imaschine app

Native Instruments came out strong with one crystallized theme this year, beamed from their home base in Berlin—Maschine is going to be a big part of its future. If it wasn’t made clear enough by the sweeping of their Kore product line (along with its long-developed suite of sample and preset expansion packs) under the Maschine umbrella, it became immediately evident this September when they introduced the Maschine Trinity. Being added to the newly-made-classic Maschine is Mikro, a new smaller controller with the same software, and iMaschine, an iOS app that distills the essentials of the original into the form factor of an iPhone screen. First, we had a go with iMaschine. Since it’s billed as the on-the-go sketchpad of the bunch, it seemed like the proper place to begin working on a tune. iMaschine requires iOS 4.3 or higher and at the time of writing is an iPhone native application—which is a departure from the norm of late, with many of the more recent music production apps being designed for the iPad’s larger screen. The layout is straightforward, with four groups that can house your choice of a 16 pad sample matrix, a two-tier keyboard or an audio recorder. To get you started, Native Instruments provides 25 different kits and 400 samples, which is certainly enough variety to get moving down the road of making beats. If you need more variety you have a few options at hand. You can record your own sounds one at a time using the device’s mic, or you can load sounds (in 16 bit 44.1 kHz WAV format) into iMaschine using iTunes. There are also in-app purchase options that give you kits culled from some of the same expansion packs that are available for the regular version of Maschine (like Transistor Punch, Vintage Heat and True School). Unlike the standard version of Maschine, you can’t sequence different pitches for a sample in a pad group in iMaschine. However, any of the samples in the library can be loaded onto a keyboard group, which then allows the sample to be played across all eight octaves of a standard piano keyboard. The base pitch of a sample is one of the attributes that can be edited via the slider along with gain, pan and glide—and there are switches as well to toggle one-shot and mono modes. For a mobile app this is a pretty impressive amount of flexibility, but there are a few things—like separate filters or EQ per sample—that would make iMaschine that much more useful (on the off chance that there are any spare processor cycles available). Moving past the pad and keyboard modes for the groups, you find the audio recorder mode. Typically you could use this to record vocals on top of your beat, but depending on your needs you could configure iMaschine as a full-on four track recorder, which is pretty interesting. While recording, the iMaschine sequencer will conveniently auto-expand the current sequence to the length of the recording, which is a very nice touch. To round things out, there is a mixer to control the levels of each group, and each channel can also be toggled to send signal to two separate FX units (which can house Delay, Flanger, Chorus, LoFi, HP, BP and LP filters). After a short while using iMaschine, we came up with something that we were ready to polish up on the computer. The export options to get there are also pretty straightforward—beats can be uploaded directly to SoundCloud, or can be exported to both audio file and self-contained Maschine project formats. Once that’s done, a zip file can be pulled out of iTunes and extracted to your directory of choice. This process still has some rough edges, though: we found that Maschine wouldn’t open the iMaschine project file format from its menu, but double-clicking on the project file itself did the trick. Also, the sample and group level settings were skewed in the translation from iMaschine to Maschine, but that wasn’t too tough to fix manually. Overall, it’s a simple and efficient process.




  • 16 pads for playing the included drums and one-shot samples
  • Library includes 10 projects, 25 kits and over 400 individual samples (100 MB of WAV sounds)
  • Pad sampling mode: record your own one-shot sample through your iOS device’s built-in microphone
  • Keyboard mode with two manuals for playing chords, bass and melodies
  • Note repeat function with 4th, 8th, 16th, 16th triplets, 32th for keyboard and drum pad mode
  • Audio recorder mode lets you record an audio (e.g. vocal) track through your iOS device’s built-in microphone
  • Assign any of the 4 groups to pad, keyboard or audio recorder mode (e.g. use it as pocket 4-track recorder)
  • Mixer page includes two send effects with Delay, Flanger, Chorus, LoFi, HP, BP and LP filters
  • The live-mode sequencer automatically detects the recorded loop length
  • Finished loop can be exported with one touch as an audio file or uploaded to SoundCloud
  • Project (including samples) can be exported to MASCHINE for finalizing in your studio environment
  • Import your own 44.1 kHz 16-bit WAV samples
  • Additional drum kits and instrument sounds can be easily purchased through the in-app store




  • iOS 4.3 or higher (iPhone® 4 on Verizon will be supported with iOS 5 only)
  • iPod touch® 3G or higher
  • iPhone® 3GS or higher
  • iPad® 1 or 2*


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