Pad Layout and AD2 Pricing

After using my new Mikro for just a few days I upgraded to a mk3 to benefit from the added controls, color displays, etc. I’m happy with the hardware and wanted to ask about kits and the standard pad layout in the Basic Technique + Pad Layout tutorial.

I’ve starred some kits I don’t mind in the included NI libraries and expansions. Seems like my next step should be to drag around and copy/paste my way to the QFG preferred layout and then… save it as a modified kit. I’d assume this will break the whole process of switching kits later since the layout for all the NI kits in Pad Mode is always more of a chromatic list with kicks on 1 and 5, snares on 2 and 6, hats on 3 and 4 (but never with a convenient choke group for open/closed fml).

So my first question is: for the sake of pad layout, are we making/saving our own QFG-style kits and abandoning the NI kit layout (as well as the ability to switch kits later for existing patterns)?

This brings me to my next question: any speculation on future AD2 sales? I’m down to use a 3rd party drum plugin but liked it better when I saw folks mentioning <$80usd rather than the current full price of $169. Between Logic and the NI content it’s not like I need three more sampled drum kits for almost $60 each, and don’t get me started about AD2’s dated brushed-metal gui, yikes!

Thanks for the advice and all the helpful videos!


Hey Matt,

While I do recommend the Maschine units as a controller because I think the pads respond great, the pad layout is not tied to Maschine software or any software for that matter. I use the controllers in midi mode and never touch Maschine software actually. I also do not know that well how it works to be honest.

I recommend Addictive Drums because it’s the software I use myself and therefore I make drum presets for QFG lessons, which gives students the same sounds I use. Apart from that, there is no downside to using other drum software.

The only thing is that you have to make it work yourself. If you get a great sounding Native Instrument Abbey Road kit up and running (either inside Maschine software or otherwise) and you’re happily jamming along to the lessons you’re 100% fine.

So basically these are the reasons for my recommendations.

  • Controller: Needs to have responsive pads that trigger also for softer touches.
  • Drum software: Anything that sounds good to you and works for you. If you want some extra convenience using my drum presets and getting some step by step instructions on how to get your drum kit set up just like me, then you can get Addictive Drums and follow along.

Addictive drums has regular sales, usually 40% off. About 4 times per year, so waiting for a sale is highly recommended!

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Thanks for the quick reply!

I can create some custom pad layouts in the Maschine software for practice purposes and already have one in Logic’s Drum Machine Designer using your template. I’ve just been focusing on the Maschine software since the controls are geared toward it. This is akin to what you say in one of your videos: learning finger drumming and making/playing music make sense as parallel tracks. I can use kits without finger drumming layouts if I’m just auditioning sounds.

Thanks again and good shout on the AD2 sale.


Have you noticed much benefit with the full size mk3? It’s quite a bit more expensive.

I nearly bought AD2 at the start of Jan. It was 30% off from memory. I’ve got EZDrummer 3 so not sure I’ll still get AD2, but it definitely sounded in the demo version.

So much more expensive yeah, especially since I spent the year end sale only considering the Mikro so I ended up paying full price for the mk3 just days after the sale ended fml

I much prefer the mk3 though: the integration with the Maschine software is like nothing I’ve encountered and makes me wish I’d become a Maschine user years ago.

Instead of hitting R in Logic to record or spacebar to play/pause, the mk3 has all the necessary controls and displays to eshew the mouse and keyboard and pretty much let my monitor go to sleep. The mikro’s dinky display and more modest controls don’t exploit the Maschine 2 software capabilities nearly as well.

So far I don’t love/grasp the object orientation for browsing NI sound content. The Master/Group/Sound hierarchy is fine but I’m confused having disparate virtual instruments inside something like Kontakt or Battery and then Expansions with their goofy names and overlapping content types somewhere else.

Still, the bigger mk3 lets me view and edit events/patterns or adjust parameters without resorting to the mouse and that’s something that was already bugging me with the Mikro. I’m surprised to hear Rob say he only uses midi mode since the hardware integration is the key selling point for me.

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Hey Matt,
Don’t forget that Rob isn’t here to sell or comment on NI’s full product, only the use of the Maschine as a ‘drum player’. I can fully understand why he has refrained from commenting.

I’ll soon be purchasing the course as I AM LOVING being able to play drums (ok, with my hands) — I’ve always wanted to since my teens but never had the space, finances or neighbourly distance to do so.

I hope you’re enjoying this practise! :smiley:

Oh! You do have a point regarding AD2’s UI, it sure does need a ‘clean’ update, although it’s not terrible and not really for this forum — worth contacting the dev’s maybe?

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Good point, although less of a remember and more of a never knew.

Like I was saying, I do appreciate the Maschine hardware/software integration specifically. Of course I have manuals and other forums for those sort of hiccups.

The AD rec is itself a value-add, ugliness notwithstanding; I’m disappointed by the many synth drum kits in the Komplete Select and Maschine libraries.

I also prefer the QFG pad layout and don’t think the NI kits are finger drumming friendly at all really.

Yeah the NI integration is top notch! Pity I don’t have the time to give it a blast.

Finger drumming is getting in the way! :smiley:

Hey yeah I did not have time to respond, but what you’re saying is correct.

I fully believe the Maschine mk3 could have this amazing workflow but the reason I do not use it for music making is simply because making a full track is actually quite complex and for that I need to use the tools that feel the most intuitive and feature rich to me, for my purposes.

I use Reaper as my DAW, before that I used Cubase, and whatever I want to do, in those DAWs I can do it, I can make subtle edits, move things around, re-record, make a quick comp out of multiple takes, automate a reverb (or whatever).

So, so many things. Whenever I fire up Maschine software it feels like I need to learn a new language. Same goes for Ableton by the way… I just don’t vibe with it. And that’s super important for something as intuitive as making music.

So yeah, I sort of have my workflow, I know my tools, and that’s why most things that “improve a workflow” will not work for me. I’m sort of set in my ways :smiley:

I’ve never really bonded with Ableton either, plus it’s kinda ugly.

Maschine works better for me than Logic’s Live Loops window for making beats. Running it in Logic is the plan eventually. I like the mk3 better than my all in one controllers since I don’t have keyboard chops plus they never auto mapped to my VSTs to make use of their knobs or even transport controls.

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Hey Matt,

what setup have you settled on since your original post? Do you use Maschine kits mapped to QFG layout? If so, how do you manage them?

I’m starting out from scratch and was planning to get an mk3 mikro and just use it as a midi controller, but found a great deal on used mk3 that I couldn’t pass by and now I’m toying with the idea to try messing around and playing some beats from the Machine kits in parallel to the course. Not having to touch the mouse/keyboard sounds very nice.

I would love to keep things simple/consistent and since I don’t have any prior DAW experience/preferences it sounds like Machine software is the way to go for me. I plan to start with the free powerdrumkit while waiting for AD2 sale and load it as Machine 2 plug-in following this Rob’s video.
What I can’t seem to find good information on is how to manage other kits with QFG layout and whether there is a way to do this once or at least in bulk so that exploring kits wouldn’t require manual setup or effectively learning two different layouts for me.

Hey Alex, I think you did well scoring a used mk3. Like I’ve been saying, I still appreciate the extra controls/displays on the top section and the mikro doesn’t seem as elegant when it comes to using the Machine software.

To answer your question: no, I haven’t been practicing finger drumming at all really; I’ve just been slumming it with the poorly mapped NI kits and I don’t have any tips on how to avoid remapping each new kit for proper two handed use.

I’ve gone through and favorites the more viable kits from whatever NI packs I have. In general the layout never suits me and really the NI kits all have some synths assigned that you’d presumably switch over to keyboard or chord mode to use.

So far my favorite setup has been to pair the mk3 with a little Akai keyboard so it’s easier to input ideas with Pigments and Analog Lab. I find the Arturia instruments to be more fun/impressive than any of the included NI stuff. The object orientation of expansion packs doesn’t appeal to me either.

I still dig the workflow for making/looping beats in Machine as opposed to Logic. The Arturia instruments make it less stable though, and the clunky kit layout is something I need to hack at some point too.

Sorry I don’t have any suggestions and let me know if you discover anything useful. I haven’t decided about investing in AD2 either, although I do think the NI acoustic kits are lacking and I don’t like the goofy Logic drummers. I heard the options for that got better with the latest Logic update so I should loop back around, as it were.