So the Maschine Jam unit arrived last evening, right on time. I was able to un-box the device last night, activate, and fiddle around for a little while before bed. Today I spent an hour with it, and I have some very preliminary thoughts.
The packaging and build quality are great. Honestly, the Push 2 seems to have a slightly "higher end" built, but the price is nearly double. The screens on the Push are fantastic. I thought I would miss the screens while playing with the Jam, but I did not. The implementation of multiple modes for the touch strips takes care of many audible functions on the Jam, and I did not find myself looking for screens or knobs up top.
Let's break down the components separately.
Browsing & transport: everything you would want to access right away is available on the controller. Some functions require a shift-click, but i found the desired functions with almost no loss of time or concentration.
Clip triggering: Very similar to the Jam, minus one major difference. In Ableton world, when you want to silence a row of clips (channel), you may hit "stop clip" for that channel OR you may simply tap an empty cell slot in that channel's row & it'll just stop playback. Magic.
In Jam world, when you tap an empty cell on the grid, it activates that new cell for recording so that you may input new MIDI data. This is really frustrating if you're accustomed to using the session view/mode as a live playback/performance tool or to sketch beats in new arrangements with existing MIDI data. For me, I tend to be in "record clips" mode and then I go into "now let's mix things up with new random clip combos" mode. This part, to me, is a failure on the part of NI to keep things simple. That's all for now.