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Zendrum Stuff => User Reviews => Topic started by: Zennerman1 on January 12, 2008, 12:13:50 AM

Title: Battery 3
Post by: Zennerman1 on January 12, 2008, 12:13:50 AM
I've been using Battery 3 for some time now so I thought I would post a run down of my thoughts.

I feel this is probably one of the most under rated pieces of software out there today. It's more "tweaker" oriented than most other drum software packages I know of. There's plenty of great preset kits to use but you will have to do some setting up to get them working good for you. It's not really a "plug and play" sort of package but I don't want to scare anyone off either.
Where Battery 3 really shines is that you can load your own samples for a truly open ended software package. It's a drum sampler.

Battery 3 is basically broken into three levels. Samples, Cells and kits.
You can have up to 127 samples in one Cell. That means 127 snare hits from soft to loud that will make up one Cell. Each of those samples have a MIDI velocity from 0-127 (soft to loud or however you want them). Then you assign the Cell a MIDI note number to trigger the sound. Your velocity playing will determine which sound is triggered. The velocity crossfades are totally adjustable. This is the "tweaking" part I mentioned above. You can use an existing "velocity map" from a preset Cell then replace it with your own samples. However, when I tried this I still needed to adjust the velocity map a little. Different samples act differently and needed to be adjusted to my playing dynamics. The benefit is a kit that responds to my playing. The overall volume and pan for each cell can be set too.

Once your cells are created, you make up a kit with them. Up to 127 cells in a kit.  8)  COOL.
You can then do things with the cells like alternating or cycling through. For example, one cell could be a left hand hit and the other cell a right hand hit. Both cells would be assigned the same MIDI note. When you trigger the MIDI note, the two cells will switch back and forth. This can give you a slight variation in sound similar to playing a drum with both hands. Or you can cycle through a number of cells for many different sound variations or different sounds all together. Many possibilities.

There are also effects you can add to each cell independantly. Lo fi, EQ and compression. There are also Master effects that effect the kit globally like reverb. I would have liked the reverb to be on the cell level rather than at the master or kit level. Still the effects are very good.

My favorite part is still the ability to load your own sound samples to make up your kit. There is an onboard waveform editor in Battery 3.
You can also load loops into Battery 3 and play them back. You can also trigger them as single shot loops or repeatable loops that latch. Hit your trigger once and the loop starts, hit the same trigger again and it stops.

Another good feature is the sounds are loaded into RAM so latency and a sluggish CPU hog program is at a minimum. Still I would recommend a dedicated computer as a drum module in any case.

Hopefully this is a good starting point for anyone interested in this software. I highly recommend it.

Cheers,
Steve
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on January 13, 2008, 02:39:00 PM
Thanks for your thoughts Steve. 

I have also been using Battery 3, stand-alone and inside Ableton Live running on a Mac.  I like Battery 3 a lot.  What sold me on Battery 3 was the interface - it made sense to me a percussion oriented sampler, with built-in, easily accesslble & useful effects.  Kontakt seemed like overkill for much of what I'm doing, and I found the Battery 3 interface readable on a 15" laptop.   

There is a demo available on the Native Instruments web site (see http://www.native-instruments.com/index.php?id=battery3 ). 

There have been some serious gripes on the NI user forum about Battery 3, but I suppose there are always gripes on user forums.  NI is putting out updates to Battery - I believe an update to 3.0.0 R2 is imminent. 

Peace,

Mark

Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: Zennerman1 on January 13, 2008, 08:20:20 PM
I had a couple of small issues when I started but now things are running great. Even been through a few updates. All is well so far. I'm getting some good kits worked up.
Cheers,
Steve
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: zenkat on January 14, 2008, 07:11:53 PM
I am currently using a TD-20 for my sound module along with an spd-s for all my samples.
I would like to get Battery 3, and use it for everything but I'm not sure what type of interface to get to hook it to my laptop.
I am running an HP 1.8gz dual core with firewire (4 pin)  and usb 2 along with 2gig of ram
what are you guys using so that latency isn't an issue?
Thanks
Jim
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on January 14, 2008, 11:11:59 PM

Hello,

Battery 3 is just software, so it loads into your computer and runs - no special interface is required to run the software.    I run Battery 3 on an an old Mac laptop (G4 with 2 MB RAM) which is underpowered but which is adequate as long as I'm not using convolution reverb or otherwise overtaxing the unit.  In stand-alone mode on the laptop I'm running latencies of around 8-9 msec in Battery 3, which I seem to be able to accomodate to.   I'd love less latency, but that's about the best I can do on my old Mac powerbook.  A windows version is available.  I'm really itching to get Battery 3 onto my Receptor - hopefully that will become possible real soon now. 

As for interfaces, I use a MOTU 828 mkII firewire audio interface, which I have been extremely happy with.   On occasion I've just taken my laptop and plugged the audio output from the Mac direct into an amp - worked fine (no interface). 

Peace & harmony,

Mark

Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: Zennerman1 on January 15, 2008, 06:51:32 PM
I am running a MAC i book 2.0 GHz with 2 gig RAM. My interface is the MOTU ultralite. No problems whatsoever even running reverb on a kit.
This is my live setup too. I've had no troubles there either. Just keep the laptop in a safe place. Mine goes under the stage. I rarely change kits and if I have to, I just jump down and change it.

Cheers,
Steve
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on January 16, 2008, 10:59:56 PM
My G4 Mac Powerbook is only 1.25 GHz - perhaps that is making a big difference, since I've also got 2 GB of RAM.  If I overtax that little baby with convolution or otherwise, the sound just decomposes.  Not just little pops, but really just decomposes.  This is not related to Battery 3 - it happens in Kontakt or in MOTU Symphonic instrument or Digital Performer.    I'm really looking forward to upgrading to an Intel Mac.   

Mark
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: Zennerman1 on January 17, 2008, 09:40:10 PM
Hey Mark,
You won't be dissapointed when you upgrade either. That should clear up all your issues.

Cheers,
Steve
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: SWriverstone on January 18, 2008, 03:29:51 PM
Hey all...thanks for the info on Battery 3. Zenkat, I have an older PC laptop, Pentium 4, 3ghz (WinXP) with an Echo Indigo PCMCIA card interface---I've been getting latency in the 3-4ms range just using standard MIDI keyboard controllers with software like Reason and Kontakt.

In my experience, the power of the processor isn't nearly as important as the interface and the amount of RAM you have. (Of course newer faster processors certainly help, but aren't necessary).

I was just listening to the Battery 3 sample collections on the NI website (the little MP3 player)...and I was impressed at the wide range of samples they include, such as African and North Indian percussion, orchestral percussion, etc. (in addition to the endless variations on drumkits!). And as Zennerman pointed out, I already have piles of my own samples, so being able to use those is a big plus!

Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: SWriverstone on January 18, 2008, 08:12:06 PM
Hey Timecutter and Zennerman...

I've been doing some more research online into Battery 3, and I'm starting to find all kinds of people griping about Native Instruments product activation and the Service Center...people saying they couldn't activate the product...that the Service Center makes using it a pain, etc.

Have either of you guys had any issues with this? Or is this a case of people whining about nothing?

Thanks,
Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: Zennerman1 on January 18, 2008, 08:44:34 PM
The first time I tried to register I could not. So I backed out and tried again and it worked. It wasn't too hard.
Yes, I would rather just enter a serial number but oh well.
The good side is when you register you are able to go get upgrades without any hassle. Just log in and download. It even keeps track of what you already downloaded.

Steve

Hey Timecutter and Zennerman...

I've been doing some more research online into Battery 3, and I'm starting to find all kinds of people griping about Native Instruments product activation and the Service Center...people saying they couldn't activate the product...that the Service Center makes using it a pain, etc.

Have either of you guys had any issues with this? Or is this a case of people whining about nothing?

Thanks,
Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on January 18, 2008, 09:45:28 PM

Hello,

I haven't had any problems with the NI Service Center application on the Mac, though it did bite me while trying to activate Kontakt 2 on the Receptor (but that was while running the Service Center application on the Receptor).   As it happens, I just used the Service Center today to download the new Battery 3 update (3.0.4) - worked just fine.   

I'd really love to get Battery 3 running on Receptor - it is not user installable at this point but I'm hoping it will be real soon now (like after winter NAMM which is coming happening right now...).   

M
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: SWriverstone on January 22, 2008, 05:32:04 PM
Hey guys...one more question about Battery 3 ('cause I can't seem to find this info on the N.I. website anywhere)...regarding the 12GB sample set...did they do a pretty good job multisampling the various kit instruments? (Did they do it at all?) I'm wondering how good the dynamic response (soft to loud) is?

I'm guessing they might not have multisampled with several different mic setups (ala BFD)...but I'm hoping there are at least 3-4 diff. sample layers per instrument?

Thanks,
Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: Zennerman1 on January 22, 2008, 08:01:59 PM
Battery 3 has what are called "multi mic" kits. These kits have the close, room and reverb sounds in them. Each sound can have it's own level, pan, effects etc added and mixed in. Plus you can copy these cells into another kit. Another cool trick is to copy a dry sound into another cell then add effects to it then mix it back with the dry sound. You can get a good fat snare by doing this. The only short fall is the reverb. It can only be added to the kit globally. The whole kit gets reverb. Not all of the kits in Battery 3 are multi mic kits.

The dynamics of the NI kits are amazing. The pop kit is one of my favorites.

When I load my own samples in, I will make exact copies of the sounds and add my own reverb to one set of the samples. Then I can mix the wet and dry sounds together.

Cheers,
Steve
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on January 22, 2008, 08:44:43 PM
All of the acoustic kits that I've looked at in Battery 3 are multi-sampled, typically with three to five samples spread out over the 1 - 127 velocity range.  Some cells, particularly some of the percussion cells, have a higher number of samples (like seven).   The velocity expressiveness in Battery 3 is not nearly as fine-grained as BFD, but its quite good & workable in my opinion.   

Battery 3 kits are composed of cells - a cell might be a tom hit or a taiko hit or a closed HH, for example.  Each of the cells in the acoustic kits supplied by Battery 3 are indeed multisampled.   If you're importing your own samples to create your own cell (or tweaking what's provided), you can multi-sample and velocity cross-fade to your heart's content. 

Mark


Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: SWriverstone on January 27, 2008, 12:34:32 PM
Just got Battery 3 the other day. Installation took a while (two DVD's worth of samples!), and I had no problem with activation.

I've been going through the Battery 3 samples sets...and all I can say is that I'm BLOWN AWAY. Native Instruments did an outstanding job. I've particularly been impressed with the world percussion samples. I spent 20 minutes just playing the Asian gongs, water gongs, tam-tams, temple bowls, etc. Incredible!

I haven't heard BFD so can't compare...but after hearing Battery 3, I can only say that the "quality curve" is definitely flattening out. We've reached a point where improvements in any given sample set or software will be very, very small—because they're outstanding already! A few years back, I thought the HandSonic set a new standard for percussion samples...but Battery 3's samples surpass the HandSonic by far.

Now I'm DYING  to get my Zendrum...which hopefully will ship this coming week! Together with Battery 3, I'm just buzzin' with the potential!  ;D

Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on January 28, 2008, 11:58:06 AM

Yes, you will have fun with your Zendrum & Battery 3, for sure. 

For the record, I was wrong what I said before in this thread about the number of multisamples in Battery 3.   Many of the kits are multisampled with MANY more than three to five samples - so the quality in this sense is higher than my previous post might suggest.

peace

Mark

Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: SWriverstone on January 28, 2008, 12:11:03 PM
David says my Zendrum ships today—woohoo! Can't wait.

I'll be using it with Battery 3 and the following laptop setup:
- WinXP Home
- 2GB RAM
- Echo Indigo DJ PCMCIA card (about 5-7ms latency)
- MOTU FastLane MIDI interface

I've stripped my WinXP install down to almost nothing but the essentials and made it as lean 'n mean as possible...so far Battery 3 is working flawlessly (when played by my M-Audio MIDI keyboard)....

Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: SWriverstone on March 05, 2008, 05:21:34 AM
I thought I'd add to this thread now that I've had the chance to work with Battery 3 for several weeks (with the Zendrum).

Overall, I still think it's a great app and a fantastic sample set. I've found a few minor glitches that are annoying, but that's it---they don't really have any impact on using it as a sound source. Annoying glitches include...

- You can select all cells in the grid (Ctrl+A)...but you can't deselect   them. WTF??? The developers just whiffed on this one, LOL. So if you select all cells, the only way to deselect them is to load a different kit, then reload the one you were working on. The workaround is just don't select ALL cells.

- The File > Save dialog boxes are messed-up and annoying. For example, if you've made changes to a file and save those changes, if you then try to close the file you'll be nagged "Are you SURE you want to close without saving changes?" HELLO!!! I just saved my changes! (The software seems blissfully unaware that you just saved your file.)

- Though holding the Shift key allows you to adjust knobs with greater control, it still doesn't give you fine enough control in my opinion. It's still difficult sometimes to set a nice round decibel number (like -6dB)...you end with -6.2dB (you can just type it in, but I've always found the knobs faster/easier).

So far my only gripe that affects performance with the Zendrum is that Battery 3's velocity curve control is pretty skimpy. I've never understood why apps like this don't give you the ability to create multi-point velocity curves (so you can have a curve with "plateaus" along it like a good EQ).

But that's about it! Overall, I'm loving it. The samples continue to amaze, particularly the percussion samples. My impression is that BFD   gets a lot of attention in this forum. Though I haven't had the chance to play it yet, I've listened to the sample demos online, and heard nothing I thought was better than anything in Battery 3. But I've also heard that BFD's multisampling is superior.

As I've said elsewhere in the forum, I mainly use the Zendrum with percussion ensemble sounds, not traditional drumkits. I like setups that allow me to play gamelan or gyilli and balafon. Battery 3 excels in these instrument samples. But I have a feeling I'm an "outcast" in this regard, LOL (in that I don't really use the Zendrum for drumkit playing). From what I've read here, if you're primarily a drumkit player, you might be better off with BFD...but Battery 3 still has several excellent drumkits as well.

Scott
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on March 09, 2008, 09:50:35 PM
In Battery 3, you can de-select all cells by clicking on the small control in the lower left corner of the cell grid.  One click will select all, another click will de-select all.  No idea why CTRL-A doesn't toggle this way.

I just got Battery 3 running on my Receptor this weekend.  It actually runs faster and better on the Receptor than it does on my G4 Mac Powerbook. Kits load noticeably faster, and stuff that overtaxed the old Mac runs just fine on Receptor.   The install was a non-trivial all-out geeky tweakfest, involving obtaining root access on the Receptor and messing with the registry.  But man oh man, I sure am happy.  I can get several instances of BFD and Battery 3 going at the same time.  Using a MIDI control surface, I can switch between kits with faders or combine them in interesting ways, add a bit of compression or reverb.  Playing several drum sets in unison - never did that before.

Battery 3 is great.  The 3.0.4 update was important. 

Mark
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: ghostman74 on January 31, 2009, 09:39:21 PM
Battery 3 vs. BFD 1.x (note I haven't upgraded to BFD 2.0 yet)

I've used both as a stand alone and plug-in in Cubase and Ableton Live. I like both for different reasons.

I like BFD for the realism that the kits have. The BFD kits are truly expressive on the Zendrum. If fact, if I'm wanting to show off the difference between my ZX, KORG padKONTROL, and M-Audio Trigger Finger, the first thing I pull out is BFD and show off the expressiveness of both the ZX and BFD. The kits have a multi-sample (multi-layering) that really makes them incredible.

Having said that, I keep going back to Battery 3 day-after-day because of the need for setting up kits that include a core set of drums and cymbals, then a few ethnic pieces. Set up of custom kits is really intuitve in Battery to me. While you would think that a visual representation like you have in BFD would be more intuitive, it just wasn't to me. The main reason is because for anything beyond a basic kit, (e.g. five toms instead of three, or adding a small rack of temple blocks) the visual representation just isn't there and the intuitiveness is lost. Yes, Battery 3 seems to be great for tweaking, too. In BFD, the controls are easy, especially if you are changing setups between songs. Intuitive sliders and dials make it easy to change the character or tone of a particular instrument. In Battery 3, you have to do a few more clicks, but you have more things to tweak was you get there. I typically tweak until I get the sound I like, then save it off as a setup. It makes it easy to switch between setups from song to song.

Do I recommend Battery 3? You bet. It's never failed me.

Do I recommend BFD 1.x? You bet. It has the best sounding samples for drum kits and the few percussion pieces in the B.O.M.B. and Percussion expansion sets. There is also a new expansion set called Japanese Taiko Percussion for BFD 2.1 which I'm excited about.

I'm thinking I'll probably end up upgrading to BFD 2.1 with a few more expansion kits than I have.  Then I will push BFD and Battery out to a set of  SM Pro V-Machines or a set of Muse Receptors 2 Pros. Depending on what you're trying to do, one or the other is probably more appropriate. I play a lot of experimental Jazz so having a lot of wild percussion samples and being able to add my own is important thus I keep turning back to Battery 3 as my main virtual instrument. Your results may vary.
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on February 01, 2009, 05:39:37 PM

Hello there Ghostman - read your post with interest.  If you try out or get an SM Pro V-machine, please let us all know how that goes, they look like promising units.  I have heard that BFD 2 doesn't work on Receptor (though BFD 1.5 runs well).  I'm curious - why would you get a pair of V-Machines or Receptors, rather than just one?   

best regards,

M
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: Genzen on September 27, 2009, 12:02:10 PM
Are you guys still using bat 3? Haven't seen much of it on this forum ???
I have had it for a while now and just haven't gotten around to exploring it.
I am going to put it on a vista 64 bit laptop
Any suggestions? comments? etc..............
Title: Re: Battery 3
Post by: timecutter on October 19, 2009, 12:00:40 PM

Sorry I missed your post - I'm definitely using Battery 3 - I've got several exotic percussion setups going on Battery3 that I'm very fond of - bass/taikos with finger cymbals for HH, claves & woodblocks, gongs - great stuff.  There's a new Battery version out for download relatively recently that you'll want to get if you haven't already.

M