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Internal Effects Processing in Battery 4

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Battery 4 from Native Instruments is one of the best drum sample plug-ins for EDM on the market today. In addition to shipping with a huge sample library, Battery 4 includes some great internal effects to sculpt, shape and mangle your audio samples. In this tutorial I will explain the internal effects modules built into Battery 4 to help you get the most out of this great plug-in.

Three Effects Stages

Before we get to the effects modules, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the Internal Audio Routing in Battery 4.There are three effects stages in the signal chain where effects are applied in Battery 4.

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Effects can be applied at the Sample Cell level (1), the Routing Bus level (2), and the Master Channel level (3)

The first stage is at the Sample Cell level. Each individual sample cell has its own dedicated effects chain accessible by clicking on the Effects tab with a Sample Cell selected. The second stage where effects can be applied are on each of the four Buses.

If you select the Master tab and select one of the available Bus channels, each Bus has a dedicated effects chain as well. This effect stage will process any Sample Cells you send to the Bus on top of any effects that are at the Sample Cell stage. And finally, the Master Output has its own effects section that will process any Sample Cells and Bus you send to it.

Now that you have an understanding of the three stages where effects can be applied to process the sound, let's have a look at each effects module in detail.

Shared Features

There are some shared features that all of the effects modules have in common inside of Battery 4. These shared features all act the same across all effects modules.

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These Shared Features all behave the same across all effects modules
  1. The Power Button activates and deactivated the associated effects module.
  2. The Preset Menu triangle opens the preset drop-down.
  3. The Handle allows you to rearrange selected effects module in the signal chain by dragging it left or right.
  4. Any rotary parameter can be reset to a default value by double-clicking on the rotary, and a value can be entered numerically by double-clicking on the number below the rotary.
  5. On any effect module that has a Mode Selection (Saturation, Filter/EQ, and the Compressor), a mode can be selected by either using the selection arrows or by simply clicking on the name of the currently selected mode.
Tip: The effects modules in Battery 4 are set in series from left to right. Rearranging the order of the effects modules with the Handle can drastically alter the sound in unique and creative ways.

Internal Effects

Sample Cell Effects Section

The first effects stage is at the Sample Cell level. Each individual Sample Cell has a dedicated effects chain. Each effects module can be used individually or in combination with other effect modules.

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Each Sample Cell has a dedicated modular effects section
Tip: Perhaps a UI design oversight, there is no visual feedback as to which Effects section you are in. Be sure you have selected the correct Sample Cell, Routing Bus or the Master effects section that you want to be editing, as you can't tell which one you are editing by looking at the UI.

Saturation

The Saturation module has three saturation modes accessible by clicking on the selection arrows; Classic, Drums, and Tape.

You can control the amount of saturation for the selected mode with the Gain knob and the amount of output with the Output knob. When using the Saturation module in Tape mode, you have two additional controls. The Warmth knob controls the amount of low frequency boost or cut. The HF knob stands for Hi-Frequency and controls the amount of high frequency roll-off. using this can give your drums that vintage warm and kind of muffled sound.

LoFi

The LoFi module is used to decrease the resolution and sample rate of the incoming audio. The Bits knob is used to reduce the bit depth of the audio. The Hertz knob will reduce the sample rate which can go down all the way to 50Hz. The Noise knob will add noise to the signal, and the Color knob will adjust the frequency content of the noise.

Tip: Reducing the bit depth by a fractional amount will add a lot of dirt and grit to the sample. This can be useful for static effects like dirtying up a drum sample.

Filter/EQ

The filter/ EQ effect has various types of filters that you can use to shape the sound of a sample. The Mode Selection Menu lets you switch between the different EQ and filter types. Below the frequency display, depending on the selected filter or EQ you can either select the frequency band to adjust or you can select from different styles styles of filter or EQ. For example the Effect filter preset has different styles of filers like formant, or a formant in a specific vowel, or a phaser effect.

Compressor

The Compressor Module lets you compress the dynamic range of the sample and can add punch or be used to tame out-of-control transients. The Compressor Module has three different types of compressors selectable with the Mode Selection Menu; the new Solid Bus Compressor, a Classic Compressor, and a Pro Compressor.

The Threshold and the Ratio knobs are used to set the level at which compression takes effect and the amount of compression applied, respectively. Attack and Release adjust how fast or slow the compressor kicks in and returns to normal. The Mix knob available on the Solid Bus Comp lets you mix between the processed and unprocessed signal, sometimes referred to as Parallel or New York Style compression.

TM

TM stands for Transient Master, and is a slightly trimmed-down version of the Transient Master Component available for Guitar Rig. Transient Master is basically a simplified compressor designed specifically to control the transients—or the attack—of a sound.

The two main knobs are pretty self explanatory by design; the Attack knob controls the amount of attack added or taken away, and the Sustain knob will sustain a portion of the sounds volume which can add body.

Master/ Bus Effects Section

The Master Effects chain as well as the four Routing Buses have some differences from the Sample Cell effects chain specific to mastering and summing down multiple audio sources (i.e. when routing multiple Sample Cells to a single Bus).

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Each of the four Routing Buses as well as the Master channel have an effects section

Limiter

In place of the LoFi effect module, the bus and master effects sections each have a Limiter effect module. A limiter is an extreme form of compression that restricts the dynamics of the audio to an absolute level. This can be used for making quite sounds louder or making louder sounds sit well in the overall mix.

Side Chain Compression

The Compressor effect module in the Main tab has an additional Side Chain Compression mode that can be used for internal side chain compression. You can drag a Sample Cell into the Source Selection area to use that Sample Cell as the trigger for the compressor.

Reverb/Delay Sends

The Master effects page has a reverb effects unit and delay effects unit that are hard-wired into dedicated send/returns on each sample cell’s Main tab. You set the effects settings and return amount, then dial in the amount of send on the selected cells Main tab.

Tip: The delay and reverb settings are global, meaning the settings are the same throughout Battery 4. You can however control the send amount on a per Sample Cell basis.
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The Reverb/Delay effects on the Master page are hard wired into the send/return effects built into Battery 4

Reverb

The Modes Toggle icon switches the reverb between Standard Mode and Convolution Mode. Standard mode is an algorithmic reverb that uses mathematical algorithms to emulate an acoustic space, while Convolution reverb uses what is called an impulse response file that captures the acoustic characteristics of an actual acoustic space such as a concert hall.

The Standard view has basic settings that you can use to shape the Size, Pre-delay and Color of the reverb. You can also control the Dampening of the high frequencies and the Stereo spread of the reverb that is applied to the sample.

On the convolution view you can use the arrows next to the display to select one of the presets. You can also drag and drop .wav files onto the display to load it as an impulse response.

Delay

The delay module is a simple yet flexible delay. You can sync the delay tempo to your host with the Sync Selection menu. The Feedb knob lets you set the amount of delay feedback. An amount of zero will produce a one-tap delay, which can be real useful for sound design. The Time knob would have been better named as pre-delay, as it sets the time between the dry signal and the delay taps. The Pan knob acts as a stereo spread between each consecutive delay tap and can be used to create ping-pong type delays. The Damp knob reduces the high frequency content of the delayed signal; the higher the settings the more high frequency content is reduced.

Conclusion

It should be apparent that the world of processing capabilities possible in Battery 4 is vast. In this article I have shown you the great internal effect modules that come bundled with Battery 4 from Native Instruments. These internal effects modules in Battery 4 are a great way to add interest to your sounds, be it drums or otherwise. Combined with the great Internal Audio Routing Compatibilities in Battery 4, these effects make Battery 4 an almost must-have addition to your EDM production studio.

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