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Appendix: Tips for Playing Live


MASCHINE is a very hands-on tool for producing music as well as for performing live. In this section, we have gathered some tips especially for playing live.

MASCHINE is a very hands-on tool for producing music as well as for performing live. Here we have specifically gathered some tips to help you when playing live. If you are used to playing live, you may not need them, but maybe you will find some new ideas to integrate into your set.


Focus on the Hardware

In a live situation, it is not very comfortable or intuitive to look back and forth from your laptop screen running the MASCHINE software to the MASCHINE hardware controller.

Customize the Pads of the Hardware

Take your time to set up the pad sensitivity and velocity scaling to your taste, and you will have even more fun playing MASCHINE. For more information, refer to Preferences – Plug-ins Page.

Check Your CPU Power Before Playing

Some things can be embarrassing if, for example, you are on stage and your computer starts to have problems because it cannot handle the number of effects you are using. Although the MASCHINE software is programmed very efficiently, this might happen if your computer is quite old. So before you get on stage, give your live set a thorough performance check by first playing it at home. While doing so, take a look at the CPU meter in the MASCHINE software’s Header to ensure it never turns red. If necessary, increase the Latency value. For more information, refer to Preferences – General Page).

Name and Color Your Groups, Patterns, Sounds and Scenes

Consider Using a Limiter on Your Master

This sounds rather conservative, but if you want to avoid digital distortion caused by an overload of your audio interface , this is a useful safety measure. However, you might experience a somewhat squashed and dull sound if you overuse the Limiter by feeding a lot of loud signals to it. Try it out and see what works best for you! For more information, refer to Limiter.


It is nice if a live set is working out exactly the way you planned it, but sometimes, this can get boring for you and the audience. Something unexpected or even simple mistakes can be the key for inspiring tracks and performances as well as just jamming around with your Sounds and Samples!

Basic Techniques

Use Mute and Solo

Mute and Solo are excellent ways to build up a live set, especially on the MASCHINE controller, as you can mute and solo Groups and Sounds simultaneously.

Since soloing a Sound mutes all Sounds except one, the MUTE button can then be used to “release” Sounds that have been muted. You can use this technique to create a breakdown: Solo a given Sound such as a kick drum, then build the track up again by bringing the muted Sounds back in one at a time with the MUTE button. For more information, refer to Use Note Repeat.

Use Scene Mode and Tweak the Loop Range

Scene mode is useful to trigger different parts of an arrangement by switching Scenes while changing the Loop Range adds another layer of improvisation. By using a short value for the Perform Grid, you can quickly combine Scenes and create new variations.

Create Variations of Your Drum Patterns in the Step Sequencer

You can easily create exciting drum patterns by adding or removing steps in the step sequencer. Breaks and build-ups like snare rolls or a double-tempo hi-hat can be created on the fly.

For more information, refer to Recording Patterns with the Step Sequencer.

Use Note Repeat

Note Repeat is a helpful tool for playing live: use it to add some additional drums, drop in some effect sounds, play a bassline or a melody. Note Repeat is also interesting to use with tonal Sounds, and you can access it from Keyboard mode to create synthesizer-like arpeggios.

Set Up Multi-effect Groups and Automate Them

You can set up multi-effect Groups containing all the effects you want to use in a live set. You can find several multi-effect Groups in the LIBRARY pane of the Browser to give you an idea of what works for you. To quickly change and modulate the effect settings, you can set modulation for the multi-effect as Patterns from within the MASCHINE software. By using Patterns for the multi-effect Group, you could, for example, trigger a filter sweep or a wild modulated Beat Delay. For more information, refer to Creating Multi-Effects.

Special Tricks

Changing Pattern Length for Variation

Try a short Pattern Grid resolution like a quarter or eighth note and change the Pattern Length (refer to Adjusting the Arrange Grid and the Pattern Length) to create variations of a Pattern. If you select an even smaller value like 1/64th you can create stuttering breaks and rolls.

Using Loops to Cycle Through Samples

You can use loops to cycle through Samples, creating glitches and stuttering breaks or interesting soundscapes. Just enter the ZONE page in Sampling mode on your controller, switch on the ACTIVE parameter on the Loop page and play with the parameters for the start and endpoint of the loop. Use the SHIFT button to change the values in smaller increments. For more information, refer to Page 1: Voice Settings / Engine. Note: this technique requires that you choose either AHD or ADSR as the Amplitude Envelope in the Sampler’s Parameter pages. For more information, refer to Selecting and Editing Zones in the Map View.

Load Long Audio Files and Play with the Start Point

You can adjust the start point of a Sample in the Sampler’s Parameter pages (refer to Page 1: Voice Settings / Engine). If you load a long audio file, you can create interesting variations by tweaking (or modulating) the start point.