Recording - January 2017 - 27

Hardware/Software Hybrids
1

and basic sampling. It should be thought of as a synthesizer first and
foremost (loading samples is a pretty painful process), but the capability is there, and the device combines velocity-sensitive pads with
Elektron's legendary musical workflow.
There are quite a few 'boutique' hardware vendors as well. You
have complete drum machine systems like the Dave Smith Instruments
Tempest, Acidlab Miami and MFB Tanzbär, which combine 808-style
analog hearts with a drum machine's interface. You also have
instances where the sound engine and programming interfaces are
separate: the Analogue Solutions Europa provides a 909 sequencing
interface with MIDI outputs, while the Vermona DRM1 is an analog
drum brain with MIDI (and optionally trigger) inputs.
All of these can get a bit pricey, but purists love the flexibility of a
control-laden analog-style interface, and will go out of their way to

use these systems whenever possible. If you are on a search for a
hands-on approach to drum programming, and especially if you are
into the sounds of analog percussion synthesis, these boutique drum
machines may provide you with both the sound and the feel that you
are looking for.

2

One of the areas that is seeing a lot of innovation right
now is the development of controller-assisted software. The
two "big dogs" in this arena are the Native Instruments
Maschine series and the Akai MPC line. Although a first
glance at either would make you think that they are standalone machines, they are actually controllers that are tightly tied to the software that drives the system.
The Maschine hardware comes in four flavors:
Maschine Studio, Maschine (the 'classic'), Maschine Mikro
and the new Maschine Jam. The first three of these bear
obvious kinship with the old-school MPC machines, featuring the now-familiar 4x4 pad grid, on-the-hardware workflow and clear displays. The main difference is real estate:
both screen space and dedicated controls. The Maschine
Studio (Figure 4a) is the no-compromise machine, featuring
two beautiful displays, copious control of the software, and
a complete transport section. The Mikro is the opposite,
sharing controls and limiting screen space in an attempt to
make a low-cost, small-footprint portable controller.
The Maschine Jam is different, looking more like a
grid controller (Ableton Push or Novation Launchpad)
than a drum controller. But the way that the Jam interfaces with the software is a good reminder of how the
Maschine software has grown; the ability to select
scenes, control mixes, and manage effects shows the
extent of DAW-ishness that the software has taken on.
All of these devices share the same software backbone-the Maschine software system (Figure 4b). I call it
a system because it is tightly integrated with the massive

Maschine library that is available, and also interfaces
well with other Native Instruments content. The software
lives smack in the middle of the continuum between drum
machine and DAW, with extensive mixing and routing
capabilities, multi-layer sample control, and timelineoriented song construction.
All of this might make it seem like the Maschine is trying to take the MPC's place in producers' hearts. But Akai
has something to say about that! Leaving behind the
development of standalone hardware samplers, Akai has
recreated the MPC workflow in a new line of software
and dedicated controllers. There are three units: the MPC
Studio, Renaissance, and Touch. The MPC Studio and
MPC Renaissance have been around for a while, and
have built up a following for their ease of sample management and honoring of the MPC workflow paradigm.
But it is the new MPC Touch (Figure 5) that blows the
doors off the MPC lineup. It features the normal 4x4
pad arrangement, some dedicated transport buttons
RECORDING JANUARY 2017

27



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2017

Contents
Recording - January 2017 - Intro
Recording - January 2017 - Cover1
Recording - January 2017 - Cover2
Recording - January 2017 - 1
Recording - January 2017 - 2
Recording - January 2017 - 3
Recording - January 2017 - 4
Recording - January 2017 - 5
Recording - January 2017 - Contents
Recording - January 2017 - 7
Recording - January 2017 - 8
Recording - January 2017 - 9
Recording - January 2017 - 10
Recording - January 2017 - 11
Recording - January 2017 - 12
Recording - January 2017 - 13
Recording - January 2017 - 14
Recording - January 2017 - 15
Recording - January 2017 - 16
Recording - January 2017 - 17
Recording - January 2017 - 18
Recording - January 2017 - 19
Recording - January 2017 - 20
Recording - January 2017 - 21
Recording - January 2017 - 22
Recording - January 2017 - 23
Recording - January 2017 - 24
Recording - January 2017 - 25
Recording - January 2017 - 26
Recording - January 2017 - 27
Recording - January 2017 - 28
Recording - January 2017 - 29
Recording - January 2017 - 30
Recording - January 2017 - 31
Recording - January 2017 - 32
Recording - January 2017 - 33
Recording - January 2017 - 34
Recording - January 2017 - 35
Recording - January 2017 - 36
Recording - January 2017 - 37
Recording - January 2017 - 38
Recording - January 2017 - 39
Recording - January 2017 - 40
Recording - January 2017 - 41
Recording - January 2017 - 42
Recording - January 2017 - 43
Recording - January 2017 - 44
Recording - January 2017 - 45
Recording - January 2017 - 46
Recording - January 2017 - 47
Recording - January 2017 - 48
Recording - January 2017 - 49
Recording - January 2017 - 50
Recording - January 2017 - 51
Recording - January 2017 - 52
Recording - January 2017 - 53
Recording - January 2017 - 54
Recording - January 2017 - 55
Recording - January 2017 - 56
Recording - January 2017 - 57
Recording - January 2017 - 58
Recording - January 2017 - 59
Recording - January 2017 - 60
Recording - January 2017 - 61
Recording - January 2017 - 62
Recording - January 2017 - 63
Recording - January 2017 - 64
Recording - January 2017 - 65
Recording - January 2017 - 66
Recording - January 2017 - 67
Recording - January 2017 - 68
Recording - January 2017 - 69
Recording - January 2017 - 70
Recording - January 2017 - 71
Recording - January 2017 - 72
Recording - January 2017 - Cover3
Recording - January 2017 - Cover4
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