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[Guide] Using Maschine MkIII with Live 10

Discussion in 'MASCHINE Area' started by ShelLuser, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    913
    Hi gang!

    I suppose I'm both a Live and Maschine 'fanboy'... I've been a huge supporter of Ableton Live ever since I started pursuing my synth passion (basically Live is how it all started) and last year was a major game changer for me. First I added Ableton Push to my studio, something which I'm still ecstatic about today, and then Maschine happened. It had a rough start. The idea was to use a Mikro and although in hindsight the idea was good I still managed to get caught up in prejudice. That's my version of it at least, you can read the full story right here.

    So the thing is that I'm well aware that there are a lot of artists struggling with getting Maschine to "work" for them. That is.. if I picked up the stories correctly: the whole thing "works" but it doesn't do what was expected. Worst of all: getting to the required results turned out to be a major chore! And even then it left people dissatisfied. I've been there, to a certain degree, so I figured I'd try and combine my passion for both products and hopefully share something useful for you guys and girls out there....

    Disclaimer: Yes, I am biased, I plain out love both products. Thing is though... I'd honestly prefer to tell someone "this is probably not for you" and see them getting results with a competitor (and hopefully being happy about it too) rather than pushing my ideals forward and seeing them fail to achieve their goals. That's no good....

    SO:

    Maschine + Live: what to expect?

    So before we begin... Live is a DAW which has a rather specific, if not unique, workflow. For example the session vs. arrangement view and of course also the kind of stuff you can do within those environments. And don't get me started on Max for Live (= huge personal favorite!). Having said that you should not expect to pick up some kind of Live controller within Maschine. Maschine can control parts of Live, but it is by far comparable to the stuff you could do with say Push or an (Akai) APC40 or a (Novation) Launchpad.

    upload_2020-2-10_2-20-25.png
    Example of what you'd see if you installed the Ableton Live template for Maschine...​

    Maschine can't fill the shoes of a dedicated Live controller, but honestly? It can be one heck of an expansion. It can't do everything, but it's good at the stuff it can do. Example: I set something up with Push and I moved to my Maschine, only to discover that I made a mistake. Easily fixed: I press shift-pad1 (=Undo) on the Maschine controller and my last action is gone. Uh oh.... then I realize that I made a mistake. Not a problem for Maschine: I just press shift-pad2 (= Redo). Fun fact: while this can also be done using Push the option is actually pretty much unknown because it's not in plain view (press shift-undo on Push to redo... on Maschine MkIII the option is clearly visible).

    But do not buy Maschine with the expectations of a Live controller....

    So, what should you expect?
    • Both Maschine + Live have a very specific workflow. Don't expect to "do" Maschine based on your Live experiences.
    • Maschine can "fit" Live, but you need to become familiar with the Maschine controller (and software). So: its workflow.
    • The Maschine VST sits on a single Live track, this can add extensive load to your computer if you're also using VST's within Maschine (though it shouldn't get too excessive).
    • You cannot control Live from the Maschine controller while the Maschine VST is active (not without switching modes).
    • The Maschine software does not support Rewire... So either use things stand-alone or as VST.
    • Live does not provide "out of the box" support for the Maschine controller (as it does for Komplete Kontrol).
    • Expect disappointments if you treat Maschine as if it were Push (or a dedicated Live controller).
    And there's more, but I need to warn you once again for bias because the following list is only based on my own experiences. Meaning that I could have overlooked stuff, or I could be doing some things wrong entirely... Keep it in mind, ok?
    • Hitting record on Push gives you endless recording, doing the same on Maschine limits you to 1 bar (which can be expanded, but it's always fixed size (at the time of writing)).
    • When used as VST you can only record material into Maschine if Live's transport is active (don't forget to turn on record on Maschine).
    • You cannot 'play' Maschine from within Live as a drumpad without tweaking.
    • When all else fails: you can use MIDI mode (shift+channel).
    Playing a drumrack using Maschine

    The good news: although you can load up the Controller editor and set some stuff up, you don't really have to. Press shift+channel (=top left button on Maschine) to turn things into MIDI mode, press the "C" mode button as marked below and you're on your way:

    upload_2020-2-10_2-56-8.png

    Of course this is kind of cheating... I mean, we're treating a E 500+ controller as if it were a E 50,- drumpad controller. It works, and honestly: I can easily understand (and support!) any reasons for doing this (those pads....) but it's not exactly very productive. For the record: I still use this option to this very same day because Maschine (controller) + Reason Kong (warning: you're about to watch a 10 year(!) old video) = awesomeness in my book. Yes: Maschine has percussion synths, but modelling generators? There's a reason I love Reason :D

    What do you want to do?

    So here's the "problem": Maschine can do it all. And we can "do it all" to Maschine too! :eek:

    Alas... you need to choose your path wisely (in case you are wondering: yes, I have been playing too much Skyrim as of late :rolleyes:)

    Playing Maschine from within Live

    Load up the Maschine VST! And don't forget to change the Live track color to orange as well to match the whole lot, it's important! :p

    At this point all the MIDI you're going to sent into this construction won't have the results which you might expect. Of course this is assuming you were expecting to play all pads individually. We can make this work though:

    From behind the controller
    • Press 'channel' (= upper left key) and select 'group' (use the appropriate white button above the left display).
    • Select 'input' (use either the 4d controller or the white button(s) above the right display).
    • You should see a 'rouitings' section. Change "Off" to "Drumkit" using the first (most left) rotary.
    Using the software

    upload_2020-2-10_3-26-14.png
    • Click the round "dial knob" on the left side as shown above.
    • Make sure group is selected (click it when unsure).
    • Change the routing accordingly (note: I changed nothing yet in the example above).
    Another option:

    upload_2020-2-10_3-28-43.png
    • Open the mixer section (see icon in the main toolbar).
    • Make sure the control section is expanded (see "arrow icon") and also make sure to select "IO".
    • The option is now visible in the strip below.
    End of part I

    I apologize for cutting things short but it is getting late (time flies when you're having fun) and I have obligations tomorrow. Next post we'll diving more in-depth in options to play Live from behind the Maschine controller. As well as looking into using the Maschine library within Live itself (but don't tell NI about this! :D).

    Thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  2. certifiedbeatz

    certifiedbeatz NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    1,218
    Good post a lot of work put in .. I like it a lot not a live user or maschine for that matter but well done...
     
  3. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    913
    Part II

    Editorial
    First I'd like to apologize for the hiatus in my guide. The problem is simple: I don't plan these things, and even though I really wanted to finish up (this has honestly been bothering me a little) I also need to have the time and be in the right mood to do so (= having inspiration). In the end this is a hobby for me, close to a passion, but even so: I still have some priorities to sort out ;)

    But.. the good news is that I could re-read part I and well... I think the 'refreshed approach' could actually be a good thing.

    So why Maschine (when you already have Live (and maybe Push))?

    In part I covered some basic issues to look out for when considering to use a Maschine, but why would you want to get a Maschine in the first place? Especially when you might also have a Push controller around, and well: didn't I mention that Push could roughly do everything which Maschine could?

    #1 Instrument vs. controller

    Personally I like to refer to the Push as a Live instrument but in full honesty the Push is first and foremost an Ableton Live controller. It was designed from the ground up with the full intent to give us users the ability to control the Live software in as much detail as possible from behind that controller; preferably without any need for a keyboard or mouse. And what was Live again? A Digital Audio Workstation or DAW in short; a program which allows you to do all sorts of things with your audio (or MIDI) material. You can record takes (either MIDI or audio), add / set up effects (either MIDI or audio), play, stop, record, edit or remove clips, start or stop whole scenes, etc, etc. But also set up specific routing, if you have the Suite edition you can even program your own instruments and/or effects (using Max for Live), you can use samplers, synths, loopers, etc, etc.

    My point, you wonder? The point is that Live is a DAW which was basically designed to do a bit of everything, while also providing some solid options to play the whole thing live, hence its name. But in the end it does a bit of everything, and the Push was meant to support, or control, all of that.

    Maschine on the other hand is different. Sure, there are many similarities: it's also a controller which was designed to allow us users to operate a software environment from behind that same controller. But Maschine isn't necessarily build to control software, Maschine - as a whole - was designed to be a "Production and Performance system". Or in other words: it was fully designed to make music.

    I know what some of you might be thinking right now: But so was Live, wasn't it? Yes, but Live was also designed to perform a ton of other tasks as well whereas Maschine has music production as its primary focus. The first solid example of that is the audio interface which is build into Maschine. But second, and more important, are all the minor differences in how you can play the Maschine (vs. Push I suppose?).

    Scales

    "Why would you want to play a pad controller vs. a keyboard?", is a question I often got from visitors. The answer is simple: the scales feature. In Maschine this is the option to set a root note and a specific scale type (Chromatic, Major, Minor, Harmonic Minor, etc.) while using keyboard mode. It all boils down to the controller applying a specific pad layout which makes it easier to play the right notes. For example: while using chromatic mode the bottom 4 pads on the Maschine represent C, C#, D and D#, the pitch depends on the rootnote obviously. If I set this to Japanese (a favorite setting of my girlfriend) then the bottom pads trigger C, D, Eb and G. Quite the difference.

    Both Push and Maschine provide a large variety of settings, there's even some overlap. However... only Maschine will allow you to set a different type ('scale') amongst different groups. If you set a scale on Push then this applies to all your tracks. If you set a scale (or: group type I suppose) on Maschine then that only applies to that one specific group. This allows you to use the Japanese scale type on group A and, for example, a minor scale type on group B. And that provides a true playing expression, quite suitable for an electronic instrument.

    Locking parameters

    I can't help stop using this feature almost every time I use Maschine, it is so darn useful! :D I suppose this isn't of much interest if you only use presets, but if you enjoy tweaking.. do read on.

    So let's say you have a nice sound preset but because standard presets can get dull over time you decide to tweak things. Right up to a point where it's almost perfect. Not good enough to save as a preset just yet, but it's getting close! Then, 5 minutes later, your sound sounds like garbage and although you reloaded the original preset you have no idea anymore how you created that almost perfect sound :confused: Now what? Maybe pressing undo a kazillion times? Errrr, no thanks :rolleyes:

    I've been there so many times..... :( Of course it's not all bad because you also gain a lot of experience and impressions of those other sound settings, sure, but in the heat of the moment it's plain out demotivating to say but the least. If only there was a way to somehow temporarily store our current setting so that we could tweak some more with the assurance that we can always go back to what we had....

    Yah: that's the locking feature on the Maschine! :cool: And it's so darn easy to use, I didn't even bother to read the manual about it (yet)! :eek:

    So... you have a sound which is near to perfect? Don't take chances: hit that lock button NOW. You'll find it right beneath the huge (hard to miss) note repeat. Then just experiment to your hearts desire. And if you manage to run your sound setting totally into the ground just press lock again and voila: you're right back to where you started. It couldn't be easier.

    But wait.. there's more! Lets say for the sake of argument that you managed to come up with another preset, it's very good as well. But you're still not fully sure if you really want to use this instead of your first sound, so you're also not quite ready to trash your previously stored setting... but there's still more experimentation to do. NOW what? Well... now you press shift-lock. Your stored setting is shown as a lit pad 1. So now press pad 2, which will then also light up but in a bright way. Press lock again (without shift) and presto: now both of your presets are stored!

    Want to go back to the original? Press shift-lock, press pad 1 and then press lock again. Back to the variation? => shift-lock, press pad 2 and then lock again. It's so easy to use! Note that these presets apply to the entire sound, so all devices on your chain. And you can even morph between sounds in order to create your own unique & dynamic sound effects too! How? Errr, yeah, I have no clue at the time of writing :D I know it can be done because I saw it on Youtube and if you press shift-lock you'll see a "Morphing" section on the left display. But I haven't experimented with this just yet.

    In case you're wondering... Push can't do any of this, not out of the box anyway. Sure, using Max for Live (= visual programming language) you can make this happen (I have no idea if any free devices exist which can do this, I simply made my own) but how many of you have experience with actual programming? And if you do... knowing how to program doesn't imply that you also know how to program in Max (for Live). On Maschine you just press a button, done.

    Pitch, mod & special effects strip

    One thing which can quickly stand out on Push is its huge vertical touchstrip; it has the same size as the 8 x 8 pad grid and by default it behaves as a giant pitch wheel, it's really pretty awesome. As one would expect you can also use it as a modwheel, but to do so you need to press select (and keep it pressed) then touch / press the touchstrip and release everything. It's definitely a useful feature but it can become a bit tedious if you want to use this while playing.

    You probably guessed it: Maschine may have a smaller touchstrip, it also provides you with 4 buttons which can instantly switch between the different functions of the touchstrip: pitch, mod, special FX and notes. You can even turn the touchstrip on and off like this which can be very useful if you're worried about accidental changes.

    Fixed velocity

    This might confuse some of you fellow Live/Push users because.. surely the Push supports this feature as well? Why, yes, but the thing is: only while you're working with drum racks. As soon as you use the Push in note mode you can forget about this option *. Of course there's a workaround by simply adding the Live's velocity MIDI effect, problem solved. Yah, but now there's a new problem: how are you going to quickly turn this on and off during a live session? In preparation for said live session you can MIDI map the control easily, but that's immediately my point.

    Maschine? You probably guessed it: all it takes is 1 press of a button, and it doesn't matter if you're in pad or keyboard mode.

    * edit: So I got (rightfully!) reminded about the 'Accent' button on Push. I hadn't forgotten about that, trust me. See: the problem is that 'Accent' changes your MIDI input to 127, no questions asked. The Maschine fixed velocity on the other hand locks it to the amount you just played a default of 100 or it provides the 16 pad velocity (by using shift). So: Push provides fixed full velocity whereas Maschine provides either a lock on your current more gentle velocity or the 16 pad variant.

    Maschine is an instrument first and foremost...

    I'm well aware that I use the definition a bit loosely but I honestly believe that if you take all of the above arguments into consideration you'll come to the same conclusion. Sure you need the Maschine software to make it work, an hardware synthesizer also needs its firmware to operate. All Native Instruments did was to separate the firmware from the hardware and provided us with said firmware in the form of the Maschine software. And let's also not forget that the Maschine software never existed without the controller, you can't say the same about Push.

    And although Maschine can't produce sound "out of the box" I can argue the same for nearly all hardware synths out there as well. When my friend Rob comes over with some of his favorites the first thing I have to do is plug the whole lot into my N.I. Audio 6 in order to get some sound output :)

    Anyway, I got a little side-tracked there, let's get back to why you might want to add the Maschine to your Live setup...

    #2 'Komplete' control
    Pardon the word pun up there, you can blame N.I. for that one :p

    upload_2020-2-29_20-43-31.png

    So here is Live + the Reason Rack Plugin (I seriously disliked it at first, but now I'm actually warming up to it a little bit). If you look at the Live VST device (bottom left) you might notice that it mentions the ability to add parameters. In other words: the only way to control this stuff is by using my mouse & keyboard, I can't access anything from behing my Push controller. I can fully control the reverb effect without a problem, but not so much the Reason rack VST.

    upload_2020-2-29_20-45-18.png

    And here we have the Maschine plugin where I've loaded the Voices of Rapture instrument designed by Sound Iron (it's a huge favorite of mine, I love this thing!) *. As you can see Live can't control any of this because no mapping exists (see the VST window in the lower left corner again) but do you notice the dials in the middle of the Maschine plugin window? All those dials can be fully accessed from the behind Maschine controller thanks to the fact that Sound Iron used the NKS format (= Native Kontrol Standard). This isn't even a Maschine but a Kontakt instrument yet I can still fully control it from behind my Maschine controller "just like that".

    And if I don't want to risk messing anything up I'll just press that lock button which I mentioned earlier before tweaking. Easy! :cool:

    The reason I mention this is because this is honestly not as casual as you might think. Just because something was made for Live doesn't imply that it will also work from behind my Push.. I'll be able to play pretty much anything without problems, but to actually fully control it? Not so much (the moment so called "racks" are used then Push will have a seriously hard time to access those). But if it was made for Komplete (= if it supports the NKS standard) then you can rest assured that Maschine will be able fully access all the required parameters.

    Still not convinced? Wow, tough crowd :D

    upload_2020-2-29_21-6-31.png

    So here I loaded the Ozone 9 Imager onto my master chain using only the Maschine controller, it's part of the Ozone 9 Mastering Suite and trust me: you can't buy this on the N.I. website. Yet I can still fully use this from behind my Maschine controller which is operating the Maschine VST loaded into Ableton Live.

    (at the time of writing I'm still learning about Ozone but I've already reached a point where I put Imager 9 into nearly all my Maschine projects within Live, because it seriously helps me to "blend in" my work into my Live project (or so I think...)).

    * PS: If the 'Voices of Rapture' instrument intrigued you then keep in mind that you can grab the entire SoundIron Vocal Suite for just a little extra. I have no idea why the discount is still applied long after its expiration date (at the time of writing!) but... here it is. If you're a critic like me you might think "shady advertising" (= promising fake discounts). I know I did when I noticed this :cool:. ** But seriously? I own the Vocal Suite myself and if it wasn't for the discount I would still be tempted because this stuff is so much more than your classic approach of "lets throw a bunch of vocal samples onto a pile and call it a voice engine".

    ** I'm an idiot :oops: There is no "shady advertising" here and I apologize for insinuating as much. What did happen was me getting confused. See: the Vocal Suite got sold for a discount at a limited time; but because they also showed a struck out price and then the current price I glossed over the fact that it's actually more right now. Back then I paid E 179,- (and here is proof), but the current price is E 279,- as you can see. I totally glossed over 1 vs. 2 :oops:. But I say this once again: it's totally worth it.

    We now return to our scheduled program:

    #3 A change of workflow

    Last but most certainly not least... the biggest argument to add Maschine to an existing setup (my example is Live but this applies to pretty much all of them) is the change in workflow. At first you might curse it, so many people did (or do) and even I have been affected by it. Because things work so different it's sometimes quite difficult to get your fingers behind it all, especially at first.

    If you treat Maschine as if it's Live or any other DAW out there then you'll end up having a hard time, it's a given. As I already mentioned above. But as crazy as this may sound: I think that's the biggest advantage of them all! :eek:

    Why? Because it forces you to stop and (try to) think "out of the box". Out of the comfort zone of your regular DAW which you know by heart, you're now 'forced' into a workflow which is completely different and thus requires you to stop and think about the stuff you do. It might be hard at first (it definitely was for me) but once you get used to it then it can honestly help you to try and solve difficult problems in a different way.

    Small sidestep... my passion is sound design, I love trying to recreate sounds or come up with new "variants" of sounds. Although I'm quite fluent with using Live (I didn't even need a manual to get the most out of Push) I still managed to get stuck on several of my designs. My solution? Fire up Reason (= another DAW, one completely different than Live) and use that to try and get those results I was after. A lot of times (definitely not always) that change of environment helped me to actually achieve my goals. Sometimes (seldomly) I even managed to reproduce my results within Live again (I usually just bounced the audio and used that as my source material within Live's Simpler or Sampler).

    If you really try to get "into" the Maschine workflow then I'm convinced that you'll experience the same thing. I know I have... Push truly inspires me when playing it as an instrument, I just love it. But for some reason I just can't get a good percussion track out of it. Whether I'm using the drum rack, the step sequencer (or both)... for some reason things don't "click". Maybe it's pure inexperience, very well possible, but it is what it is. Even using Reason's Kong drum designer (= a huge favorite of mine) does not help me here.

    Put me behind a drumpad such as the Akai MPD24 or the Maschine (= my current setup :cool:) and somehow it just "works". Maybe it's just between my ears, but when I compare my percussion material from a few years back to the stuff I made with Maschine today I notice quite a difference (in a positive way :p). Even my friends do.... (and no: they're not just being friendly, they know I prefer honest criticism over friendly sweettalks when we're dealing with audio).

    So how to make all of this work?

    I've already covered MIDI mode in my previous post, so let's get serious right away!

    Step one: split your work & focus on percussion.

    Maschine gives you access to a whole new architecture, so why would you want to treat this as if it's just another ordinary VST instrument? Don't! Instead why not start easy and treat Maschine as if it were a drumrack (or drum station)? One which you can even build up from behind the controller?

    See, this is the part I honestly never understood... well, I do get it but it makes no sense: why would you want to "micro manage" Maschine?

    Let me put this in a better perspective:

    upload_2020-2-29_23-22-57.png
    Track 2: Live's 808 core kit, Track 3: Maschine VST with 808 kit loaded.

    So what do you think the difference is in the screenshot above (other than sound)? Spoiler: there barely isn't any! In my opinion this is the best way to start using Maschine within Live: solely focusing on percussion. See, the only difference is having the ability to re-route an individual sound from the Live drumrack onto another audio track.... yah, but about that:

    upload_2020-2-29_23-28-3.png

    ... it's not as if you couldn't make that work with Maschine as well, all it takes is a bit of tweaking within Maschine. But even then: why bother in the first place? Now, sure.. there is an issue here: the Live transport. You can't easily start this from behind the Maschine controller which could make it a bit more difficult to start recording your stuff. But, uhm, anyone heard of this thing called metronome?
    • Turn on the metronome (top left area of Push: right of the tap tempo button, or click the icon in the toolbar with the two circles).
    • Start the Live transport (press play on Push, or click the start button in Live).
    • Move over to Maschine and press record (the button should light up).
    • Press Pattern. If there's no pattern push pad 1 to create it.
    • Check where you are, listen to the metronome, push pattern again within the last bar and start recording when the next bar starts.
    Easy :cool:

    (edit: updated the above instructions because I forgot that I always use pattern in a non-locked state (so I need to keep it pressed)).

    Sure.. you won't be able to completely finish the mixdown from behind Live (then again...) but why would that matter? What's the difference from turning down the volume for pad 4 within a drum rack or doing the same for sound 4 while behind the Maschine? Not to mention that Maschine makes this way more easier...

    Step 2: Play specific Live track(s) from behind Maschine

    Playing percussion is one thing, you often want to add some additional sounds as well. Well... Live can provide, it has a massive sound collection and since Live is the heart of our setup why not use it? It's really very easy:

    upload_2020-3-1_0-7-5.png

    So here I have the Brassinski preset on track 2 (I know it's called 'bright brass', die-hard Live users will know what I'm getting at here o_O) but pay attention to track 4: this is my "Maschine control track"; it gets its MIDI input from track 3, the Maschine VST in specific. It will send its MIDI data to track 2 ('Brassinski') and I've set the monitoring to automatic (when an incoming MIDI signal is detected then this track will react).

    And if you check the Maschine VST window you'll also notice that I added a 2nd group, and made it blue too (which is important! :rolleyes:).

    All that's left to do is to set up Maschine to output MIDI:
    • With the right group active press 'Channel' (= upper left button) and make sure 'Sound' is selected (see top of left display).
    • While checking the left display itself make sure the 'Output' section is selected.
    • Press 'page right' until the bottom of the left display shows you the MIDI section; change the destiny to 'Host'.
    • Press 'keyboard' (above the pad grid) and start playing!
    The best part about all this is that you get to choose... Just start Live's transport (hit start) and then, well, take your pick. Either press record in Live so that all your hits get recorded there or you can press record on Maschine and let that handle your material.

    This is the classic example of getting the best from both worlds in my opinion... at the time of writing Maschine is "limited" (I don't consider it a limitation at all!) to having a fixed sized pattern. So.. either you record 1, 2 or 8 bars but it has to have a fixed size. And I think it makes a lot of sense too, especially when using Maschine for percussion and backgrounds and such. Live on the other hand defaults to unlimited recording, if you want a fixed length then you'll have to press that button on Push.

    So by adding Maschine to your setup you now get a choice...

    You can also choose to use pad mode to play Live but then there's a lot of work ahead of you: to make that work you will need to change the key (or 'root note') for every individual sound so that they follow along. The default is C3, so you'd have change the output for pad 2 to C#3, and D3 would be needed for pad 3, and so on.... In the end it's probably much easier to rely on MIDI mode, but do see part III of the guide.

    Step 3: Play the Maschine pads from behind Live...

    It couldn't be easier.. by default Maschine will use incoming MIDI data to play the currently selected sound in keyboard mode. So: play the same sound using different pitch values. This is easily changed by switching the way incoming MIDI is handled on a group basis:
    • Press 'channel' (top left button) and make sure 'Group' is selected (see the top of the left display).
    • Make sure 'input' is selected (see the left display as well, you can use the 4d controller).
    • Finally change 'key mode' from "off" to "drumkit".

    In conclusion...

    I hope that I managed to demonstrate why I think Maschine can be an invaluable addition to your Live setup. Instead of trying to micro-manage everything from behind your DAW (or Push) why not allow yourself to accept the fact that Maschine is somewhat of a "black box" when looking at it from behind Live, whilst knowing that if you move your chair behind the Maschine controller itself the "black box" will also fully open up?

    Personally I don't get the fascination for wanting to route all individual sounds. Don't get me wrong: I know why you might want to do that, but within the context of Live I think it's a load of unneeded overhead. Why not dare to rely on the Maschine sound effects? Does your clash need a reverb? Why not use metaverb instead?

    The advantage should be obvious: one controller for all your percussion and the other (Push?) for everything else...

    I've been using Maschine as an expansion on my "Push powered Live setup" for half a year now (I think) and I honestly believe that anyone who tries to pit both controllers against each other simply doesn't understand what they're doing, they don't see the sheer potential of the combination. Within the context of Ableton Live I'll take a Push over a Jam any day of the week (so much bad word puns, gotta love it :D).

    And there you have it... pffff...... thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  4. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    913
    Part III (supplemental)

    Well, I suppose my "mini" guide is now pretty much a full blown guide, you can thank D-One for this last part because he gave me the idea for writing it and sharing my presets. :thumbsup: Now I already mentioned this option in part II but I figured I'd finish my guide by not only explaining the setup in more detail, but to also share the preset(s) to makes this work.

    Playing Maschine from Push

    When I use Maschine in my Live projects I pretty much always do so as I mentioned above: I treat Maschine (and its material) as a stand alone instrument; a "black box" when I'm sitting behind Live which will open up as soon as I move my chair behind the Maschine controller. Of course it's not really a black box: if working with the Maschine Mikro taught me one thing it is that the Maschine software is a lot more accessible than it may look like at first. Sure, some options seem a little 'hidden', you need to know how to get there (sound mixer vs. group mixer anyone? Took me a while before I discovered the double-click on the group identifier) but you can do a lot of tweaking when only using the software.

    And that got me thinking... I have my Push sitting right next to my keyboard. My Maschine sits on another table (I can reach the pads, but it's not as easy). So it would be a huge help if I could play Maschine from behind my Push whenever I'm setting up my own kits, that makes it a lot easier to test things.

    So I came up with this:

    upload_2020-3-1_18-6-7.png
    (ignore the C3 mention here, I didn't want to update the screenshot yet again...)

    What do we have here? I'd like to call this the "ultimate" Maschine integration :cool:

    First I added an instrument rack in which I loaded the Maschine VST (obviously) as well as a drumrack on the next chain. Just to avoid issues I also disabled that chain because the only reason the drumrack is there is to switch the Push controller into 'drumpad mode'. I then added a Scale MIDI effect which transposes all incoming MIDI by one octave. See, the drumrack's base note is C1; this is the default for Live (and thus also Push). Maschine otoh uses C2 as the default (incoming) root note for its drumkits. This might be a little confusing because the default base key for the instrument mode is C3, but it is what it is.

    Then I configured the Maschine VST (as shown in the screenshot). I set the MIDI input for the default group to 'Drumkit'; this ensures that incoming MIDI will be used to trigger the sounds in the group (as if it were a kit) rather than triggering the current sound in instrument mode. I also changed the MIDI output for all the sounds and set the routing to 'Host' which ensures that Maschine is actually sending out MIDI. And finally I changed the default base key for all sounds in the group to match that of the Live drumrack. So instead of every sound using C3 I changed this to C1, C#1, D1, and so on.

    And the result? Simple: when you add this preset to the current track then Maschine gets loaded, Push will be set to drumpad mode and then you can play all the Maschine sounds in the current group right from behind Push. As a bonus you can also use Maschine to play a track in Live: just set up the track to get its MIDI input from the Push VST and you're done.

    How to set this up yourself?

    I'll be explaining my zip file in a moment but I also want to demonstrate how I set this up. Because I used so many inefficient methods at first :D See, you can set this up in multiple ways, from the controller or using the VST and yah... you can use the easy way (which I recently discovered) or do it the hard way! :mad: Seriously: just use the controller, it's what it was made for...
    • Select the group you want to prep.
    • Press 'Channel' (top left) select 'Input' using the 4d controller and select 'Group' using the white button above the left display.
    • Change keymode to 'Drumkit' using the left rotary at the bottom.
    • Select 'Output' using the 4d controller and select 'Sound' using the white button above the left display.
    • Press the 'page right' button 2 times until the left display shows 'MIDI'; set destination to 'Host' using the left rotary at the bottom.
    • Press 'Pad mode'.
    • Change the base key (see top of left display) from C3 to C1 using the white button(s) above the right display (go down 2 octaves).
    • Press 'Duplicate' (left of the pads) and keep it pressed while you push pad 1 (it'll blink) and then pad 2 (it'll light up). Release 'Duplicate'.
    • Now press 'Semitone+' above the right display to change the base key from C1 to C#1.
    • Finally copy pad 2 to pad 3 using the "Duplicate step" shown above, then change the semitone by one and repeat for all pads.
    Now you get a good impression of why I am so heavily impressed with the Maschine controller, this is plain out awesome I think (I actually messed around with either changing things step by step in the VST, or by changing all sounds on the controller one at a time after which I changed the sounds routing in the mixer section of the VST)... :rolleyes:

    How to use the ZIP file (post attachment)

    The ZIP archive contains 2 files:
    • MaschinePush.adg - This is a Live preset for an instrument rack, you should be able to use your OS file browser to drag this into Live (dump it onto a MIDI track).
    • LiveRoutings.mxprj - This is a Maschine project which only contains the setup which I explained above.

    upload_2020-3-1_19-49-13.png
    You can use your OS filebrowser to drag the Live preset into Live...

    Start by dragging the Live group (as shown above) into Live. It will load the Instrument rack and if all goes well Maschine too. However, I suspect that the VST won't be automatically loaded because I'm using a different location for my VST's. If that's the case then simply add the Maschine 2 VST behind the Scale MIDI plugin; either double click on the Maschine 2 chain or click the "show devices" icon to show the devices:

    upload_2020-3-1_19-53-46.png

    ... then once Maschine is loaded simply use the VST's menu to load the preset:

    upload_2020-3-1_19-57-45.png
    (be sure to select the location where you saved the Maschine project file to...)

    And there you have it!

    Information is useful but nothing beats a ready to use preset I hope :cool:

    Anyway, enough guide writing for this week, all this messing about to set up useful screenshots has really got me in the right mood, so... time to do some playing! :D

    Thanks for reading, hope this was useful for you guys and if you have questions: don't hesitate to ask!
     

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  5. D-One

    D-One Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    9,294
    Thanks for sharing. Do you have some sort of Editorial background?
    You're well-spoken, clear, pay attention to text styling, etc... It looks like you used to write for a magazine or something.

    I humbly suggest you to consider opening a youtube channel, not as a replacement to your blog but as a complimentary thing, I think you would be surprised by the amount of traction It would generate, YT is the #1 source of info for Music related stuff nowadays and there's so much bad content and miss information there...
     
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  6. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    913
    Not really, though I have worked on plenty of documentation for work over the years. I'm the kind of crazy sysadmin who actually values proper documentation and tries to make that work :D

    But it's simply something I enjoy doing (esp. when it covers a subject I like) and I always try to pay attention to details..

    Thanks for the suggestion but... not going to happen. That is.. I have my own channel but even though I enjoy watching Youtube I never enjoyed it as an information resource, IMO videos make really poor reference material.

    But who knows... Not any time soon though, I'd need proper video editing software and my budget for those things has pretty much depleted after my studio upgrade (N.I & iZotope managed to squeeze the last out of it during the Holiday season :cool:).
     
  7. D-One

    D-One Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    9,294
    AH! That explains everything... The IT crowd is used to reading documentation bibles all the time. :)
     
  8. themixtape

    themixtape NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    362
    Absolutely FREAKIN' BRILLIANT tutorial/explanation, ShelLuser. Absolutely FREAKIN' BRILLIANT. You opened my eyes to stuff I didn't know before. Thanks!
     
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  9. Stormchild

    Stormchild NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    420
    You should really collect and post this on a blog (or Medium) so it doesn't get lost in the forum.
     
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  10. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    913
    Thanks for the feedback guys, really appreciate it!

    Yah, that's going to happen and hopefully soon enough. I'm having some server problems right now but it seems those will be fixed very soon. After which my website(s) will be back up, including my blog, and well... then you can definitely expect something like this to pop up over there as well (I'm probably going to re-do it using all the extra stuff I'll know by that time).
     
  11. Et_Voila

    Et_Voila NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    67
    Never seen/thought at it this way...
    True for me: Text and screenshots, when it's well made like so, you got it all and can take your time, and I think I personnaly remember more easely the given information. Different I guess...

    Informative, clear, straight to the goal, alongside tips and tricks:
    The whole is very good.


    Thanks a lot for sharing.
     
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  12. René must be Unique

    René must be Unique NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    1,877
    Is dit ook ergens, b.v. hier als PDF te downloaden?
    Absoluut een geweldige uitleg.

    Is this also somewhere, e.g. download here as PDF?
    Definitely a great explanation.

    René
     
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  13. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    913
    Thanks for all the feedback, appreciate it... as I mentioned a few times: I'm plain out excited about the stuff I work with and yah, then you can get something like the above :D

    Hele goeie vraag! En een heel goed idee!

    At the moment this is all we got, but... I used to have a synthfan website where I shared a lot of information and stuff about my synth equipment, this ran on WordPress. I neglected the site a bit over the years but right now I'm in the process of rebuilding it. Only this time I'll be using my ASP.NET expertise and I plan on manually building the site myself. I'm almost done with the overall layout and a few so called master pages.

    Alas, I never thought of the option to provide some writings in PDF format, it's a good idea for sure.

    But I can make it work ;) No promises but I'm going to grab the above material in Word, fix a few hiccups here and there and then export the whole thing. Hopefully done by this weekend, but probably the week after. When I'm done I'll share the file here.