Pulswerk, the latest installment of the NI expansion pack series for Maschine, draws influences from the minimal techno and house genres (think: Plastikman, Richard Villalobos, Ellen Alien, etc.). Within this set of “Minimalistic Groove Tools,” there are 30 drum kits, 20 special kits, 60 Massive presets, 10 multi-effect kits, and 215 patterns, all of which fall under the Analog, Digital, Pulswerk MFX, Special, and Vinyl groups—and each is easily accessible from the Maschine sound-bank browser.
Within the Analog kit there are 20 sets that range from big-room 909 drums to minimal and techy-sounding 808 kits. The Digital group has 10 kits with a special Daedalus-style kit. The Pulswerk MFX group has 10 multi-effects kits and the Special group has 20 kits ranging from the punchy bass sounds of the Aye Bass kit to the bleeps of the Proton kit to the gritty Gagarin kit. And, last but not least, the Vinyl group includes the dirty vinyl sounds of the Voyal kit—perfect for those scratchy and vintage-sounding beats.
And, if those kits are not enough, there are 60 Massive presets to choose from, including some really great bleepy synths, from the Car Plus Perk preset to the wub-wub bassline sounds of Big Mess to the ravey Yibbedee lead. This is great way to get some fantastic Massive sounds without having to go through the whole process of creating a preset from scratch, especially when you are playing a live show or adding bits to your sets.
I have to admit that Pulswerk is by far my favorite pack in NI’s Expansion series. I’m a huge fan of the analog kits and the various basses, and the sound quality is fantastic. Even the Massive presets are great starters and fillers for your live sets, and the patterns are really nice to refer to when you get a creative block. There are so many quality sounds to choose from that you could probably produce a whole album from this kit. Overall, the Pulswerk expansion kit is a nice set for producing not just minimal and house tracks, but some fantastic tech-house and bass-style tracks. And, at $49, it’s a steal.