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Maschine Jam: Sequencing + Performance Controller For Maschine

Big news from Native Instruments – they’re launching a brand new production controller called Maschine Jam. Jam takes elements of Maschine controllers and Kontrol S-Series keyboards and combines them with arrangement workflows found on the Push or Launchpad. Build a track on the fly and perform it live with the Maschine Jam.

Maschine Jam: Maschine’s Missing Production Controller?

maschine-jam-rear

As production software, Maschine has always been about emulation of the classic groovebox-style production workflow. With this new controller, Native Instruments is clearly trying to add some of the dynamic modern workflow elements that producers have come to expect out of Ableton (with Push and Launchpad controllers) into Maschine.

Maschine Jam’s Pad Grid

jam-pads

The actual hardware of the Maschine Jam is fairly easy to understand. The focal point is the 8×8 multicolored pad section that allows the arrangement of pads and scenes. NI’s press release details the functions of the pad section:

  • In Step Mode, the matrix becomes a powerful multi-track step-sequencer for one, four, or eight sounds simultaneously.
  • In Pad Mode, sounds are entered in real-time, while Piano Roll Mode makes step-sequencing melodies in a wide variety of available scales possible.
  • When the Variation Engine is enabled, inspirational beats and melodies are randomly generated based on customizable values and then modified on the matrix. A built-in humanizer adds natural rhythmic fluctuations to programmed sequences.

While the product video at the top of this article does show a quick glimpse into finger drumming with the Maschine Jam’s pads in Pad Mode, based on the price, you won’t be using these pads to bang out beats on the fly regularly. That’s best suited for high-quality pads or arcade buttons that give you a solid physical response – not these basic push-button pads.

Maschine Jam Smart Strips: For Performance

lock-mode

Native Instruments has continued to add touch strips to their controllers, and the Maschine Jam is no exception with eight two-touch Smart Strips (once for each “channel strip”). The strips are mapped to new performance FX that come in a new update to the Maschine software, version 2.5 – and can be used to “alter the motion, space, and dynamics of sounds in real time”.

“The Smart Strips each feature multi-color LED meters to monitor the level of the assigned function, and can be used to alter macros, key instrument parameters, and even play melodies and chords with the unique Notes function. A powerful Lock function stores parameter snapshots that can revert back to their original settings or morph between multiple lock states.”

strips2

We’ve seen the Notes function in action – it’s like taking the Scale mode of an Ableton Push and combining it with the playability of an autoharp or Omnichord – incredibly fun and easy to quickly add melodic flourishes to a track.

Software + What’s Included

Maschine Jam Studio

The Maschine Jam is targeted at on-the-go producers who want a highly portable controller to sequence ideas and built tracks on the fly. These producers might own Maschine already, but if not, NI is including the full software with a revised 9GB audio library, as well as the Komplete 11 Select package that includes Massive and Monark.

For the launch, there’s also a special offer of two free Maschine Expansions (out of twenty) when you register a Maschine Jam – clearly an opportunity to beef up a production library.

Not Only For Maschine: Ableton Jam?

Everyone who sees the Maschine Jam and the $399 price tag quickly starts to wonder – is NI going to lock this controller to Maschine software only? Thankfully, it seems that clearer minds have prevailed.

The Maschine Jam will not only work when running Maschine as a plugin inside of other DAW software, but it also can be used in MIDI mode as a dedicated controller for any DAW. They’ve even built an advanced template for Ableton Live with many of the performance and step-sequencing features.

DJ Techtools is getting an up-close-and-personal look at the Maschine Jam – stay tuned in the coming days for an exclusive walkthrough of the hardware and associated software updates. 

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  • saxon

    hey does anyone know about the pads ?
    can they be used like the maschine mk2 or maschine studio, like as the pad thst you push them and they make noise :]

    • They can be used for that – but they’re much lower quality for triggering samples. Maschine MK2/Mikro/Studio pads are much better for that.

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  • Emil Doubleplusgood

    Does anybody know how to sync Jam with Traktor? For me Jam seems to be very interesting in live performance.

    • ShiftFunction

      Host Maschien in Ableton, get Traktor 2.11, activate Ableton Link in both, ???, Profit

  • Maxwell James Mansfield Burgoy

    Anyone know if I can use this with Traktor, as a step sequencer, to add loops in sync over the top of tracks???? Like Kink / Liebing. Cheers. M

    • Starr974

      i hope that we can work in sync withTraktor too!!

  • Jess

    This is it!! Finally. The missing link to the Maschine setup, a way to simply fire off all those clips. This will help soooo much during live performance. Endless possibilities with this, Maschine studio & Komplete S49

  • Pete Spaker

    I am still a little confused, as I stayed away from the Maschine units previously, and when I saw this- I thought it was a DAW MIDI controller. It looks like an Ableton controller- which is what I use. It looks a lot like the Livid Base //, which I have considered… but this has what appears to be easy step sequencing (without Max for Live?) and some other cool features. Now I am kind of getting the picture that the Maschine units are for the Maschine software, which I sort of saw used in a video for a minute and thought, “But I like Ableton! I don’t wanna switch for this!” Plus, I use a variety of controllers for different types of play. And the price seems like $100 – $150 too much on the surface. To me, that is- just my own ignorant opinion. I guess I want to wait and see what this can do with Ableton before I would jump in. I did get excited when I saw the first video of it, as it seemed to incorporate a lot of stuff I use- the Launchpad, Launch Control, and Livid CNTRL:R. Now… I dunno. Gonna have to wait for a bit.

  • so………will the snapshot feature be available to machine studio or mk2 owners? or is it just a jam thing?

    • FestiLicious™

      All users can use this!

  • Dystinct

    Did anyone else notice the different look on the software side? It appears they are hinting at support for dual monitors? They have windows layered on top of each other. One of the images looks to be a clip launcher from Maschine.

    https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/maschine/production-systems/maschine-jam/?content=3599

    • Roy Bear
      • Dystinct

        No. This one.

        • Roy Bear

          Ain’t this BitWig Studio?

          • Dystinct

            Doesn’t look like it.

          • Ben W

            It’s definitely BitWig. You just posted the piano roll while the other shots are showing the devices on the channels

          • Dystinct

            You guys are correct. I guess I was struggling with why NI would show a different DAW. Maybe it is to show that not only does it work with Maschine but other DAW’s.

          • Ben W

            Yeah I think they consider that a feature at this point. Maschine is not as capable yet as a full DAW so showing it has expanded functionality utilizing other DAWs is a plus as of now.

    • max

      I think that’s Bitwig Studio.

  • Mike Schünemann (Mike Plus)

  • Eonkenshi

    I’m a litte bit torn appart. Looks good, seems realy nice, and I’m a Maschine lover.
    But NI realy disapointed me with their MK2-madness, like seriously I’m in fear if I buy one of these lovely pieces, around 6-12 months later there will be a MK2 version of this. Which would piss me off.

    • Mike Schünemann (Mike Plus)

      I feel u bro. Same feeling here

    • here_comes_the_sheik

      Maschine Mk2 was released 3 years after mk1 and you can today still use the most recent software with mk1 while only paying for one upgrade. Can’t see the madness here…

    • FestiLicious™

      Even if there is a new version soon… The MK2’s weren’t that different except they added RGB color (Maschine Jam already has this) if they add new features- it still won’t take away from how amazingly functional this will be inside Maschine as an addition to your Maschine studio X Komplete kontrol keyboard

    • ShiftFunction

      I’m rocking a mk1 Maschine with 2.0 software. It still works a charm

    • Quenepas

      Traktor S4 MK1 was released winter 2010 and the MK2 was released October 2013 with some improvements (platinum jogwheels, ipad support and RGB buttons). So following the pattern Maschine Jam releasing September 29, 2016 we could expect an MK2 version by the mid-to-end of 2019… Ableton Push MK1 was release March 2013 and Push 2 was released November 2015…

      If anything Ableton is quicker to release hardware revisions but slower on software versions Live 8 April 2009 and Live 9 November 2013… Maschine 1.0 released April 2009 as well and Maschine 2.0 November 2013 so we can see a trend of NI and Ableton going at it pretty neck to neck. Maybe by knowing a date we can deduce the other one?

      I’ll wait for reviews and if I dont get too convinced I might get it used…

  • Anthony Alonso

    I for one am very excited. It’s a great price point especially if able to be used in a similar manner with ableton

  • Heavie486

    I feel a shamed for wanting the maschine jam. I owned the ableton push 1 and now have the push 2 and both I fooled around with for a week. Now collecting dust.

    I do love the maschine since the mk1 and the 1.x version software. I’m using the latest software with the maschine studio. All the latest tracks I created on soundcloud is made with maschine. You can check out my tracks here. https://soundcloud.com/heavie486

    I’m interested in maschine jam, because I know the software pretty well and perhaps this will help me stay inspired. Not like push 1+2 and have to learn the ableton software. Not saying ableton is bad. It’s just the older I get, less the patience I have to learning something new things. I have a time limit on liking something from the start and being comfortable with it. Then I move on.

    So again, I feel a shamed. I owned and used mpcs for years and I had the patience enough to learn maschine.

    • Eonkenshi

      Why does your Push-Controller collect dust? Is it the workflow? Never had the chance to trie a push. I’m a maschine owner ,yself, loving it, and really thinnking about getting a Maschine Jam. But not sure, we are talking about NI, got a lot of them, but they tend do things I realy dislike, for example creating an awesome controller and usually 6-12 months later, there is a MK2 version, and I’m in fear the same will happen with Jam.
      Btw. love your Riperton Ride Dub!

      • Heavie486

        I blame myself for not using the push. I guess you can learn anything if you put the time into it. There so many options from start to finish in ableton and push helps some to make the software user friendly. But, not well enough for me. It’s not the learning curve I’m having problem with. It’s the memory curve. Some tasks seems to take to many steps.

        • Roy Bear

          Well, I also got me a Push and upgraded from Ableton Standard to Suite.
          Guess what, I am still using Maschine….
          It may be the other workflow or the missing “auto-linked” parameters, but I am still not totally convinced with Ableton, even it is the better Tool. I can’t tell why, but I know that I need this Jam Controller more than ever…

    • FestiLicious™

      The push was designed as a stand alone, one midi hardware does everything, type controller. This can be used as the main Maschine controller, but is primarily (as shown in one video on NI website), used as an adjunct to your existing controllers. It doesn’t have pressure sensitive pads & it doesn’t have actual keys. So it gives you the supplement to each Maschine and Komplete kontrol, if you need them. Which I DO! This is awesome. Because you can be launching clips while playing a melody & now you can. This thing finally answered the one problem I have playing a live show- quick access to all my scenes and clips without using my main performance controllers to launch those clips. Revolutionary for Maschine

  • Rob van Erp

    want one 🙂

    • Rob van Erp

      bought one, so waiting 2 more weeks for one 🙂

  • ShiftFunction

    This looks like the missing piece to my live setup puzzle! VERY interested!

    • FestiLicious™

      Exactly!

    • Roy Bear

      indeed. I am also hyped and planing to get one. Only 17 days to wait….
      But: Why do I need another Komplete Select and Maschine licence?
      A “crossgrade” would be more than nice.

      • Quenepas

        with Maschine, Kontrol S25 and Audio 6 this would be my 4th Komplete Selects *Roll eyes*… NI better at the 5th give me my free sandwich

        • Roy Bear

          or a tshirt….

          • Quenepas

            hahaha!! Many ideas of what to put in that shirt…

          • Roy Bear

            As long it ain’t the “…and all I got is this T-Shirt”-motto.

        • ShiftFunction

          You get a free coffee with your 6th stamp…

          Or was that Starbucks?

  • Alvaro Sandoval

    I don’t mind Native Instruments making this new product. Maschine isn’t meant to be a production DAW. It was made to put ideas together and perform live. This is a step in the right direction. If you don’t think so then the product, obviously, wasn’t meant for you.

  • .A.D.

    I was JUST about to order the mk2 tomorrow now I’m torn…
    What do
    you guys suggest ? I was thinking about going with the Jam and buying a
    used mk2…. Can I use a used Maschine with the maschine software ?

    • Aken

      It depends how many pads you want.If you are alright with only 16 pads (since the “pads” on the Jam are clic buttons) and you want to create very “on the grid” structured tracks, go with Native Instruments. If you want 64 pads and a more capable software, go Push 2 + Live.

      • .A.D.

        Before the Jam was announced I was torn btwn the push 2 & the mk2.

        I decided on the mk2 because I feel like the push is a bit overpriced. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE live but, Live intro and the push 2 isn’t worth $800 IMO or am I wrong ? Then to get suite it’s an extra what $300 or so ?

        I chose the mk2 mostly cause of Komplete select. Neither was going to be my main DAW either, I wanted one or the other to compose, come up with grooves, etc. Then transfer to S1 3.

        • Oddie O’Phyle

          Maschine couldn’t be your main DAW, it would have to be one to start with. It’s a patterning software, kind of like a groovebox. If you wanted a DAW, Live would be your only choice out of the 2 you have stated.

        • FestiLicious™

          I have been a dedicated “nothing is better than ableton,” guy since 2008…. Then I got the Maschine in 2013— unstoppable. Cannot be beat. So much better than ableton imo (of course I still use ableton all the time) but as far as production and ease of use and custom pre-mapped controllers— Maschine is the way to go for music production. And then just use ableton live lite or something for your edits. Maschine software has exceeded my expectations 10x since figuring it all out.

          • .A.D.

            Yea when I first discovered the true power of Live I was hooked but, after a while the work flow slowed me down (the way I like to work at least) I know the possibilities are endless with Live but, idk after a while I found myself doing the same thing over and over again. I discovered Studio one and I like the workflow much more, although I do miss some live features, Maybe in the future I’ll be blessed to cop the push 2 also.

          • ShiftFunction

            Can’t you ReWire the two?

    • FestiLicious™

      Depends on what your main goal is for using the device? They can both do the same things in different ways.. Looking for something to perform live with or something to create at home with? Both would be ideal (with a sweet S49 Komplete keyboard)

      • .A.D.

        Very true, I was looking to make live performance videos, Once I looked up the Jam more I went with Maschine, I already pre-ordered the jam (Thank God) Now im on the prowl for a used mk2 they pop up used on craigslist for $200-$300 sometimes, I can have both for the price of a Mk2 (more or less)

  • Aken

    I think Native Instruments don’t know anymore what to do in order to stay in the game.

    • Dubby Labby

      I think they have their own roadmap and concept of what is “the game”. Maybe it’s not your cup of tea but surely it’s someone else.
      This controller has a lot of sense and adds an interesting workflow to the NI ecosystem.

      • Aken

        As I agree with the ecosystem argument, I have to say that if you need 2 freaking big pieces of hardware to make what you can do more easily with 1 in another software, maybe you are not using the smartest ecosystem. But yeah, you are free to make music the way you want, and if this floats your boat, go ahead.
        I want to add that anything is always the cup of tea of someone, always. I just try to step back and think on the long term. In the long term, I don’t see that odd combination being adopted. I also see NI being less and less innovative for a few years now and to see them releasing a hideous 64 grid CLIC buttons, after all the complaints about how the users felt unhard, after the producer letter from NI telling everybody they’ll update their current hardware/software etc… is somewhat of a bad sign.

        • Eonkenshi

          First off, NI is doing amazing in their production department, I don’t think they have any problems what so ever and have a good idea what to do. The software and hardware pieces/programms of NI for production are pretty amazing.
          As with this, maybe it just came to their mind around one or two years back? You know, something like unexpected and a happy good idea on the fly? Could also be long planed for 5 years, but I highly doubt that.
          Second, it’s not their production department, it’s their DJ department which scares me. I don’t wanna loss it, but there seems to be something off. I realy hope a new version of Traktor comes soon with perfect tight integration with Maschine, and by good not another stupid DJ controller. We have enough of it, thanks.

          • FestiLicious™

            This completes the full circle of Maschine, Komplete kontrol & the software. You can now do it all with those 3 pieces of maschinery

        • Dubby Labby

          Well you sentenced “lost in game” and it’s more usual “not my cup of tea”. An example I expected turntable groovebox from Roland (something like cdx mixed with mpc with standalone use) but it didn’t happen and I found myself very decieved with… my own expectations! I feel Roland Serato are lost in some space between die hards and bridge fans but that’s my opinion. I only use iPads at this moment so it doesn’t reflects a majority.
          To the 2 big devices argument… Well this Jam fills a gap making Maschine more suitable for live acting and not pushing someone to use Traktor. You can do more than with remix decks than ableton in “djing” terms due the vinyl/jog factor so NI is making a bet for the future (of sound).

          Maybe it’s not the best deal but I found it cheaper than Ableton suite and more focused. Ableton is too big and its workflow isn’t easy (from warp markers to maxforlive) so Traktor/Maschine seem “logical” more than “lost”.
          Pioneer ToRaiz sampler tries to copy some of the Maschine features. Akai tried to fight against Maschine (and lost their loyal hardware followers), Serato has released a TR focused dj controller…

          Maschine and Maschine Jam are an option for these who love mpc drum fingering and clip launching. D2/F1 is the same for Traktor… It could like you or not but lost… Mmm I don’t think so. Expensive? Sure that’s why I use Modstep/Aum mixer and lots of iPad apps… Not everyone cup of tea neither I know. 😉

          • Roy Bear

            Totally agree.
            I was on my way to get Maschine an Ableton work together, but with the announcement and all the new features I won’t be wasting time.
            Sure, 400 bucks for a Controller with no audio- nor midiinterface seems like a lot. Enthusiasts like me and Dubby dont care and grab one on releaseday, right?
            But I would like to have a “Crossgrade”, since I don’t need an additional Maschine and Komplete Select licence.
            And I would demmand that the “Song Mode” works at the release day.
            But this won’t happen….

          • Dubby Labby

            I heard something about crossgrade but I supose it’s not real deal as usual in NI…
            ITOH I’m not using x86 platform anymore but if I do it, it will be for Traktor and Mainstage. This Jam device will be the reason to enter into Maschine world so I supose it’s focused to them and maybe NI released the D2 as the oppossite for Maschine users going into Traktor (stems and remix decks) so as maschine owner, maybe it’s better to look at Traktor than a Jam. You will get more for the buck and NI usually brings packs after sometime with the product in market (remember Komplete).
            Things like this made me jump into iOS realm where I have what I need for my “level” due I’m not a professional and iPads are seen as toys… I put myself in my place leaving the Pro ranting about 400€ for a tool which revenue them 1500€ a month or above.

            Or maybe the Pro users don’t waste time ranting and simply go for the right tool for them? I don’t know because I’m not in these field and I just don’t try it anymore…

          • Roy Bear

            iPads are no more toys.
            Just because NI is not capable to enable midi in their iOS apps, it doesn’t mean iOS is “ewwwww”
            The last months I wrote a lot of stuff with Korg Gadget and you can export your stuff as Ableton Project and needed .mid
            This IS a professional tool. Period.
            I also found a tiny but mighty tool named “DJ Player Pro” (imo worst name ever). Guess what, it also can play Stems. And works with controller like a Vestax VCI-300.
            Since NI won’t touch iOS how it should be, I have to use Operating Systems like Windows and Mac OSX. Maschine Jam fills the Gap between arrange my stuff and “holy shit, the maschine studio is too big to carry around ” – plus there is too less space in booths, right?Maybe the name Studio is well picked, since it should stay in your Studio 😀

          • Dubby Labby

            Yup. Studio gives a clue for sure… 😉

            Toys or not, an iPad is my actual tool and not looking back ^^

          • Roy Bear

            Great. I would love to completely work on the iPad, but there are too many restrictions with my other hardware. And the best part: those limitations are solely to not create a better product. This sux, I tell ya. Thanks NI.

          • Dubby Labby

            I understand you… In my side don’t be locked to djing (I also play keys and make looping) gives me some room. Let’s hope NI updates the iPad app someday…

          • Aken

            So you will bring the JAM on tour, and which other controller for the pads?

          • Roy Bear

            How about none?
            I am sure the 8 Encoder will be somehow linked to the strips.
            And if I should tour, I would not mind to drag my Maschine Studio, since I have a pretty awesome case for it.
            But as I mentioned, the studio is purposed to get used in studios…

      • Eonkenshi

        Dubby Labby, you’re awesome, keep it up! Just wanted to say this after reading a lot of your comments over the years I#m lurking at this site.

        • Dubby Labby

          Thanks for you words, mate. I don’t know what exactly did but I appreciate someones find it useful. More or less that’s my motivation. 🙂

  • Dan Schmidt

    Also, four remix decks

  • Dan Schmidt

    Is this the only one of these with a metal finish?

  • Dubby Labby

    Class compliant?

  • Dj Polymath

    This is gonna be incredibly fun for my current setup! I just hope there is possible remix deck future functionality here or at least a way to work with Traktor. I’m dying for that handshake to come. Either way i’m grabbing this day 1 to use with my rig. I was gonna use my push, but this made it much easier for me. Honestly, If Traktor and Maschine together, allowed for clips to be swapped from a group to a remix deck, It would completely eliminate Ableton as an option for me. That’s the end game in my world. Kudos NI.

    • FestiLicious™

      Same here. Little by little I barely use ableton anymore Because my Maschine setup is so much more integrated. I use the view mode in ableton some to edit some simple words into tracks (trap music style “hey” type stuff) because that’s easier than making its own scene (sometimes) totally agree tho

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    Shots fired. And I like it.

  • mikefunk

    400 Euro! Feck this money grabbing company. I am selling Maschine and buying Ableton Push 2.

    • Roy Bear

      Got a Push 1. Can’t really work with it. Wanna trade?

  • Stewe

    Wow. There’s a huge mapping potential in this thing and good they provided the MIDI mode as well. Looking forwards to trying this controller out in Traktor.

  • Hmm…. APC+Push?

  • Göran Svensson

    Nice if the MJam works with Traktor as mixer/controller

    • Noah Weinstein

      I’m sure it would… Why wouldn’t it?