The Maschine mk3 has been announced. And it ticks a box we’ve been wanting to see ticked for a while:
The Maschine mk3 has an audio interface. Onboard. And the whole thing can be USB bus-powered. We like the Maschine mk3, and we’ve not even got our hands dirty on those pads yet…
Of course, there’s a lot more to the Maschine mk3 than ‘just’ adding an audio interface. Let’s take a look at what’s going on.
The Maschine mk3 – first impressions
At first glance, the Maschine mk3 looks like a very sleek piece of gear. Especially when you look at all the panning close ups in this video:
Even if you aren’t the most eagle-eyed of viewers, you might have noticed that the Komplete Kontrol mk2 keyboards have also made an appearance, but we’ll save those for another day: for me at least, today is all about the Rise of The Maschines.
Not only does the hardware look fantastic, you get more screen space, larger buttons that are designed to give you the best response for playing in patterns in real-time, a touch strip that lets you strum notes, pitch bend and more, and a good deal more features than that.
As far as first impressions go, the Maschine mk3 has us impressed.
Maschine mk3 – the audio interface
This is the big one. I know there are two camps on this: those who think an audio interface is exactly what Maschine needs to make it the best groovebox, and those who would rather use their own, but the fact that there now is an audio interface onboard – and the fact that the Maschine mk3 costs the same as the Maschine mk2 – hopefully means that both camps will be happy.
If you want an efficient, minimal setup, you’re covered with a Maschine mk3 a computer and a single USB cable, if you want to add your own interface, you can and the mk3 isn’t adding an additional cost compared to its predecessor and, if you want to go on the road, you needn’t pack up your studio interface. It’s a win win win.
With two line inputs and a mic input, a pair of line outputs and a headphone output, Maschine mk3 has the essentials covered. What’s a great feature though, is the addition of that onboard line-out volume control, letting you have instant level control at your fingertips regardless of the setup.
Maschine mk3 – the software
The Maschine software is a flexible way to make music, whether you use it standalone or as a plugin. If you decide to use it as a plugin, it integrates well with all major DAWs, and you can use it in the way that suits your workflow, from producing start to finish arrangements, to creating loops that you export into your DAW timeline.
The included sound library is what makes it for me though. Yes, the Maschine software gives you those nice drum syths, but tha 8 GB Maschine library is simply astounding. There is a superb range of sounds there that really cover everything, and that’s before you even start to look at the included Komplete Select.
Maschine mk3 – the specifications
Native Instruments describe Maschine mk3 as ‘The next generation music production and performance instrument with a fast, intuitive and fun way to create and perform tracks and beats on a computer-based setup’, but let’s see what’s going on…
- Integrated hardware/software system includes sampler, arranger, mixer, FX, and more
- 8 GB MASCHINE library with samples, one-shots, sliced loops, sampled instruments, presets, patterns, drum kits, and songs
- Includes 25 GB KOMPLETE 11 SELECT library including the legendary synth Massive, Scarbee Mk1 electric piano, Drumlab, Vintage Organs, West Africa percussion library and more
- 25 pro-quality studio and creative FX including filter, EQ, delay, reverb and compressor
- 2 high-resolution RGB colour displays for precision sample slicing, sound tweaking, note editing, mixing, browsing, and more
- 16 large, ultra-sensitive pads make two-handed drumming easy
- Pro-grade, 96 kHz / 24-bit audio interface with 2 x ¼” TRS line outputs, 2 x ¼” TRS line inputs, ¼” dynamic mic input, stereo headphone output, 1 x MIDI In, 1 x MIDI out; 1 x Footswitch
- Touch sensitive knobs for parameter tweaking
- Smart Strip for strumming notes, pitch bending sounds, performing with FX, and more
- Four-directional push encoder for browsing, navigating, adjusting levels and balance
- Powered via USB 2.0 or with the included power supply unit
- Seamless integration with KOMPLETE
- Classic groovebox features including 16 velocity levels, swing, pad link, note repeat, step sequencer, and vintage MPC 60/SP 1200 sampling emulation
- Compatible with all major DAWs (including Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio) as a VST or Audio Units plug-in with full multi-core support
Summing up the Maschine mk3 – the best new groovebox?
So there we have it: the new Native Instruments Maschine mk3. I know some hardware purists will disagree with me, but I think the addition of the audio interface turns the Maschine mk3 into the ultimate groovebox.
Yes, I know, you still need a computer, but now that’s all you need. One USB cable into your laptop and you’re good to compose, produce and perform anywhere.
For people looking for a route into production, the Maschine mk3 is a great choice. If you already have a computer, you can put together a hugely powerful production system – hardware and software – with a single purchase.
And it’s not a closed system of a single purchase either, you’re still free to add further plugins, sequence and record future hardware synth purchase by taking advantage of those MIDI ports and audio inputs.
The term ‘game changer’ gets overused these days, but I’m going to use it here: the Maschine mk3 is a game-changing product, particularly for people looking to take home one box to turn their computer into a recording studio.
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