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Native Instruments is following its strategy of making hardware and software a single harmonized unit. The next product of this trend is MASCHINE a MPC style hardware which is fully based on the incredible flexibility of Native Instruments’ computer based software that has made Native Instruments one of the leaders of music recording software market.

MASCHINE.. I was quite excited when I at first heard about this hardware. My excitement grew even stronger when I first touched this hardware. Native Instruments used to say that “MASCHINE is the next step in beat production” and I think it is completely true. This hardware is designed to give musician all the flexibility one may need to feel comfortable while staying focused on the groove. The controllers are incredibly easy to use. In fact they are so intuitive that there is every likelihood that most of the musicians will not need any kind of extra tutorials or self-training to get used to playing with them. This makes MASCHINE a wonderful hardware whether you work within your music recording software or perform in the club. What is more, Native Instruments offers a free 1.5 update for MASCHINE users. I took advantage of this opportunity and I’d like to suggest all of MASCHINE users to do this free upgrade. It is really wonderful.

MASCHINE comes with fully integrated FX that together with incredibly user-friendly sequencer gives possibility to sample, re-sample and use slicing features intuitively. MASCHINE offers all the quality of features which were delivered by iconic MPC. MASCHINE comes with 16 velocity levels, with the intuitive pad layout. It also gives you possibility of importing MPC files. This all is from the side of the hardware but the major advantage of Native Instruments unique hard and soft blending strategy is that the software takes MASCHINE outside the bounds of hardware-only limitations. MASCHINE comes with 6 GB of synths, percussion, strings and drums loops that makes it incredibly  convenient to turn your rough musical sketches into fully professional production easily and in no time.

The conversion from rough musical sketches to fully professional production can be done thanks to MASCHINE’s ability to integrate with your DAW. If you have a good groove in MASCHINE which you want to have professionally developed you can simply drag and drop loops, sections or full tracks into your DAW directly from MASCHINE as either MIDI or audio. After you have dropped your section, loop or full track into your music recording software you can still use MASCHINE as a controller to manage professional effects distribution and processing. If we take in consideration the 6GB base of loops made by experienced beat makers, it becomes clear what power MASCHINE gives to your studio production.

Native Instruments designed MASCHINE not for only studio use, but for live performance as well. MASCHINE gives never yet given convenience when using it for live performance. Beside its incredibly user friendly design it also gives you possibility to control visual feedback as it comes with special buttons that leave no need of mouse and keyboard control.


TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 REVIEW - Native Instruments

Almost a decade ago Native Instruments introduced its first TRAKTOR pioneering in the world of professional DJ software. That was a real revolution at that time. 10 years later the Native Instruments is going to revolutionize the DJ world for the second time with its amazing TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. This is the first fully integrated DJ performance system created by the same team that created the first TRAKTOR 10 years ago.

Well, you may think that I exaggerated a bit in the preceeding paragraph, however the rest of my review article of KONTROL S4 will ensure you that this DJ performance system is really revolutionary that has right to say: Hey, forget all you knew about DJ software and controllers, I am the one that has fused soft and hard in itself and reached perfect harmony ! … And that will be completely right. Even on my first touch with TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 I discovered that even those things that seemed a bit complicated for me could be done easily using this DJ performance system. Revolutionary convenient TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 revealed yet untouched fields of possibilities for me. I guessed how easily could I have learnt all these DJ-ing things if I had had possibility to use TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. Seems like guys at Native Instruments have put all their 10 year experience in TRAKTOR KONTROL S4, which can be used by beginners as well as by professionals.

TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 is composed of 4 channel DJ mixer, the quality of which really surprised me, although I really did not expect any 4 channel mixers to surprise me anymore (at least by quality), an intuitive controller, a soundcard which is built-in (24bit/96khz) and of course the crown of the package is TRAKTOR PRO S4 – TRAKTOR SOFT at its summit. I have been using TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 for about 2-3 weeks now and the supreme advantages I noticed are easy and instant usability, excellent pro features and yet unprecendented portability.

Well, what about the controller. Since controller is probably the most important part of the package, as it connects and harmonizes hardware and software into an integrated whole, I think its comprehensive review is essential. TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 controller has really hard task to perform. It had to guarantee the high convenience in order to provide easy usability of this integrated system of hard and soft. I think it does its job perfectly. The design of sample decks is really innovative. Most of the control over software is provided by two clearly laid-out deck control sections and two effect units which can be assigned to any of four software decks. I can not do without mentioning electomagnetic jog wheels the quality of responsivity of which is really surprising. The controller layout with its rotary knobs create all the comfort and a bit more a DJ may need. 

Well, what about 4 channel mixer. At the first look it really seems not to be different from normal 4 channel mixers with their normal features, of course if we do not take in consideration that it is part of unique DJ performance system. However what makes this 4 channel mixer surprising is its wonderful design which has been elaborated by famous DJs. This 4 channel mixer makes it easy to connect other DJ performance gear like CDJ players, turntables, microphone etc. In the 4 channel mixer you can also find inovative loop recorder. This feature works like a fifth deck, which adds an extra layer to your mix by recording and looping audio while mixing. Convenience is provided by the optional foot controller which can start loop recorder, if you are doing some advanced scratching and both your hands are busy. 

The audio interface is another wonderful feature of TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. I needed this audio card to be itegrated in the system so much for all those times when I had been using external sound cards. This audio interface has the right to be named as the successor of Native Instruments high quality audio cards. It provides all the clarity, power and dynamic range a modern DJ may need for creating wonderful mixes using external CDJ players and turntables, effects, microphones and various MIDI gear. 

TRAKTOR PRO S4 could well be the theme of another, separate article. This software is based on TRAKTOR PRO. It was developed to be fully compatible, to create synergy with TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. All the new features that are introduced by TRAKTOR PRO S4 are designed to help its user to take the full advantage of TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention premum ready-made loops that can be combined instantly into the mix. 

I bough TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 with its case that provides special “shelf” to place my laptop. I think that will be very useful on gigs. Its so strange and amazingly convenient - going to mix on a gig and taking just laptop and one average size flight case, where all the rest hardware is placed.