Image via: Native Instruments

The popular drum controller gets a companion for making full tracks.

Native Instruments has introduced the latest member of its family of popular Maschine controllers, the Maschine Jam.

Described by the company as a controller for “fluid, intuitive track sketching,” the Maschine Jam takes a different approach to the original Maschine, which launched in 2009 and offered a modern take on the drum machine.

Like the original model, Maschine Jam connects to a desktop computer and has touch pads that can be loaded with drum samples and played by tapping out a rhythm, but Jam has 64 pads instead of 16. It can also be loaded with synth plug-ins, making it more of an all-in-one sequencing tool like Ableton’s Push controller or Novation’s Launchpad than a drum machine or sampler.

Another key difference of the Maschine Jam is the inclusion of eight touch-sensitive “smart strips” that can be mapped to effects or instruments, allowing melodies or chords to be played.

According to a press release quoting Native Instruments CTO Mate Gallic, the controller “narrows the gap between idea and execution,” and aims to “stimulate more creative experimentation” and allow music makers to achieve quicker results. This is reflected in Jam’s three key play modes that make it easier to build whole tracks: step mode, which turns the controller into a step sequencer, pad mode for playing instruments in real time and piano roll mode, which locks to a scale for making melody writing much easier for novices.

It also features a “variation engine”, which Native Instruments says randomly generates beats and melodies, and a built-in humanizer that adds natural fluctuations to programmed sequences.

Maschine Jam is released on September 29, and costs £319/$399/€399.

Read next: The 14 drum machines that shaped modern music

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