At funkyfresh we've had a variety of drum machines and grooveboxes over the years. Maschine, with the 1.6 software upgrade this past week, is an even more powerful sampler/groovebox/drum machine and it looks like Native Instruments is just getting started.

The best thing about the cotroller/PC software combination is the ability to expand and update the product as needed.  It also takes advantage of the sound card in the PC.  With a high end sound card in your editing system the results are dynamic and pristine.   Of course, with lower end card your audio will suffer.     We were very happy with the performance on an XP system with a Lynx sound card.

The worst thing about Maschine is the controller/PC software combination. Yes, it's great having over 6GBs of samples that ship with the thing plus whatever else you create on your workstation but we still love firing up a Roland Groovebox with nothing more than a power outlet and set of headphones. The software updates using the "service center" aren't as seamless as they could be.  The 1.6 upgrade temporarily broke Maschine until we figured out it was not compatible with the 2CAudio Aether reverb plugin.

Maschine is deep and powerful and requires RTFM to get cooking. Standalone groove boxes are much easier to get up and running. Playing out live? You better QA your performance multiple times to make sure you got hand dance on the pads and dialed cold and your PC or Mac can handle the cycles.

The pads on Maschine feel great and are very responsive. It's easy to play drum parts very accurately and the dynamics are very good. The quality of the samples are very good and current. With myriad effects and countless ways to manipulate the sounds you can lose yourself in Maschine for hours.

Aesthetically we love Maschine. Funkyfresh is all about the orange and Maschine has plenty. But most importantly it's a very powerful instrument that is very reasonably priced at under $600.

We'll be adding Maschine compositions to our funkyfresh download section so check back for that.

In the meantime, for more information about Maschine visit Native Instruments to get all the specs and more.