Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK3
Weighing in at less than £200, new Maschine Mikro MK3 packs a serious production punch for not a lot of money!
In the Native Instruments hurricane today, Machine Mikro MK3 is one of the products deep in the eye of the storm. It’s the latest version of NI’s entry level groove box, providing music producers (whether beginning or travelling) an easy solution to create beats, melodies and rapidly build up loops and develop track ideas. The Maschine Mikro MK3 has 16 velocity sensitive performance pads which in turn have four different pad modes:
- Drum Pad Mode: Treat the pads as if it’s a traditional hardware sampler
- Keyboard Mode: Allows you to play melodies
- Chord Mode: Create chord progressions
- Step Mode: Program like one of the classic step-sequencers
The Maschine Mikro MK3 also has pad link, note repeat and vintage sampling emulation from classic samplers such as MPC60 and SP1200.
How portable is the Machine Mikro MK3?
Very! If you’re travelling, its far more intuitive than using your laptop keyboard to create beats, even though its the same width as a 13” Macbook pro. The Maschine Mikro Mk3 only weighs 1.12kg, which is less than a new Macbook Pro. Size wise it’s been designed to sit on top of a laptop, so if you want to lay a beat down sitting in a departure lounge, chilling in a living room or poolside, the Maschine Mikro MK3 makes the perfect travel companion. It’s all powered via USB 2.0, so no need for any wall-wart power supplies. Literally make beats with one cable connected to your laptop, provided you have enough juice in the battery!
Maschine Mikro Mk3 – knobs, strips and buttons
The small form factor doesn’t mean the physical features are lacking; there’s plenty going on to justify this functional groove box. As mentioned above, you have the 16 velocity sensitive performance pads backed with full RGB colour for easy identification. These are a decent enough size, enabling two handed drumming just as you can on the Maschine MK3. To the top of the unit is the 4D main push rotary encoder, used to navigate software, control volume level, audio panning and control various parameters. There is a OLED screen above this to provide visual feedback, this aids browsing and easy identification of where you are in the software, eg the library location or which parameter you’re altering. The Maschine Mikro MK3 has included a dual-touch smart strip, which allows you to slide fingers to strum instruments, bend sounds and use FX. All buttons on the Mikro MK3 are clearly labelled allowing keyboard-less access to Maschine software. Speaking of software:
Included Software with Maschine Mikro MK3
You can use the Mikro mk3 straight out of the box, thanks to the included Maschine software – this is the same software you use with Maschine MK3, Maschine Studio and Maschine Jam. This includes 25 studio level FX including filter, EQ, delay, reverb and compressor. Of course you can still use the Maschine software as a VST, Audio Unit, or AAX plugin to work with all of the major DAWs, such as – but not limited to – Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic Pro and FL Studio.
Maschine Mikro MK3 included sounds
This Mikro Maschine comes with sounds to suit any style thanks to Maschine Essentials, which consists of 1.6GB of sounds from the Maschine factory (kits samples effects and instruments) available as a download when you register the Maschine. You also get three of the popular Komplete plugins worth over £250, all become available from native access after registration:
- Massive: Native’s super heavyweight virtual analog synth
- Monark: Iconic super phat monophonic synth
- Reaktor Prism: The modern futuristic powerful polyphonic synthesiser
When you purchase the Maschine Mikro mk3 you’ll get a cheaper upgrade price to obtain the full 8GB Maschine Factory Library and Komplete Select (Which contain a further 25GB of instruments in effects) If you want to expand your library further, you can do so easily with one of the new Komplete 12 releases, or via Native Instruments’ sounds.com. If you find third party NKS-certified instruments or effects, these integrate seamlessly with Maschine Mikro MK3.
So ladies and gents, there you have it. For £199, you can be up and running with the compact yet perfectly formed Maschine Mikro MK3 groove box, inclusive of Maschine software which you can use in a standalone capacity on the go (travels lighter and smaller than a Jam, Maschine and Maschine Studio) whilst still keeping the full sized velocity sensitive RGB pads and touch strip for laying down beats, making chord progressions or playing melodies. The scroller is easy to use whilst all the buttons on board present you with all of the shortcuts needed to reduce time on your trackpad and increase workflow efficiency. You’d be hard pressed to find something with this much included content and built quality in such a compact form.