The Maschine Mikro Mk3 offers a huge amount of fun and creativity at an attractive price. Bruce Aisher explores furthers. There once was a time (barring a few extremely expensive exceptions) when hardware sequencing was the only game in town and with drum machines leading the charge. Of course, this was supremely limited by the standards of any modern DAW. As sampling became more affordable to implement, and alongside the rise of standalone specialist hardware, manufacturers explored ways of expanding the functionality of their beatboxes. At the core of this was the ability of users to record, save and reload their own samples, though this also went hand-in-hand with greater sophistication in the sequencing and post-record, note manipulation department. The lineage of Native Instruments’ Maschine range can therefore be traced back to the original EMU SP and Akai MPC boxes. The latter in particular has a lasting legacy in its 4 x 4 matrix of drum pads. Unlike these earlier units and other self-contained sound generation boxes, where software and hardware communicate internally, and all that is required is a power source, Maschine is very much a marriage of software, computer and controller technology. In other words, despite its plentiful supply of knobs and colourful display capabilities, Maschine makes no sound itself and relies on the audio output of your computer or external sound card to deliver the sonic goods. This ongoing reliance on off-the-shelf computer DSP is only to be expected given that Native Instruments sprung from the development of a PC-based modular synthesis system (that eventually morphed into Reaktor). However, whilst PC or Mac hosted DSP remains at the core of their products, they have increasingly embraced hardware controller integration concepts. [advert]
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Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk3
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