One of the things I have found confusing about learning Maschine is the correspondence between step size and pattern length. To muddle things further, there’s two “Pattern Length” parameters: One for the pattern, and one for the grid.

After much reading of manuals, here’s my synopsis:

  • The “Grid Pattern Length” (which you access by pushing the “Grid” button and then the top button #3 for “Pat Len”) is the unit of measure which your pattern length will be measured by. If you choose “1 Bar” here (the default), you will later be able to make your pattern 1 bar long, 2 bars long, etc. If you choose “1/2” here (which really means for “1/2 Bar”), you will be able to make your pattern 1 of these units long (which would be a 1/2 bar pattern), or 2 (which would be a 1 bar pattern), etc.

    • One way you can see this working is to start out with your pattern as a 1 bar length (the default). Then change your grid pattern length to 1/2 bar. Go back to your pattern length and you will see that the pattern length is now 2 instead of 1. That’s because your pattern is still the same size (1 bar), but its unit of measure is now in half bars instead of full bars.

    • The “Pattern Length” (which you access by pushing the pattern button and twisting knob #1) is the length of the pattern, given in units of “Grid Pattern Length” (as discussed above)

  • The Step Size (which you access by pushing the “Grid” button and then the top button #4 for “Step”) is used for two different things:

    • The step size for step mode. This influences how many of the pads on the controller will be needed to cover the whole pattern. If you set the step size to 1/4 (corresponding to 1/4 of a bar—in other words, a quarter note) and your pattern is 1 bar long, only 4 lights will sequentially light up when you push play in step mode. If you set the step size to 1/16 and the pattern is one bar long (the default), all 16 pads will light up in sequence as the pattern plays.

    • The step size is also the unit of measure for quantization. If you do a quantize on your pattern and the step size is set to 1/8, all the notes will snap to the 1/8 bar markings.

Maschine Step Size and Pattern Length Diagram

Hopefully this little explanation will be helpful to somebody out there who is also going through the Maschine learning process.