Battery from Native Instruments is one of the best drum programming plug-ins for electronic music production, if not the best plug-in. In the newest version of Battery, Battery 4, Native Instruments has included some great new internal routing capabilities that open up many creative and production workflow possibilities.
In this tutorial, I will explain the new internal routing features of Battery 4; including how to set up internal routing on individual Sample Cells, how to use the new internal Buses, and how to send buses and individual Sample Cell outputs into your host DAW.
Configuring Battery 4
When initiating an instance of Battery 4 in your host DAW, you will have the option to choose from Mono, Stereo, 5.1 Surround Sound, and Multi Output. For this demonstration I will select Multi Output and I will choose 8xStereo, 8xMono. I’ll change the cell matrix to something a little more manageable by going to Options > Cell Matrix > 4x4.
Just as a quick recap, Battery is a sample-based instrument that you load samples into individual Sample Cells, which are then routed through various effects, then to the various outputs of the plug-in and into your host DAW. Battery is typically used for drums but it does support a host of file formats, making it great for sound effects and other types of samples.
Sample Cell Routing
By default, all Samples Cells are routed to the Master outputs of the plug-in, which is routed to stereo outputs 1/2, which in turn is fed into the channel strip in your host DAW. The Master Effects section processes everything that is passed through the Master channel.
You can right-click on a Sample Cell and see the output assignment at the bottom. Again, if you right-click on the Master channel, you will see that the Master channel is being routed to stereo output 1/2 into the host DAW. So the default signal flow for all Sample Cells is:
Individual Sample Cells > Master Channel > Master effects > Direct Output 1/2 > Host DAW channel strip
You may think the Master effects section is plenty, but each Sample Cell has its own dedicated effects chain that will process the sample before it gets sent to the Master channel and further processed by the Master effects section. If you select the Effects tab, you can see the dedicated effects section for the selected Sample Cell.
For example, you can turn on the compressor of Sample Cell one, and independently turn on the limiter of Sample Cell two. These effects are applied before the signal hits the Master channel.
You can now see that you can have a Sample Cell routed through its independent effects before being fed into the Master channel and its effects:
Individual Sample Cells > Sample Cell effects > Master Channel > Master effects > Direct Output > Host DAW channel strip
New in Battery 4 are the internal Buses. It you go back to the Master tab, you can see there are four Bus channels that you can use to group Sample Cells for routing and effects processing. If you right click on a Sample Cell, you can select a Bus from the output menu.
You can also simply select the Sample Cells you want to route, and drag them to the routing destination you want. You will see all the available destinations be highlighted by a dotted outline indicating you can drag and drop Sample Cells to that location.
Each Bus has its own dedicated Bus Effects section that is in addition to the individual Sample Cells effects and the Master effect section. The effects processing possibilities are exponentially greater when using all effect sections:
Individual Sample Cells > Sample Cell effects > Bus > Bus Effects Master Channel > Master effects > Direct Output > Host DAW channel strip
So the internal routing capabilities of Battery 4 are very useful for creating sub mixes and for creative effects processing; but as of right now all of the sounds are being summed down to stereo outputs 1/2 and being played in a single channel strip in your host DAW.
If you want to have multiple outputs going into multiple channel strips in your host DAW, you can easily select a Direct Output and tell Battery 4 to send that audio into an additional channel strip. If you right click on a individual Sample Cell inside Battery 4, you will see a final option in the output list, Direct Output. Selecting Direct Output will send that Sample Cells audio to an additional output separate from all the others.
You can now see that the first Sample Cell is now going to Direct Output 3/4. Depending on your host DAW, you can configure an auxiliary channel strip to receive the signal from the various Direct Outputs. Inside of Logic Pro X, you simply select the + icon on the main channel strip to add an additional auxiliary channel strip. The available Direct Output options will depend on the plugin option you selected when loading Battery 4, as well as the settings in battery 4 for the output configuration.
You can also select a Direct Output for the four buses as well. You can then for example have all four buses being sent out into their own dedicated channel strip in your host DAW for further processing, independent of all the other buses. You can easily use all three routing configurations.
If you would like to know the advantages of using direct outputs, you can read up on How And Why To Use Multichannel Instruments In Your DAW.
With all the available routing options both internally and externally into your host DAW, Battery 4 opens up a world of creative effects processing and workflow possibilities. I hope this article has helped you gain a better understanding of the routing possibilities when using Native Instruments Battery 4.