Just Sounds: Native Instruments Maschine Controls Hardware Synths

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Something that is little known and doesn’t seem to receive the attention it should (at least in my opinion anyway) is Maschine’s ability to control hardware synths right from the controller. Native Instruments has created stacks of presets from different synth manufactures all with pre-mapped MIDI routings. Maschine can easily control parameters on your hardware synths and play their sounds using its pads. We did a video on this a while back, however, NI has just added a bunch of new presets to their list, including synths from Korg, Roland, Waldorf, Elektron and many others.

Having control of synths in this way means that Maschine now becomes the ultimate sequencer: you use the note and scale mode to control note playback, automate your hardware’s parameters with the macro controls, add Maschine’s FX and even resample the audio to create all kinds of new ideas. For hardware synth owners, this adds a new level of control, that tightly integrates your hardware into your Maschine projects and gives you the same level of control that Maschine is known so well for.

This feature is great if you perform live with multiple synths. You can use Maschine to control your hardware, from recalling sequencers and arrangements, to improvisation and experimentation. By the same token, if you wanted to simplify a complex synth set up in your studio this would be a great way to have a more focused control centre for them.

Setting it up is super simple. Choose your synth from the list of pre-sets, set the MIDI output to Maschine, then route the audio to an input on your audio interface. If you’re using Maschine MK3 that’s as simple as plugging it directly into line inputs on the back of the unit. Remember, if you don’t find you synth in the list, you can easily map CC messages to your synth from Maschine, you just need to consult your synth MIDI implementation chart to discover what parameter is mapped to which value. Stay tuned for another video.

Check out a more detailed setup explanation and download the presets here.

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