One of the year’s biggest gear updates.
Native Instruments has just revealed a brand new version of its popular Maschine controller alongside the second generation of its Komplete Kontrol keyboard.
The most exciting news for many will be the release of Maschine MK3, the third iteration of the beat-making tool to be released since its launch in 2009. Unlike 2012’s MK2 model, which offered cosmetic and functional upgrades to the original model, the third-generation model has been fully redesigned from the ground up.
The most obvious change is the addition of two full-color LED screens for sample slicing, note editing, mixing and browsing – similar to the ones found on the premium Maschine Studio model. The pads are larger, there’s a four-directional push encoder for browsing and a touch strip for performing effects, pitch-bending and strumming notes.
One feature that isn’t so immediately obvious, but that will be a relief to anyone using the current models, is dedicated function buttons for pad mode, keyboard mode, step mode and chord mode. These functions, which have been gradually added to software over the years, have required the use of increasingly complex key shortcuts on the older hardware.
However, the most significant upgrade to the hardware is a built-in audio interface with line outputs and inputs, a first for the range. It means you can connect your monitor speakers without having to spend extra on a standalone unit but it will also make it easier for users to sample audio outside of the studio. It’s also a feature that even Ableton’s Push controller – the MK3’s closest rival – doesn’t have.
According to NI, the new Maschine was developed in tandem with its new Komplete Kontrol keyboards (available in 49 and 61-key versions) to help make music production “as fun, intuitive, and hands-on as possible.”
The Komplete Kontrol MK2 isn’t quite as radical a redesign as the new Maschine, but it does offer a few significant updates. Like the new MK3, the keyboard adds more dedicated function buttons, a four-directional push encoder for browsing and proper pitch and modulation wheels, moving the touch strip to a new position below.
The key selling point is likely to be the addition of color screens. These open up the MK2 to be used as a handy mixing tool, both with the Maschine software and third-party DAWs. Out of the box it’ll give you access to transport, mixing, and editing controls in Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, and GarageBand, with support for Cubase and Nuendo coming later this year.
Apart from that, the Komplete Kontrol is very similar to the original model. It has the same deep integration with NI’s software for browsing and editing presets, as well as the light guide for directing your fingers towards the chosen scale. There’s also an “easy mode” that maps the chosen scale to just the white keys, so you can’t hit a wrong note.
All three new products will be available from October 5, with pre-orders opening at the NI website today (September 7). Despite both models receiving significant improvements, the price remains the same: $599/€599/£479 for the Maschine MK3, $599/€599/£479 for the 49-key Komplete Kontrol MK2 and $699/€699/£559 for the 61-key MK2.
Check the full list of specs and images for the new products below.
Maschine MK3 features:
- Integrated hardware/software system includes sampler, arranger, mixer, FX, and more
- 8 GB MASCHINE library with samples, one-shots, sliced loops, sampled instruments, presets, patterns, drum kits, and songs
- Includes 25 GB KOMPLETE 11 SELECT library
- 25 pro-quality studio and creative FX including filter, EQ, delay, reverb, and compressor
- 2 high-resolution RGB color displays for precision sample slicing, sound tweaking, note editing, mixing, browsing, and more
- 16 large, ultra-sensitive pads make two-handed drumming easy
- Pro-grade, 96kHz / 24-bit audio interface with 2 x ¼” TRS line outputs, 2 x ¼” TRS line inputs, ¼” dynamic mic input, stereo headphone output, 1 x MIDI In, 1 x MIDI out, and 1 x Footswitch
- Touch sensitive knobs for parameter tweaking
- Smart Strip for strumming notes, pitch bending sounds, performing with FX, and more
- Four-directional push encoder for browsing, navigating, and adjusting levels and balance
- Powered via USB 2.0 or with the included power supply unit
- Seamless integration with KOMPLETE
- Classic groovebox features including 16 velocity levels, swing, pad link, note repeat, step sequencer, and vintage MPC 60/SP-1200 sampling emulation
- Compatible with all major DAWs (including Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio) as a VST or Audio Units plug-in, with full multi-core support
Komplete Kontrol MK2 features:
- Smart keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments
- Pro-grade Fatar keybeds with aftertouch – 49 or 61 semi-weighted keys
- Ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, plus touch strip for expression control
- Pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE instruments and hundreds of Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) instruments from leading manufacturers
- Full VSTi support
- Tag-based preset browsing: Find sounds quickly and hear instant previews
- Two high-res color screens for browsing, tweaking, mixing, and more
- Light Guide: RGB lights above each key highlight drum cells, key switches, chords, scales, and more
- Smart Play: See scales and modes on the Light Guide, play chord progressions and arpeggios with single keys, or map any scale to white keys only
- Deep integration with MASCHINE software / hardware
- Intuitive control over Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, and GarageBand. Cubase and Nuendo integration coming soon after initial release
- 4-directional push encoder for one-handed sound browsing and project navigation
- Two assignable pedal inputs
- MIDI in/out
- USB 2.0 bus powered
- Includes KOMPLETE 11 SELECT