In December, MASCHINE 2.7 will arrive and will include the first round of some highly-requested and anticipated features for playing loops with real-time time-stretching. Chad Carrier and Mario Altvater, from the software development team, explain the new features found in MASCHINE 2.7, how they came about in consultation with users, and why this new development approach will ensure a steady stream of exciting updates.
“For quite a while people have been coming to us and saying ‘hey, why can’t I just make all my music in Maschine?” starts Chad, MASCHINE Audio Product Owner. “It sounds so good and is so fun to use, let me just stay here through the whole process.’”
“A lot of people were asking for better integration of recorded audio,” adds Mario, Senior UX Designer. “Everyone had different expectations about how they wanted it – but when we started talking with our customers, we found out that if we do it, we have do it in a Maschine way.”
This “Maschine way” that Mario refers to is crucial. In a nutshell, it’s about speed and spontaneity.
“We originally started going down this traditional audio track path,” Chad explains. “But it’s just too much of a departure from the workflow that everyone currently has.”
“For many of our customers, Maschine is an instrument at the heart of their creative workflow,” Chad continues. “They’ve learned the hardware and software inside and out. They just want to get their ideas out quickly. So when we think about new features, one of the most important considerations is how these can be folded into the Maschine experience without adding any friction to the existing workflow.”
The addition of real-time time stretching, coming in MASCHINE 2.7, illustrates this aim perfectly. “There’s nothing new our customers have to learn here,” says Chad. “Pre-cut loops will simply play in time with the project, no matter their speed, and they’ll adjust automatically to the project’s tempo changes. The Audio plug-in does the hard work for you. After that, the Pattern behaves as it always has, whether it contains MIDI, audio loops, or a combination of both.”
Mario demonstrates some of the new features coming in MASCHINE 2.7.
The new loop hot swapping feature also keeps with the theme of friction-free functionality. “It’s great if you need a spark of creativity,” Mario explains, “If you have a bunch of loops and you want to find the perfect one that fits into your track, you can go through them, and hear them in the context of whatever you’re working on directly in your track.”
Chad adds, “Exactly. You keep the spark of inspiration going, browsing lots of loops until you stumble on something that works or inspires further ideas or direction.”
In MASCHINE 2.7, you can use Gate Mode to play loops or parts of loops melodically. Play up and down the scale – where the MIDI notes are placed will shift the pitch of that particular part.
The new software update also includes a feature called Gate Mode.
“Gate Mode is a really musical way of playing loops,” says Mario. “You only hear the loop when you hit a pad, and you can actually change the melody of the loop while it’s playing just by using the pads.” He adds, “We got some really great feedback about this feature – a lot of people told us that they don’t have anything like this anywhere else and now they’re bringing in loops and experimenting.”
All of these features are the direct result of a new collaborative approach to developing and testing with the MASCHINE community being involved deeply in the process from beginning to end.
Mario tells us what this looks like: “Instead of waiting until a feature is finished, we work on certain ideas and make them available, asking our community things like ‘How does it feel to work like this?’ Then we make changes and ask for another round of feedback. We really haven’t worked in this way before, and it gives us a fresh point of view.”
“We’re actually taking an approach of doing things in small chunks,” says Chad. “We make a little bit, test it, find out what people need next, but keep the community updates coming.”
“And while the features might start small,” Chad continues, “this can help you because, as a user, you get time to learn the current state of the feature, rather than having to take weeks to learn a bunch of new features at once.”
“We’re working hard to record audio in Maschine’s workflow,” Chad adds. “Say you want to capture something from an analog synth, or you’re playing guitar and you just want to record a few riffs and experiment with them later. That’s one of the next things to tackle.”
“So with audio, MASCHINE 2.7 is really just the beginning. But this doesn’t mean you have to wait another year and half for the next surprise – and you’re going to find the next surprise is just right around the corner.”
MASCHINE 2.7 is coming in December and will be available to all MASCHINE 2 software users as a free download in Native Access. If you’d like to get involved in shaping the future of MASCHINE, you can join the community of MASCHINE beta testers here.
The MASCHINE Audio Development Team is excited to share their hard work with you.