Producing a groove or beat on the computer can be very tedious if you’re using only your keyboard and mouse. The concept of MIDI sequences may seem to go hand in hand with these two “instruments”, but everyone who has worked a longer timer like this knows what it means not to be able to edit your beat in real time. Sure, a keyboard may be of some use, and can be programmed to function as a MIDI input device, but this too may be very tedious if the response time is slightly off.
A professional MIDI input machine, be it keyboard or pad, is something every professional beat maker and music producer has to have in his or her studio. Native Instruments has a variety of instrument plug-ins that make music production software much richer, but the other thing this company is good at is, without doubt, making hardware that can accompany and enhance the utilization of those programs and plug-ins.
The Native Instruments Maschine is a beat-production workstation that is able to be hooked onto the computer and music production software in form of a plug in, as well as being able to be a stand-alone instrument that combines software and hardware into an all-around music production machine. The thing with it is that there is currently a variety of versions of this product on the market. This is why we will try to find out what version is best suited for what kind of use and, of course, budget.
Native Instruments Maschine MK2 Groove Production Studio
This workstation could be considered the basic model. It is very user-friendly, but requires a knowledge of the workflow this machine is built for. The colored pads are great for live performances, but also for studio use when assigning different sounds and keeping track of it. This model comes with a master section that lets you take control over the entire project, instead of controlling just a tiny bit of it through the pads and knobs. This will cost around $600.00
- Pads feature increased sensitivity for much more precision
- Multicolored pads allow you to assign colors to the groups, sounds, patterns, and scenes
- The redesigned Master section allows you to select modes with the toggle buttons and click through values without the need to look at the screen
- May be too pricy for an entry-level audience
- Audio interface or quality sound card to make it work as it should
- Needs a powerful PC or Mac otherwise audio playback might suffer
The “Native Instruments Maschine MK2 Groove Production Studio, Black” is a superb groove and beat making machine that can take on a variety of tasks from beat making to music production in a wider sense. The built-in mastering controls help in having an overlook over your entire project.
One of the major drawbacks of this product is certainly the inability to be a standalone instrument. It has to be hooked to a PC or MAC in order to do the things it’s designed for. This may cause a problem for those who don’t have the latest hardware, but still want to use a product of this caliber.
Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2 Groove Production Studio
The micro version of the Native Instrument Maschine MK2 is a compact and very compatible instrument and piece of studio equipment. It has similar features as the standard version. Of course, the size is significantly reduced in order to create a more user- and budget-friendly product.
The price of this workstation is much more affordable than that of the basic model, which brings with itself a few shortcomings. These shortcomings may not be significant for beginners, but enthusiasts and semi-professionals may expect a bit more from a Native instrument product. This will cost around $350.00
- A good “maschine” on a budget
- Easily programmable
- Multicolored pads
- There may be problems of synchronization with some music production programs
- No standalone function
The “Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2 Groove Production Studio, Black” is great for everyone who is in need of a great MIDI sequencer. That’s basically it. For any more professional use in terms of live performances or overlooking your entire project, this product is definitely failing to impress. Especially professionals may find it frustrating using a Native Instrument product that’s not up to the test of delivering the performances they’re known for.
Native Instruments Maschine Studio
This version is the luxury package of the whole Native instrument Maschine deal. As the name suggests, it is meant for studios, and therefore provides a variety of options that go with this task. First and foremost, it has an outstanding visual and audio feedback that lets you make entire projects happen without the need of looking at your screen.
The software it comes with is the MASCHINE 2.0 that includes a bunch of studio features that will certainly enhance every production. This will cost around $1,000.00
- Unprecedented physical control and visual feedback
- Sampler, arranger, mixer, effects, and more
- Includes MASCHINE 2.0 software, instruments, and new drum synths
- Very pricy
- Native Instruments support can be a lot better for the price you pay
The “Native Instruments Maschine Studio – Black” is without a doubt the best version of the Native Instrument Maschine series. It is great for professionals who know what kind of quality NI is able to produce. At the same time, it comes with great software and sounds that will certainly inspire you.
NI MK2 Maschine
Groove Production Studio
NI Maschine Mikro MK2
Groove Production Studio
NI Maschine Studio
Native Instrument Maschine is a groove and beat making instrument that is able to convey your ideas with ease, there’s no doubt about that. But the different versions of this product may prove as something to think about when choosing to make the purchase.
The “Native Instruments Maschine Studio – Black” and the “Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2 Groove Production Studio, Black” are very good in their price category, but if you are looking for something from both worlds, then the basic model “Native Instruments Maschine MK2 Groove Production Studio, Black” is the way to go, regardless if you’re a live performer or studio producer.