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iMaschine

iMaschine review

Compatible with:  iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPhone 5/6/6+, requires iOS 7.0 or later

Main Features:  16 velocity sensitive pads, included library features 100 MB of content + an additional ‘Quantum Collection’ sound pack from Maschine 2, sample directly from your iTunes library, upload directly to SoundCloud, export your mix to the Maschine 2 application

Price:  $4.99

Pros:

  • Audiobus & Inter-App Audio integration
  • Automatic loop-length detection
  • Excellent sound library
  • Direct upload to SoundCloud
  • In-app purchases of Native Instruments Expansions

Cons:

  • No note nudging
  • Only 4 tracks
  • No effect automation
  • No IAA/Audiobus input
  • No piano-roll/sequencer

The first thing that jumped off of my iPad screen when I opened Native Instruments iMaschine was the word ‘Sketchpad’. I thought to myself ‘cool, now I can sketch out a few pattern ideas when I’m away from my computer with an application I’m already familiar with.’ That wasn’t exactly the case as it turned out. Don’t get me wrong, iMaschine is a good sketchpad especially if you are new to music making. However, if you’re a pro, you might find it a bit limiting depending on what you are trying to sketch out. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

 

The Interface

iMaschine

One of the best features of iMaschine is definitely the UI. Those already accustomed to using Maschine will be right at home with the interface. New users will be able to navigate easily around the app. The ‘PERFORMANCE’ window offers the options to set a default velocity when touching the pads directly and to vary the velocity for more expressive playing, both via the velocity strips. The comprehensive ‘sample’ window makes it simple for you to sample from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch microphone by touching the ‘RECORD’ button on the top left of the screen. You can make edits to your sample by touching the ‘EDIT’ button. In this window you can change the pitch, gain, pan, one-shot and choke parameters. Touching the scissors icon in the top right corner of the sample screen will let you set start and end times for your sample. It would have been nice if the pads colors mirrored those now present in Maschine 2 in my opinion.

Instruments & Sounds

iMaschine for iPad

Native Instruments have always had a great reputation for creating superb sound libraries and iMaschine is no exception. Although iMaschine’s library is small compared to other iPad music apps, its quality is top-notch. There are many more included drum samples and kits than there are instruments, which makes it obvious that iMaschine is designed more for beat-making ideas than anything else. Drums are fat, full, and punchy. The instruments will breathe life into your melodic ideas especially if you add effects from the 2 sends per track iMaschine offers. You can also demo and purchase iMaschine expansions directly from the ‘MENU’ dropdown list.

The Sequencer

This is where iMaschine falls dramatically short in my opinion. How does a 4 track recorder and 1 pattern sound to you? You can assign each of the 4 groups to be pads, keys, or to the recorder, but then what. It’s a good thing that you can stream the audio output to another app thanks to the Inter-App Audio integration and chain the sound from iMaschine into other apps via Audiobus integration. I didn’t expect to be able to make an entire song in it, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be as limited as it is. The best thing about the sequencer is that it automatically detects the recorded loop length. In other words, it will start looping on whatever bar you stop recording. I wouldn’t mind it if they incorporated that feature into Maschine 2. As I mentioned earlier, there are 2 effect sends per track. You are able to adjust the levels of the sends, and mute them on each track from the Mixer page. You will also find XY performance pads for the 2 effect sends on the Mixer page, but you can’t automate them. Probably the best way to automate them would be to record your movements of the XY pads into another app. I do like the 4 faders for adjusting track volume, also found on the Mixer page. As far as the ‘PATTERN EDIT’ page, you get the normal options; clear, double, you can adjust the pattern length if you want, erase, mute, undo, redo and history in case you want to go back to a certain part in your creation process.

Conclusion

IMG_0028.PNG

When NI dubbed iMaschine a ‘Sketchpad’, that’s exactly what they meant. This review would probably be longer if I wrote about what features it doesn’t have… 4 tracks and 1 pattern? Really? In today’s competitive iPad music app domain? My disappointment is derived from being an owner and lover of all things Native Instruments for the last 5 years and not seeing any significant product improvement outside of Maschine 2. And while there are some things I really like about it like the XY pads for the send effects, and the mixer faders, I’m afraid NI short-armed this release. Okay, enough with the rant already. I’m sure that Native Instruments has something on deck that will surely blow us away and if the recent interview with NI CEO, Daniel Haver is any indication, it will happen sometime this year. Let’s just hope a major iMaschine upgrade will be a part of it.

iMaschine

by NATIVE INSTRUMENTS GmbH

  • Rating

  • Premiere

    2011-10-05

  • Genre

    Music

  •   $4.99 QR code
  • Platform

    Universal

  • Version

    1.2.3 ⋅ 189 MB

  • Additional

    InfoGallery

iMaschine

THE GROOVE SKETCHPAD

iMASCHINE puts professional groove production in the palm of your hand.

"The subway just got way more fun." (GIZMODO)

"A brillliantly designed little app, far more flexible than beatboxes and more than the sketchpad it is billed as. Export to Maschine rounds off the package." (Music Tech, UK)

Create a beat on 16 pads. Add a melody with the keyboard. Spice up your track with a field recording or lay down vocals, and even sample directly from iTunes.

No matter which iOS device you use, iMASCHINE adapts to your screen size – a compact workflow for iPhone and an optimized iPad workflow for two-handed groove production.

///KEY FEATURES

- 16 pads for real-time groove production on your iOS device
- Included library features 100 MB of content: 10 projects, 25 kits, and over 400 samples
- Additional ‘Quantum Collection’ sound pack derived from MASCHINE 2 Library adds 20 kits, 10 projects, 15 instruments, and over 400 samples to iMASCHINE’s library (email registration required)
- Sample directly from your iTunes library
- Record your own one-shot samples through the integrated microphone on your iOS device
- Keyboard mode for playing chords, bass, and melodies
- Note repeat with 1/4 note to 1/32 note range for keyboard and drum pad mode
- Audio recorder lets you record vocals, field recordings or any audio from your iOS device’s microphone
- Assign any of the 4 groups to any mode, e.g. for use as a 4-track recorder
- Mixer page with XY performance pads includes two send effects per group: delay, flanger, chorus, and various filters
- Live-mode sequencer automatically detects recorded loop length
- Import your own 44.1 kHz 16-bit .WAV samples via iTunes
- Huge collections of additional drum kits and instrument sounds called iMASCHINE Expansions available through in-app store
- Export your mix as an audio file or directly upload it to SoundCloud
- Export your project (including samples) to MASCHINE STUDIO, MASCHINE, and MASCHINE MIKRO
- Universal Binary. Purchase the app and iMASCHINE Expansions once and use them on all devices connected with that iTunes account

///SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Requires iOS 8.0 or higher.

///THE WORLD OF MASCHINE

iMASCHINE is based on MASCHINE – the renowned groove production system from Native Instruments. MASCHINE is available in three different hardware versions: MASCHINE STUDIO, MASCHINE, and MASCHINE MIKRO. All come with the same cutting-edge software including professional sound library, drum synths and melodic synthesizers, and effects. The software also features a cutting-edge sampler, mixer, clip-based arranger, and visual browser.

MASCHINE STUDIO is the flagship music production system with unprecedented physical control thanks to its generous control layout, jog wheel, and two big high res displays for ultimate visual feedback.

MASCHINE is the classic groove production system with straight forward hardware workflow, 8 display knobs for tweaking instruments and effect parameters plus dedicated groups button to switch sounds fast.

MASCHINE MIKRO has the same high-quality, touch-sensitive pads as MASCHINE STUDIO and MASCHINE in a more compact format. The perfect entry into the world of MASCHINE or a tactile addition to any production or performance setup.

Check out the Native Instruments website for more info, artist and product videos, images, sound examples and more:

www.native-instruments.com/maschine

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