Review: Native Instruments Battery 3.2

Battery has been around for a long, long time, and has survived more than one rationalisation of Native Instruments’ product line. Battery 3’s been hanging on in there with point releases for a couple of years now, and the recently landed 3.2 update adds in a few more features. We decided to take a look, and get a little refresher course on v3 as a whole while we were at it…


Windows (XP/Vista 7), P4 2.4GHz or Core Duo/Athlon64 min / OSX (10.5+) Core Duo. 2GB RAM.


  • The best software, cell based sample player available
  • Huge library
  • Very nice onboard effects
  • No synthesis
  • Sample pack support appears to be winding down
Price at Review: £149. Battery is the best at what it does, it’s mainly a shame that it doesn’t have a drum synth engine built in.

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As far as drum samplers go, Battery’s had the pleasure of sitting at the top of the pile more or less since its inception. Battery 2 didn’t mess with the original’s winning formula, and Battery 3 has also wisely stuck to the foundations of the software. That foundation is essentially a matrix of sample cells up to 16×8 in size (increased since version 2), which can load a wide variety of audio file formats into them ready for velocity layering, application of effects, and eventually triggering either in standalone mode or by your favourite sequencer. The interface itself is separated into said matrix, at the top, and an edit pane below. Selecting a sample cell brings up its editing options in the multi tabbed pane, and it’s these editing options that have been bolstered most in the 3, 3.1, and 3.2 updates.

velocity level editing is made really simple in Battery

Whilst Battery doesn’t support direct sampling, its sample editor is very powerful and if you’re used to a hardware drum sampler you won’t be disappointed, as sample level editing on a high resolution screen facilitates new levels of precision.Similarly, velocity level editing is made really simple in Battery, with visual cues and a mouse led design, and loop points (four per sample, no less) are very quick to define and set rules for.

Those of you who are still stuck to your hardware samplers for their ease of use and immediacy will find the improved MIDI learn and autoload two of the most useful additions to 3.1 and 3.2 respectively, opening up a much more modern workflow whereby a basic controller pairing is memorised by the software, trumping previous versions’ slightly awkward initial patch setup. Battery’s 16 outputs also come in handy for bussing out individual sounds to effects chains and groups, and with colour coding of cells a simple process, having Battery on a large monitor as opposed to a miniature (and often monochrome) display is a real boon.

Battery has a big library: 12GB of big. Within, you’ll find a huge variety of acoustic and electronic drum kits, and best of all a huge amount of acoustically recorded velocity layers for maximum realism. It’s not the only library you’ll ever need for drums, but it definitely covers most bases.

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