- Is the Akai Pro Force better than the Maschine MK3?
- Can you use the Akai Pro Force without a DAW?
- Can you link the Maschine MK3 to other hardware or instruments?
- Also, check out our post on picking the right DAW for you
Choosing between the Akai Force and Maschine MK3 can be a tricky decision and will ultimately determine how you make or perform your music.
While both devices are incredibly powerful and reliable, each offers a distinct set of features and workflow properties.
We’ve compiled a brief comparative guide to the Akai Force and Maschine MK3 to help you determine the best unit for production aspirations.
We’ve provided a basic outline of each device’s specs, as well as a short review of their features.
Akai Pro Force vs Maschine MK3: Which Is Best?
Both the Akai Force and Maschine MK3 are high-quality beat-making and performance units that are definitely worth their asking price.
However, it’s important to note that the Akai Force and Maschine MK3 are fundamentally different devices, and each offers a distinct set of workflow and production pros and cons. Here are some examples:
- Anyone looking for a controller to work alongside DAWs, such as Ableton and Logic, should opt for the Maschine MK3.
- If you’re looking for a standalone workstation that can operate without the aid of a laptop or other external device, choose the Akai Pro Force.
- If you’re accustomed to performing in similar formats to Ableton Live’s session mode, then the Akai Force will be easier for you to use.
- However, if you’re used to compiling and making beats in a similar workflow as a sampling device like the MPC, the Maschine MK3 will suit you best.
- For fans and users of the native Instruments Komplete VST suite, the Maschine has their Komplete 14 Select Library included with the purchase.
- Conversely, if you don’t want to use outside plugins and still need stock sounds for composing, the Akai Force comes with four handy onboard plugins with various applications.
Akai Force vs Maschine MK3: A Brief Comparison
We’ve put together the table below to show you the basic specifications of the Akai Pro Force and the Native Instruments Maschine MK3, to help you build a basic image of their fundamental comparisons.
|Akai Pro Force||Native Instruments Maschine MK3|
|$1299 – $1499||
|13.8” x 15.3” x 2.85” inches||12.6’’ x 11.85 x 1.61 inches|
|USB 2.0 5V -& 19 V, 3.42 power adapter (included)||
USB 2.0 5V
|I/O||(2)XLR + ¼ ‘’ TRS line inputs,
(4)XLR + TRS line outputs,
stereo headphone out,
(3) Midi, (4) CV/Gate Outputs, USB, SD
(2) x ¼” TRS line outputs, 2 x ¼” TRS line inputs, ¼” dynamic mic input, stereo headphone output, (2) Midi, Footswitch
- Price: $1299 – $1499
- Size: 13.8” x 15.3” x 2.85” inches
- Weight: 8.35 lbs
- Power: USB 2.0 5V -& 19 V, 3.42 power adapter (included)
- I/O: (2)XLR + ¼ ‘’ TRS line inputs, (4)XLR + TRS line outputs, stereo headphones out, (3) MIDI, (4) CV/Gate Outputs, USB, SD
Features & Review
The Akai Force is a standalone workstation for live performances, production, and compiling arrangements. At first sight, the Force can draw many comparisons to the Ableton Push series.
The device uses the same 64-pad grid system for clip and scene launching, as well as the same layout for step sequencing and live note playing.
Force lets users create and perform music using four primary modes:
- Matrix Mode is the live performance mode very similar to Ableton’s Session view, where users can launch, record, and control scenes and clips.
- Note Mode converts the pads into a chromatic keyboard for MIDI note playback. All keys are velocity sensitive and come with aftertouch, and the pads have a comfortable click about them with every push.
- Clip Edit Mode is an editor for any MIDI or recorded information you’ve captured in the force. Users alter the notes on the editor over a piano roll, although this is one of the examples where the touchscreen lacks some smoothness.
- Mixer Mode lets you do volume, pan, and send/return adjustments to each track independently, as well as apply treatment to the Master channel.
The Akai Force comes with a ton of input/output options and offers a healthy amount of hardware expansion options to users. Included in the Force are two combo mic/jack inputs and four combo outputs.
The second pair of outputs can be used as an auxiliary out or as a custom cue out for various purposes.
There Force also boasts MIDI in, out, and thru ports on board as well as CV gate ports for any hardware-compatible devices.
One of the highlights of the Force’s user interface is the immersive 7’’ onboard touchscreen.
All the displays are bright, and the graphics for every device function make it easy to adjust and experiment without obstructing workflow.
Certain touch gestures can feel clumsy or lag at times, and it doesn’t have the smooth feel of a standard tablet or iPad.
Also worth noting is the Akai Force’s supply of built-in plugins that come with the user interface. There are four virtual instruments created by developers of AIR technologies:
- Bassline is a diverse monophonic synth to cover low-end.
- Electric houses a series of keyboard sounds.
- Tube synth is used for analog-style synth design.
- Hype is a more digital-sounding synth for modern soundscapes.
The developers have also thrown in some handy onboard effects that can be applied to mid and audio tracks ranging from Eq and compression to the chorus and reverbs.
- Exceptionally reliable as a standalone unit and will save you the hassle of using gear with a laptop for performances or production.
- Very ergonomic workflow and browser layout make the Akai Force quite easy to learn and use.
- Bright, large immersive LCD and tilted meters allow easy usage in dark and busy environments.
- Surprisingly versatile onboard plugins create a solid sonic foundation for compiling ideas.
- The touchscreen functionality can be a bit slow and staggered at times.
- The Akai Force may be a bit hefty for some users, and this might compromise its portability.
- Price: Around $700
- Size: 12.6’’ x 11.85 x 1.61 inches
- Weight: 4.85 lbs
- Power: USB 2.0 5V
- I/O: (2) x ¼” TRS line outputs, 2 x ¼” TRS line inputs, ¼” dynamic mic input, stereo headphone output, (2) MIDI, Footswitch
Features & Review
The Maschine MK3 is a groove box, drum machine, and controller that can record, perform and compile music in real-time.
The device is meant to be used specifically with the Maschine software via laptop or pc, but can also integrate with DAws like Ableton or Logic.
The Maschine also doubles as an audio interface, which can save lugging around extra gear for recording, production, or performance sessions.
Anyone familiar with the Maschine series will immediately notice the build improvements on the MK3.
The 16-pad grid system used for playing and triggering is notably bigger and easier to play on, and every other button has gotten a small bump in size as well.
The eight onboard macros have been upgraded to include touch control, which is handy when making slight mix or parameter adjustments.
In addition to the button upgrades, the Maschine Mk3 also features two bright RGB display screens that offer stunning visual feedback while using the device.
Dual windows make it possible to see multiple operations simultaneously, and all the onboard graphics are crisp and clear.
Still, navigating various parts of the browsing or performance options can often require switching between modes and panels and slows the overall workflow.
Some wonderful new features on the Maschine MK3 include the introduction of a smart strip.
This strip acts as a slider, using touch gestures to control parameters like volume and pitch or effects such as reverbs, filters, and other modulations.
An awesome lock function lets you secure one desired mix state or device setting to a snapshot, and you can then switch between various snapshots (or lock states) while performing or composing.
The Maschine MK3’s greatest asset is its vast and versatile sound library included with its purchase. Users have access to 9GB of stock Maschine sounds, as well as a ridiculous 49GB of sounds through the Komplete 14 Select Library.
There are more than enough sounds to meet the basic needs of a wide span of music styles, which means you could ideally compose all your arrangements without having to use outside instrumentation.
- Incredibly powerful sounds and sound shaping options, especially when used in conjunction with the Komplete 14 Select sound library.
- Touch-sensitive macros and smart strips allow wonderfully tactile workflow during composition or performance sessions.
- The lock function for effects and presets creates a very unique and effective performance tool for producers and also allows for added flexibility for experimentation.
- It can run on USB power exclusively – no outside adapter is required. Also, doubles as an audio interface.
- The user interface can be too complex for beginner producers or anyone new to Maschine hardware.
- Maschine software is not the most intuitive or powerful compared to some competitors.
- No angling option creates an awkward angle for workflow.
There is a healthy amount of performance functionality packed into the Akai Force and Maschine MK3, and it’s easy to see why deciding between the two can be tough.
However, you can use the above-listed guidelines to distinguish the best option for you ultimately.
Anyone looking for a robust and reliable standalone workstation should opt for the Akai Force.
It carries a lot of functionality and can take your compositions and productions a long way without the aid of outside gear or plugins.
However, if you’re looking for something more expansive and like to integrate your devices with your laptop workflow, it may be best to purchase the Maschine MK3.
The device works superbly as a production unit, especially with the backup of its massive high-quality sound library.
Can The Maschine MK3 Be Used Without A Computer?
No. The Maschine MK3 is designed to be a controller and will thus need to integrate with a DAW through a laptop or computer.
How Many Tracks Does The Akai Pro Force Have?
The Akai Force uses an 8 X 8 grid pad layout that allows you to play and adjust up to 8 tracks simultaneously.
Does The Akai Pro Force Have WiFi?
Yes. The Akai Force uses wifi compatibility to connect to outside hardware, devices, and services like Ableton Link.
Before you go, check out our review of the Launchpad Pro vs Push 2!