Synthtopia

NI Maschine 2.6 Update Adds Variation Engine, MIDI CC, Parameter Snapshots, More

Yesterday, Native Instruments released a software update for their Maschine family of music- making tools. The Maschine 2.6 update, free to all registered owners of Maschine 2 software, brings several innovative features to Maschine Studio, Maschine MK1 and 2, and Maschine Mikro that were previously only available for Maschine Jam customers. It includes a suite of features meant to help spark creativity, add variety to tracks, and “add flair” to live performances. It also extends Maschine’s workflow to external synths by introducing MIDI CC capabilities.

Variation Engine. Maschine 2.6 comes with a new tool to help music producers, the Variation Engine. Now for Maschine Studio, Maschine MK1 and 2, and Maschine Mikro, Variation Engine relies on two unique functions, Humanize and Randomize, to add variety and spontaneity to any programmed melody or drum pattern. First enabled on the Maschine Jam, Humanize shakes up the quantization on existing patterns and moves the notes to give programmed patterns the feeling of having been played naturally, loosen up a drum beat, or add swing to a melody. The Randomize feature adds texture as it creates new patterns with random velocities and note positions.

Snapshots, Morph and Lock. The new Maschine 2.6 software update also includes tools to encourage experimentation and spontaneity. Lock, another feature initially implemented in Maschine Jam, makes it easy, for example, to tweak a sound’s characters, change an envelope, open a filter, or modulate any other parameter without the worry of losing previous work. Musicians using the Maschine Studio or Maschine MK1 and 2 controllers can now take snapshots of the parameters, as shown in the video below, and then push a button to return to the original settings. Users can create up to 64 snapshots, and with the help of the Morph feature, blend from one snapshot to any other snapshot, allowing the discovery of new transitions.

MIDI CC messages. With Maschine 2.6, producers will now be able to send MIDI CC messages directly from any Maschine hardware to external MIDI-enabled synths and drum machines. MIDI CC allows performance data, like attributes and parameters, to be transmitted to the external device. Musicians can use this feature, for example, to change the tone of the kick on a favorite Roland groovebox or sweep the LFO on a beloved Korg synth “as if they were software instruments.”

This update also brings classic features standard on Maschine Studio, Maschine MK1 and 2, and Maschine Mikro to the Maschine Jam. Producers can now change the pitch, velocity, length, swing, and position of a note directly from the Maschine Jam, via the step sequencer. It is also possible to modulate parameters, like changing reverb depth, adjusting a favorite plugin, or tuning a drum, on each step. With Maschine 2.6, users can also adjust the velocity levels on each note in step mode by pressing any of the 16 fixed velocity levels on a dedicated grid.

Pricing and Availability. Native Instruments Maschine 2.6 update is free to registered Maschine users. Additional information about the update is available on the Native Instruments website, and tutorial videos demonstrating the new Maschine features are available on the company’s YouTube channel.

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