Native Instruments Maschine gets color screens, larger pads

The music production hardware gets a pro audio-interface upgrade.

Whether you're an in-room musician or you take your craft onstage, the Native Instruments Maschine is an incredibly handy tool for working with and triggering samples and controlling MIDI instruments. Well, it just got a nice upgrade with the Maschine MK3.

The latest version of the music production hardware from Native Instruments sports two full-color displays (replacing the pretty old-looking black-and-white screens on the MK2) for easier editing of sounds and samples. It also ships with larger light-up pads so you can tap out your favorite beats with a bit more precision and responsiveness (thanks to new foil technology). Plus it has more function buttons because you can never have too many of those.

On the audio side, the Maschine has its own audio interface for the first time with 16-bit resolution / 44.1kHz sample rate to 24-bit resolution with a 96kHz sample rate. A handy tool for anyone trying to get the best possible sound out of their set-up without needing more space. It also means you can make Maschine the center of your studio, if you wish.

The hardware still comes with the free Maschine software, along with an eight-gig audio library of samples, drum kits, songs and more. It also still works with your favorite DAWs, like Ableton Live, Logic Pro and FL Studio.

With a price tag the same as the previous generation ($599) and a few solid upgrades, for anyone thinking about adding the production hardware to their arsenal, this might push them closer to the buy button.