Maschine MK3 Vs MK2 – Are They Better As Compared To Mikro Versions?

You have yet to decide on which groove box, Maschine MK2 vs MK3.

When the opportunity comes to try out Native Instruments’ newest hardware, the Maschine MK3, you are excited to experience another way of producing music.

However, the limited reliable reading materials reviewing the latest product hold you off purchasing this new entry-level beatmaker.

Hence, you find it hard to differentiate MK3 and MK2. Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. In this paper, we will help you clarify the differences between these two versions in detail.

We will also compare Mikro MK3 and MK2 with their big brothers, Maschine MK3 and MK2. Sounds too cool to miss out? Then, let’s kick right in.

Last update on 2024-05-29 at 03:42 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Some Common Features of Maschine MK2 vs MK3

Although Maschine MK3 came out in a more innovative appearance with some added features, the manufacturer still kept its classic groove box workflow as the previous version, the Maschine MK2.

Both drum controllers allow you to freely produce melodies, beats, and harmonies in support of powerful drum synthesizers.

Besides, they also offer an incredible set of pro studio instruments and effects, a high-performance sampler, and excellent sounds.

These devices altogether deliver a complete system for the groundbreaking groove production. Additionally, the Maschine MK3 and MK2 enable users to make music without a mouse.

You can also easily browse, load, tweak, play, arrange and automate all sampler, plug-in, and FX parameters straight from the hardware.

How convenient products are!

Differences Between Maschine MK3 vs MK2

At the dimensions of 12.6″ x 11.85″ x 1.61″, the MK3 is an inch longer than the MK2. It is also a bit heavier at 4.85 lbs though MK3 looks weightier in the solid metal chassis than it is in reality.

Another noticeable improvement is the MK3’s bigger drum pads, which help you produce rhythms with even one hand. By a larger note repeat button, MK3 users hardly miss in the heat of the moment.  

maschine mikro mk2 vs mk3

Unlike MK2’s multifunctional knob and left/right buttons, the new controller, Maschine MK3, combines a four-way joystick, a button, and a knob for browser navigation mixer operation, and Volume, Swing, and Tempo adjustment.

In addition to that, MK3 also adds a new physical control interface, named Smart Strip, whose shape follows a horizontal position.

The Smart Strip elegantly handles the insufficiency of wheels on Maschine.

Maschine MK2 Overview

With the multiple roles of a sampler, sequencer, VST/AU plug-in host, and multiple effects, the MASCHINE MK2 assists performance, beat making, and so on.

Users can benefit considerably from this collaborative computer software. The manufacturer stocked the software with a 6GB sample library that contains loops, drum kits, synth sounds, and others.

The touch-sensitive pads make it easy to combine and arrange drum patterns, bass lines, and coils. You can link an external keyboard controller via the Musical Instrument Digital Interface I/O connections on the rear.

The MASCHINE MK2 shows flexibility through producing computer-based music with two-handed control.

Therefore, you can compose, perform, browse, sample, slice, shape sound, and tweak effects. Also, the software can be useful for loading your models, results, and log-ins.

Pads and knobs help control them, so there is no need to touch the computer’s mouse or keyboard.

You can also take advantage of Maschine Expansions to expand the sound and the Maschine Custom Kits to change your controller’s look.

Massive Synth

With Maschine 2.0, all users can access the full version of Massive Synth. The Maschine product’s eight control knobs directly associate with Massive’s eight Macro controls.

Time Stretch & Pitch Shift

The Maschine 2.0 software possesses the capability of time stretch and pitch shift - the automatic BPM detection aids to stretch from one BPM to another without interruption.

Moreover, conducting your samples with the pitch shift operation makes your beats more harmonic.

Customized Hardware

The Maschine Mk2 hardware includes a convertible magnetic faceplate. The black edition has a black plate with black knobs.

Additionally, Maschine Custom Kits are available in five color schemes. Each kit furnishes a faceplate and equivalent knobs.

Native Instruments Maschine MK2 Groove Production Studio, White
  • Easily browse, load, tweak, play, arrange, and automate all sampler, plug-in and effect parameters
  • Control and sequence all of your external hardware instruments, or switch to MIDI mode to control other software

Last update on 2024-05-29 at 03:42 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Include Massive
  • Brilliant PGB pads
  • Offline time-stretching


  • Lack of some pitch shifting features

Who Should Choose MK2?

Those who acquire at least the intermediate level of using Maschine can choose MK2 to release music and make beats. The model’s price is quite high, so you should check it before rushing to the store and getting one MK2.

Maschine MK3 Overview

With a built-in, pro-grade 96 kHz / 24-bit audio interface, the USB powered Maschine MK3 conveniently creates a good comfort to record or perform anywhere users want.

You can play MK3’s touch-sensitive knobs for parameter tweaking on some systems.

They are, for example, Mac OS X 10.11 or macOS 10.12 (latest update), Intel Core i5, 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended), Windows 10, 8, & 7 (32/64-Bit, newest Service Pack), or equivalent CPU, 2 GB RAM.

On top of that, this Native Instruments MK3 exhibits the three most significant features, which are smart strip, high-resolution color screens, and 16 ultra-responsive pads.

Smart Strip

It is a horizontally positioned button, found under the push encoder, with greater functionality.

The smart strip allows you to uncover various ways of expressing yourself to select different buttons above the strip to apply multiple effects.

The manufacturer designed it in the same role as a pitch wheel to bend sounds and experiment with FX. The added organic feels coming from the strip make your music programs more captivated.

High-Resolution Color Screens

Users can easily produce music without looking at your computer’s screen because of the modern high-res color screens.

This multifunctional device lets you freely slice samples, browse and preview sounds, tweak FX, and edit your projects.

The MK3’s renovated high-res color screen is a breakthrough discovery from the conventional model called a Boss DR-880 Dr. Rhythm Drum Machine.

16 Ultra-Responsive Pads

When choosing a drum mode, we highly recommend the lightest tap of the responsive pads, which also have another backlit name.

And, if you find 16 ultra pads are not enough for your performance, Novation Circuit Groovebox w/Sample Import Drum Machine with 32 ultra-sensitive places might be the right option for you to play.

Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller
  • Integrated hardware/software system includes sampler, arranger, mixer, FX, and more
  • Includes 25 GB KOMPLETE 11 SELECT library featuring 25 pro-quality studio and creative FX

Last update on 2024-05-29 at 05:28 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Versatile
  • Intuitive interface
  • Aesthetically-pleasing design


  • Expensive
  • Problematic software sometimes

Who Should Choose MK3? 

The professionals and upper-class customers are the two targeted groups who can afford and should choose MK3. It is obvious due to the model’s high price and advanced features. These people can also make use of the product’s strengths and approach the model’s sophisticated devices correctly.

Mikro MK2 vs Maschine MK2

Although Mikro MK2 is an entry-level drum machine, users still receive lots of surprises because of the product’s exceptional features.

First and foremost, Mikro MK2 has an impressive sound library at 8GB. It is also a budget-friendly drum machine. And, Mikro MK2 gives access to music previously generated by some of the best sound designers around the world.

Thus,  it will be much easier to explore your creativity. Besides, Mikro MK2 sets a Native Kontrol Standard, a program developed by the company.

The operator also integrated it into the drum machine to crack a world full of possibilities. And lastly, the device has a small screen located on the upper left corner, supporting you in creating music. 

Despite the lighter weight, Mikro MK2 is much more expensive than its big brother Maschine MK2. It is a ton easier to throw Mikro in a backpack and take it with you anywhere.

The Mk2 is somehow more awkward to carry around. The workflow of the two models is also entirely different.

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2 Groove Production Studio, Black
  • Easily browse, load, tweak, play, arrange, and automate all sampler, plug-in and effect parameters
  • Control and sequence all of your external hardware instrument. The software and user manual are found on their website. The software is downloaded and managed via Native Access, which also maintains all NI softwares and plugins with serial numbers in one location. The serial number provided with the unit will allow the user to gain access once downloaded from the site.

Last update on 2024-05-29 at 03:42 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mikro MK3 vs Maschine MK3

You might see no difference in the software of Mikro MK3 and Maschine MK3, but their overall goal is another story. The manufacturer designed Maschine MK3 to enable users to access almost all features of the software in the hardware form. Users, therefore, do not have to look at the computer’s screen. Meanwhile, the Mikro MK3 aims to operate differently.

You can expect more than that from its hardware form. What’s new in Mikro MK3?

The Smart Strip and Pad Mode shortcuts are the two outstanding additions, which already appeared on the MK3.

Two of four modes in the Smart Strip are Pitch Bend and Mod Wheel, which perform in the same way as the regular MIDI keyboards.

The two other methods are Perform and Notes that their functionality is just similar to the controller in Maschine MK3.

Compared to the Maschine MK3, the manufacturer removed sampling functionality from the Mikro controller and lowered it to the computer screen and a mouse.

In contrast, Maschine MK3 users can do everything just fine on the hardware.

Another eye-catching difference between the two versions is that Maschine MK3 users have a greater opportunity to experience a built-in audio interface.

The opposite case is true for Mikro when Mikro users play and record music through USB only.

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk3 Drum Controller
  • Compact, music production instrument that integrates powerful software with tactile, responsive hardware
  • Four ways to input sound using the 16 pads – drum in pad mode, play melodies in Keyboard mode, create chord progressions in Chord mode, and program in a classic step-sequencer style from Step mode

Last update on 2024-05-29 at 03:42 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Maschine MK3 Worth It?

Yes, it is. Mk3 is a great music maker. If you tend to continue using Maschine, choose MK3.

But in case you are a DAWs starter, consider the model’s price and features carefully before deciding to get one Maschine MK3.

Generally speaking, MK3 is worth it to spend money.

Is the Maschine MK3 Standalone?

The answer is yes. It has been a period since Native Instruments has delivered a hardware instrument to the market.

However, there is a noteworthy change that the familiar Maschine controller, previously in a complete connection to a computer and proprietary software via USB, is now a stand-alone device as well.

It’s still a Maschine MK3 with sampling, recording, Wifi but completely stand-alone if it comes with a 64GB SD card to save users’ own sounds and projects.

Can You Use a Maschine MK2 Without a Computer?

We do not think you should use MK2 separately from a computer.

It is simply because Maschine and Maschine software together function as an integrated system.

This combination brings you the best moments in the two worlds.

You can offer the newest computer technology and the hardware’s intuitive tactile control at the same time while playing music.

Is Maschine Mikro good for beginners?

The Maschine Mikro’s easy-to-use functionality inspires and gives beginners the confidence to try out state-of-the-art features and empowers experts to make use of the most amazing production experience.

Do You Need a DAW for a Maschine MK3?

It depends on each person's preference.

In effect, you do not need an additional DAW since Maschine software itself is a DAW.

You can, however, use Maschine as a VST plug-in within a DAW of choice.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our paper has provided you with more thorough insights into Maschine MK3 vs MK2.

If you scrutinize the materials from the beginning to the end, you will distinguish the two main products aforementioned.

But if you want to add more information about the products’ features, please comment in the box below.

We thank you for reading our review.

And we wish you fascinating experiences while making beats and working on your music.

Leave a Comment