Native Instruments Maschine gets color screens, larger pads

Roberto Baldwin

Whether you're an in-room musician or you take your craft onstage, the Native Instruments Maschine is an incredibly handy tool for working with and triggering samples and controlling MIDI instruments. Well, it just got a nice upgrade with the Maschine MK3.

The latest version of the music production hardware from Native Instruments sports two full color displays (replacing the pretty old-looking black-and-white screens on the MK2) for easier editing of sounds and samples. It also ships with larger, more responsive (with support for 127 levels of pressure) light-up pads so you can tap out your favorite beats with a bit more nuance. Plus it has more function buttons, because you can never have too many of those.

On the audio side, the Maschine has upgraded the audio interface from 16-bit resolution with a 44.1kHz sample rate to 24-bit resolution with a 96kHz sample rate. An important jump for anyone trying to get the best possible sound out of their gear or recording for release.

(Priscilla Jimenez for Engadget)

The hardware still comes with the free Maschine software, along with an eight-gig audio library of samples, drum kits, songs and more. It also still works with your favorite DAWs, like Abelton Live, Logic Pro and FL Studio.

Unless they're looking for higher quality audio, the new Maschine probably won't lure too many MK2 owners to take a big chunk out of their bank accounts. With a price tag the same as the previous generation, though ($599), for anyone thinking about adding the production hardware to their arsenal, this might push them closer to the buy button.

Native Instruments