Introduction ******************* A great intuitive sampler specialized for drums including a lot of internal sound processing and warping features. It's impossible to list all features and review them all. They're just too many :) I will concentrate my review to my workflow and just scratch the surface.
I'd give a 10/10, but unless they fix some little issues (see cons below) Battery 4 has to live with an 8/10.
GUi & Usability ******************* The GUI change from Batter 3 to 4 is huge and I love it. Editing start and end points is now much easier and faster. Loading samples and assigning them to a cell is a piece of cake. So is layering samples within a cell. Layered samples can be still tweaked separately for some important parameters like pitch, vol and pan. The new file explorer is also faster and gives you the possibility to tag your own samples, so you can find them much faster, because you don't have to search them on your harddrive. Thus creating your own drum set is done quick and easy.
Processing and sound warping your samples within Battery 4 is straight forward and features a lot of different ways. You can even group cells on a bus and then tweak and process the bus internally.
Sound ******************* The sound depends heavily on the samples you use, of course. Battery 4 has basically no sound for itself, as long as you just play the samples. As soon as you start to process them it'll change. The inbuilt effects, compressors, filters, etc. are nice, but definitely not the best out there. That's why I route the sounds thru individual outs and process them in the DAW. But essentially you don't need that, in fact you'd be able to produce a whole song just with Battery 4. Everything's in there.
The samples sound very good and clean and come well tagged. The included library is huge and has its own sound character. I call it NI-character. It's a matter of taste. I personally don't like them and always use other sample libraries.
Presets ******************* It also comes with a lot of complete drum presets. The few ones I checked out are well programmed and include a lot of details. Personally I just love to create new sets from scratch. For newbies the presets are a very good starting point, where they also can learn the features of Battery 4.
Stability ******************* Battery 4 never crashed on my system (Logic 8 & OS X 10.6.8) and runs tight with 8 mono and 8 stereo individual outs. Some claim, that drums programmed with audio files on audio tracks are more tight and groovey than samplers (like Battery 4) triggered by MIDI. I did a test where the whole drum pattern was created twice with the exact same samples. Once only with audio files on audio tracks (what a hassle to set them and if you have to change the groove ;) ) and once with MIDI. Bounced both versions, switched the phase on one and they cancelled each perfectly out. So there was no difference at all.
Cons ******************* Here are some issues, that left me a little clueless because they were implemented in Battery 3 and then left out in Battery 4. But I have to tell that they are not a killer: -) Saving presets in the envelopes is missing -) Previewing samples in a cell without overwriting the original sample is missing -) Individual out assignment is not possible directly at the cell fader, but have to be done via right click on the cell and thru 3 sub menus.
Conclusion ******************* Albeit the issues I use Battery 4 for all projects. It's fast, reliable and gives you a lot of features. I hope they will include the missing Battery 3 features in the future.
(For Battery 3) Really, I don't think there's anything more to ask for from Battery 3 - the interface is streamlined but comprehensive, and the sample library is brilliant. I'll cover the library first. There are the basics, of course - TR-808 and 909, CR-78 and Linn Drums. There are acoustic kits ranging from heavy rock to pop to jazz, with several of them sampled in extreme detail. There are also a large number of experimental kits, one made entirely from basic waveforms with processing, one made from samples taken inside NI's Berlin headquarters, and many others collecting various unusual sounds. Of course, the question isn't the amount of sounds - there are dozens of programs that offer large sample libraries - but the quality of the sounds there, and when it comes to quality, Battery is hard to beat. The drum sounds are crisp and useable, and it's hard to imagine anyone exhausting the set. Battery will satisfy everyone from the pop musician looking for a quick preset to the experimental producer creating weird, glitchy sounds. The interface is next. Battery is easy to use, despite its complexity - there's a sample browser that lets you load your own samples with ease, as well as a system of cell presets that lets you easily drop in different built-in sounds to create your own kit. Effects, modulation, and the like are all in separate tabs, so that you the GUI isn't cluttered up with controls you aren't concerned with accessing. Battery allows you to create your own sounds or use preset sounds easily, making it a real pleasure to use.Read more
I have been using Battery since version 1. Battery 3 was not ready for "Primetime" when released and still is not. Over 20 verifiable bugs NI is aware of. So far they have done nothing to remedy the situation. Support does not return emails, they just send you spam on buying more of there products.I do not recommend this upgrade until the product is fixed. Then it should be a great piece of software. The features (once they work) will make it the best drum sampler out there bar none. The fact that Battery 3 does both audio and MIDI loops is a godsend, for that "perfect" drum track and the per cell effects are excellent, in both tonal quality and CPU load. But as I stated, hold off on this one until they get it right.NI have been developing a reputation for poor support for a few years now. Well with Battery 3 they are expanding on that reputation. I am a Battery user and feel it is the best on the market. It is really sad we waited so long for an update and this is what the loyal users receive.Read more
Battery was my first VSTi dedicated to drums and still the one I use most. It is stable, sounds good and comes with a nice selection of sampled sets. The expansion sets are wonderful and I suggest them for anyone. The expansion sets also work in Kontakt. Two complaints that I frequently here about batter is lack of synth modules, and no dedicated outputs. I don’t mind the absence of synth modules because I consider some dedicated drum synths to be much better than what you get in an all in one package. The absence of extra outputs is a bigger problem is you want to process bass drum separately from the rest of the kit. My way around this has been to separate the bass drum to a second instance of batters. This can be done in the beginning, or when you reach the point of finalizing the mix. One of my favorite features in Battery is the ability to use drag and drop within some hosts. In Sonar I can drag slices from some VSTi’s that chop up loops directly to pads in Battery. This is a quick way to build some unique kits by chopping up everything from turntable scratch loops to machinery rhythms. Battery does not stream so some kits can take a lot of space. One the other hand, I have noticed that some programs that convert Battery kits to work in other drum VSTi’s seem to greatly increase the size of the kits, and thus those VSTi’s use even more memory when using Battery kits.
The one big problem with Battery is the advertised Akai conversion. I have never been able to get a decent conversion. In the worst case the conversion process will lock up the computer. I have tried this on 5 different computers of different brands, Windows operating systems, and CD Drives. No luck. It will just not work for me.
User Interface - Functional but nothing special to look at.
Sound - Very good.
Documentation - A book is included in the box.
Presets - A selection of nice kits, but I suggest getting the expansions.
Customer Support - Good but updates to Battery have been very slow. No answer or solution to the problem of Akai import.
Value For The Money - More expensive than the two main competitors.
Stability - Good as long as you do not try the Akai import routine on Windows.
Copy Protection - Occasional CD check.
Frequency Of Use - Very often.
CPU Load - Light.
Fun Factor - Easy to create fun and interesting kits.
With the release of Kontakt I am not sure I would buy Battery again.Read more