Setting up Maschine with NI Massive

All Maschine owners got a nice gift from Native Instruments this week when they released the new Maschine 1.8 software update early.

Seeing how our favorite synth is now included free with the update, we want to extend a warm welcome to our newest community members and share what you need to know about setting up Maschine with NI Massive! has been the fastest growing and most active NI Massive community in the world since it began, more than two years ago. In that time we have remained dedicated to providing the very best in all things Massive, and now that includes Maschine as well. You have long been able to use different plugins within Maschine, even synths, but Native Instruments has obviously realized the potential locked away in this devastating pairing of Maschine with NI Massive. For people who did not own Massive prior to this recent update, it is a groundbreaking shift in the way you can make music with Maschine, putting all of the power and sonic capabilities found in Massive right at your fingertips for live performances and recording alike.

Native Instruments has done an amazing job, yet again, of making the process of setting up Maschine as simple as plugging it in. Literally one USB cable away from making killer beats and songs, all you need to do when you take your Maschine out of the box is install the software, plug in the hardware device, launch the program in standalone mode and wait for the program to find and map out pathways to all of the sounds on your computer and harddrives. If you have already been using Maschine for a while and have just updated the software, you still need to launch the program in standalone mode to finish the update process. (If there are issues with finding all the sounds on your system, do not worry. This will be covered in-depth in future posts.)

Once you have successfully launched the software, you can quit out of it and launch it inside of your DAW as a plugin if you prefer. Either way, you are only seconds away from being able to use Maschine with NI Massive. We will be going into detail, in future tutorials, as to how you can get the most out of Maschine when producing with Massive. But for now we sill stick to the basics and get you set up.

Looking at the software interface for the first time, will be daunting. But if you just focus on the parts of it that are relevant to getting started, it will be easy enough. It should look something like the image below.

Setting up Maschine with NI Massive Tutorial by OhmLab 1

Now let’s take a look at the main navigation controls, in regards to the sound libraries. In the upper left-hand corner are the various filters that will make sorting through the sounds easy. Below that is where the results are displayed. Right now, let’s focus on the small button that looks like piano keys. This will show you instrument plugins that are accessible to Maschine. I have restricted the plugin instruments that Maschine can use in order to keep CPU usage to a minimum and keep things performing fast. We can go over some best practices for performance in future lessons. The image below shows that I have selected Massive, and specifically the bass synths contained within the Massive Threat sound library. You can easily navigate to any sound or instrument using the Maschine hardware, too. This too, will be covered in future tutorials about using Maschine with NI Massive.

Setting up Maschine with NI Massive Tutorial by OhmLab 2

I would like to load the first bass in the list, called Absolute. I can load it several ways, but for now we’ll keep things simple and just double click on the sound in the left-hand side bar. This action loads the sound into Maschine and you can see it is now listed in the number 1 slot of Group A. As it stands at this point you can now play a single note from Massive, using the selected sound, by pressing the number 1 pad on the Maschine controller. But that is all you can do, unless you begin manipulating knobs and buttons. To turn Maschine into a more traditional MIDI controller and play notes up and down a scale, you will need to press the button that looks like piano keys directly to the left of the Group A sounds, shown in the second image below. Once this is selected you should be able to play your Maschine hardware device as a synth!

Setting up Maschine with NI Massive Tutorial by OhmLab 3

Setting up Maschine with NI Massive Tutorial by OhmLab 4

It really is that simple. Using Maschine with NI Massive should open a lot of doors for musicians and producers, and will potentially change the way we interact with out instruments moving forward. We would like to hear from all of you Maschine users! What do you want to learn about? What troubles are you having with the software or the hardware? Do you have tips, tricks or tutorials of your own to share? Let us know by sending us a message before you leave the site today. Things are about to get a whole lot more awesome up in here. Thanks for stopping by!


  • Tito

    When I try the first step which is load a Massive sound that is accessible, I get an error saying Plug- in not found, check the plug -in path and rescan. I rescan and still get the same message. What am I doing wrong?

    • OhmLab

      Hey Tito,

      Did you remember to first launch Maschine in standalone mode rather than running it in your DAW as a plugin?

      • Evan Rowe

        I just bought this maschine MK2, and installed it, and right out of the box, it’s giving me this crazy plug in error. Super fucking annoying!

  • Tito

    yes , I did that

    • OhmLab

      Is this still a problem for you, Tito? Have you installed the latest update for Massive yet? Perhaps your system simply needs to rescan Massive. Are you using Maschine inside of a DAW or standalone? Was your copy of Massive legit prior to getting your free copy from Native Instruments? If not, perhaps there is still a bad file still present in the system library folder that manages plug-in authentication?

  • Tony

    how do i get the keyboard sign to show up on my machine? i have massive installed and activated.

    • OhmLab

      Hi Tony,

      The small keyboard icon should already be present in your Maschine software. If you look closely in the last image of the tutorial you will see it just to the left of the instrument loaded into the first slot of Group A.

      If you are referring to accessing it on your actual Maschine hardware device, you first need to press and hold the Pad Mode button and then turn on keyboard mode by pressing the second navigation button at the top of the device. You should see the word KEYBD become highlighted when you do this.

      Hope this helps to get you going!


  • melo

    how can i change the key of the pads in maschine. for ex. i load a basssample and the lowest pad is c3, how can i change it to c1 ?

    • OhmLab

      You need to use the Octave Shift feature. Hold down the shift key and press pads 13-16 accordingly. The functions of each pad are printed in grey text above the corresponding pads.

      Hope this helps!

  • Kevin

    I still got a problem uploading my plugins from time to time, sometimes it works, sometimes it dont .. I had to reinstall my plugins and choose a different path as the default path suggested.
    It has worked well for a while, but then, for the past few weeks, when I launch Maschine in standalone, sometimes it just won’t scan the plugins properly.
    My current path is : C: / Users / Native Instruments
    Thats a simple path wich used to work perfectly.
    Plus I always get the ”plugin not found” error message when I try to upload massive. I have not been able to run massive a single time since we got it for free a few weeks ago. I consider myself as a patient dude, but it’s getting on my nerves now, I don’t know what to do with this, it seems like nobody got the solution to this issue.
    I had made a little tutorial on how to find the plugins, its on youtube, here it is : (It has helped a bunch of people)
    I have figured how to do this stuff myself and nobody from the service center were able to tell me the proper solution to my issue.
    So, is there another path where I should reinstall my plugins ? whats the problem ? why sometimes the scan works and sometimes it doesnt ??

    • OhmLab

      I would probably suggest doing a reinstall of both Maschine and Massive. Unless you had a…um… not-quite-legal version of Massive installed before you got your free version. Then I suggest removing all library files corresponding to Massive before reinstalling it, and there would be no reason to reinstall Maschine in this case.

      Good luck!

  • Carlos

    Ever since I upgraded to 1.8, massive works fine until about 20 minutes after I start when suddenly none of the massive sounds make any noise. If I restart maschine they work but all of the effects just say “MACRO” and the sound is different. Does anyone have any idea why this is happening or how I can fix it?

    • OhmLab

      Is your copy of Massive legit? Did you ever have a copy of Massive installed that was not legit? If so, try removing all support files for Massive and reinstalling from the disk/download you got from Native Instruments.

      Good luck!

  • andres

    HI i have a doubt i have my maschine the 1.6v just update to 1.8 from service center! but i have no massive library or plugin? i have to download it apart? or how is the thing can u help me plzz ! thanks!

    • OhmLab

      You should have received an email from Native Instruments when you registered your maschine. You may want to check the spam folder in your email. This email has a download link and serial number for Massive.

  • jake

    i updated to maschine 1.8.2 and am having trouble getting massive, i got no email with a serial number,
    any ideas?

    • OhmLab

      You may need to check the spam folder in your email. If you still cannot find it you need to contact Native Instruments directly to get it sorted.

  • dan

    hey guys…i’m new to Maschine …recently bought it..I was very excited to receive Massive but I’m getting supper frustrated…I have followed the above mentioned steps…at least 15 times.. I’m still getting the same message that Tito was getting : “plug in not found. Please check the plug-in path in the Maschine preferences and rescan plug-ins”….as mentioned, I’ve tried to follow those instructions over and over…I am at a loss. Please don’t respond by asking me if it is legal…I payed full price and have receipt to prove it..
    please help

    • OhmLab

      I suggest reinstalling Massive.

      If this doesn’t work, you can try adding it manually through the Maschine preferences interface. Select Plugins and then Add. Locate all supporting library folders that Massive components have been saved to and click OK.

      If you are still having problems after this, you should contact Native Instruments directly.

  • Scott


    I noticed you have FM8 as a bank in Maschine. Can you tell me how to add a plugin as a bank? Massive and Skanner show up in mine but not FM8. In order to access any of my VSTs I have to browse them on one of the module tabs. I’d love to be able to add my other synths as banks too, but I’m doubting that’s possible.

    On a related topic (if you’re feeling generous!), do you have any idea how to browse the VST plugins from the hardware? I can’t figure it out and always have to use the mouse.


  • Scott

    That worked! Thanks.

  • Derek

    The bottom line with this product is the upgrades are nightmarish. Every time they rev the software, the hardware itself will go black (not power up at all) and Windows won’t see it. The painful B.S. of going back all the way to the install CD, one upgrade at a time, rebooting between them, making sure it’s disconnected, and praying to god that you plug it in after the right step, is about the worst driver installation in the industry. Now with the 1.8 update I just know my firmware is somewhere around 1.5 but the 1.8 driver has no idea how to signal the hardware. It won’t even come up as a standard MIDI controller. Native Instrument’s helpful support instructions? “Install the Controller Editor without plugging Maschine in”, a support page now rated by 70% of the community as “Unhelpful”. WTF, install the Controller Editor software to fix a driver problem?

    So tonight, as I have done since 2009 with all Maschine upgrades, I will just keep taking shots in the dark to figure out how to get it to light up again. If it weren’t for how great the product is when it DOES work, I would throw this piece of garbage out the window.

    I hope Ableton 9 and the Push hardware releasing on March 5th can crush their competition. This is really unbelievable.

    Anyone want to buy a Maschine?

  • Patto

    I downloaded a Massive preset pack a few days ago.
    I’ve loaded each preset into Massive as stand alone and have tagged each preset with attributes. I would like to know if it is possible to browse the presets through Maschine as a bank or a type, without using my computers mouse? Thanks

  • Michael Danger

    ok, i’m running maschine 2.0 MK2.
    my question is, though MASSIVE came with it, it wont work. Massive works in LOGIC and as a stand alone, but MASCHINE wont load it, i get a SERVER BUSY and an error code…. HELP ME PLEASE!!!

  • ryan mason

    hi everyone.i just downloaded mashine 2.2 onto my second laptop and now all of a sudden my ni a6 interface does not show up in my audio setup can anyone please advice me thanks