There are updates, and then there are updates. There are the updates that give you a bunch of new functionality – marketing tends to love these. And then there are the ones that just make a big slog through feature requests. Maschine “2.4.5” is not an exciting sounding update. But wow, does it ever add a long list of improvements users wanted.

The biggest banner feature here is real-time slicing. Now when in “Manual” mode, you can slice up a sample via the pads. That’s something available in Ableton’s Push, too (among others). Also slicing related, you can delete all slices irrespective of which Maschine controller you’ve got.

Crucially, clicks at the ends of slices are removed. (Okay, if you have a clicky track you want to finish, do it now before updating? Useful most of the time, though.)

New live slicing functionality. Courtesy NI.

New live slicing functionality. Courtesy NI.

You can set Scenes’ length independent of the Patterns they contain. Result: polyrhythms. Good times. And there are new options for exporting – including splitting audio by Scenes, which should be useful for starting an idea in Maschine and finishing it in a DAW. Export settings have generally been improved, including lossless options.

Komplete Kontrol integration gets reworked here, too. That integration keeps improving – so you can handily use a Maschine controller in place of one of NI’s keyboards if you prefer, and you can also access not only NI instruments, but their range of effects and so on, as well.

That’s cool, but even more important is that you can now save plug-in settings as defaults. That means you can make Maschine a useful host and performance tool, or just have it ready to go in the studio, because you can call up all your favorite settings right away.

There are also a ton of fixes in this release. Quality, quality, quality – just little various details are now fixed in terms of what shows up on the screen, how you get from one point to another, and erasing little glitches. There are MIDI fixes. There are drum synth improvements. (Reading the changelog is actually sort of fun. They’ve been busy.)

And you can do things like browse by product group for finding third-party plug-ins.

Native Instruments is still set on the idea of supporting its NKS format for control of third-party plug-ins, and turning both Komplete Kontrol and Maschine into a layer of consistency you use with not only NI software, but other software, too. Whether that catches on remains to be seen. But for Maschine users, this is a must-have tweak – one that does a lot of little things that could have you making music faster.

And, seriously, slicing. Anywhere slicing gets better is great. Maschine’s own slicing implementation is uniquely playable and controllable, and I’ve always had fun starting songs on it – so adding real-time is a welcome, lovely feature.