Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?
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Old 27-12-2015, 10:13 PM   #1
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Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

So I just got a Maschine MK2, and I've set everything up. I've got it set up as a controller through Ableton from their template they have available. I'm wondering if this is the best way?

I tried using the Maschine software, but it just feels like a new daw that I have no idea how to use, and it's pretty frustrating.

How do you guys work with this combination? I find the ease of browsing the actual maschine library of samples to be quite good, but then that's kind of taking things out of Ableton.

So do you guys get the ideas quickly in Maschine, then transfer them over to Ableton?

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Old 28-12-2015, 01:29 AM   #2
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

Can't speak to Ableton, but I use Maschine within Logic. The Ableton template sounds interesting.

I do all of my arranging in the Maschine software. Using Maschine Studio that makes more sense. I also like the ability to quickly edit patterns and scenes.

In Logic you can easily add Maschine as an instrument (technically a 16 channel mixer AU). It's fairly straightforward, albeit involved. You need to direct the audio output from sounds or groups to one of the 16 channels and then you add individual tracks in your daw that use each of these channels as an input. Logic is a little quirky to translate them to an audio track and I don't know how to do that in Ableton.

You can then in the setup Menu in Maschine set up to trigger scenes by MIDI notes and you then add a MIDI track to trigger them in your DAW. So, you can set up different loops for your track in Maschine and do the arranging in Ableton, if you prefer.

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Old 30-12-2015, 04:37 AM   #3
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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Originally Posted by liquid_air View Post
Can't speak to Ableton, but I use Maschine within Logic. The Ableton template sounds interesting.

I do all of my arranging in the Maschine software. Using Maschine Studio that makes more sense. I also like the ability to quickly edit patterns and scenes.

In Logic you can easily add Maschine as an instrument (technically a 16 channel mixer AU). It's fairly straightforward, albeit involved. You need to direct the audio output from sounds or groups to one of the 16 channels and then you add individual tracks in your daw that use each of these channels as an input. Logic is a little quirky to translate them to an audio track and I don't know how to do that in Ableton.

You can then in the setup Menu in Maschine set up to trigger scenes by MIDI notes and you then add a MIDI track to trigger them in your DAW. So, you can set up different loops for your track in Maschine and do the arranging in Ableton, if you prefer.

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Yeah I'm finding I absolutely hate the maschine software, it just feels clunky to me opposed to ableton. I have a harder time doing basic things like duplicating midi, or just trying to scrub the page bigger and smaller. I gotta admit, the maschine is great for just jamming out ideas. Everything comes out really hip-hop sounding to me... probably just because I can't do intricate finger drumming yet. I'm liking the quality of the samples though, they sound really good. Even without eqing.

I just find I'm barely touching ableton now haha. Which I don't want. I wish they would incorporate browsing from the maschine hardware with your daw of choices browser. I can see why people like the maschine, it makes looking for sounds a complete breeze.

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Old 30-12-2015, 05:02 AM   #4
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

Maschine is a great tool. Anything new will feel clunky at first. I usually just use it to bang out ideas, then bounce audio to my DAW.

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Old 30-12-2015, 02:51 PM   #5
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

You did notice the pad button, though, right? Keeping it pushed activates the selectors for octave, scale, and harmonics/chords (one of knobs and buttons next to the LCD screen). I'm sure there is an equivalent in the Live template.

Looking at the ads, I was led to believe that the Live template was accomplishing just what you indicated: controlling your DAW from Maschine. I guess you could get Push.

Regarding the sample packs, they are my go to starting point. When they went on sale I got a good bunch. I also like the NKS compatible VSTs, such as Diva or Arturia's analog emulations.

Funny, your hip hop comment. I totally get what you're saying. I found the combination of the note repeat (built in arp), sequencer mode, and overdubbing followed by manual MIDI edits to be my routine process to generate beats.

Last edited by liquid_air; 30-12-2015 at 03:00 PM..

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Old 30-12-2015, 03:20 PM   #6
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

Before trying to use Maschine in a DAW, learn how to use it on its own. It's not at all clunky, you just don't know how to use it yet. Firstly, I suggest checking NI's youtube page and doing EVERY Maschine tutorial they have uploaded. And don't just watch them, sit there with Maschine on your lap and actually DO the tutorials.

There are lots of things I could tell you about how you can integrate Maschine into Live, I have a lot of different setups for different purposes... But it's not really going to help you until you've done the above.

So my recommendation is learn your way around Maschine and then come back at us with some questions on specific bits that you liked doing.
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Old 30-12-2015, 05:27 PM   #7
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

Damn, jaded laying it down. You compelled me to do that now. I know I am still underutilizing Studio's editing functions.

Kind of a nice way of saying RTFM. Which is a task in this case as TFM is near 800 pages. And then still leaves gaps, as we both noted. YouTube is full of good specific tutorials and I think maschinetutorials.com is decent (subscription based).
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: since you're using Logic and Ableton, is the Live template for Maschine worth switching to Live? I am not using Logic for much more than hosting Maschine and final mix down.

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Old 30-12-2015, 06:20 PM   #8
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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has some good advice. The NI videos are actually really useful.

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Old 31-12-2015, 05:11 AM   #9
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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Damn, jaded laying it down. You compelled me to do that now. I know I am still underutilizing Studio's editing functions.
I think anybody who owns Maschine is underutilising it It's so deep...

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Kind of a nice way of saying RTFM. Which is a task in this case as TFM is near 800 pages. And then still leaves gaps, as we both noted.
I would never recommend reading NI manuals to someone who knows nothing about the product they're using. :p Their documentation is great if you're already familiar with everything, but they are absolutely hopeless for beginners.

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YouTube is full of good specific tutorials and I think maschinetutorials.com is decent (subscription based).
Yeah I have to say NI's video tutorial series are all great. Even if they haven't updated the v1 tutorials for v2, they should still be relevant.

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: since you're using Logic and Ableton, is the Live template for Maschine worth switching to Live? I am not using Logic for much more than hosting Maschine and final mix down.
You mean their Ableton Live control template? No. Totally not worth it. It's just a MIDI control surface layout to allow you to use Maschine as a DAW controller when you put it in MIDI mode. Maybe it's just me but I really don't dig NI's MIDI implementation. Their native HID timecode is great. But MIDI feels like it's been tacked on as an afterthought. Pretty much if you want to watch your Maschine controller go from being awesomely responsive to a window licker in the press of a button is a bit of a downer.

As for DAW templating to make the most of Maschine. I think it just depends on your workflow. Logic is a little quicker to bus out 16 channels just because Logic's route creation is much more streamlined. On the other hand, Live is really clunky when it comes to creating routes so setting up good Maschine routes is time consuming and somewhat annoying.

However, Live's modularity gives some advantages because there are lots of ways you can save your routes and then implement them in the future. For example, I have templates with default track routes for sending MIDI to and audio from Maschine back into Live. I have a Live set with an instance of Maschine alongside several groups, each of which is basically a slightly tweaked version of the route I've setup. All I need to do to reuse this is drag and drop it from the browser to my current project. Additionally you can do the same with an audio effect or instrument rack... etc

So it's much of a muchness. It would be better if Logic had full rewire support though because my ultimate combination would be Maschine in Logic. Live rewired to Logic sending MIDI to Logic AND Maschine. But hey. That's never going to happen.
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Old 31-12-2015, 06:01 AM   #10
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

Yeah I am just learning the maschine software at the moment. It's just weird because I'm doing a combination of using my mouse and the hardware to navigate around the program. I just don't know if I like the whole scenes layout. But i guess if I think of it as just a program for creating loops I can import into ableton. Then it's not too bad.

I will admit, I've never played an instrument in my life... so trying to finger drum anything decent is beyond frustrating. I'll keep practicing everyday though. I didn't buy an $800 piece of hardware for nothing haha.

How long did it take you guys to get comfortable with easily keeping a beat up? and then making it more intricate than just kick, snare.

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Old 31-12-2015, 08:25 AM   #11
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

I'm in the same boat as you. Never played an instrument. It takes practice and I am still practicing. Faster beats are tricky. As I mentioned earlier... combine sequence mode, live recording, and the note repeat function together with manual editing. I'm not sure anyone can precisely play ten 1/128th notes in a desired sequence, but hey, maybe there's some drummer boy out there. As with all good things... It'll probably come with practice.

Some of the YouTube vids had me believe this was all a piece of cake. Some of it is, but the finger work some folks have is impressive.

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Old 31-12-2015, 09:08 AM   #12
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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How long did it take you guys to get comfortable with easily keeping a beat up? and then making it more intricate than just kick, snare.
Not at all really. Quantise and note repeat are your friends. Note repeat especially because it automatically triggers at the next quantise point. So you want to put a 4/4 kick snare pattern just set the not repeat to a quarter note, hold down the kick pad and then hold down the snare on every second beat and you're done. Want to add a hi-hat on the off-beat, just set it to an eight and press the hat after every beat and you're done.

And you can always sequence patterns using the step sequencer (which is what most hip hop guys do anyway)...

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I'm in the same boat as you. Never played an instrument. It takes practice and I am still practicing. Faster beats are tricky. As I mentioned earlier... combine sequence mode, live recording, and the note repeat function together with manual editing. I'm not sure anyone can precisely play ten 1/128th notes in a desired sequence, but hey, maybe there's some drummer boy out there. As with all good things... It'll probably come with practice.
Honestly, I wouldn't really stress too much about getting beats live. Unless you really want to become like a live drummer or whatever, OR you have a really human syncopation that you just can't emulate by sequencing or shifting triggers. Ultimately, the point of Maschine is to get to the thing you want quickly. That's why there's so many ways to skin the drums.

Like yeah, the pads are useful for getting beats in. But I find I use them far more for navigating Maschine than actually playing anything live. Switching sounds, patterns, scenes, issuing commands etc.

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Some of the YouTube vids had me believe this was all a piece of cake. Some of it is, but the finger work some folks have is impressive.
Yeah, especially if you watch the Jeremy Ellis videos. No matter how hard you try, you'll never be Jeremy Ellis.
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Old 31-12-2015, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

I got a question. This may sound kind of silly.

I've downloaded a few expansions for it. I've noticed they put synth sounds and bass sounds actually in the drum kits.

This is cool and all, but I find i run into problems when I use them because I never know what key the sounds are in. So I make my drum loop with a few of those in it. Then I go on to make my lead lets say, and it usually sounds out of key.

I was thinking leave it in the chromatic scale and just make a rhythm with one pad, if it sounds out of key, move on to the next pad... and the one that sounds right will be closer to the key I should be in. But that doesn't get me the exact key.

I realize this may not make sense haha.

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Old 31-12-2015, 11:45 PM   #14
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

I generally leave those alone and don't use them, but you can always go to the individual sound, keep pad pressed and adjust the key as you wish. It's either samples or Massive sounds anyway.

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Old 31-12-2015, 11:51 PM   #15
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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I generally leave those alone and don't use them, but you can always go to the individual sound, keep pad pressed and adjust the key as you wish. It's either samples or Massive sounds anyway.
Yeah I find the expansions are mostly made up of those though, so I would like to use them.
They have some nice guitar licks and trumpet's for hiphop styled things.

I did go into the sound on the groups sixteen pads. I saw the transpose knob, I tried using that to tune the sample, but It didn't actually change it at all.

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Old 01-01-2016, 12:07 AM   #16
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

On your Maschine controller there is a a button "pad mode". Keep it pressed and you see context menus appear next to the LCD screens. They include octave and semitone +/- use the buttons above to adjust the root note. This will globally tune the whole kit to your desired root.

For individual sounds/licks, you need to go to the pitch/envelope tab of the sampler and the tune button works just fine. Also mapped onto your controller: use the arrow keys to select the page and adjust the knob to tune by semitones

Also, select any sound from a kit and hit shift+pad mode (Keyboard) and you can play that sound with your keys. Doesn't work well for samples as it pitch shifts by using time stretch. I wish they gave you an option to use a time machine function from Kontakt. But, for Massive presets that works.

You can always load the samples into Kontakt

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Old 06-01-2016, 10:59 AM   #17
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

I use Maschine as a sketchpad. Its always the first thing I use to get beats, bass and sounds down and then I just drag the audio into ableton and start arranging from there. I tweak a lot of stuff in Maschine and bounce the audio but if its a bass sound or feature sound I'll just save out the sound and bring it into Massive in the DAW for extended control. I find arranging in Maschine a bit onerous tbh and Ableton is so much quicker.

Once the audio is in Ableton, arranging is a breeze and it keeps me focused creatively. I dont think you can beat Maschine for knocking out ideas quickly.

I just bought the new iMaschine app for my iPad and thats pretty fucking cool too with better arrangement options than the previous version. If they could allow me to open projects from that in the desktop software that would be nice as I have a bunch of beats I made on the plane or on holiday I could easily turn into full length tracks.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:55 PM   #18
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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I use Maschine as a sketchpad. Its always the first thing I use to get beats, bass and sounds down and then I just drag the audio into ableton and start arranging from there. I tweak a lot of stuff in Maschine and bounce the audio but if its a bass sound or feature sound I'll just save out the sound and bring it into Massive in the DAW for extended control. I find arranging in Maschine a bit onerous tbh and Ableton is so much quicker.

Once the audio is in Ableton, arranging is a breeze and it keeps me focused creatively. I dont think you can beat Maschine for knocking out ideas quickly.

I just bought the new iMaschine app for my iPad and thats pretty fucking cool too with better arrangement options than the previous version. If they could allow me to open projects from that in the desktop software that would be nice as I have a bunch of beats I made on the plane or on holiday I could easily turn into full length tracks.
You can open them, no problem. Connect to iTunes and go to App pane and select the iMaschine folder. There you'll find the files. Copy over and open in Maschine. They got instructions on the website, too. Works like a charm. And, all the samples port over.

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Old 06-01-2016, 07:58 PM   #19
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

This thread is making me want a Maschine
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:08 PM   #20
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Re: Best way to incorporate Maschine into Ableton workflow?

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This thread is making me want a Maschine
It's all VST and sample based. Thought you considered that rather undesirable

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