Why You Need Maschine Jam and MK3
Recently I tried working with just the Maschine MK3. Normally, I work with the MK3 to the left of the Jam. But I wanted to see how minimal I could go (and even tried out the Circuit for a bit). On the one hand, my focus and perhaps creativity is better. I’ve been getting really into recording modulation recently and this is quite fun.
Just the MK3
My Real Rig: MK3 and Jam
Removing a Pattern and "Playing" the Pattern Grid
But what’s awkward on the MK3 is "playing" the pattern grid. On the Jam you can "remove" a pattern from the scene by touching it a again. This way, you can play the whole grid at once like a piano. This gives you a brilliant way to transition between moments using events in many kits. The side note of this is that you’re destroying your scenes when you play with the patterns. I’ve tried duplicating scenes in the past to avoid this, but then I just end up with a lot of confusing scenes. Personally, I play patterns, and for that the Jam is amazing.
This is really important because effects can move the music forward to new places, but when I say, "resolve compositionally, it’s better" (to myself) I am referring primarily to the events in the patterns (including the modulations).
Dupe Entire Kits and Move Patterns Between Kits on the Jam
Then this second thing blew my mind. You can dupe an entire kit ("group") and its patterns easily on the Jam. On the MK3, this is not possible (for real). And beyond that: on the Jam you can copy and paste patterns between groups, which gives you awesome effects sometimes. On the MK3, there is no way to move patterns between groups (though you could copy the events, but that’s really awkward).
Copy a pattern between groups, transpose it and nudge it two sixteenths forward or back. Rinse and repeat.
Tempo Adjust Sucks on the MK3
Another issue: If you’re looking at the mixer on the MK3 and you want to adjust tempo, you can’t actually see the parameter you’re adjusting (well, I guess on the computer you could). In addition, switching to the mixer shuts off the tempo adjust, which is all to say: it’s finickiy and weird on the MK3. I prefer the tempo adjust on the Jam by far (but it requires you to have your computer screen visible: if that’s a deal breaker then many things on the Jam won’t work for you).
Also the Jam has a direct master & cue mix volume adjustment... that’s pretty critical.
Pitch Shifting and Lock States
Also: you can retune mutliple kits with the Jam and even do pitch shifting improv. And with the lock feature that gets really interesting. There are many other things that are probably interesting with the lock feature that are more interesting on the Jam.
Big Step Sequencer
64 pads is no joke for a step sequencer, whereas 16 pretty much is. Of course I’d love to see the sequencer evolve a bit on the Jam (can we show two pads/sounds at once, for instance?), it’s still a lot more convenient than the 16 pads on the MK3.
Overall, the Jam is kind of a necessary addition to the MK3 for live performance.