Native Instruments Maschine Jam: All You Need To Know

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With Native Instruments' Maschine firmly established as an industry-standard production system, now comes the more affordable Maschine JAM, the perfect Maschine model to make music on the fly!

Native Instruments Maschine JAM

Native Instruments Maschine Jam represents a whole new approach for producers, DJs and live performers to make music on the fly with MASCHINE, Ableton Live or most major DAW sequencers. Light and affordable, Maschine Jam is very intuitive and will help you to turn your musical ideas into reality. Maschine Jam is quite different than the other members of the Maschine family: this is pretty much Native Instrument's bid to conquer part of  the Ableton Push 2 / Novation Launchpad Pro / Akai APC market, offering similar functionalities, but also exclusive new features, such as Smart Strips.

While the current Maschine products are more focused on the Group and the Sounds, Native Instruments wanted to offer a "project view" in hardware, so that building up an arrangement is more immediate and fun.

What is Maschine Jam?

new Native Instruments Maschine Jam The new Native Instruments Maschine Jam

The Maschine Jam is a new, modern production and performance system that's great for a number of tasks such as  sequencing and track building, sketching patterns with advanced multi-track step-sequencing, shaping sounds with LED-guided Smart Strips, and much more! This is a very unique Maschine product - not meant to replace your regular Maschine, but rather as a great complement to it.

The dual-touch Smart Strips are truly one of a kind, and one of the best new features. It allows you to experience a new performance paradigm, and get physical with precision sound tweaking. In addition, Perform Mode lets you bring complex sound textures to life with MASCHINE's unique Perform FX.

Another great feature is that you can capture the performance using the new Maschine "song layer" function: You can perform with Scenes and Patterns on Jam and then record this as a song, while (optional) Scene linking ensures that you can tweak Scenes later, even after you've recorded the song, and have your changes reflected there.

There's one caveat: Song mode will not be available on Jam's launch day. NI are still working on it.... In the meantime, Jam already works great to build up different Scenes and perform your material. It really makes quite a difference even without the Song layer.

Despite its more affordable price tag, Maschine Jam still comes packed with a massive selection of sounds from the MASCHINE software and KOMPLETE SELECT. The Included MASCHINE 2.5 software features cutting-edge Drum Synths and superior 9 GB sound library created by renowned sound designers and artists, white Komplete 11 Select offers over 25GB of sounds, with 11 premium instruments and effects. Not bad at all...

Watch: Maschine Jam performance

Other Maschine Jam features include:

  • Create drum patterns, melodies, chords, and arrangements quickly and easily with the 8x8 multi-color click-pad matrix
  • Unified hardware and sof tware workflow heightens creativity and product per formance
  • Works seamlessly with any DAW, the MASCHINE and KOMPLETE product ranges, and NKS-ready plug-ins

Maschine Jam vs. Maschine MK2 vs. Maschine Studio vs. Maschine Mikro

The Maschine family The Maschine family: which one to choose?

With the addition of Maschine Jam, the Native Instruments Maschine family grows once again - so here's a Maschine comparison chart to help you to choose the right one for your needs.

 Native Instruments MASCHINE JAM

Maschine Jam

MASCHINE STUDIO

Maschine Studio

MASCHINE

Maschine

MASCHINE MIKRO

Maschine Mikro

What is it?   MASCHINE JAM is the modern production and performance system for intuitive sequencing and track building. For producers who want to create tracks with advanced multi-track step-sequencing and sound design functions with Smart Strips for unique arrangement possibilities.  MASCHINE STUDIO is
the flagship integrated production and performance system for tactile, creative beatmaking. Designed for producers who want unprecedented physical control and visual feedback without ever needing a mouse or computer screen.
 MASCHINE is the groundbreaking production and performance system for tactile, creative beatmaking. For producers who want the power and flexibility of software with classic groovebox workflow.  MASCHINE MIKRO is the compact production and performance system for tactile, creative beatmaking. For producers looking for an ultra-portable entry into hands-on computer-based beat production.
What’s included:
Full version of the latest MASCHINE 2 software  YES YES  YES  YES
Full 9+ GB library content  YES  YES  YES  YES
 KOMPLETE 11 SELECT (25 GB): Full version of MASSIVE, REAKTOR PRISM, SCARBEE MARK I, SOLID BUS COMP, MONARK, THE GENTLEMAN, DRUMLAB, RETRO MACHINES MK2, VINTAGE ORGANS, WEST AFRICA, REPLIKA   YES  YES  YES  YES
MASCHINE DRUM SYNTH and PERFORM FX included  YES  YES  YES  YES
£22.00 e-voucher for additional KOMPLETE Instruments and Effects or MASCHINE Expansions  NO  YES  YES  YES
Included stand for improved ergonomics  YES

Included stand can be mounted to the hardware

 YES

Collapsible stand at the bottom of the hardware

  NO

Compatible with MASCHINE STAND

 NO

 

 Power adapter included  NO

Not necessary –
bus powered

 YES  NO

Not necessary –
bus powered

 NO

Not necessary –
bus powered

 Comparison Chart
 Displays?

 

NO

 On-screen overlays in the software show parameters of the features in use

 YES

Two extra-large, high-resolution color displays (480 x 272 pixel)

 YES

Two monochromatic displays (256 x 64 pixel)

 YES

One monochromatic display (128 x 64 pixel)

Number of endless rotary knobs for direct parameter access  1 touch-sensitive push encoder  8 + 1 jog wheel + 1 volume knob  8 + 1 push encoder  1 push encoder
Number of touch strips with Smart Strip technology  8 dual-touch Smart Strips  NONE  NONE  NONE
Number of back-lit buttons for direct parameter access  64 multicolor click-pads, 8 multi-color group buttons, 8 multi-color scene buttons, 31 click buttons, plus 1 D-pad for quick navigation  58 click buttons + 8 multi-color group buttons +16 multi-color touch-sensitive pads  39 click buttons + 8 multi-color group buttons +16 multi-color touch-sensitive pads  28 buttons + 16 multi-color touch- sensitive pads

 

Direct access to groups from hardware  YES  YES  YES

 NO

Possible with multi-color group button via shortcut

Dedicated edit buttons

 NO

Possible via SHIFT button shortcuts

 YES

 

 

 NO

Possible via SHIFT button shortcuts

 NO

Possible via SHIFT button shortcuts

 

Browse and load sounds, effects, patterns and projects from the hardware  YES

With straight-forward on-screen overlay in the software accessible from the hardware

 YES

With straight-forward attribute-browsing directly from the hardware

 YES

With straight-forward attribute-browsing directly from the hardware

 YES

 

 

 

Load KOMPLETE plug-in sounds directly from within the browser

 YES

With on-screen overlay in the software

 YES

With extra-clear product icons displayed directly on the hardware screens

 YES

 

 

 YES

 

 

Tweak parameters from the hardware  YES

Tweak up to 8 parameters simultaneously with two hands using dual-touch Smart Strips

 YES

With 8 touch-sensitive knobs, and a dedicated volume knob

 YES

With 8 knobs

 YES

With 1 knob

Enhanced ultra-fast, hardware-focused workflow: See full waveform, pattern, scenes on left display and detail view on right display  NO  YES  NO  NO
Advanced hardware-based step-sequencing: Sequence multiple sounds at the same time directly from the hardware  YES  NO  NO  NO
Mixer visible directly on the hardware

 YES

Smart Strip LEDs indicate levels

 YES

Full Mixer on hardware display

 NO

 

 NO

 

Number of groups, patterns per scene, and scenes  Unlimited  Unlimited  Unlimited  Unlimited
Number of samples that can be loaded  Unlimited  Unlimited  Unlimited  Unlimited
Built in MIDI interface  NO

 

 YES

(1 In / 3 Out)

 YES

(1 In / 1 Out)

 NO

 

Footswitch input  YES

 

 YES

(2 x in)

 NO  NO
Kensington Lock  YES  YES  YES  YES

Combining Maschine Hardware

As we've said previously, Maschine Jam is NOT an upgrade on Maschine, it's not meant to replace it - it's something else! Together with any of the other Maschine Controllers, you can combine the specialized features of both, with amazing results. Check this video for an example:

Maschine Jam vs. Ableton Push 2 vs. Launchpad Pro vs. Akai APC 40 vs. Novation Circuit

Maschine Jam's advanced hardware-based step-sequencing, which allows the user to  sequence multiple sounds at the same time directly from the hardware, makes it a direct competitor with the other grid controllers such as Push 2, Launchpad Pro, Circuit and APC 40.  Just a cursory glance at them, even if you're no expert, will immediately suggest they are similar in many ways.

Many Maschine users will already be using a combination of Maschine with a controller such as Push 2, which is the most top-of-the range of the lot. It's a great combo and if you already own Push 2 you'll probably not feel tempted to get Maschine Jam. However, if you're looking for a grid controller to use with your Maschine Mk2, Studio or Micro... then why not keep it all with Native Instruments, and save some money - as Jam is £150 cheaper than Push 2 right now!

It's good to point out that Push 2, even though it can be used for performance, is more of an studio-oriented controller, so it's no surprise it's much more sophisticated, whereas something like an APC40 or Launchpad are more of performance tools - like the Maschine Jam, as the name itself suggests.  So, even though Maschine Jam is not technically "better" than Push 2, it's still the best option for performing live if you own other Maschine gear. For the money, Jam beats Launchpad and APC40 if you're already a Maschine user.

Of course, Circuit is another thing altogether - a stand alone groovebox with built-in synths, drum-machine etc.

Some points worth noting:

  • One of the best things about Maschine Jam, over the competition, are the Smart Strips controls - basically a different way to control effects etc. on the go, instead of using rotary knobs, which opens a whole new way to perform live.
  • Maschine Jam DOESN'T have sensitive pads, unlike Push, Circuit and Launchpad. Not an issue when using alongside Maschine, though.
  • Maschine Jam is great to use outside a DAW environment, allowing you to focus on hardware rather than a screen. It's the perfect complement to your other Maschine unit, giving quick and easy access to volume, step and note functions, for instance.
  • Beat-makers using Maschine and Push 2 composing in the studio won't feel the need for Maschine Jam.
  • Maschine Jam takes Maschine Mikro to a whole new level - a perfect complement!
  • Better features than Launch or APC40 for the price, making Jam the go-to complement to other Maschine products when performing live.

View all Maschine jam products

2 Comments on “Native Instruments Maschine Jam: All You Need To Know”

  • Michele Lawford
    17th December 2016

    Can you please tell me if I need to purchase an audio interface, such as the Komplete audio 6, in order to use the Jam just to create the music? What is the role of the audio interface, for performance only?

    • Admin
      19th December 2016

      Hi Michele, no you do not need to buy an audio interface to create music on the Maschine Jam - you just need the Jam, software (which is included), and your laptop.

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