Massive, Kontakt and Fm8. Those blow anything the MPC has out of the water.
Yes, the Maschine + does need improvement but it also needs its messaging realigned because I don't think people understand what a machine like this can and can't do.2
I don't agree with you. If Maschine+ didnt ship with everything it has, I would not have bought it. I can use it to make music, but I also can tinker and try to "hack" the limits of Kontakt & Reaktor. This unofficial and very much "beta" aspect of Maschine+ was and is a big draw for me.
I applaud NI for not taking the same approach as Akai.
As for the roadmaps, Akai was a lot more forthcoming about their roadmap when they still had a monopoly position in the market for standalone MPC-style devices. Now neither Akai nor NI want to tip off their hand to each other prematurely by disclosing in-depth future development plans.1
I'm not saying they should or shouldn't have done something. It's just that people want it to have full versions of every instrument, be able to load 80 instruments, and still be performant. There has to be a trade-off somewhere. Good, Fast, Cheap, you can only have 2. It's on the user to determine the limitations of the device or you take Akai's approach and force people to have limitations.1
I applaud NI for not taking the same approach as Akai.
Well, ok. So as result you have the complaints of lot of people that didn't understand the technical aspect. And NI environment is not made to the hacking approach. In contrary Akai approach allow hacking more easily, it's why complaints about Akai products are less aggressive.
Now neither Akai nor NI want to tip off their hand to each other prematurely by disclosing in-depth future development plans.
It is understandable. But as a drawback, their reputation go down.1
You can't add more powerful CPU to device like this. Just because it's need active cooling. Software optimization and voice limit looks more realistic to me. We needs better firmware, better OS and better Maschine 2 Software itself. That's fact.3
what I meant was that M+ was OK piece of HW, but one may not expect it would handle as much as PC with 16 core CPU and plentiful RAM.
If there will be Mk2, and I hope it will, it will pretty sure get stronger CPU (2-4 times more) as CPU technology advances pretty fast. And hopefully more memory (2-4 times more).0
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