Lesson 5: Quantize & Swing


Quantize snaps all sounds to the exact timing of the quantize setting. For example, if set to 1/4, quantize will snap each sound to play exactly on whichever beat it is nearest to. If set to 1/8, it will snap each sound to the closest 1/8 note etc. This results in perfect timing, but can sound a little unnatural and robotic. Genres like Trap music generally quantize all of their drums for a very robotic sound. Other styles such as golden age hip-hop, avoid quantization altogether, resulting in a more natural, funky drum sound.

Heres an example of a drum beat (played badly) with no quantize applied. Notice that the sounds do not line up perfectly on the beat grid:

Now if we quantize this pattern using a 1/16 quantize setting, the sounds line up perfectly on the beat grid and it looks and sounds like this:

Within Maschine and many other music software suites, quantize can be used in real-time when playing/recording music, or used after to correct small errors/mistimed parts.

Here is how to turn input quantize on and off in Maschine:



Note: We recommend setting the Input Quantize to ‘None’ whilst practising – This will improve your timing. You will become a better finger drummer if you don’t need to rely on Quantize for your finger drumming to sound good.

There are a variety of ways you can change the current quantize value in Maschine. The simplest way is shown below:

Applying Quantize to Existing Patterns from the Hardware

Press the Quantize button on Controller for a full Quantize of your pattern:

Press Shift+Quantize buttons to quantize your pattern by 50%:

Applying Quantize to Existing Patterns by Keyboard

To apply quantize to a pattern you have already recorded, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts…


Quantize: Option+Q

50% Quantize: Option+Shift+Q


Quantize: Alt+Q

50% Quantize: Alt+Shift+Q


Swing (aka ‘Groove’ in some software) adjusts the timing of 1/16 and 1/32 note hits to give a more natural effect. With real life drumming on a drum kit, a drummers timing will never be absolutely perfect every time, and in many styles of music (such as funk), drummers accentuate this for a swingy/groovy effect.

Here is an example drum pattern. We will listen to how it sounds with different swing settings applied:

Here is that pattern with 0% swing:

Now listen to the same pattern with 30% swing applied:

And now the same pattern again, with 50% swing applied:

Next Lesson: Crash Cymbals & Musical Changes >>