Native Instruments has announced the launch of Maschine MK3, the new edition of their acclaimed Maschine, NI’s acclaimed hardware/software digital audio workstation.

The MK3 marks a complete hardware overhaul and the second major hardware revision in Maschine’s history. Now eight years old (a baby in terms of instruments in general but an aeon in the digital world), Maschine MK3 has taken to heart some of the criticisms leveled at the MK2 and its Akai MPC-like tactile interface.

Most notable among the physical improvements are substantially bigger pads – sixteen total and they now take up a substantial part of the Maschine’s footprint. “Bigger pads” might sound like a pretty boring headline until you touch them: the new pads are not just larger but reactive as hell, touch-sensitive and registering with a fraction of the pressure necessary on the MK2. In a similar vein is a touch-reactive smart strip below the Pitch/Mod/Perform buttons.

The second notable overhaul is the introduction of full color (and fairly high resolution) monitors. They’re not quite as good as an iPhone screen they’re not that far off. Also, the Maschine now boasts a studio-grade, 96kHz/24-bit audio interface for patching in a synth or dynamic mic.

Native Instruments has also announced a similar overhaul of the companion Komplete Kontrol MK2 keyboard. The Maschine MK3 by itself runs for $599 and is scheduled for release on October 5, but available for pre-order now.