Maschine+ is the first embedded product from Native Instruments, bringing the company’s instruments, effects, and sounds into an entirely hardware-based workflow.
Since Maschine was launched in 2011, many fans and users of the product have wondered whether Native Instruments would follow companies like Akai Professional into hardware-oriented standalone territory. From Maschine Mk1 to Mk3, NI has regularly made improvements based on the feedback from their community, but these have always followed the model of software integration with a computer. Updates over the years have included resizing the pads and buttons, adding new physical features like a touch bar for modulation and enhancing the screens with colour and high resolution, to name a few. Different variations of the product, like Maschine Jam, Maschine Mikro and Maschine Studio, were also released but these too could not fully function without a computer. With the entirely standalone Maschine+, NI are saying “leave the laptop behind” for the first time in its history.
Maschine+ has the same layout as Maschine Mk3, with 16 pads, two screens, eight macro encoders and a 4D encoder, but it features a new silver metal housing as well as a heavier material used for the encoders.
The instruments and effects are now internal, with Maschine+ powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and four GB of RAM. The internal hard drive has a 32GB onboard storage, complemented by an included 64GB SD card, with which the user can load sounds and samples. The device is also WiFi-enabled so that all of the user’s registered Maschine expansions, plugins and sounds can be downloaded directly to the device without a computer. All of these features essentially make the unit its own computer and we have been informed that it runs on a Linux operating system.
Two USB ports have been added to the back (in addition to the MIDI input and output) to enable connection to external audio interfaces, USB MIDI devices and synths. Maschine+ also retains the three audio inputs (two line in and one mic in) and stereo output introduced in Mk3.
Other new features include a power supply that locks to the device when twisted, a new Clips arrangement tool for recording MIDI and adding automation, and 127 external MIDI mapping presets for synths from companies like Korg, Elektron, Roland and Novation, among others.
With a price of €1299, Maschine+ is more than double the price of the Mk3 but, unlike its predecessors, it comes with a built-in sound library. The Maschine+ Selection includes four Reaktor synths, the Kontakt Factory Library, Retro Machines Mk2, Monark, Prism, Massive, FM8 as well as the Maschine Factory Library, and Raum, Phasis and additional built-in effects. Five expansions are also included with an E-voucher for the user to choose two more to install to the device.
Speaking about Maschine+, Native Instruments CIO and President Mate Galic stated, “This release marks a pivotal moment in Native’s history, and it’s something that’s been highly requested by the Maschine community. Since day one, Maschine has been about combining the power of modern computers with a fast, fun, hardware-based workflow. Today we come full circle by combining those key elements—together with some of the most iconic sounds from Komplete—in a powerful standalone instrument. Not only is Maschine+ a new flagship for our range, it also sets a new benchmark for exciting future products and continued development”.
Maschine+ will hit stores on October 1, 2020, and pre-orders are open at the Native Instruments website.