When it comes to selecting the program which we wish to use for making our beats, it is always a good idea to do some research and find out whether the software we are looking to purchase is right for us. So is Maschine a good DAW for the compilation of beats?
Maschine is ideal software for making beats and it does have a controller which can be used in conjunction with it. However, we must note that it is better defined as a loop-based sequencer, so if you simply want to create beats, you have found the right program.
Maschine is not technically a fully-fledged DAW and may not be for some time, however, their intention is to make it into both a beat maker and a DAW as mentioned in this Youtube clip, so let us take a look at what one could use Maschine for and really flesh out its inner workings.
Can You Use Maschine As A DAW?
As mentioned above, Maschine is not considered to be a DAW in the traditional sense and is a program that is used in isolation to create beats. In order to mix a completed track, you will most likely need a DAW to do that component of the job. If you have the Maschine combination of the software and hardware, you will be able to create your beats, melodies, and loops by tapping away on the gear whilst the program runs on your laptop or desktop.
At the end of the day though, it does not have all of the features and capabilities of a DAW as it was never designed for this purpose. That does not mean that you cannot use it for this purpose, though, so if you want to create beats and ultimately bounce your track from Maschine, then that is your prerogative.
Is Maschine A Good DAW?
Maschine, as good as it is at making beats is not a DAW per se. According to Native Instruments’ website, Maschine is:
“A cutting-edge beatmaker, drum machine, sequencer, sampler, synth, and much more.”
When the program/gear combination was initially released, back in 2009, there was nothing else on the market quite like it. Although physical samplers have been around for an extensive period, something like this, where software and hardware are coupled, had not been done.
Its sixteen drum pads interact with the interface in a manner that allows you to literally put the creation of your beats into your hands. It offers a great workflow whether you are producing beats, playing live at an event, or even using it in unison with outboard gear. As they say:
“Native Instruments offers Maschine, which can be used to sketch and arrange projects both in-studio and for live performances.”
Now, although it is not a DAW itself, it (the physical component) can be paired with programs such as Logic Pro and Ableton. However, the tool was designed to be utilized alongside the Maschine software, so it may at times not assimilate with other programs a hundred percent of the time.
Beat Making With Maschine
To begin with, you will need to consider investing in either the Roland SP-404 or the Maschine MK3 (the hardware component) which are two controllers that you may wish to choose between when it comes to creating your beats. These will obviously be used in tandem with the software when making your beats. The Roland SP-404 will set you back approximately $1000 and the Maschine MK3 a total of $649. There are obviously other alternatives out there which, depending on your budget and needs, you may choose.
Making beats is not as simple as pressing a few buttons, instead, one needs to really get to know both the software and the controller you have chosen. If you have acquired a Machine MK3, then take a look at the following Youtube video which offers some great fundamentals to get you started.
Whether you are making beats in-studio or playing live, you can record loops that are created by pressing the various pads that have different sounds associated with them. You can then add effects, both live and in-studio, and seeing that Maschine is based upon layering of loops, you can bring in other loops and sounds in real-time.
If you have the Machine MK3 combo and something to run the software, then you are good to go as far as starting with your creations.
Another great feature of Maschine is that it does allow you to record other instruments or even vocals, which you can then input into your track. It is also excellent for creating and orchestrating beats and songs efficiently, a key perk being that you do not even need to take your eyes off the hardware, as it has two built-in high-resolution color screens which means you can keep your focus on the task at hand more easily.
Choosing a DAW To Work With
As we have established, Maschine is not defined as a DAW even though some of its functions are similar. You will therefore need to invest in a program to which you can transfer your beats and then continue working from there.
Below is a list of DAWs which you may wish to consider (along with a link and their approximate pricing). At the end of the day it will come down to personal preference and your budget, but the program which is thought to work best in conjunction with Maschine is Ableton.
- Nuendo – Approximately $1200
- Ableton Live 11 – Approximately $449
- Studio One – Approximately $399
- Pro Tools – Approximately $350
- FL Studio – Approximately $199
So what is the final word on whether or not you can utilize Maschine for beat making and is it a good option? The answer is most definitely! You would not have acquired the traditional or theoretically defined DAW; however, you would have a program that is very well integrated with its hardware components and has a streamlined and relatively sleek look.
It will most certainly give you what you are looking for, and you can always invest in another DAW if needed (some of which are fairly inexpensive or even free). This would probably be best, especially if you are looking to properly refine and tweak your tunes.
One final thought though, is that if you are looking to create beats and are going to invest in a program, then it may be advisable to simply purchase a good quality DAW that has MIDI capabilities. You will then not need to spend additional money, but if you are prepared to spend a little more, you will certainly get value for money.