Native Instruments Battery 2
Battery offers studio musicians and programmers an awesome digital percussion software-sampler. Battery 2 updates this software based sample player with enhanced sound editing and interface features making it easier than ever to create your own dynamic drum kits for any style. The focus of this review will be on Battery's new features, so for a review and introduction to just what exactly is Battery, check out our review of the original 2001 version of Battery.
The folks at Native Instruments have listened to their users. Battery 2 has a much better interface and enhanced sound quality and shaping features. It has a new 256 voice polyphonic sampling engine with support for Direct From Disk streaming. Now you can create massive drum kit libraries. And speaking of libraries, it ships with a 3.5 GB drum sample library with 23 kits, as well as updated versions of all Battery 1's original kits. Battery 2's other major new feature is the optimized and resizable interface. The window can display from 9 to 72 "cells", and the edit pane is retractable for a stream-lined display.
The edit pane is significantly improved in it's layout as well. The left side has 6 tabbed menus that display the Cell, Mapping, Modulation, Filter, Compressor, and Loop pages. The right shows the graphic waveform display with simple volume envelope and pitch controls. In the middle are four simple knobs to modify the sample's tuning, saturation, bit-degrade, and sample de-grade. All these edit functions apply to each cell independently.
The compressors are new to Battery 2 as well as the multimode filters with 15 filter types ranging from 6-pole resonant low-pass to parametric EQ's, vowel filters and more. Battery's loop features are expanded with up to four loops per cell and several sliders to adjust each loop. The Modulation section adds an LFO with saw, triangle, square waveforms and an additional envelope. There are no surprises in Battery 2's interface, everything you need to totally reshape each cell is easy to find and just a click away, and they're all MIDI CC assignable too!
Battery is also compatible with just about every sample format, adding support for Kontakt, Gigasampler, and REX 1 & 2 files (beat-sliced loops). The edit pane can be toggled into the import pane, from which you can import all kinds of sound formats by simply dragging and dropping them into a cell. Battery 2 itself is very compatible, functioning as VST, Audio Units, and RTAS plug-ins and stand-alone using DXI, ASIO, Core Audio, and DirectSound. It's clear that for a software synth with uncompromised sound quality and easier than before editing features and almost universal compatibilities, Battery 2 is the way to go if you're dedicated to drums and percussion.
Demos & Media
Recommended: Mac OS X 10.3, G4 733 MHz, 512 MB RAM
VST, RTAS, Audio Units, ASIO, Core Audio
Recommended: Windows XP, Pentium III/Athlon 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM
VST, RTAS, DXi, ASIO, DirectSound
Images from Native Instruments.