Have you moved to working with Maschine and found the way the music is structured and put together a little confusing? The whole idea of Scenes, Groups and Patterns does work but it is suitably different to a standard track, clip and timeline structure to be enough to make your brain ache when you first use it. What I wanted to do here is compare Maschine directly with Ableton as much as is possible to break down that mental barrier between the two. That sounds very bold and admirable. It’s not that good. :)

How is Maschine Different?

MaschineI can see what Native Instruments have tried to do. The experience of using scenes, groups and patterns is unique and very rhythm and loop oriented. It’s also has some extra flexibility that a normal DAW does not. Although, I have the feeling that NI would eventually like to make this a complete DAW in its own right, I don’t think they’ll be able to do it with this structure in place as it doesn’t lend itself well to more varied music. Can you imagine trying to create a prog rock  or a classical piece? Maybe my skill level isn’t quite there yet but it just feels like it would be full of workarounds and fudges. As I say, it’s all about the beats…..and it’s excellent at it.

So Maschine is broken down as follows…

  • Projects – This is the equivalent to Sets in Ableton. Everything else sits below projects in the hierarchy.
  • Scenes – This is like a section of your timeline so scenes make up sections of a song. Typically, this would be an intro, verse chorus etc. but it’s not so rigid.
  • Groups – Tracks in Ableton. A new instrument means a new track and a new group.
  • Patterns – Clips in Ableton. Each group can have multiple patterns all with their own version of midi events comprised from the set of sounds that exist in that group.

What’s in the Video?

This tutorial looks at the main differences between the way Maschine sequences music compared with a more standard approach. I also build up a very basic track with drums, synth and bass to compare this with Ableton and give a working example.

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