Loop points, at last. Side-by-side editing on iPad, too. Photos courtesy NI.

Loop points, at last. Side-by-side editing on iPad, too. Photos courtesy NI.

iMaschine was always an intriguing drum machine, with uncommonly-simple on-the-go audio sampling and a workflow that lets you bring drumkits back into Maschine on desktop. But it was hampered by limitations: you couldn’t set loop points properly, and there was no version for the iPad.

iMaschine 1.1 doesn’t give you everything you’d ever want, but it gives you enough in a free update (or US$4.99 new) that it could practically be called iMaschine 2.0. New in this release:

  • Native iPad support, with a generous layout that takes advantage of the added space by putting editing and performing on the same window.
  • A 2-octave synth (on both iPad and iPhone, but on iPad, you can use that on the same layout, too.
  • Sample in and out points – finally. There’s still no fades or loop modes as in Maschine on desktop – everything’s a one-shot – but you can at least get some basic controls over your samples (and use the rest in the desktop software, or by importing audio samples into your production tool of choice).
  • New sound content: an expansion pack includes a selection of sounds from Maschine 2 on desktop. Have to look through to see what’s there…
  • iTunes sampling: Library integration means you can also sample from your own material. And while there’s no AudioCopy or Audiobus support, that means a solution for recording audio in other tools, then sampling it in iMaschine.
  • New XY effects controller.
  • Swipe to undo/redo, metronome now has on/off. (Uh, good!)

And, to go along with the upgrade, there’s a mind-bogglingly-cool group of girls to sell you on the concept. Not to get sappy, but to me, this is why you make dance music – because dancing is healthy, is human, is part of enjoying life. Sadly, I think sometimes party life even detracts from that. But these girls can dance like you wouldn’t believe, and seeing them crowd around Jamie Lidell – well, this isn’t really even marketing any more.

In fact, the dance troupe from Cincinnati really deserve their own story (maybe for some other site I don’t currently write!)…

Marquicia Jones-Woods (“Ms. Quincy”) started the group nearly 30 years ago in the city’s West End, to provide a safe, productive after-school environment amidst violence in housing projects there. Today, her 22-year-old identical twin daughters – Mariah and Chariah – choreograph all the numbers. (And you can see in the video, they do a bang-up job. In fact, I’d say they steal the show here.)

The update is free, and universal – so iPhone users who also own iPads get the whole deal. For everyone else, a new copy is US$4.99 / 4,49 € / £2.99 / ¥500.

Yes, yes – I know there are apps that do more. But iMaschine has long been my favorite, enough so that I put up with rather annoying limitations, because of the straightforward, simple recording interface and the ability to easily dump kits into Maschine on desktop (and other software). This addresses the biggest requests, though MIDI support (and sync) would be hugely welcome, as would additional loop modes.

And yes, maybe in addition to $5 to Apple and NI, it’s worth donating a few bucks to Cincinnati’s amazing young people:

http://q-kidz.com/donate/

Sampling. Just don't make an a-- actually, no, I'm going to leave that joke for someone else to make.

Sampling. Just don’t make an a– actually, no, I’m going to leave that joke for someone else to make.

Round-trip workflow is one major advantage to iMaschine. It outputs standard audio files, so in addition to bringing full project files into desktop Maschine, you can use the audio samples in other tools.

Desktop workflow integration is one major advantage to iMaschine. It outputs standard audio files, so in addition to bringing full project files into desktop Maschine, you can use the audio samples in other tools.

There's a new X/Y effects controller - seen elsewhere, of course, but useful here. And the iPad boasts side-by-side editing with that extra space.

There’s a new X/Y effects controller – seen elsewhere, of course, but useful here. And the iPad boasts side-by-side editing with that extra space.

But in a sometimes-superficial world of dance music, the QKidz remind us how important music and dance can be. And they totally steal the show in this post.

But in a sometimes-superficial world of dance music, the QKidz remind us how important music and dance can be. And they totally steal the show in this post.

  • DaveBusta

    No Audiobus, no InterAppAudio, no MIDI not even audio copy/paste. SMDH.

    Why did they even bother “updating”.

    Oh well, Akai is about to release iMPC Pro, Intua is about to release Beatmaker 3, UVI is about to release Beathawk and Cubase just released a major update to Cubasis and Caustic just released a major update that added Audiobus, new synths and Modular linking. (Hmmm, maybe that’s why N.I. decided to release this feeble update, to make it appear as if they are still supporting it. There last “update” was over 2 years ago.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Those are not mainstream features for all users. I’m a heavy desktop user, and I find some of what you’re describing to be overkill. Of course, we’ll cover those releases when they come out.

      I miss MIDI and sync, but I find the simplicity of the app to be appealing.

      And, sorry, I therefore am glad they added updates with essential functionality that did kill workflows and prevent you running on iPad.

    • Mike

      Exactly. iMaschine is all about simplicity. I really don’t see why anyone would require Audiobus for this.

      As to the update: it’s a pleasant surprise but it’s about time the app is updated. I haven’t had a chance to try it out but it’s looking good (plus it now fits on 4″ screen).

    • lala

      C´mon, no audio/copy paste is ridiculous.

    • Leslie

      What a load.of crap.
      No midi, no AudioBus, not even audio copy,
      Common Peter, these features ARE MAINSTREAM features and NOT “overkill”.
      As it is, iMachine is nothing but a toy.
      Btw; I have Pacmen for that.

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      I read Peter’s reply to maybe emphasize that modular linking might not be a mainstream feature, and I would agree to that.

      Audiobus, audio copy/paste, WIST, maybe even MIDI in/out would be great features for many, obviously. But as I wrote above, iMaschine is probably not meant to be a full-blown integrated can-do-everything-application. So, I don’t expect these features to be in their focus…

    • vulcanologist5370

      Modular linking is a specific feature in Caustic for use with its instruments, so I don’t think that’s what Peter was referring to. And while I’m pretending I know what people are thinking when they type, DaveBusta was likely noting all the progress in other apps (that Caustic point update is pretty huge, and the automation in Cubasis is also pretty major addition) compared to what he sees in this iMaschine update.

      I understand the attraction of sketch pads and audio toys, but as someone who used a Casio SK-5 extensively in different projects, I’ve found that toys can be useful. Adding support for standards that have become common, unless said addition is a giant dev pain, makes sense and can open up the usefulness and audience for an app.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I find the actual user experience more polished in this app than it is in the others. I like the interface better. For quick sampling and some pattern sketching, I don’t need this litany of third-party libraries. So that was my personal opinion.

      What I find peculiar is the suggestion that a litany of six-dozen unrelated third-party APIs is an *entitlement* for users – in an app that costs $5. And then that entitlement is extended, to suggest that *everyone* needs the same thing.

      And, oddly, I notice no one is saying *why* they need these.

      So I’d be interested to hear a complete thought here, such as:

      “I need Audio Copy because the way I work is to manipulate samples from xx in yy…” or “iMaschine would interest me if it had AudioCopy, as then I’d use it to…”
      (or whatever the particular tool might be)

      I mentioned sync, because this would allow you to combine iMaschine as drum machine with, say, a sequencer, or use it in a hardware rig as an additional sound source and record synchronized audio. Even there, Audiobus, while nice, isn’t essential as you’d at least have the sound in sync and iMaschine has its own effects.

      But I’m not terribly sure what to do with the feedback that “iMaschine needs WIST because otherwise it’s a piece of s***” etc. (or whatever the particular API happens to be)

      These *aren’t* standards, not by any definition of the word. (MIDI is a de fact standard, but that’s it – but people are oddly skipping MIDI for much more specific tools like Audiobus or AudioCopy.)

    • lala

      Huh? R u kidding? ACP was the first way to get apps to interact …
      Its the defacto standart on ios

      So what do u want to read? A list with n apps that use audiocopy?

      U wouldnt question the intention of users that do copy and paste on a desktop, right?

    • lala

      Its very simple: no acp, no midi, no ab2 and no iaa = I dont buy it ;)

    • lala

      I mean c’mon pasting audio into a sampler without jumping through hoops – how very exotic &_&

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Which – all of them? Or some of them? (I mean, for instance, do you actually need IAA *and* AudioBus, or you mean you want some inter-app audio to add an app to your arsenal?)

    • lala

      Yes, all of them :)
      And yes i need ab2 and iaa because ab2 doesnt support iaa, yet.
      No ab2 state saving is also a no go.
      Im very strict about this, I bought enough toy apps over the years.
      (In some cases I dont need midi, depending on the app – something like curtis for example)
      These are 1st things i look up – if these features arent there, its not for me.

    • vulcanologist5370

      Wow. An entitlement? Way to put people down who would like more from the app. Shame on us for expecting more. And six-dozen APIs? That’s a bit of hyperbole, Peter. Where did someone call iMaschine a “piece of s***”? I honestly expected more out of the owner of this site. You must be pretty close to NI to be this defensive.

      Can users and potential users not say that we’d like to see something in an app without having to detail how that might come in handy? When you say that you’d like to have air-conditioning in your car, do other people require you to give explanations as to why, otherwise they suggest that you probably just feel entitled to a dozen features (that aren’t “standard”) in a vehicle you know nothing about? Maybe, you know what you need to be able to have a comfortable driving experience, just like people who use iOS to make music might know what they need to suit their workflow.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Sorry, that was a typo – half a dozen, not six dozen. Well, I’ve regularly championed those APIs and the apps that use them – I’m not questioning that you might want them.

      And I specifically called out MIDI.

      The question I had was, the need for these APIs in every single app is to me not necessarily self-evident.

      So, I’m curious how people are using them that they’re becoming a make-or-break for the app. That was an open question, and still not one person has actually explained how they’re using these features, specifically, for the workflow of a drum machine.

      I can think of a few ways, if no one else can. MIDI sync and MIDI I/O would be to me the first priority. It means then the ability to synchronize iMaschine in a studio with other gear, or to use it with a sequencer to, say, add a separate bassline in a single production.

      AudioCopy would be an obvious second choice in that it’s easy to implement, but as Audiobus allows real-time passing of audio, it is arguably more flexible and seems to be something people are using more. And it’d go well with sync. So in this case, you could use iMaschine as a sample manipulation tool.

      This isn’t important if you have a standalone mobile workflow, though, which is what I described in the article. It’s a different use case.

      To me, it’s reasonable to call an update “1.1″ if you add iPad native support, iTunes sampling, and extended loop handling, as well as refining the UI – that’s a significant design job. Now, if NI were to prioritize these APIs next, I expect they’d want a use case; even as a developer, it’s something you think through.

    • lala

      Ok, so here you go,
      Record some absurd noise with nave or ivcs3 and paste it into the sampler – that goes for any other noisemaker …
      With the pasteboard its jumping through hoops, have a try yourself ;)

    • Lala

      Ahem without ;)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No, now that makes sense — sampling other apps would be hugely useful.

      So, that’s all I’m saying — let’s say that.

      And actually, based on that use case, I’d focus on Audiobus before AudioCopy, because the real-time use here might be more flexible.

      They’re not hugely difficult to implement, though, so I can see, yes, supporting both to allow sampling of other apps.

    • lala

      Pasting audio doesnt stop once u have pasted the samples, then u make a loop with the sounds and paste that into your favorite loopmasher ad some fx and then back into the sampler or something,
      only with ab2 live sampling u would have to cut the samples right, if i can copy and paste I dont need to look after that depending on which apps im using …
      Im lazy …

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      There is absolutely no way that Beatmaker or Cubasis and iMaschine are supposed to serve the same purpose, so that’s comparing apples with pears.

  • http://melodiefabriek.com/ Marco Raaphorst

    key change? sorry :D

  • Redoom

    Wow

  • DK

    I dont Believe audioBus support or at least Audio copy will really make this App less simple.
    It Just gives users that extra in and out flexibility you may or may not need.
    Not Having it there, really makes this potentially beautiful app a bit archaic compared to whats out there.

    Also to add. That is in no way a synth.
    Im quite disappointed that this was barely touched in this update.
    no control, same boring synth sample sounds, no filters, envelopes, no nothing really.
    Partially this crappy synth would be one Big reason to support audio copy and audio bus.
    To get some real umph in the Synth department.

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      Well, that’s absolutely not what the application was meant to be for in the first place. If you want a “proper” synth (whatever that means in your requirements), I’m sure there is plenty of choice out there – with all sorts of connectivity. But iMaschine is not meant to be a software tracking all your recordinds. It’s a sketchpad for beats, and it is most likely meant to be your instant-Maschine-on-the-go, so you won’t have to bring your laptop and Maschine controller, when you take the bus to work.

      I see iMaschine much more in the same area as Propellerhead’s Figure, which is also loosely based on some Reason synths and drums. And btw, they don’t even have Reason integration, but it is nonetheless still a great application for what it does.

    • Redoom

      FIGURE HAS AUDIOBUS!!!!!!!!!

      Does NI not want people to copy the sounds “easily”? I really don’t get excluding AB in ANY music app that comes to the store.

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      No need to yell at me, mate.

      I’m down with you on the Audiobus integration – in principle. But as long as we don’t know exactly what NI actually intend with iMaschine, everything is just useless speculation. Maybe, they only see it as a test balloon, some kind of proof-of-concept or so. I’ve got a similar impression about Figure btw. And no, I have never used Audiobus with Figure – I always just sketched some beats, grooves, ideas…

    • Redoom

      No worries man the scream is for the Heavens. I just don’t get it, walls and barriers blow… give us us free!!!!

    • your grandpas future

      anybody who uses the regular maschine app on computer would know that whatever ni intends to do will include handicapping the software so that it cannot do half of what it should and you’ll have to use ableton live to get some simple mutes goin, I guess they are waiting for iLive to come to ios and compensate for everything imaschine can’t do.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yes, that makes sense – I’m sure one of NI’s main priorities is generating sales for Ableton. ;) Ahem.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I’d rather they address more of the groups and sample manipulation available in Maschine desktop before getting too deep into the synth. But as you say, then, yes, the more logical next step would be to add AudioBus and sync so that you can use this in a mobile workflow with other instruments.

      And I agree, that’d be cool. As it happens, AudioBus integration is not an enormous obligation for the developer. The features you see here are significant – and I don’t think anyone imagines NI has been working on them for two years; iMaschine is a $5 app that shares development resources with a number of other products. But yes, it is a reasonable next priority and one I hope they add.

      My comments below were to do largely with the fact that people went immediately to things like AudioBus without considering the core functionality of the app. That to me is puzzling, especially if it omits any explanation of what people actually want to do.

      But — routing in another synth — yes, I’d like to do that, too.

  • DubTurbomega5000

    Peter Kirn the apologists apologist. This is nothing more than abject cock.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      It’s not an apology. It’s my opinion.

      I even anticipated the criticism:

      “Yes, yes – I know there are apps that do more. But iMaschine has long been my favorite, enough so that I put up with rather annoying limitations, because of the straightforward, simple recording interface and the ability to easily dump kits into Maschine on desktop (and other software). This addresses the biggest requests, though MIDI support (and sync) would be hugely welcome, as would additional loop modes.”

      That’s actually a fairly unapologetic assessment. And I’m not apologizing for my opinion, either.

      Essentially, the argument is I have to be in the pocket of a developer just because I happen to like their app and other people disagree?

      Sorry – no.

      And specifically, I disagree with the notion that you can’t invest time updating an app’s functionality without adding support for some specific APIs.