NI's Maschine is a platform that's frequently associated with beats, but with version 2.2 of the software, the company is expanding its melodic capabilities.
These come via the new Smart Play features, which were first introduced with NI's Komplete Kontrol S Series keyboards. You can now choose from a selection of popular scales and chords and play them on your Maschine hardware's 16 pads, while there's also an arpeggiator that offers control of direction, octave span and subdivision. The output of this is recorded into Maschine's Pattern Editor, so it can be honed to your satisfaction.
There's also more functionality for Maschine Studio's touch-sensitive knobs.
If you want to step away from the pads for a while, Maschine 2.2 offers full integration with the S Series keyboards. Maschine instrument and effect parameters are automatically mapped to the display knobs on both pieces of hardware, while the Light Guide also synchronises with Maschine's pads to give you visual feedback.
More information on the Maschine 2.2 update is available now from the Native Instruments website. It's free for all current Maschine 2 owners, while those who are still on version 1.x can currently upgrade for the discounted price of £44.50/$49.50/€49.50, which sounds like a pretty good deal to us. This price applies until 12 December.