Review of Battery
by Native Instruments
Add quality sampled drums in the virtual domain of your sequencer
by the Tweak
Note the huge number of cells
now available in the Battery 3 interface
- Easy to use
- Multiple Outs (with appropriate
audio driver and interface)
- Sounds Fantastic!
- Huge Collection of drums, cells,
kits (Battery 3)
- Flexible internal FX routing (Battery
Native Instruments Battery Sampling Software (Macintosh and Windows)
Battery 3 is
the professional standard for drums and percussion. The latest version
of the acclaimed drum sampler fuses an extensive library with functionality
and simplicity. A powerful new engine and a host of sound shaping options
deliver tight, punchy drums while the user-friendly interface guarantees
instant access and complete control. Whether electronic or acoustic,
Battery 3 will have your drums rolling in no time.
Tweak: Battery is a great
drum sampler plugin. I like it and use it in nearly every song.
It goes way beyond your typical synthesizer drum kit, and it can load
sampled kits from some sample cd roms and improve upon them.
Read more at the
Native Instruments Site
they said is true. If
you are into sampled drums, hits, and rolling your own kits for your sequencer,
I cannot imagine a better soft sampler than Battery. Soft Sampler?
Well almost. Battery has no recording function, so you are not going
to be able to run a mic to the kitchen while the significant other smashes
vases, celebrating your new toy. But no big deal there, you surely
have a little applet that records wave files somewhere on your computer.
That's all you need to turn Battery into a full fledged digital sampler.
This article originally reviewed Battery 1, but has now been updated to
include Battery 3's new features.
Simplicity itself. Much simpler than
any hardware sampler. Just open a directory on your computer to where
your drum samples are and drag 'n drop into one of the "cells" in
Battery's grid. While the cells default to notes C1 through F5 on
the keyboard, you can assign any note you want to any cell. In Battery
3 you can add more cells (up to 128) if you need them, even color code them
if you want. The cell is one of those little squares you see in the
screenshot. You can do a lot because each one is independent if you
want them to be.
You don't have to use the editing features
in Battery. You can just call up different kits, and roll your drum
patterns in your sequencer.
What Battery cannot do
This type of drum interface does not
have drum machine pattern making functions, like Guru or a typical drum
machine has. It just lets you place samples along the keyboard so
you can play them, and lets you edit the sound of each drum dramatically.
It is ideal for people who know how to make their own drum patterns in their
sequencer of choice.
If you want a drum software instrument
that has pre-made patterns and a pattern editing grid and a variety of kits
that works like a drum machine you should look at Guru (review).
Guru also slices and allows effects to be applied to individual drums.
However Guru's 2GB library cannot compare to Battery's 12 GB library and
its kits are not as detailed.
Battery 3 Upgrade
Here's a list of new features in the Battery
Comprehensive and powerful drum sampler based on a next
generation sample engine
New 12 GB sample library: over 100 drum
kits with over 23,000 individual samples and over 2,600 categorized drum
cells covering all musical styles
Improved workflow and usability,
fast and intuitive access to all parameters. 8 step-by-step video tutorials
Fully customizable cell matrix: freely definable rows and
columns with up to a total of 128 sample cells
Improved cell effects
and a new master effects section
Performance articulations: roll,
flam, buzz, right hand, etc.
Beat synchronisation with loop import
for Apple Loops, REX, Acid Wave and Beat Creator
feature per cell for creative sample manipulation
now allows samples to be edited on-the-fly
Sample Purge keeps RAM
load to a minimum
Battery 3 has an awesome collection of
samples, perhaps the most definitive library of drums ever made. If
you liked Battery 1 and 2 you will certainly love 3.
Battery 1 could import Akai files, Reaktor
.map files, SoundFont .SF2 files, LM4, Loopazoid and MPC2000 files.
Battery 3 adds: MPC samples and programs, Halion. REX (including rx2), Gigasampler
containers, Sound designer II, Acid, Apple loops, EXS24 and Beatcreator
files. Oh and of course Kontakt 2 and Battery 1 and 2 files as well.
In the first Battery, for each cell you
could define a volume envelope, pitch envelope, assign sample
start, use a bitcrusher, increase or decrease overall "shape"
(sort of like a one knob compressor), and tune it. This
alone was impressive.
With Battery 3 you can go another step
by adding FX to individual cells (or groups of cells if you want)
and mastering processors to the whole kit. The Effects include
reverb, delay, saturator, Lo-Fi, Eq/Filter (yes, with resonance), Compressor
and more. Each effect has ready made presets and the reverb has a
series of impulses. Much like you can in a synth, you can route sources
to destinations, like LFO2 to Filter cutoff. There's some interesting
possibilities here such as routing "Random Bipolar" to Tuning, for a random
pitch change within a cell, to the more common Mod wheel to Filter.
The upshot of all this is you can treat your drum sample element just like
a synth treats a waveform, and in that lies the power under the hood of
Battery 3. I have never seen more flexibility in a drum sample player,
as much as any hardware sampler, and many times easier to get the result
The samples can be set to loop mode, and
you can do some really strange loop stutters. Yes, you can really
go out there if you want. But if you don't, you'll be happily surprised
when you hear what Battery can do with a lifeless, mediocre drum sample,
and when you map out a whole kit of these, the results are truly impressive.
Gone are the days when you are locked into preset drum maps from a synth
or sample CD. If you want the kick louder and at a lower pitch, the
snare snappier, the hats tighter, these are all easy adjustments to make.
Best of all, you can swap out a snare without changing anything else to
ensure you have the best on for your song. And don't forget, you aren't
limited to just drums either. Any sample you want is fair game.
You can stretch samples across the keys too if you want if you wanted to
sample some synths. You can reverse the sample if you want. I think
Battery would make a great sound effects mapper and do well for avante'
gard sound art masterpieces.
Battery 3 Slice and Audio edit features
Battery 3 will also slice loops
into hits and in my tests, it does it very well. You have exacting
control of the slice points and can edit audio directly on the sample. This
lets you slice up any material you want as you can apply fades, reverse,
cut, copy, paste, crop, loop remove dc offsets, normalize--all the basic
things you might otherwise need an audio editor for. This saves an
unbelievable amount of time if you are creating individual hits out of your
loop collection. This is destructive editing here, you are actually
changing the sound file. Battery intelligently makes you re-save a
copy the loop before you commit a destructive edit, which helps keep the
originals in your loop collection unscathed by your editing.
If you have a multiple output audio interface,
and a sequencer that support them, you can assign different drum cells to
different outputs. Ah yes! You can route your snare cell
to all the plugin reverbs on your system if you want and keep the kick loud
and dry, or to a different effect. How does this work? In Battery's
"options" menu you sell it how many busses you want. Then you map
the cells to a bus. In the sequencer, you simply route the bus
to a different audio out. Why is this important? It allows you to
separate your drums into several tracks with a different effect on each.
To sum up
Battery is a great drum sampler plugin.
I like it and have used the original Battery in more songs than I can count.
It goes way beyond your typical synthesizer drum kit, and it can load sampled
kits from some sample cd roms and improve upon them. If you
are really serious about drums but can't quite afford a sampler, Battery
is a godsend. Even if you do have a full rig of samplers, you will
appreciate Battery's speed at building custom drum maps and the sound it
delivers. Battery 3 furthers the tradition with a effects, routings and
an incredible library of kits. You can tweak this machine hard and
it will give you some awesome audio. This is Native Instruments at
their finest hour. It is so good I am considering developing a CD
Rom of drum sounds for it.
All the Best,
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