Maschine isn’t just a tool for production. It is also equally capable of being used in a live setting to add performance elements to your DJ mixes. In this video we will be looking at ways to add Maschine to your DJ setup.
The biggest technical consideration when adding Maschine to your DJ setup is how you are going to sync Maschine with your tracks. If you’re using software like Traktor Pro 2 or Ableton Live, syncing is much easier than using a CDJs or vinyl. If you use Traktor Pro 2, you can sync Maschine to Traktor Pro 2’s midi clock and if you’re using Ableton Live you can run Maschine as a vst.
Syncing with CDJs, or software without MIDI clock sync, can be difficult because there are no tempo nudge controls in Maschine. With a trick demonstrated by Australian DJ Bass Kleph, you can make the process easier by using Ableton Live.
First, open Ableton Live’s preferences and then go to the midi tab. Select Maschine controller from the input dropdown menu and turn remote on under Maschine input. With your controller set up, close the preferences. Next, enable midi map mode by clicking on the [midi] button on the top right. By default, the Maschine controller will only control the Maschine standalone software or VST. However, we can use it to also control Ableton Live by putting it into midi mode. To do so, hold the [Shift] button and press the [Control] button.
Now we are going to assign Live’s tempo nudge up and down controls to the arrow buttons on Maschine. First, click on the tempo nudge down button in Live. Then press the arrow button on Maschine. You should see the midi mapping appear in Live’s browser section. Then, do the same but for the tempo nudge up button and press the midi button in the top right when you’re done.
Now you can control the tempo nudge from the controller, but by default the buttons will be set to toggle the tempo nudge on and off. We want to use the tempo nudge like a pitch bend, so we need to set them to hold. To do this, open up the Controller Editor application that you installed alongside Maschine and probably never opened. With a blank template open, click on the left arrow button and then on the assign tab to the right. Under mode, change toggle to gate. Do the same for the right arrow . Then close out of the Controller Editor and go back to Live.
Now we are ready to sync Maschine running as a VST in Ableton Live to the tracks from our traditional DJ setup. In Live, change the master tempo to the BPM of the track that you want to sync to. Press Live’s play to start Maschine and use the tempo nudge controls to beatmatch Maschine with the track that you have playing. It can help to use the metronome inside of Live or Maschine. You can also use a pre-programmed kick drum. When the audio is synced, hold [Shift] and then press [Control] to stop Maschine from sending midi signals to Ableton Live. Now you can play your Maschine projects or create new drum patterns in time with the track that is playing.
If you use Maschine in a unique DJ setup, leave a comment below and share your own tips and tricks.
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Maschine comes in three flavors – Maschine MK2, Maschine Mikro MK2, and iMaschine – and is a combination of hardware and software. When used together, the hardware gives you unparallelled control over the software. You can use Maschine whether you’re a DJ or producer, in the studio or the club, with the software or as a MIDI controller.