What’s the Best Way to Make Beats? A Look at Digital Drum Sequencers

As the technological landscape of dance-music production continues to evolve, producers are faced with a conundrum: With a plethora of production platforms, hardware/software bundles, plugins, and modular pieces of software, what is the best way to sequence drums?

Of course, there isn’t a best way, per se—like with any craft, it is all about personal preference. However, this piece serves to show what various producers of all different levels use to program their beats, and create grooves and complex rhythms to captivate ears and dance floors.



The options for drum sequencing are many, but naturally certain tools are used more often than others. Ableton Live and its internal components seem to be the pick of the litter among many producers; however, some artists opt for Apple’s Logic Pro, and even a few still use what most would regard as an entry-level sequencer: FL Studio (formerly known as FruityLoops).

Italian techno producers Paride Saraceni and Dema fit into the latter group. They’ve been using FL Studio for the bulk of their productions for years (for labels like Dubfire’s Sci+Tec and Mark Knight’s Toolroom), and aren’t swayed by platforms regarded as the “industry standard.”

“I principally use FL Studio on my laptop, and sometimes Logic on my MacBook,” says Dema.

“I started working with FL Studio 10 years ago, and find it’s the best sequencer for me. In more recent years, I have also used Logic, as I have found a better collection of samples and plugins, however, it is a bit more difficult to use.”

Paride Saraceni, with whom Dema has often collaborated, uses FL as well. “Many people regard it as a toy, but I find it brilliant!” he says. “Differently from Live, I have the impression of FL being slightly clean-sounding—this might be my own perception—but most of all, I love some of its internal presets such as XD10, or DrumSynth Live, as well as the Sytrus. I always manage to generate new and very 3D-sounding synths, soundscapes, or sounds of any sort. Brilliant. No wonder after five years I’m still using it.”

However, Saraceni concedes that he uses Live for most of his sequencing as it is “incredibly versatile, compact, and quick to understand the way it functions.” He notes though, that his setup has changed very little in his evolution as a producer, despite his rising success over the years, with releases on massive labels like 1605, Toolroom, and Octopus.


Tony Grund is a teacher at Dubspot NYC and also a producer of downtempo and electronica, who uses Ableton Live as his DAW and the hardware/software bundle Native Instruments’ Maschine. “[I use] Ableton Live because it is easy to combine rhythms from multiple sources, and Maschine because it is easy to create original beats and keep the creativity flowing,” he says. Like many producers, Grund uses a variety of external plugins like Izotope and Waves. Ableton’s internal presets, IK Multimedia, and Sugar Bytes (for wackier effects) are also in his arsenal.

“I like the speed at which Ableton Live allows me to work. There is very little gap between the conception of the creative idea and the creation of the idea. It is more of a production instrument than a production platform, meaning that production with Ableton Live feels like I’m playing an instrument,” Grund continues.

Another champion of Ableton’s capability is New York-based producer Leon Blaq, who’s recorded for DinoTech, Dancelab, and Nervous Records in the past. He uses Ableton and Impulse for programming drum sounds. “Once in a while I might use Battery or Nerve,” he says. “However, Ableton has gotten so advanced that I rarely leave the built-in sequencer these days.”

This seems to be Ableton’s end-game, as many of their recent revamps of the platform, namely versions 8 and 9, have boasted more and more internal components, negating the need to use external plugins and slaving other software to program strings and drums and to sample.



When it comes to the hardware/software combo, as with Maschine or Ableton Live and its Push controller, Grund says, “I feel anything that is inspiring and helps creativity is great.” Both Maschine and Push essentially play like an MPC (Akai’s standard-setting Music Production Center), complete with drum pads and an LCD readout that communicates with its software component, allowing users to create drum beats and even basic synth and basslines without ever touching a mouse. This type of continuity in digital music production was somewhat lacking up until now, and it reintroduces the importance of tactility in music creation—less mousing around and more just banging out a beat.

Regarding automation, like everything else in the world of music, opinions are varied. Dema, Paride Saraceni, and Leon Blaq all say that much of their work is highly automated, with multiple plugins being run simultaneously, constantly tweaking the sound to give a track more movement, changing the pitch on drums, introducing reverb then killing it to get a more dynamic sound, etc. Grund, however, likes to manipulate his plugins in real time and clean them up later, rarely relying on the multiple-envelope capability in Maschine and Ableton Live.



While Propellerhead’s Reason was once a go-to sequencer for many, it’s seemingly fallen by the wayside when it comes to what most producers are using these days. “I have tried Reason once, but I got put off by the complexity of its interface,” says Saraceni. “I have also worked on Logic in the past and I admired a lot the precision of its sound, the synths, but it was also not too practical compared to Live for me.” But, like I’ve been saying, if it works for you, use it—it all comes down to personal preference, and every DAW out there has its merits, depending on your needs.

Now I know what you’re thinking: How could FL Studio, which retails for a few hundred bucks, be more widely accepted than its more complex brethren, Reason? Well, the answer is simple: its complexity. I worked for Guitar Center as the head of Pro Audio while in college, and I would have a ridiculous amount of conversations with people coming in and out—ranging from weekend producers to guys that bought more Mogami cables in a week than I would ever buy in my life; guys with million-dollar studios. Everyone, save for the guys like myself that were pretty familiar with rack gear, found Reason to be too complex and clunky and not at all user-friendly. The “toy” that FL Studio is joked to be in many circles—well, more people used it for no other reason than its lack of complexity.

The lesson from this anecdote: Even though we deal with complex sine waves, LFOs, HPFs and all kinds of abbreviations, sometimes the best solution is to keep it simple.



Deciding which drum-sequencing option is best for you essentially boils down to a few basic points:

If you are a more tactile type of person—perhaps a traditional musician who is used to manipulating some form of hardware, or even someone who learned how to use MPCs and other Akai-style hardware—something like Maschine or Ableton with a Push controller might suit you best. No more setting macros and MIDI-mapping to get things to respond to your hardware; you can pound out a beat, edit, sample, record, overdub, add effects—basically, do everything you need to do to lay down a groove without ever touching your mouse. Maschine even comes in two models (Studio and Mikro) as well as having screens on the unit itself to tweak a sample. Maschine has its own built-in interface, where you can easily lay down a groove and then bounce down different segments and arrange it in the DAW of your choosing. Push, as well, is designed to create a seamless and integrated setting to bang out a drumline, with the ability to get more accurate than Maschine when it comes to quantizing or slightly offsetting a MIDI beat to get a groove to sound less robotic.

And—bonus—Maschine (and Push to a degree) looks pretty damn cool, with colored lights on the pads, pressure sensitivity, and both native and mappable controls. You can easily jump between different groups—which is stellar if you’re creating layered beats like kick only, hats, and snares, etc., as well as tweak the arrangement view—all from an interactive piece of hardware. Even copy/paste (duplicate) is a cinch. This approach seems much more interactive and at times more fun than clickety-click-clicking to create a beat. And yes, you can also use Maschine with Ableton Live pretty seamlessly as a plugin (admittedly, the stock effects on Maschine are okay, but not great). Also, you can easily search and sort samples—some things other platforms lack, and which Ableton only implemented in its latest release of version 9.

Push vs Maschine


In my humble opinion, Ableton Push has a bit of an edge over Maschine in the fact that you can lay down more than drums, with the pads capable of being put in diatonic and chromatic mode: simply put, pads will light up if they are in the song’s key when in Note mode (see image below)—pretty cool if you’re tone deaf or hitting a dead end on where to go with a melody. Since it’s designed to work with Live, it syncs and seamlessly works with your library, and even can be used as a keyboard. If you’re new to keys, this might be a great option for you. (If you’ve paid your “MIDI dues,” well, then you can stick with your 25, 49, or full-size keyboard.)


Both Maschine and Push are pretty solid if you want to code drums and don’t want to touch a mouse, and both have strengths and faults—so again, it comes down to what works for you.

If you are very comfortable with a DAW and have no problem using only software to create a groove, then Ableton’s drum rack, Impulse, should meet your needs. With the ability to clip, filter, and manipulate a sample in arrangement view (or just drag and drop regular samples from a sample bank) you can easily create a cohesive groove without too much clicking around. Yes, you still have to map it out in piano roll, but it has gotten much more user-friendly in the latest version of Live 9.

Logic has its champions, but most of the people I’ve spoken to on and off the record seem to find it a little too complex for their needs, and Ableton definitely has a much more user-friendly workflow. Reason, however, is less frequently used these days, particularly by novice producers. It’s the most realistic version of an actual rack unit—just hit the tab key and start plugging and unplugging cables and you’ll see my point—so it might look pretty intimidating if you’ve never worked with outboard gear.

FL Studio


By far, the most surprising for me is the community support for FL Studio. While it seems like a pretty entry-level sequencer, the more people I spoke to in depth about it—especially Dema and Saraceni—made me realize that it’s really a matter of preference. Any tool in your arsenal can be outstanding if you know how to use it, and FL Studio is no different.

On a personal note, I think Ableton and Maschine coupled together is the end-all-be-all of drum-creation platforms (or Franken-platforms, since you have a hardware-software bundle working in sync). Not many platforms allow you to create a beat without ever touching a mouse, and Ableton’s user-friendly platform and abundance of internal plugins is pretty impressive. Of course, Waves and Effectrix and other VSTs will only bolster that sublime combination.

Essentially, what producers need to do is find a DAW, learn it, and stick with it. At this point in the game, they are all capable of doing more or less the same thing, so now it’s just a matter of playing around—using plugins, playing with automation, tweaking your kick and snare until you have a solid groove—and making music.

What’s your go-to drum sequencer? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Albeton Live Pushdrum sequencingdubspotfl studiofruity loopsLeon Blaqlogic promaschine studioreasonTony Grund
Comments (47)
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  • Cliff Jason Pellegrino Owens

    I think Logic Pro is the easiest sequencer to use lol Is why it’s called Logic! I disagree with what he said in this article, about Logic being more difficult to use then FL Studio. I also think Logic is way more stable then FL also. He also doesn’t write how you can create beats with several of the DJ software progs. But the best way to make beats to me is with Hardware, like my Roland MV 8800, and my ASR10 keyboard, no better combination I believe.

  • Softcore

    launchpad95 scripts -> launchpad with a “Push” drum sequencer flavor -> controlling drum racks with variable samples per drum slot -> drums sequencing live heaven that does not break the bank.


  • Stewe

    I made this very basic Remix Deck Sequencer for my MF 3D. It allows me to program only one voice (sample slot), but that’s more than enough for my DJ sets 🙂

  • 1slurr

    mashines ableton template is on point

  • dadarkman

    @ALEXANDER CASTIGLIONE, the author of this article, if you are going to pen such an article then you might as well cast your net very wide. I’m a Live, Push, Maschine and Reason user so it’s cool to see them on the list. However, it is hard to believe that most of the producers you got a hold of happen to be using Live. Worst, is that your own personal preference also happens to be Live. Live got mentioned 10x more than any other software combine in the article, that makes no sense at all. The annoying part is that you keep using the “old” and not even relevant term of “entry-level” for FL Studio when every single people following the production world knows FL has far been removed from that label a long time ago. As another user mentioned below, a lot of heavy hitters are using the software. So, you are still behind and catching up, a “FL hater” or what?
    The article is about tools that can help a user making beats, right? Well, in the hardware front, beside Push and Maschine, there’s the many flavors of the MPC, both standalone and with sofware/Renaissance which are very widely used. M-Audio Trigger Finger pro isn’t looking bad for a nice entry. Heck, some producers still choose to use the 8 pads that comes with their keyboard controllers (that should be mentioned too).
    Software wise, the list can be pretty huge. Beside all the DAWs you’ve managed not to find one person using nor cover yourself (Cubase, Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Reaper, Sonar, Bitwig etc…) we have the Drum plugins and Standalone like Battery, Linplug RMV, Geist, Egoist, Tremor, etc… Since the article is not tied to a particular Genre of music then drum software like Superior Drummer, AD, BFD2 and Quantum Leap SD2 can also be in the basket (since they all have sequencer in them). Yes, “Digital Drum Sequencers” that can be translated to a lot of piece of software that can help achieve that task.

    Cast your net wider in your next article if you want the readers on this site to take you seriously. I’m saying that in a positive way!

    Peace out!

    • Alexander Castiglione

      After conducting several interviews with notable producers from all over the globe, one topic was recurring: Ableton Live. As far as calling FL entry level, that was just based on the price point – newbies aren’t going out to buy Ableton Suite or Logic, not unless they’re Max Vangelli and bankrolled by mommy and daddy.

      • dadarkman

        OK, thanks for clarifying!
        I’d still point out in the case of “FL entry level”, the information is still misguided for people who really doesn’t know the many versions and pricing on these DAWs.
        – There’s an entry level for Live called Live Intro at $99 which matches the entry level price of FL Studio Fruity Edition.
        – Ableton Live Standard is $299 which matches FL Studio’s Signature Edition also at $299.
        – The top FL Studio version (including all the plugins) is $910. Now, compare that price with Ableton’s Live Suite (including all the effects) which is $800. Or, compare that to Steinberg’s Cubase 7.5 which is $500. And worst, compare that to Logic Pro X which is a measly $200. Yes, Logic full bundle is only $200.

        So, the notion that “newbies” can afford FL but not Ableton or Logic is false based on the pricing currently available in the stores right now!

  • digital life

    Calling FL Studio an entry level sequencer is just ignorant. Many of the chart hits you hear to day are made on it. Particularly in the EDM genre.

    • Antidigital Life

      EDM is garbage. Give it a year. Same chordal progressions and weak ass vocals. When these d-bags wake up from the Molly trip, they’ll realize.

      • john m.

        What’s a good genre then? any favorite artists/trends you like in the electronic realm?

  • y65tbxYuXfo

    drums are the ground-beat. There are many different styles.
    btw: in some carpets you can also slip

  • Jayson Joyce

    Seems the article is quite limited given that it doesn’t mention the MPC Renaissance / studio / element , Pro Tools ,Cubase and it’s tools, Sonar and it’s tools, Digital Performer and it’s tools, etc. The world is far from dominated by Live and Maschine as the article makes it appear. FL Studio stopped being perceived as a toy after Avicii, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, Madeon, etc. made hits and sold millions of songs with it. And even if your just looking at beat making software the scope is way to narrow. I also disagree on labeling Reason too complex and framing it as a dying piece of software when it sales are still large and it has many great rack extensions that are easy to use to make beats.

    Overall the article, although saying its open, has a very one sided (or should I say two sided) tone.

    • J Crenshaw

      Digital Performer is more of a classical scorers tool. Simple audio recording, first DAW I ever used. ProTools is the go to for vocal. They most likely didnt list them, because the people who do most of the work in the beginning use these tools, while the engineers and mastering engineers use ProTools and MOTU Products for the final mix down etc because of its tools for such things.

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    I thought there were 3 variants of Maschine: Mikro, Maschine, and Studio. The article says “Maschine even comes in two models (Studio and Mikro) as well as having screens on the unit itself to tweak a sample.”

    • J Crenshaw

      Yes well, the Mikro and Standard edition have the same set of functions, operate the same way etc. While Studio provides more tools on the hardware surface. I think in general most people regard the Mikro and MK2 as the same now that the studio is out.

      • TrillBill

        I couldn’t disagree more. I had the Mikro for a month and returned it for the MK2. While you are correct about the ABILITY to do the same things between the two, the workflow is entirely different between the Mikro and the MK2.

  • songsongsong

    I’ve been through tons of hardware samplers/sequencers including MPC’s, ASR’s, and rolands SP’s, I’ve been a heavy protools, logic, reaper, reason, motu bpm, mpc software and maschine user, and I’ve also played around a bit with cakewalk and ableton. i know what I’m looking for in a DAW and i ultimately choose REASON. its got everything in the box, all at an unmatched price. what i love most about it is that it can actually be very simple and easy and quick to use, but it can also be extremely deep and complex, depending on how far you want to get into the software. it sounds great, its Extremely CPU resource friendly and hardly ever crashes. i don’t use a lot of VST’s so that isn’t a factor for me, so Reason for me is absolutely perfect. they still lack some things other DAW’s have, like a really good performance/live capabilities (which something like ableton excels at) but I can live with that for now. I have to believe they are working on developing that in the future as well. anyways, it was kind of sad to hear a lot of producers aren’t as enthused about reason anymore, especially because it seems too ‘complicated’ because it really isn’t, and once u get the hang of it, you’ll be happy you can go as deep and complex as you want!

    • Chuck

      I totally agree. I’ve been using Reason since 2003 (then version 2.5 and now version 8.3) alongside Recycle 2.1 to loop, cut and slice. I previously used Cubase from Atari to PC (1991 to 2003) and stopped cuz it got boring to set up.

      Ableton Live is fancy for a lotta people but i tried it and found a certain learning curve preventing me from making music instantly, the way i wanted.

      People tend to forget that Stromae’s hit “Alors on danse” has been made with Reason factory sound banks except the saxophone that is a sample. I’ve followed Reason improvements (audio sampling in Reason 5, audio recording since version 6) and also improved my workflow (from using Reason via Rewire with Pro Tools to making beats with Reason and importing audio files into Pro Tools for mixing). Reason is underestimated though most people playing video games hear tracks made with it (Need For Speed Underground is the best example cuz most groups who made the soundtracks got rewarded between 2002 and 2003).
      Any software is fine. Transferring an idea quickly into music is why i’ve chosen Reason.

  • slo-fy

    I like my Arturia Spark LE 🙂

  • giga

    the one big thing that FL Studio can do is THE ENTIRE DAW CAN RUN AS A SLAVE VST INSTRUMENT

    • J Crenshaw

      Which really serves no purpose

      • digital life

        So rewire serves no purpose either I suppose?

  • Drew A Sawatzky

    Use them all connect with midi, I perfer MPC thou

  • doesn't matter

    This article is probably one of the worst arguments I’ve ever heard regarding music production. What you’ve basically said is “boo hoo, it’s too hard to use a real DAW or outboard equipment so instead use the equivalent of a made in china kid’s toy replica.” Yes, music production is -gasp- supposed to be hard. “DAW’s” like Live or FL Studio (using the term to describe something nowhere near what a DAW actually should be able to do) are easy, sure. But that’s the reason 95% of pop tunes and modern “EDM” sound the same. It’s the same sounds, the same software, the same cheap imitation of music, and a lack of any talent or originality in creating it. If you actually care about the quality of your music or are making it for anything besides money, you’d know to steer clear of entry-level garbage like Ableton. Want to make good music? Go to school for it. Learn to use real, “complex” software like Reason and then you will be able to see the difference in quality. I understand the argument is “how can I devote the time and energy and money into music education?” But the answer is simple: if you can’t, you shouldn’t be making music in the first place. Every 17 year old kid with a launch pad thinks they’re gonna be the next Hendrix and with the American complacency and stunning capacity to consume even the worst of the worst, they just might be in terms of popularity. But that doesn’t mean they deserve it. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re not going to produce an album in Ableton that’ll last more than 20 years, at most. The tools that any kid off the street can learn in a day are not sufficient to make real, good music. If you can’t use the software or can’t devote the time and energy to learning how to there is absolutely no reason you should be trying to produce music for anything other than listening to on your own. Grow up, music producers. If you want fame earn it. If you want to make the best album of all time, go ahead and make it. Just don’t call disgusting cookie-cutter house, trap, and dubstep good music. It’s barely music, let alone having any value. Let’s all raise a glass to Ableton going out of business sometime in the next 5 years so good electronic music can start populating the market again.

    • BelgianJungleSound

      Don’t even know where to begin… Would help if you defined “good” electronic music for a start, cause that be anything from Burial to Squarepusher to Flying Lotus to god knows what.

      You’re main argument seems to hinge on the fact that complicated = good, to which I’d have to reply that you’re being just a tiny bit prejudiced. Lots of great songs are born of simple ideas and not particularly complex equipment. I hesitate to name examples in case you turn out to be jazz enthusiast or something, but here are a few off the top of my head: Mala – Changes, Dj Shadow – Grain of Sand (I forget the exact name), every jungle somg ever and in fact any Electronic track you wish to name pre 2000s was probably made on an Atari with a few outboard synths. Point is, as the author of the article rightly points out, it’s what you do with what you’ve got, rather than what you’ve got (which admittedly you do say when you urge people to practice more in order to make original music instead of copying others).

      Last point, exactly what features make FL Studio not a DAW? I’m really quite curious, given that one of my favourite duos, Camo & Krooked, apparently made the excellent Zeitgeist album on a mere toy. Quite an impressive feat I must say

    • Comme Erçial

      You’re fucked up in the head mayne, (and bitter). There’s an arc of development to everything and you need to start somewhere.

      I heard you are great fun at parties.

    • jason

      dang i just started learning ableton tho lol

    • NS

      If you seriously think the “complexity” of Reason rivals that of Ableton, I’ve got some bad news for you. And it’s called Max For Live.

    • Unreallystic

      I don’t necessarily agree with how you are saying it, but I actually agree. I started with Making Waves back in I think 96, moved to FL, then rested @ Reason. I’ve tried to go elsewhere (Sonar/Ableton) as I periodically hit walls and feel I need help learning certain aspects of Reasons, and being honest, with the popularity of Ableton, its REAL easy to find any and everything for Ableton, I almost bought it. But I’ve stuck with Reason. For the talk of complexity, I’m sure that its actually (1) no more complex than Ableton can be and (2) only as complex as you make it. To me, Reason makes PERFECT sense. I can SEE what rack units I’m putting in, I can keep it simple and never hit ‘tab’ or if I want to get deep, I can go ahead and hit tab, playing with various options. Is it perfect, no. I don’t like the method of sampling nor keeping track of samples, I very much dislike the refill format as it prevents me from organizing things the way I want, and it assumes that all sources of refills will organize the same way, its not setup for playing live, an the options for ‘viewing’ the rack units aren’t flexible enough for space saving. But damn, if it doesn’t sound crisp. It’s super stable, since I bought 7 w/ Balance, its crashed on me ONCE, and I’ve done some super demanding things. Its low resource enough that I cna whore out my computer to multiple things at once without a hiccup. And it isn’t complex to me, and this is as someone who’s never used rack units for production equipment. To call it complex is to simply be “Lazy”.

    • dadarkman

      Ableton an entry-level DAW? hahahahaha!! GTFH!! I own both reason and Live 9. Simply put, they are two different DAWs with a different GUI and layout. However, in terms of features, they both can go neck and neck. Simplicity or Complexity is a matter of which one a user can grasp with better; what’s an easy learning curve for one person, can be hard for another. Everybody doesn’t eat the same damn thing, or like the same colors, etc… if so, then there would be one item for everything we do; Choice would be non-existent.
      BTW, stop taking example out of EDM. Like it makes people look cooler to mention EDM. Yeah, as if Pop, Alternative, Country, Hip-Hop, etc… are not in the charts with matching or even more horrible tracks? Give me a break! Every Genre of music is a target as soon as it is at its peak.
      Anyway, arguing that using one major DAW make superior “music” then another is one of the most archaic and ignorant debate ever to live. Worst is, some people still feel they have to push their arrogance onto the rest of the world as to what EVERYBODY should use. I guess the article being bias and not well documented to cover more DAWs happens to create such an arrogant, non constructive and down right negative from you?

      My main question is simple: What can Reason do that Ableton Live can’t? Go ahead list them? As a matter of fact, I give you five years (the same five years you give Ableton) to find time to list them. Go ahead, I’ll be waiting.

  • Lee Miran

    I’ve been using FL Studio since the late 1990’s. Over the years it has grown. There is a misconception that it is merely entry-level and lacks depth. The truth is that it is very versatile. You can use it to easily create simple beats and patterns or delve into its vast complexity to achieve truly amazing things. But I agree that preference is the main qualifier.

    • Dylan

      Couldn’t agree more. I never understood why FL Studio was always labelled as a “toy”. I tried to switch, but I always found myself going back to FL Studio. For me, it’s workflow is so smooth and intuitive.

      • digital life

        It’s because its a threat to the establishment, It does everything the other DAWs do, is one of the least expensive and comes with lifetime free updates.

  • Oddie O'Phyle

    To be fair, weighing Maschine against Live Suite is kind of unfair. It would be closer to pit Maschine against Live LE, as the Suite edition would be closer to having Komplete.
    At this point Native Instruments becomes an all together new beast with the addition of HUGE sample base, VSTs, Reactor and Kontact.
    I was a happy Ableton Live 4-7 user, but switched to Maschine when the Live 8 engine came out. I’m just getting into the Maschine 2 upgrade due to the sale that is on right now and I should have Komplete 9 in hand by tomorrow. I’ll leave my 2 cents in about a week of locking my doors and not answering my phone.

    • DJ_ForcedHand

      Yes! ^^^ So much this ^^^^ I really don’t understand why everything has to be “shoot-out comparison.” Maschine can be used on it’s own and as a VST plug-in (so you can use it in Ableton, Logic, etc.). Maschine 2.0 does rival traditional D.A.W.s in many ways, but it was designed to work with whatever you want and it has a pretty awesome library of sounds. The M.P.C. series is great because you can use it away from a computer, and all D.A.W.s are pretty much real-time now. Push (with Ableton 9) is great, but it requires a more eyes-on-app approach.

      Don’t get caught up in which tool is technically better than another, find out what tools work for you. This is a great time to be alive and doing things with music, because you can literally write something today, and play it tonight… or simply play something live with studio tools in your DJ set.

      I truly wish that when you buy something as deep-dish as Maschine or Ableton, you got a class (and some 1-on-1 instructor time) to go with it. I am still daunted by the options in Maschine 2.0 but I mainly use it for creating back beats.


      • Oddie O'Phyle

        i’ll be watching a lot of tutorials in the next little while and doing a lot of installing tomorrow. can’t wait to create a bunch of stems for remix sets while i stumble my way through the learning curve of the update and komplete.

        • CUSP

          Just start out slow and easy. There’s no rush to get this done by next week. When you get it, you can learn more about what you want. It took me almost 15 years to realize I shouldn’t be segregating what I do (the music I play or the tools I use to play them), I should be as the Chinese proverb says “Like rain, encompassing everything.” This is very hard for a successful DJ to grasp, “Why change what you’re doing when it’s successful?”

          The simple answer is: Because you’ll be better for it.

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            i’m thinking that my next midi controller will be a 23″ 10 point touch screen for direct manipulation of VST filters without having to do a lot of mapping to external controller and eliminate the need for program switches too. this’ll be fun!

            my answer to your question is simple too… life is change.

          • CUSP

            Oooh, thanks for the plug 🙂 (Cusp is change)

          • Unreallystic

            I’ve been dying to do that in Reason, but, I’m not sure how well it actually will work.

  • genjutsushi

    I came from a hardware background in the late 90s so when i made the switch to software a few years ago, i found Reason to be the most powerful tool for me. The ability to control your own signal path made it really inspiring. I combined that with Ableton for external sequencing and audio recording… however, last year i made the jump to Maschine due to the integration with the controller. Makes everything more immediate and understandable.

    • Oddie O'Phyle

      lol… For a few years (about 5 or 6) I took to recording stems from my synths, R-5 and MC-808 in Audition and then would loop and effect them in Live for my shows. I agree with you that Maschine has made things a bit more immediate, although I’m thinking of getting a secondary screen for my production laptop with touch capabilities to easier adjust the parameters on VSTs.

      • Trillbill

        If you’re open to alternatives, a Wacom Tablet does a great job at that

        • Lobie

          Or an iPad with one of the many integrated Ableton controllers

  • kappesante

    logic + maschine