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An update on the future of the Sequencer

Discussion in 'MASCHINE Area' started by Florian G @ NI, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. Florian G @ NI

    Florian G @ NI NI Team

    Hi all,

    I have hinted at sequencer improvements in several posts, so I wanted to take the opportunity and add some meat to this.

    Our midterm goal for Maschine is to support the full workflow from capturing first ideas to sketching a song arrangement. This means we realize that we won’t support all aspects of a full-scale production in this step. Here is how we are currently tackling this.

    One of our main requirements is that nothing breaks for our existing users in terms of their workflow using Patterns and Scenes. We have already released the Scene length feature in 2.4.6, and we’re currently working on another improvement for Scene arranging: linked Scenes. This will allow Scenes to be inserted into the arrangement multiple times, and changes in one of the linked Scenes (or instances of the Scene, if you like) will be mirrored in the other linked Scenes. With one press of a button, a linked Scene can be turned into a “unique” Scene, i.e. new Patterns are generated on all Groups and the Scene is unlinked, but contains exactly the events of the linked Scene - and can be edited on its own from then on. We are implementing this feature in a way that it is unobtrusive to existing workflows of Scene duplication etc.

    This second improvement to arranging with Scenes is an effort to prepare the ground for a major addition to Maschine’s sequencer: The Song Layer. The high-level concept is a layer on top of the current Scene arranger, where Song Clips can be placed independent from Scene boundaries. So in the future, Patterns will stay in Scenes and Song Clips will be on the Song layer. It’s easy to turn a Pattern (also an auto-repeated Pattern) into a Song Clip and edit it on the Song layer. This makes it easy to have a one-bar Pattern repeat four times and have a little variation only on the fourth bar, for example. But it is also possible to build a backing track entirely out of Scenes (as one would do now) and then record new Song Clips over the entire length of the Song, or parts of it.

    This is what the Song layer in its current state looks like:

    In the first step, Song Clips will always mute Patterns in the same Group when they overlap. Start and end points of Song Clips can be freely adjusted, though. It is also possible to start an arrangement just on the Song layer and completely bypass the Scene arranger. But we believe that the combination of a Scene arranger that allows for quickly laying down the foundation of a track and a Song layer for transitions and parts that evolve over the course of the entire track makes for a very powerful “song sketching” sequencer. We know that currently, many of you export individual Patterns as MIDI or audio into your host DAWs. Our goal with this next milestone is that you will do more arranging inside of Maschine, exporting longer parts or stems of the entire arrangement into a DAW, which is then more or less only used for recording audio tracks and mastering the full song.

    I’m not giving an exact release date here because I can’t. The team working on this Song layer is an agile team, creating feature increments every two weeks. We are already actively testing the Song layer both internally as well as with a group of external testers. Within the next weeks, we would like to extend this external testing to a “closed beta”, to which we will invite forum members to apply. Please take this post as a high-level heads-up, and please understand that we won’t be able to discuss the concept in detail - we’d much rather get our solution into your hands as quickly as possible, then get your feedback, and then iterate on the solution, rather than discussing it to death up front. We are eager to get this updated Maschine sequencer out into the wild, but we want to be sure it’s ready before we pull the trigger. So bear with us and soon, test with us, so we can make this a great update for everyone.


    Attached Files:

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  2. BuleriaChk

    BuleriaChk NI Product Owner

    Wow! I KNEW you guys were for real! :)
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  3. skinswashdc

    skinswashdc Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the update Flo! Going to feel bad for the people who don't own maschine anymore once they get this on point. Can't wait to try the beta (if I am accepted).
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  4. D-J-K

    D-J-K NI Product Owner

    The Song Layer and Clips seem like they will add a new much-needed dimension to the sequencer and arranger. I'm sure there will still be plenty of kinks to work out but I have no complaints with what I'm reading here. Looking forward to trying out the beta.
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  5. Rens Troost

    Rens Troost NI Product Owner

    This sounds great! I look forward to seeing how you incorporate the 'song' layer into the hardware without overcomplicating it! I will definitely apply for the beta.

    While your post, Florian, speaks of bringing the stems into a DAW for audio and mastering, I hope that song clips will also allow audio and not only midi so that they can be used for things like guide tracks, scratch vocals, and the like.
  6. KungFuDaz

    KungFuDaz NI Product Owner

    Massive thumbs up for letting us know what's coming .... Much appreciated :)

    Now if we can record automation the full length of the song layer that would be super helpful
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  7. Tomess

    Tomess NI Product Owner

    Man, this is great news! Looking forward to test this! :)
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  8. rmaxty

    rmaxty NI Product Owner

    My job here is done. Make us proud NI
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  9. muleskinner

    muleskinner Forum Member

    Looks awesome - 'linked scenes' was a major thing on my wishlist and if the song layer allows for more flexibility to mess around with more meandering solos and the like over repeated patterns that will be great.
  10. eclipxe

    eclipxe NI Product Owner

    Yes!!! I'd love to get in on the closed beta, this is great!
  11. District Onagi

    District Onagi NI Product Owner

    I'm muting you... you add literally nothing to the conversation, and your story stays the same always, no matter how you try to word things, your message is always the same. You must think we are stupid to believe you feel bad for those people who sold Maschine, your rubbing it in to those people's faces, and shame on you for that. I'll tell you this skins, if all Maschine users were like you, who knows if anything would get done because you only love this product no matter what. It's the people who push for openness and change, and show that things need to change by leaving the product, that advanced this product.... not by constantly saying everything is perfect as you do. I hope I don't get suspended for this because I'm only telling the truth and I promise it's the last time I'll chime in on this homer... but it needed to be said. This beta is in spite of you, not because of you. Thanks go to Florian and Jonas and Keir and NI team. @Adrien @ NI @ NI, sorry for leaving you or anyone else out. This is getting exciting :)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
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  12. Nii-Teiko

    Nii-Teiko NI Product Owner


    * ahem * excuse me. just need to compose myself a bit

    please, kind sirs, add me to the upcoming beta
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
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  13. nightlightscruize

    nightlightscruize Active Member

    this is great!!
    @Florian G @ NI I'm not sure if I missed something but please let us know if we will be able to record a 'performance' to this song layer at some point . I understand this will take some time to reach maturity
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  14. CakeAlexS

    CakeAlexS NI Product Owner

    Well Clips were mentioned before by NI (appeared to be a slip) and I stated that this was probably something to so with arranger functionality when somebody mentioned it.

    OK enough of my stupid self congratulation, this looks good. I suggest NI downloads a trial of Geist 2 for further inspiration as they do something similar (Maschine seems to be creeping towards it).
  15. KravenZ

    KravenZ NI Product Owner

    Well, I think this is the type of communication we all wanted. Thank you for this NI. At least we have now a kind of road map regarding the sequencer and, damn, it sounds very promising. Great idea to add another layer. This won't break anything existing but add a lot more flexibility. Very good idea.

    Also the linked scene feature is great and will help a lot to get basic song structures.

    Depending on the possibilities it may be sufficient for me to build my whole beats inside Machine with this new layer. Just vocal recording will take place in StudioOne. Can't wait to get my finger on these features.

    I think this message made a lot of people happy :)
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  16. CakeAlexS

    CakeAlexS NI Product Owner

    I'll be happy when it's out. It's certainly a step in the right direction.
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  17. AntonA1

    AntonA1 NI Product Owner

    Great news. I need to wait to see this, but if it's what I'm understanding here, it's pretty much as I called it (since a couple of years now): an extra free layer for song mode. I'm sure I'm not alone in having guessed this; I bet a lot of you saw this coming?

    One request to Florian and the team: while you are hard at work to make sure we can finish sketches within Maschine, please do continue to improve the export functionality so that working with producers or musicians on other platforms is as easy as possible? For me that would mean (for example):

    -batch (or Group) drag and drop, so that I could drag the audio (and midi) for each and every pattern within a group in one shot.

    -a 'Select All' function under Export Audio for the exporting of Group sounds. If you have twenty groups, and at first only want to export a few selections but then after all of them, having to check each box is needlessly time consuming.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 2.20.45 PM.png

    Thanks for communicating with the community
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  18. Retur

    Retur New Member

    Awsome news!
    I think its a bad idea to use the term "clips"... It feels very ableton-ish.

    I oove that you are putting this on the forum and letting people in on the process. Good job Ni!
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  19. CakeAlexS

    CakeAlexS NI Product Owner

    Call them stems.

    Oh hang on..
  20. Florian G @ NI

    Florian G @ NI NI Team

    Yes, this is certainly part of the reason why we're going in this direction of having a separate layer on top.
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