Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
Colonel Knows Best : An Investigation of The Maschine
by Colonel W.E. Hammergun Malesbury.
Whilst sitting quietly one Monday morning in my beloved Diogenes Club, drinking like a divorcee at Christmas time, the club’s Maitre D’ alerted me to the fact that German software company Native Instruments had been jamming the switchboard to tell me news of their new sequencer, sampler & hardware controller which goes by the name of the Maschine. Humbled and abashed, I immediately dispatched my errand boy, Perkins, to fetch me this bold new offering.
I put him to work straight away, setting the device up on my beat making apparatus – a specially constructed Harris Tweed/ carbonite alloy designed by yours truly. I am pleased to inform you, dear reader, that the installation process passed quickly & without any unpleasantries. Perkins is a dull boy with simple pleasures & appears to have suffered badly at the hands of a particularly cruel & brutal taxidermist, so if he can manage it I would think any sound minded individual would have little trouble achieving similar results.
Now as you may well imagine, I am a man of panache & savoir-faire with a devil-may-care attitude, so I threw away the manual, settled down with a pink gin & browsed the tutorial section on the NI website. What struck me immediately was how well thought out & straightforward the Maschine is to operate. Put simply it is an MPC style hardware unit coupled with software, giving the humble user the flexibility of computer-based music production with the ease of a groove box. The controller, which features 41 function buttons, 11 rotary encoders & 16 illuminated velocity-sensitive pads, allows you to create patterns, sequence whole songs, tweak on the fly & interact, MPC style, with the powerful software. In no time at all, I was knocking out beats that had young Perkins gibbering & twitching like a chimpanzee playing with an electric fence.
Furthermore, what is mightily impressive is the amount of sounds to hand & it quickly illuminated the empty cavity of my own dusty sample library. All told it has 9GB of sounds, covering pretty much every genre from the largely spoken word format music of American ghettos, (hip hop – thank you Perkins) to the filthy, drug induced hullaballoo of just about every electronic sub genre. Plus some marvellous acoustic kits, African percussion, basses, synths & guitars. You name it, its bally well in there!
Moving on to the FX section, well I really must doff my cap as NI have done a superb job. Included are your usual bread & butter FX such as EQ, compression, delay & reverb, which do the job just fine The chorus in particular is tip top & gives you a sound that is as thick as a donkey’s foreskin. The filter is, however, my favourite of the lot, offering some excellent modulation capabilities which are of course all ready to be tweaked & adjusted with the rotary controllers. Then there are the more unusual FX such as grain delay, chord resonators, Lo-Fi effects, distortion & saturation. Finally there is an option to emulate the sound of the Akai MPC & the E-mu SP-1200.
Never in the field of human hirsuteness has so much been offered for so little. If you are thinking of investing in a powerful MPC style drum sampler/ groovebox that comes with a massive sample library, has great FX, a fast & smooth workflow & is superb for live performance, I should hope most stringently that you cast an eye over the Maschine.
Grab yourself one of these little beauties HERE.