The old iMaschine was a great tool for the times but it was very much, as NI described it, “a sketchpad.” The new app is aimed primarily at graduating the sketchpad into a full-blown music production solution for your iPhone or iPad.
I particular, this means introducing tools that allow you to make entire songs. Probably the most immediately noticeable addition is the new “step mode” which switches the pad grid into a step sequencer—so if you suck at drumming or find it hard to do so on a tiny screen, you can program the sounds, just like you would on classic beat box.
While we’re on the topic of pads and the step sequencer, Native Instruments added a nice 3D touch shortcut for people using the iPhone 6s. The shortcut allows you to simply 3D touch a particular pad in order to view the Step Mode grid for that pad. This saves you a tap and some finger movement—if you’re arranging a whole beat, it could easily save you hundreds of taps and bunches of time in just a few minutes It’s slick:
Thew new app also has a new Arranger which allows you to turn your basic loop into a whole song by introducing the ability to save four patterns in four different groups. So now you can actually write different parts for a song.
Finally, iMaschine 2 now has what NI calls a Smart Play keyboard, which makes it easier to play keys in on a tiny keyboard with auto-forming chords and the ability to lock the scale so you can’t play out of key.
iMaschine 2 will be available at an introductory price of $5 until December 1st, when it’ll jump up to $10. If you used the old iMaschine, unfortunately there’s no upgrade scheme. But! In a nice touch, NI is selling a bundle which includes ALL of the sound packs the company made for the old iMaschine for just $1. So at least if you sunk a lot of money on those sound packs, it wasn’t all for nothing.