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Maschine VS MPC Studio - My take

Discussion in 'MASCHINE Area' started by Bremen, May 26, 2013.

  1. Bremen

    Bremen Forum Member

    I realize this is a NI company forum. I posted this at the independent mpc forums, but understand it may be deleted here. I just thought I would try. Heck, it may be deleted there too! I'm just a guy, own both, and have an opinion.

    First of all, I started with a Ren, not long after release. I gave it every chance to work. But the crashing, and the fact I really didn’t like having my audio interface in it, led me to be rid of it. I then got the Akai EIE Pro audio interface, and a bit later a Studio. I have had Maschine for over 1 and a half years.

    The Ren is IMHO ugly. Uninspiring in it’s drab dress, and more like something in a science lab than a music studio. The Studio is gorgeous. I can’t see a reason why anyone would want to change its appearance. The Studio is to me a pleasure to look at, and a joy to touch. Outside of the audio interface (which I don’t care about) and extra Q-link knobs (which I find the Studio way just as good) they are really just about the same in function.

    Though the Ren crashed and made me regret even having the thing, the Studio with 1.3 has been flawless. I have had one crash, and I have no idea what happened. The Studio is for me very useable, no complaints. Now to get to the actual Studio/Maschine comparison.

    Studio wins on looks by a country mile. Maschine is not as ugly as the Ren, but it is far from “sexy”. It is inspiring to use, but not to look at. Studio wins on form factor. I like holding the Studio in my lap. I like the way it feels, slim and light, yet solid. Maschine feels like a plastic slate. The thin and sleek Studio slips into it’s included soft case, and drops effortlessly into a backpack. The Maschine, well, feels like a plastic slate. Clumsy, and awkward.

    Studio wins on software. Yes I know, the software is what everyone whines about. Crashing, lost features…etc. But the sequencer to me is better than Maschine, and the overall feel I like better than Maschine. The Maschine software to me is like a blocky 1990’s DAW. The Studio/Ren software looks more modern, and easier to use.

    Maschine wins on being a hardware music creation tool. The Studio is wonderful when I have the Mac Pro screen open, and the mouse ready. Because the hardware is limited in what it can do alone. It is clear to me that Akai designed the Ren/Studio to be used as a controller for the software. NI designed Maschine to be in essence stand alone hardware, that just happens to have a USB cable coming out of it connected to a computer. I use Maschine for hours at a time on my Macbook Pro on the couch with the lid closed. Never looking at a computer screen, or touching a mouse. Studio I use with Macbood Pro open, and mouse at the ready. There is a huge difference, and I greatly prefer the tactile and personal connection I get with Maschine.

    Maschine wins on sound content. Even with the Ren where you get all 4 of Akai’s “synths” (really just sample players) it pales compared to the wealth of content in Maschine. Maschine comes with a nice selecting of drum kits, many quite good. Then there is the Kontact, Rector and Guitar Rig contact. A thousand presets, and most are very useable. Then, there is Massive. With a monster about of included presets, and thousands of user created and third party sounds. All of this is very accessible from the hardware. As a matter of fact one of the reasons Machine is so much better as hardware only is the HUGE content available via the hardware. The Band, Wub, 808, and Noise included with Ren/Studio are nice, but compared to the NI content they are a joke and a toy. I know many of you are saying “but the MPC is a sampler, just sample!”. If you don’t care about VSTi’s, then why by a Ren/Studio in the first place? You can sample with any of the old stand alone MPC’s, one of the whole marketing points of the Ren/Studio is the fact of VSTi support. So the content matters. I can’t even imagine what it’s like with Maschine owners that have Komplete or Komplete Ultimate (I don’t’). What else could you possibly need?

    In closing (yes, this is a long post), for now I choose Maschine. I truly believe that Ren/Studio has the potential to be the best ever. I believe that Akai is capable of doing it. Will they do it? I don’t’ know. The way I use them both now is Maschine as standalone (on couch or wherever I want) to create. Studio with computer to add things that are unique to Studio. I like them both, and do not regret getting ether.
  2. dreddiknight

    dreddiknight NI Product Owner

    Seems like you get a lot out of both. Good to read an even handed review. If Maschine had better arrangement functions, do you think it might compare better software wise? Or do you find the akai software ahead on all fronts?
  3. lethal_pizzle

    lethal_pizzle NI Product Owner

    Don't like the encoders on the studio, and for that reason, I'm out
    • Like Like x 2
  4. alexbuga

    alexbuga NI Product Owner

    I had the Ren and got back to my MK2.
    There was basic stuff missing, plus a lot of mixer routing bugs.
    And I agree with you. I can go with the MK2 on my DJ stand for hours without looking at the computer. That's something!

    I'd wish for an audio input directly in Maschine so I can sample my iPad... That would be nice.
  5. Thomas A.

    Thomas A. NI Product Owner

    Yes, thats the only hardware feature I miss with Maschine. One Laptop, one Controller -- without any external boxes like audio interfaces, usb hubs etc. I'm sure this will come sooner or later.
  6. theinvis

    theinvis NI Product Owner

    If they put an audio card in the maschine, it would end up being like a 2500 without much of the capability save running vsts and better fx that would make it ultimately even more frustrating than it is.

    At the op, thanks for the comp, it was even but more subjective opinion than a comparison and to be honest I've realized recently that it's not really fair to make comparisons between maschine and other instruments because at this time and place maschine is basically inkomplete. Maschine is more underdeveloped than even allot of iOS apps and certainly more underdeveloped than any other groove box or drumsampler. There are even allot of things in battery and traktor that should have been in maschine a long long time ago compared to NI's other apps maschine software is like a beta or something they haven't figured out what they want to do with, even though they and others will talk about their timeline, roadmap profusely, it's all vapor ware.

    It's like this, you can sit on your couch for hours, MacBook lid closed not looking at the computer and making music...... That's great until you want to change the tempo in your song. All of a sudden your MacBook is open and your running maschine through a myriad of daws to get something so simple done..............just one example out of many

    The problem with maschine is that we do allot of comparisons with other gear without really focusing on the standards in music production, and it's the standards of music production that we should be comparing maschine to. It would go something like this

    Maschine is a step sequencer, now compare it to the step sequencing standard and see how far behind and full of omissions the stepsequencer is and you all know the standards to compare it to.
    Ok let's move on, compare maschine to the songwriting and arranging standards, again so far behind and so many omissions, you can't even capture your live performance so that you can edit it later unless you get up off of your couch, again that's just one of many.
    Lets continue, compare maschine to the production standards of midi and you will wonder why there are even iOS apps that are more midi capable. In every area of midi from basic sequencing to midi messages cc the whole lot maschine is almost counter productive in this area of omissions

    Anyway this is just a summary way of a thought process, the best way is not to compare maschine to mpcs, fruity loops, ableton, battery, traktor, or any cheap freakin ipad app, instead compare maschine to the production standards it should be at least meeting since day one and certainly after all of this time, and then if they actually want to walk the walk of the talk they talk they should be exceeding those standards by a mile.
  7. Ghost_On_Da_Maschine

    Ghost_On_Da_Maschine NI Product Owner

    I hope this isn't the start of the return of Akai conversation. :S
    I was really happy that after the Ren was released ALL the Akai conversation disappeared.

    Please let's not bring it back.

    To the OP posting it at MPC Forums didn't make you happy enough why bring it here?


    Let's just focus on helping with problems, missing features, what we like to see etc.
  8. kcearl

    kcearl NI Product Owner

    Interesting read...id actually completely forgot about the akai offerings. Ive been completely lost in arturias Spark for the last month or so. Funny how other than the obvious they dont really overlap too much..
    I use Spark for making my own round robin kits and maschine for its factory and expansion kits and instruments. I wonder if a Studio could fit in with that too. Tbh I think I might have all the bases covered, though an MPC always interests me :)
  9. Bremen

    Bremen Forum Member

    I have to update and say that the mpc forums deleted my post. The MPC Tutor guys runs one of the most locked down and micro managed forums I have ever seen.
    Tip of the hat to NI for allowing this thrad to remain.

    Yet another reason IMHO Maschine wins :)
  10. Phyia

    Phyia NI Product Owner

    i also own both or owned both.. i took the ren back, because maschine worked much faster for me, and i started with mpc, but the drag and drop feature of maschine i love and use so much wasn't a feature that the ren had... another reason why i didn't care to much about the ren was the software, things like duplicating, chopping and slicing, was just slow, like everything you had to do was "Do it" why would i have to confirm something i want to do, and than it had the saving drum kit problem, if u made a drum kit out of stock sounds it would save the sounds again, on maschine it just points to the folder the sounds are saved in.. i just seen that as a hard drive hog... even though the pads felt great, and it had some cool features like being able to use samples that require more than 16 pads was cool, and being able to change octaves by using the group botton was cool too... but maschine is just a faster work flow... i think i'd pick up a studio though.. sounds like a good piece to have in my arsenal...
  11. flux302

    flux302 NI Product Owner

    this post here sums up how I feel about akai these days... (keep in mind the rebranded pedal is a digital chip not analog... there is no saving grace in what they are doing and its 100% indicative of how they have been treating their loyal fans over the past 13 years.) http://www.analogindustries.com/b1729/
  12. kcearl

    kcearl NI Product Owner


    Dunno why the guys crapping on the biyang...them, calines, and joyos are actually pretty decent, moreso if you think about the price of them

    Still thats a bloody cheek if true :D
    Also props for using the word bajillion :)
  13. theinvis

    theinvis NI Product Owner

    My point exactly, all the talking about mpcs has shot us in the foot, because it let ni get away with dismal development akin to that imaschine app, while we have been distracted nobody has been seriously holding them to the fire on the stuff that should have been done. It's like after we got them to implement vst we just fell off into an abyss of akai elektron Roland ableton talk instead of making ni bring this product up to par, don't get me wrong I wish this forum was more open and able to discuss all kinds of other instruments because many of us use different types of instruments together. I just wish we hadn't gone the direct comparison route as much......

    We should have just told ni, look mofo, I want to record midi cc into your damn sequencer cause that's what midi sequencers do so get the f on your job.
    All they've done is turn this thing into a state of the art sample pack machine
    • Like Like x 1
  14. flux302

    flux302 NI Product Owner

    the point is that the pedals which claim analog signal path are infact cheap digital chips , also its double the price for an old design which they claim is new... sound familiar.
  15. kcearl

    kcearl NI Product Owner

    Sorry i dont see anyone claiming an analog signal path, i have other "analog" delays...theyre the same

    Nor is that what the page you linked are complaining about

    As for rebranding music gear its been going on for years, nothing new, and if you ask akai they dont deny the pedals origins

    I think its a cheek that its twice the price and they call it a new product (though it is for them) but other than that no foul?
    Did find this in an ebay advert for the akai "Up to 1200ms of real analog delay."

    I know Bellcat, rogue, e-wave, all have analog delay pedals that dont have a pure analog signal path :(
  16. CoolDerb

    CoolDerb Forum Member

    I agree with your points and share your frustration.Especially with regard to the iMaschine app's lack of basic features and updates. It could have been an ideal portable compliment to Maschine,but NI chose to abandon it.

    I find it interesting and somewhat ironic that while NI is known primarily for its software and Akai is known more for their hardware, It seems as though both NI and Akai respond more to each other's moves and less to their customers. Meanwhile companies such as Korg and Moog provide continuous hardware and software innovations.
  17. jpeg

    jpeg Forum Member

    studio looks like fun love the slim profile defo one for the road but lets see what ni have up they sleeve for 2.0.

    studio was always said to be the more direct competitor of maschine.

    but i dont agree that maschine mk2 looks ugly, also i think th emaschine software looks better than the akia software.
  18. flux302

    flux302 NI Product Owner

    You don't see that it clearly states analog custom shop and analog delay right on the pedal?
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  19. kcearl

    kcearl NI Product Owner

    Yes, and im saying its not the only pedal to be labelled so...its not unusual with budget delay pedals...the cheapest true analog pedal is the MXR carbon copy I think (around $115)



    These are two off the top of my head

    FTR the akai head rush is one of the best delay pedals out there
  20. ashs_au

    ashs_au Forum Member

    Korg never lost the will to make weird sh*t. They are like someone's 50-year old strange uncle.