Free Unique Percussion, Morse Code for iOS, New Maschine Expansion

We’ve been on the hunt again, and for this week’s Around the Web we’ve found you a couple of free gems as well as news of a brand new expansion for Maschine from Native Instruments.

Icebreaker Audio’s Akebono

First up, an interesting an unique set of samples from Icebreaker Audio: the Akebono. The Akebono is a rare Japanese suitcase instrument that has some great sounding taiko percussion, chimes, and really wild sounding vocal ‘yo’s and ‘ow’s that we can hear sounding amazing in the new wave of house, juke, bass music and more.

It’s a free download from Icebreaker – if you have Battery 3 you can load up pre-made kits, but the wav files are provided too. In fact while you’re there you can pick up a few other free and unique sample packs!


Next we’ve got something that’s perhaps a little left-field, but interesting nonetheless. iToneMaker is a free app for iOS that will turn any text into Morse code; if you have a hankering for some covert ops in your music, this could be perfect. There’s plenty of ways to effect the tone, and you can get some pretty musical sounding bleeps out of it even without focusing on getting recognisable code. When you’re done you can export to the web, where you can save an mp3 or even an iPhone ringtone.

Get it here free!

Maschine Platinum Bounce

Maschine’s Expansion series keeps on going, and the main thing that the format has going for it is the way that if you have Maschine, all the sounds slip into the library like a hand in a glove. Platinum Bounce is pretty much perfectly timed in terms of sounds, with trap music stretching to booty tech and encompassing everything from new deep house to juke and footwork styles.

At €49 it’s not the cheapest pack you’ll ever buy but the quality of NI Expansions combined with the convenience for Maschine users could just be worth it – take a look and listen here. Let us know what you think – will you pay for this kind of convenience?

That’s all for this week – make sure to Like our Facebook page and join up to our club to get more regular deals and free stuff!

Izotope Iris Promo Price, Reason 6.5 Beta, and Beatcleaver Update

Another three of our favourite stories from around the web this week, with a cash saving promo offer on iZotope’s latest, Reason’s Rack Extensions getting closer and closer, and an update to a very cool, low cost way of slicing your samples…

Continue Reading

Jeremy Ellis’s Finger Drumming Tutorials

Finger drumming, or pad playing, or whatever you want to call it, is a skill that despite pads being so popular a feature on production gear very few people regiment themselves to practice with them in the same way they would another instrument. Jeremy Ellis is one of – in our humble opinion – the world’s leading finger drummers, and he’s keen to spread the love and help you guys out. Continue Reading

Maschine Mikro

Video: Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Review

Maschine Mikro is the little brother to Maschine;  the software’s the same, but the hardware and price have both been slashed. I’ve been giving it a fair trial and here’s the video lowdown of the Oh Drat verdict. Text and photography to follow soon!

Maschine Mikro and iMaschine

Native Instruments Announce Maschine Mikro and iMaschine

We saw one of these coming, but not the other. NI have just announced their latest new hardware: Maschine Mikro. Maschine Mikro is a miniature version of Maschine, which retains full sized pads but appears to augment the original’s functionality with dual colour LEDs, judging by the blue glow in the promo pics, and a single screen.

Maschine Mikro could be something special

It looks like it could be perfect for one of the use cases Maschine is increasingly moving towards – a hands on way to augment your DAW experience. What with Maschine 1.7′s Komplete 8 integration and the fact that it still has the best direct sampling function on any software, Maschine Mikro could be something special, especially considering its $399/€349 price tag, which includes the large Maschine library and software as well as the controller. We’ll find out, and definitely be making a video for it, in the very near future.

It didn’t take a genius to guess Maschine Mikro was on the horizon when NI dropped Kore, but we were a little surprised with iMaschine! In the spirit of other companies who’ve created studio in a box software – Akai’s Synthstudio and the various Korg offerings come to mind – iMaschine is a mini studio with a mini price, and the ability to load projects into the full version of Maschine. It’s a shame it’s iPhone/iPod Touch only, with no native iPad version, but maybe going full sized would be a little too close to the actual Maschine for comfort. It might not be the most exciting of the two announcements for existing computer musicians, but it could act as the gateway drug for a whole heap of those of you reading who haven’t already bought in to the world of production yet…

Both products are out on the 1st of October – Native Instruments have some extras… Oh, and here’s pad virtuoso Jeremy Ellis giving Mikro what for!

Native Instruments Komplete 8

NI Release Komplete 8 with Maschine Integration

Native Instruments’ stable gets bigger every year, and so the Komplete bundle inevitably grows. This year, though, they’ve really pushed the boat out.

Komplete Ultimate is delivered on a 240GB hard drive packed to bursting

Komplete 8 includes all the major software products in the NI lineup, but Komplete Ultimate is delivered on a 240GB hard drive packed to bursting with more or less literally everything they’ve got. It’s an extra $550/€500, but for the guy who’s gotta have everything it’s a tempting old offer. In a pretty predictable move considering the discontinuation of Kore – but really interesting nonetheless – Komplete now benefits from total integration with Maschine. This is something we’re really eager to play with, so watch out for our reviews on both Komplete 8, Maschine 1.7, and videos on the coolest features coming soon…

Maschine Expansions

Native Instruments Announce Maschine Expansions

Native Instruments are more or less the busiest business in the business – it seems like barely a week goes by without a product announcement of some kind, and this week the Maschine Expansions series has been launched with two separate packs.

Maschine expansions comprise kits, sounds, instruments, and multi fx chains

Maschine expansions comprise kits, sounds, instruments, and multi fx chains, and the first two, Vintage Heat and Transistor Punch, are aimed at the warm and fuzzy and cutting edge ends of the sound spectrum respectively. You can hear some audio demos on NI’s site, and I’ll have them in for review shortly to give them the full treatment…


Review: Native Instruments Maschine 1.6

Maschine’s greatest achievement has been dragging staunch hardware users away from their MPCs and towards computer based production. It’s been a real investment for early adopters, as two major updates since the original release have seen Maschine grow from a great idea with slightly flawed implementation into a tour de force of production potential – and all for free. 1.6 continues this tradition, and brings some radical additions to Maschine’s workflow, perhaps most notably audio plugin support and full 64 bit support. Have Native Instruments succeeded in giving Maschine all the tools it needs to compete with a DAW, or are they over egging the pudding and taking the focus off its core features?

the 1.6 update finally implements both instrument and effects plugins in VST/AU format

A long requested feature by Maschine users is plugin support, and the 1.6 update finally implements both instrument and effects plugins in VST/AU format. Rather than simply shoehorning the capability in, however, there are a variety of workflow tweaks and additions to maximise both the advantages that plugin support brings and the ease of use of plugins within a project.

In 1.6, rather than each pad having a source select and two effects slots each pad is comprised of four modules, one of which one can be an input source and the other three effects – or all four effects, should you wish. You can route groups and sounds to each other through the module chain, too; you could dedicate a group to being an effects bus and load in effects chains into each of the 16 pads, then send sounds or groups to the chains in those groups via an aux channel. This is a very powerful but at the same time very simple system, made even more powerful now that Maschine’s outputs have been doubled to 16.

handling of plugins is implemented really effectively

Actual handling of plugins is implemented really effectively. Maschine will attempt to map plugin parameters in a sensible way, but if, by the plugin’s design, automatic mapping doesn’t do such a great job, learning is built into Maschine and is as simple as switching learn mode on, fiddling with the control in Maschine and then the plugin. These mappings can be saved, so you can create different presets to load for different uses, and your favourite can be saved as the default that will load whenever you load that plugin – a godsend when a plugin developer has assigned their plugin’s CC messages alphabetically, for instance.

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Native Instruments Maschine

Maschine 1.6 Beta

Native Instruments have today released a public beta of version 1.6 of Maschine, their integrated hardware/software groove box. Maschine’s been rising in popularity over the past two years, as NI have consistently improved the workflow and featureset; the 1.6 update is the most radical update yet, as we finally see VST/AU plugin integration.

the 1.6 update is the most radical update yet, as we finally see VST/AU plugin integration

One of the most attractive things about Maschine is its ability to immerse you totally in the controller. Thankfully, NI have continued this with 1.6, as plugin browsing is as simple as sample loading. This is facilitated by a new way of approaching sound loading, as now there are four ‘modules’ per pad, which can be populated with either a sampler or plugin and up to three internal or plugin effects.

Other workflow improvements such as pad link, swing per sound, and further improvements to drag and drop between the application and the desktop/other applications are bolstered by doubling the outputs to 16 stereo outs. Maschine is starting to look seriously powerful, and touch wood, the beta hasn’t crashed on me yet so it shouldn’t be too long before we see it go gold. When it does, look forward to a new review…

Maschine 1.6

Maschine 1.6 to Host Plugins

Maschine is one of my favourite music production tools. It’s made waves of increasing magnitude with each point release it’s received over the past 18ish months, developing from a great idea to a slick realisation of the potential of the groove box/computer software hybrid; its freshly announced forthcoming ability to host VST/AU plugins takes it one step closer to becoming a total all in one power tool.

I can’t help but start to imagine that the things Native Instruments are learning along the way are trailblazing for their vision of the DAW of tomorrow

According to the forum post that announced this news, plugin hosting won’t be the only thing that the 1.6 update brings to the table. NI seem to be implementing features both large and small fairly steadily to Maschine, and I can’t help but start to imagine that the things they’re learning along the way are trailblazing for their vision of the DAW of tomorrow. An amalgamation of Maschine’s groove box mentality, Kore’s sound management, and track based audio and MIDI sequencing, combined with a a proprietary control surface to power it, could totally change the game. Is it just a matter of time?

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