Tech Review: Native Instruments iMaschine

On Wednesday Native Instruments launched their hotly anticipated iMaschine; a $5 Apple app and sister product to their vastly popular Maschine. The new iMaschine app offers a string of looping, sampling and effects possibilities from the Maschine enabling you to sketch musical ideas on your iOS device and then upload the resulting grooves as 44.1kHZ 16-bit WAV samples either to your DAW or directly to Soundcloud.

We spent the past couple of days putting the iMaschine through its paces, and what we found most impressive about the app is how pared back it is: it’s a really easy interface to navigate on the fly. While the initial sample library may seem limited (particularly when you compare it to how extensive the Maschine is), NI strike a healthy balance in terms of offering just enough to engage experienced producers, while not allowing the app to be so complex as to confuse those using an interface like this for the first time. What’s more, for those so inclined, the iMaschine gives you the option to buy or upload pre-existing loops, instruments and sample banks from the AppStore or your DAW, which means that the possibilities are endless.

Hear how we got on with the iMaschine after the jump…

How it works…
The iMaschine operates in 4 groups, each of which you can to assign to a pad, a keyboard, or an audio recorder using your iOS device’s mic. The app comes with a library of 10 projects, 25 kits and 400+ individual samples all in WAV form. To reiterate, the iMaschine seems pared back and well thought out: for example, the note repeat function is vital to avoid you looking like an twat hammering away at the screen of your iPhone in a public place. Similarly, a live-mode sequencer automatically detects the length of each loop, and an optional quantize setting can be turned on to make the timing of each loop a little tighter. The effects banks operated via two sends on the mixer page are fairly basic, but operate cleanly, offering Delay, Flanger, Chorus, LoFi and a range of filters for each of the 4 tracks.

There are a few initial glitches which Native Instruments need to iron out as on some iPhones the app has been crashing, but when we took it for a test-drive we didn’t incur any major issues. Overall, whether you’re a producer or a consumer of music, for the price ($4.99/£2.99) it’s a must have for any iPhone-owning music lover or aspiring creative.

To get an idea of what the app’s capable of, here’s a promo vid of Jamie Lidell performing “Little Bit More” in one take with the new iMaschine:

Sweet FA



One Response to Tech Review: Native Instruments iMaschine

  1. Zuzz says:

    It looks cool. Nice price. Every teenager will be a beat maker now. Prepare for the endless “checkout my beats” comments and tweets, lol.

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