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Maschine Jam: Hands-On Controller Walkthrough

Native Instruments’ music production line has taken a huge step with the introduction of their Maschine Jam controller. The Jam unlocks rapid song arrangement, step sequencing, unique instrument modes and much more. In today’s hands-on video, NI product specialist Brian Kullas demonstrates the core features of the new Maschine controller.

Maschine Jam Overview

The Maschine Jam is the natural evolution of Native Instruments’ beat production suite. The Maschine software has slowly been evolving from a simpler production tool to a more fully fledged DAW-style software. The Jam opens up the doors to many of the features that don’t work too intuitively with the 16-pad Maschine controllers. The some of the most powerful features (even more demonstrated in the above walk through video) include:

  • Step Sequencing: There are a few different modes here, but with the Jam you can quickly sequence a ton of sounds concurrently using the 8×8 matrix.
  • Smart Strips Notes Mode: Play chords or build your own set of notes to play using the strips as finger-strumming instruments. Set the key of the mode to match your song and stay in tune.
  • Lock Mode: Essentially a way to quickly snap back to a previous “state” of settings. This works with volume/mixer settings, but also individual instrument parameters. Hit LOCK to save a state, tweak and adjust the settings, and then hit LOCK again to jump back to how it was. This is great for improvisations and buildups.

Important to note, while it was not demonstrated in this video, the Jam has a powerful Ableton Live template. Many of the features of the Jam are compatible with Ableton.

Watch More: OddKidOut Routine

If you missed it, NI also released a new performance video on the Jam late last week (it was slightly overshadowed by the news about Traktor 2.11 coming out). Watch the routine below:

See the full set of features and grab your own Maschine Jam here in the DJTT store.

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  • DJ Chronassuer

    I love this thing and the new workflow, Just got it yesterday and brought some old ass project back to life. Those touch strips in note mode game changer!!

  • Scott Frost

    There’s something wrong with the master led meter. On every video I’ve seen they always look maxed out and unresponsive.

  • killmedj

    Best thing I’ve bought in years! It’s totally addressed a lot of the frustrations I was having with my Maschine MK2.
    Can’t wait till the the link feature is added so I can get it rocking with Traktor!

  • gigglekey

    I’m kind of torn over wanting one of these. I like being able to rapidly switch the playing patterns. But for this price I expected velocity sensitivity. Without that, it’s not so great for making beats. I have a Kaossilator Pro, so I already know, touch strips are… not so good… for playing melodies.

    • Spacecamp

      I think a big difference about the touch strips here are that (as Brian demonstrates) you’re able to adjust how many notes are being played with each strip. The Kaossilators are difficult to use with that type of precision.

      • Fabio Dos Santos

        you can determine the range of notes as well as key in the Kaossilator pro

    • Matt

      They talk up the “strumming” action in the notes mode a lot in these videos, but now that I have a Jam at home, I don’t love the strum that much for any instruments that aren’t monophonic. it holds all the notes as they are triggered and it is easy to end up with a real mess. What IS pretty awesome is to tap on the strips like they were piano keys. hitting them in different places produces different notes and it can be really fun (though not super precise) to bang out a melody this way.

      so far the biggest frustration of the controller for me is that the led brightness settings are not contrasting enough and can make it hard to see what’s playing. A pattern that is programmed but not playing is VERY close in brightness to the active pattern, and in step mode if your pattern is multiple pages of the sequencer, it is not at all easy to tell which page you are on. Not sure if something like this can be addressed with a software update but i hope it can..

      • gigglekey

        Can you change the brightness in the Controller Editor?

        • Matt

          doesn’t look like it. hopefully they’ll add it eventually.

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