Maschine; oh, the irony!

Maschine controller.

Right, it sure took a while but it has finally arrived!

The Maschine is a combination of your regular drumpad combined with an advanced sampler and sequencer. Officially its a Groove Production Studio..

In this post you won’t find any comments on the Maschine itself, simply because I haven’t been able to use it yet. Which brings me to the subject at hand…

In my last post I speculated about the availability of warez and raised the question if warez really are as evil as we are made to believe.  As obnoxious as it may sound; I believe there really is a good legitimate reason not to condemn warez “just because”.

And boy did irony manage to bite me in the behinds big time!

Maschine; using the dumbest “protection scheme” ever!

So here I was unpacking the Maschine. I set it all up, because of the freezing weather I decided to leave it standing for a while in order to slowly warm up a bit while I went ahead with doing other stuff.  Eventually the time was right; time to do some grooving!

Installing the Maschine is normally pretty simple.. You set it all up, pop in the DVD and install the software. Then you turn on the controller, it will find any required drivers and after that you’re all good to go.

There was only one problem…  No matter what I tried I couldn’t get the DVD to work in my computer. The drive would make some noise, eventually spin down and that was it. The moment I tried to open the device in Windows I got an error telling me that no disc had been inserted.  WTF?!!

Fortunately my profession lies with IT, as such I have several computers at my disposal. All computers which use a DVD/CD writer (my Vista workstation, my XP laptop, etc.) had issues with reading the DVD. The only computer which could read the DVD was my Linux workstation, which is still using an old DVD player (player only; a cool Pioneer ‘slot in’ DVD player).

What seemed like a break at first turned out to be a disappointment; while I could easily copy the installer and the two hidden directories which contained the actual library I was unable to use these since the installer required the DVD to be present.

Warez (practices) to the rescue!

The first thing I did was checking up on some Torrent websites. Amazingly enough I spotted several “alternative” copies of the Maschine software which made me wonder.. Further investigation learned me that several people had put whole DVD images online.

Surely it couldn’t be that simple ?

Amazing as it may sound this is exactly the way it works..  Using Linux I simply made a full image of the DVD, then copied this over the network onto my Vista workstation. Here I used an excellent tool called “Magic ISO virtual cd manager” (you can find its page here where you can also download it). This tool allows you to assign a drive letter to a CD or DVD image file. In other words: you’re basically creating a virtual cd (or dvd) device on your computer.

After this I could install the Maschine software without any problem. Talk about a totally f*cked up copy protection scheme!

Maschines’ hypocrite software “protection”.

Instead of actually protecting their software the only thing Native Instruments manages to accomplish with their Maschine DVD is making things a lot harder for legitimate users. Period.

First this protection is stupid..  We cannot make a backup of our Maschine software, so should the DVD for whatever reason get read errors you’re screwed. Not an unthinkable situation; CD’s and DVD’s really aren’t as reliable as vendors want you to believe..

Second this protection is hypocrite..  While we cannot make a copy we do have the DVD to authenticate the software, yet we still need to use our serial number to unlock the software. Talk about making things harder than it should!

But it becomes plain out stupid when you finished installing and authorizing the software…  The first thing the Service Center will do is download some updates.  Guess what ?

“Maschine setup.exe”, “Maschine factory content setup.exe”, “Maschine factory content 1.5 setup.exe”, “Maschine controller driver.exe”.

That’s right…  Eventually you’ll end up with the installers unprotected on your hard disk anyway, if that’s not plain out stupid and hypocrite on the part of Native Instruments I don’t know what is!

The worst part is that this stuff actually costs your several hundreds of Euro’s or Dollars. I for one would have expected something a little more professional than this display of plain out amateurism.

Native Instruments: If you don’t know how to protect your software properly, DON’T BOTHER!  The only thing you’re doing is making it harder on your users, and that is just plain out wrong.

SO….  Screw you guys:

How to bypass Native Instruments’ Maschine protection.

Or: how to claim your right in making a (working) backup of the software.  To sum it up:

  • Download Magic ISO’s virtual cd manager here and install it.
  • You should end up with an icon in your system tray; right click on it.
  • Select “Make CD/DVD Image…”.
  • Now the program will make a one on one copy of your Maschine DVD.  Warning: this can get big, up to 5Gb easily.
  • Done!

Now you can make a backup of the image file (I’d suggest using a tool like WinRAR for that) and use the same Magic ISO tool to mount it as well. Mounting / assigning an image file is easy: right click on the icon in the system tray, go to “Virtual CD/DVD-ROM” and then a new item appears which indicates the assigned drive letter.

Hoover over that as well, a new option should appear which says “Mount…”.  Select the option, point the Open dialog to the image you want to access and open it.

That’s all!

RIGHT, while I was writing all this my updates got saved to my backup drive and installed, so now I’m all set for an evening of the Maschine.

If you want to know more about how to copy and backup CD or DVD’s and would like some screen shots as well just yell and I’ll put those up.  But now I can’t wait to finally get my hands on the Maschine.

And NI…  Please hire some better qualified and skilled staff.  At least hire people who don’t end up conjuring up a braindead “copy protection” like this; stuff which doesn’t give any protection against copying AT ALL (see above) but only blocks legitimate users from installing your software.

This is SO utterly stupid that it STILL manages to irritate me to no ends…

…Maybe I should come up with a protest song



  1. I feel the hate 🙂

    So this means we won’t get a maschine review or somthing ? U actually like maschine or …. ?

  2. Nah, I have no hate for Maschine at all..

    IMO this isn’t really about Maschine but more about some dumbass marketing department which deems it necessary to “protect their investments”.

    And yes, I am going to do a Maschine review. Its not hate, but also not all love either

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