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Maschine is a hardware/software digital audio workstation developed by Native Instruments. Maschine consists of a controller that connects to the included sequencing software, which can be installed on any compatible computer or laptop.


The Maschine controller is designed like a drum machine, similar to products like the Akai MPC.[1] The controller is powered and connected by USB, with each variation featuring 16 pressure sensitive pads and back-lit buttons. The hardware is not limited for sole use with the Maschine software, but is also compatible with Native Instruments' Traktor DJ software, and music production software such as Ableton Live and FL Studio.[2][3][4] There are currently 6 different hardware variations:

  • Maschine: As the original configuration, Maschine featured 16 pressure sensitive pads, 11 rotary knobs, 2 LCD screens, and 41 buttons. Alongside the USB connection, Maschine also featured a MIDI input and output to connect to compatible gear externally.[5]
  • Maschine Mikro: Designed as the budget and portable configuration, Maschine Mikro featured 16 pressure sensitive pads, but only one LCD screen, a single knob, and 28 buttons. Mikro also lacked the built in MIDI connectivity which Maschine possessed.[6]
  • Maschine Mk2: The second configuration of Maschine is nearly identical to its predecessor, but features RGB backlighting for all of its button and upgraded pads. As well, 3 knobs related to volume, tempo, and swing were replaced with a single jog wheel, and 6 buttons. The unit also comes in either black or white, and features a removable magnetic top-plate and knobs for further color customization.[7]
  • Maschine Mikro Mk2: The current configuration of Maschine Mikro features upgraded pads, and RGB backlighting. The hardware layout is identical to the previous iteration, but comes in black or white. [8]
  • Maschine Studio: The most recent configuration of Maschine, Studio is marketed as the premium edition of the hardware. Studio features 16 pressure sensitive pads, RGB backlighting, 9 rotary knobs, 2 color LCD screens, 2 sliders, a jog wheel, and 66 buttons. The controller also features dual MIDI inputs and outputs, 2 foot switch inputs, and an input for a 15v power supply, as USB power is insufficient. [9][10]
  • Maschine Jam: Native Instruments´ version of the Ableton Push, being released in 2016 it breaks the traditional groove box model for a 8x8 grid with patterns to arrange scenes.
  • Maschine Mk3: The newest addition to the Maschine family, with new and better pads, more and bigger click buttons, its own sound card, better navigation, dual colored LCD screens, and the best features of the Maschine Studio in a compact package.
  • Maschine Mikro Mk3: The latest iteration of the Mikro is the smallest controller of the Mikro family that features a reduced sized LCD screen. New features include a touch strip for effects, a chord section and a step sequencer section.


The Maschine software is designed to be used as a standalone production studio, or utilized as a plugin within a digital audio workstation. The software is primarily based on drum sequencing and designed for use with the Maschine line of hardware controllers. Users assign drum kits, instruments, and sounds from the included library to each of the controller's 16 pads, and can manipulate sounds further by applying effects and plugins. The software also includes tools to capture and manipulate audio samples in real-time. All functions can be performed without the use of a mouse, and instead directly from the hardware itself.[1] The 2.0 version of the software added multi-core CPU support, a new audio engine, the removal of plugin limits, and other upgrades to UI and audio effects.[11]

Maschine was also ported and simplified into an iOS app called iMaschine. Users use the touch screen to manipulate a virtual recreation of the 16 pads found on the Maschine controller. With the release of iMaschine 2, the app features many of the features found on the full production suite, such as step sequencing, arrangement, and the ability to record and manipulate samples. iMaschine 2 on the iPhone 6s line of phones also utilizes the phone's 3D touch capabilities.[12]


Maschine was first released on April 1, 2009, in a package that contained the original iteration of the hardware controller and Maschine software 1.0. [13]

On October 1, 2011, Native Instruments released Maschine Mikro, a budget oriented version of the hardware controller, but with the updated Maschine 1.7 software. That same year iMaschine was also released, an iOS app which brought key features of both the software and hardware components to the mobile platform.[6]

A year later, on October 1, 2012, updated iterations of the controllers, Maschine Mk2 and Maschine Mikro Mk2, were both released alongside Maschine 1.8 software. The software came bundled with a copy of Native Instruments' Massive, a synthesizer plugin. [14]

On November 1, 2013, Native Instruments released Maschine Studio, a premium version of the hardware controller, bundled with Maschine 2.0 software.[9]

On November 12, 2015, iMaschine 2 was released for iOS, designed as the successor to the original app.[15]

Maschine Jam was released on September 29, 2016, bringing grid based sequencing to the Maschine workflow much like the Ableton Push controller. [16][17]

Maschine MK3 was announced on September 7, 2017, and was released on October 5, 2017. [18] The updated Maschine includes two colour screens, a built-in audio interface, and larger drum pads than its predecessor. [19]


A selling point of Native Instruments' Maschine is the release of official expansions for the software's digital library on an ongoing basis.[20] Expansions are generally geared toward a specific genre of music, often containing several different virtual drum kits and instruments. The latest expansions also include presets for the Massive and Monark synthesizers, both of which are created and distributed by Native Instruments.[21] As well, many of the expansions have been released for the iMaschine and iMaschine 2 iOS apps, albeit streamlined for use on the mobile platform.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b "Native Instruments Maschine".
  2. ^ "How To Use Maschine + Traktor Together With A Single Laptop". DJ TechTools. 2013-05-27.
  3. ^ "How to Install the MASCHINE Ableton Live Template for Live 9.1".
  4. ^ "How to open Maschine VST in FL Studio - Maschine Masters". 31 December 2012.
  5. ^ Future Music. "Native Instruments Maschine review". MusicRadar.
  6. ^ a b Si Truss. "Native Instruments announces Maschine Mikro". MusicRadar.
  7. ^ "Review: Native Instruments Maschine Mk2 and Maschine 1.8 Update". DJ TechTools. 2012-10-24.
  8. ^ "Maschine Mikro MK2 Review". Midi Lifestyle. 2015-03-19.
  9. ^ a b "News - NI announce Maschine Studio and Maschine 2.0".
  10. ^ "Maschine : Production Systems : Maschine Studio : Specifications - Products".
  11. ^ "Hands-on Visual Tour: What's New in Maschine 2 Software, Maschine Studio Hardware - Create Digital Music". Create Digital Music. October 2013.
  12. ^ Mario Aguilar. "iMaschine 2 Is a Powerful Overhaul of One of the Best Music-Making Apps". Gizmodo. Gawker Media.
  13. ^ "NI Maschine: Fully Integrated Hardware-Software-Plug-In Drum Machine, Controller". Create Digital Music. 2009-01-15.
  14. ^ "New Maschine Mk2 Hardware Announced". DJ TechTools. 2012-08-29.
  15. ^ "iMaschine 2 Lets You Create Entire Tracks". Synthtopia. 2015-11-12.
  16. ^ "Native Instruments Announces $399 Maschine Jam Production & Performance System". Synthtopia. 2016-09-08.
  17. ^ "Time Maschine: 2009 - 2019".
  18. ^ "Native Instruments unveils brand new Maschine and Komplete Kontrol hardware". 2017-09-07.
  19. ^ "What to know about NI's new Maschine, Komplete Kontrol hardware". 2017-09-07.
  20. ^ "Maschine : Maschine Expansions - Products".
  21. ^ "Native Instruments Intros Crystal Daggers Maschine Expansion".
  22. ^ "Native Instruments introduces iMASCHINE Artist Expansions".
  23. ^ "Maschine : Maschine For iOS : iMaschine : iMaschine Expansions - Products".