Native Instruments Battery
Battery offers studio musicians and programmers an awesome digital percussion software-sampler. Battery can load up to 54 drum, percussion and sound samples into its "cells" in the "matrix" section. Each cell offers a complete set of sound parameters and can use up to 128 velocity-switchable sample layers. This all boils down to a software sample editor/player with extensive sound shaping options! And it's available for both Mac and PC.
Battery is easy to use and nicely designed. It is fully compatible for any situation. It functions stand-alone with ASIO, MME, and Sound Manager and your computer keyboard can trigger drum sounds in real time. It also functions as a Plug-In using VST 2.0, MAS, DXi, Audio Units, RTAS, and DirectConnect. This means Battery can be used with all sequencers from Cubase to Digital Performer and even Pro Tools Mix systems. In most cases, both MIDI control and direct digital routing of audio can be handled between these applications seamlessly (provided you have the CPU power and RAM recommended). Battery functioned beautifully in concert with Digital Performer 2.7, FreeMidi and MAS for recording the demo drum loops below. An RTAS (Real Time Audio Suite) version for Pro Tools is also available as part of the $999 Native Instruments Studio Collection Pro Tools Edition, which includes Battery, the Pro-52 vintage synth, and the B4 organ. Battery loads most audio formats including: Akai, SF2, LM4, AIFF, WAV, and MAP. It supports drag-and-drop for simple and fast loading of samples too.
Battery comes with twenty kits to get you going. Load up an entire or kit, or create your own custom kit, cell by cell. Each cell can be edited with a variety of features that maximize the full potential of drum sample programming. A nice graphic AHDSR envelope section shows just what you're doing to your sample as you tweak it. A cool Pitch Envelope effect allows you to morph the pitch in time for bendy and swooshy effects. There's also a sample tune, a dynamics shaper, bit reduction effect, and Sample Start Adjust point. Each cell has 6 modulation inputs and the modulators are located at the bottom left of the Battery screen. Use these to further twist or mangle sounds, it comes with some preset modulation routings too. The FX Loop, also available to each cell can loop a select portion of the drum sample a given number of times for creating rhythmic sound effects.
Battery is all the drum machine you'll ever need. Provided you use a sequencer, Battery integrates seamlessly into any studio.* It provides a software based solution to drum programming. With its easy to use and unique features, it's easy to get the most out of your drum samples and have them waiting for you in your sequencer...no need to worry about keyboard placement of samples or fussing with buttons, LCD-menus, page-screens, etc. Battery is just as simple as pointing, clicking, dragging, and dropping. Wide spread availability of samples in compatible formats, extensive MIDI control, flexibility, and multiple audio routing options make Battery the perfect source of beats for the most demanding professionals and entry-level newcomers alike. A must have for any serious computer-age musicians!
* Battery may not load large kits on the Macintosh. When used stand-alone on the Mac, drum kits too large to load into the available RAM won't load completely. This problem occurred less frequently when used as a VST plug-in however.
Battery Studio Drums is a library available from Native Instruments Sound Line ($99) with over 3,000 acoustic drum samples. They are grouped into 26 kits for Battery and/or Kontakt. These drums were recorded using many known name brand drums and cymbals for a total of 1.1GB of WAV samples. Since the individual samples are WAV format (24 bit, 44.1kHz), they can be loaded into any sampler you have, hardware or software. But the kits designed for Battery have brilliantly programmed velocity layers (up to 16 per drum pad) so that the cymbals and drums give a completely natural and expressive sound. These drum sounds are great for Rock, Pop, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Dub, Reggae, and more.
Synthetic Drums is a library available from Native Instruments Sound Line ($99) with over 1,500 synthesized electronic drum samples. They are grouped into 30 kits for Battery and/or Kontakt. These drums were created by renowned sound designers and producers of Techno, House, Drum and Bass, IDM, Electro, Ambient and Hip-Hop. Since the individual samples are WAV format (24 bit, 44.1kHz), they can be loaded into any sampler you have, hardware or software. But the kits designed for Battery take full advantage of it's velocity layers and modulation capabilities. In Kontakt, these sounds take advantage of more advanced filtering and effects too!
Demos & Media
Recommended: Mac OS 10.2.6, G4 733 MHz, 256 MB RAM
VST 2, ASIO, Audio Units, Core Audio, RTAS, MAS, Sound manager, DirectConnect
Recommended: Windows XP, Pentium/Athlon 700 MHz, 256 MB RAM
VST 2, DXi, ASIO, MME, DirectSound
Images from Native Instruments.