My Maschine+ Wishlist
It's probably what everyone does after spending some time with a new device. I have asked a few question and received a few insightful answers so far, and I pondered the idea of getting rid of my M+ again because it simply doesn’t do a few things I cannot understand. Before I do that (or keep it around until I sell it off because I haven’t been using it in months) I would like to take the time and formulate a list of features that I would like to see in Maschine+ to make it into a device that can become a central piece of equipment in my workflow. Most of these things concern sample handling and processing as that’s my main area, but there are a few things related to playing stuff as well.
Generally, sampling on the Maschine platform is heavily underdeveloped. This was probably ok when Maschine was released in 2009 to compete with the 1000/2500 line of MPCs but it isn’t ok anymore today when almost every new sampler instrument has a better suite of sample manipulation tools on board.
Without further ado, here’s my wishlist (for standalone):
- Sampling: I really need Maschine+ to let me convert samples to mono, both as a sum and individual channels. The workaround of recording just left or right to mono does not work when I want to mono drumbreaks that are spread across the stereo spectrum. And even when I want to isolate left or right but want to use parts from both channels, having to record the sample twice is a clunky approach. Why not make a tiny mono/stereo plugin that lets users sum stereo signals and play individual channels as mono center sounds. Ableton has it and it takes barely any effort to make (for a company that made the other stuff that’s in Maschine).
- Sampling/handling: I really need access to my recorded samples from different projects in order to be able to reuse stuff I previously sampled in other projects, i.e. I need access to the Recordings folder, and I want to be able to rename samples and tag them right on the hardware. Maschine+ is not a computer where I can just go into the file system, copy a file and store it somewhere for further use. I think you really need to account for that (and other workarounds people have been using for years on the controller/software combo of Maschine).
- Related: I need to be able to duplicate a sample file (not just the sampler playing it) in the sample edit view in order to be able to manipulate and chop out bits and stretch them while retaining an unstretched version in the same project.
- Sampler instrument (perhaps an alternative to 3): It needs a realtime time stretch/warp feature baked in. The audio instrument doesn't do it because it lacks most of the playback features of the sampler instrument. Extra points for vintage emulation. Look at Koala sampler for how this can be done.
- Kontakt: Why on earth wouldn't you let us load patches that we have collected over the years, even if the lacks some of the bells and whistles? I have a collection of old rompler modules and I really like some of the bass sounds in them. They are not CPU heavy at all and I want to use them on another NI product that supposedly has a version of Kontakt in it. Strip away what M+ does not support and give a warning. But please let us decide if we want to live with the tradeoffs of playing patches on a light version of Kontakt. These files load in Ableton Sampler, but they don’t load on Native’s own Maschine+. Please do something about that. (And I get that you don’t want to overburden the hardware, so just add a RAM meter next to the CPU meter and put it in users’ hands.)
- Chord mode: It's a great feature but why on earth wouldn't you make it possible for users to make their own chord sets and load them into the Maschine? It's not even something that you're selling, so there's really no reason to add the ability to let users add their own chords.
That's it for the moment. Like I said, I love the hardware, and power wise it suits me fine. With that being said: I think it's also wise from a business perspective to strengthen Maschine’s sampling and sample manipulation capabilities as that is generally an area that is not as CPU heavy as playing a lot of synths. Look at what Roland has done with the SP 404 MK2 that is running on a toaster CPU. I bet Maschine could match that if they wanted to.
Generally, and I have said that elsewhere already, the Maschine+ feels a bit like an iPad would feel if Apple only let us consume their own services and apps. No Netflix and MS Word, but you can bring your own movies through the Video app, but only play them back in 480p, and you can also do word processing, but only in Pages and it doesn't support files made with iWork '09 or earlier (also you have to convert them on the computer beforehand). Approaches like these are perhaps ok in the inception of new gadgets, but they are a sign of incompetence in devices that are supposed to be mature devices that can be used for more than just fiddling around. You can make as many artist videos as you like, but you won't currently convince me that the M+ falls in the former category.
Ok, that's it for today. Back to my 404 to chop up some stuff...
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