Maschine now lets you use your hardware synths like software plug-ins

Roland, Korg and Moog gear can all be controlled with quick and easy templates.

Native Instruments has released version 2.6 of its Maschine software, which adds a host of useful features including the ability to control hardware synths and drum machines.

The big change to Maschine 2.6 is the ability to send MIDI CC messages, which allow you to control any MIDI-capable hardware synth or drum machine directly from the software. NI has also created templates for popular gear, allowing them to be used like plug-ins from Maschine.

NI’s templates cover Roland’s AIRA and Boutique hardware, Korg’s Volca synths, Moog’s Mother-32 and Modal’s DIY CRAFTsynth. If there isn’t a template for your synth, it’s possible to create your own.

Maschine 2.6 also brings a number of features previously limited to NI’s recent Maschine Jam hardware to owners of the rest of the Maschine range, primarily for making patterns sound more spontaneous. One of those features is a humanize option, which loosens quantized beats to make them sound more natural, and a randomize function that shakes up velocity and note positions to create different drum patterns.

Another feature making its way from Maschine Jam to the other hardware is the lock function, which allows you to tweak filters or experiment with modulation without losing your work.

Another feature allow you to save up to 64 snapshots of instrument parameters and blend from one to another using the morph tool.

Maschine Jam also adopts key features from the original models in the 2.6 update. Jam owners can now change pitch, length, swing, and position via the controller’s step sequencer.

Maschine Jam users also have more direct control over note velocity in the controller’s step mode. It’s possible to set velocities using one of 16 levels on a grid, which gets around Jam’s lack of velocity-sensitive pads.

Maschine 2.6 is available now as a free download for Maschine 2 owners from the NI Service Center. NI’s templates for controlling hardware synths can be downloaded here.

For more on Maschine Jam, check out FACT’s review.

Read next: Buying your first synth: What to consider and where to get the best deal