Welcome to my Maschine Mikro MK2 review. So as you can see, this is much more than just a MIDI controller. When you buy this, you are actually getting fully-featured music software that includes 8 GB of sounds. The Maschine Mikro MKII is designed to perfectly integrate with the software so that you can do everything using the controller. Together, the hardware and software form a complete Groove Production Studio.
You can sample sounds, slice them up and edit them. You can sequence your grooves, do pattern editing, build up whole pieces of music using “scenes”, and then mix your tracks. You can even load it into your DAW of choice as a VST instrument.
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Product: Maschine Mikro MK2
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon
Take a Look at it in Action:
Notice that he actually uses a separate MIDI keyboard alongside the Maschine Mikro MK2. So the Mikro is used for making beats and for controlling the Maschine software. It’s not really designed for playing keyboard notes, so if that’s your thing then you will need to have a keyboard controller as well. In a way, I think it is a bit of a shame that they didn’t, at least, have a miniature keyboard on it as well like you get on the Akai MPK Mini MKII. But this is clearly much more than just a MIDI controller because you can use it to actually control the software itself. So it really does depend on what you are looking for.
The Best of Both Words – Hardware & Software Combined
You don’t just get the hardware controller when you get the Mikro MK2, you also get the fully-featured Maschine music software. Together, they are a compact groove production system. The great thing about having all the sounds as computer software rather than within the hardware is that you can update and expand the software in the future, so you are not just restricted to the sounds and capabilities that came with it when you first bought it.
Some people may miss having a standard keyboard, but others may not find this a problem. It really depends on how you intend to make music. If your music is mainly going to be made up of beats and samples, with the odd simple tune, then you can do it all with the pads. However, if you want to create more complex melodies and chords, you will feel the need for a keyboard. If you already have a keyboard, that’s fine, but some people who don’t have a keyboard might miss it. But if you do want a keyboard, take a look at the Akai MPK Mini MKII.
8 GB of Sounds Easily Accessible
The vast range of sounds contained in Maschine have been created by many different highly skilled sound designers and artists. You can access them quickly and easily using the tag-based browser on the Mikro MK2. In the 8 GB of sounds you’ve got a total of 8,627 different samples, consisting of 445 full drum kits, 403 sliced loops, and 388 multi-sampled instruments. Also included are 1,200 patterns and 38 projects.
Some people might comment that the Mikro MK2 controller doesn’t have its own sounds, so is it really worth the money? But what you are really paying for is the software, which has a lot of sounds and possibilities. If you were to buy a dedicated piece of hardware that had that many sounds on it, you might have to pay two or three times the price. Also, with it being software, you can update it and expand it in the future, which is not so easy if it’s all in hardware.
High-Quality Samples & Precise Editing
Every sound in Maschine gives you up to 64 voice polyphony, along with legato, choke and glide control. The fast audio engine gives you 32-bit float internal summing, and advanced multi-core technology enables it to run multiple processes at the same time. You can also slice up your samples with extreme accuracy, choosing between four different modes: Grid, Detect, Split, or Manual. You can then even assign individual slices to the pads for playing just like you would with a drum kit.
5 Drum Plugins, Velocity-Sensitive Pads
These drum plugins have been designed specifically for Maschine and will provide any percussive sound you are looking for. It’s not just a case of loading up preset drum kits, you can tweak the drum kits as much as you want until you get the exact drum sounds you want to hear in your music.
The pads on the MK2 are a lot more velocity sensitive than on the original version of the Mikro. This means you can get a lot more expression out of your drum sounds. Also, with so many drum pads, you can really layer up quite complex beats. With the built-in 5 drum plugins, you can get any drum sounds you want, whether acoustic or electronic, to suit your particular style of music.
Sequencing, Pattern Editing, and Scenes
The built-in step sequencer enables you easily create and edit patterns, nudge notes, alter the velocity of the notes, and rearrange them as much as you want. You can also record various parameters into the sequencer for automatically playing back along with your notes and beats. Then you can use Scenes to arrange your various patterns into full pieces of music. You can have different scenes for an intro, outro, main groove, variation groove, and so on. Then you can use the Mikro MK2 controller to trigger scenes when you want to play them.
The way the step-sequencer is designed makes it great for using live. You can set up a bunch of patterns, group these in “scenes”, then trigger the scenes or individual sequences live using the controller. But you can also use it to control the transport in your Digital Audio Workstation.
Once you have your song arranged in the sequencer, it’s time to use the mixer to balance out all the sounds. You can alter the volume and pan, solo or mute individual tracks, and view the sound levels on the meters.
You can integrate Maschine 2 and the Mikro MK2 with Native Instruments Komplete 10 range of VST plugins. You can then use the browser in Maschine 2 to find the sounds and effects you are looking for. You can even assign the various parameters to the controls in Maschine 2 ready to be tweaked.
Use in Your Digital Audio Workstation
If you already have a Digital Audio Workstation you are using, and want to keep using, that’s absolutely fine. You can load the Maschine 2 software into your DAW as a VST plugin. You can also use the Mikro MK2 controller to control the sequencer’s transport functions in your DAW.
One customer on Amazon said that they found it difficult to set up with other software, so you may need to be patient when learning how to do that. On the plus side, it does come with a lot of functions on its own, without needing to integrate it with any other software.
Is the Maschine Mikro MK2 Suitable for You?
I would say this is best suited to someone who wants to make beats and create loop-driven music. It comes with a lot of sounds and possibilities and is great for controlling the Maschine software. However, musicians who want to be able to play in notes, e.g. for piano, chords, or synth lead sounds, may find the pad layout to be somewhat limiting. But if you already have a MIDI keyboard, and want access to a large range of excellent sounds that you can use with your existing DAW, it is a great option for the price.
You do get a lot for your money here, and this is due to the software that comes with this controller. It’s really a 2-in-1 product, so the image of just the controller really doesn’t do it justice. If you are looking for a way to make great beats and loop-based music, you can’t really go wrong with this. However, if you want to be able to play more complex melodies and chords, make sure you have a MIDI keyboard in addition to this. The great thing is, though, that you can then very easily use the MIDI keyboard to control any of the sounds in the Maschine software.
I hope you found my Maschine Mikro MK2 review helpful, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will reply as soon as I can.
All the best,