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Virtual Drums That Rock – Battery 3

Home Music Production - Virtual Drums That Rock! - Battery 3
Home Music Production - Virtual Drums That Rock! - Battery 3
Home Music Production - Virtual Drums That Rock! - Battery 3


Developer: Native Instruments
Version: 3
Type: Virtual Drums
Price: $199


Ease of Use



Total Score



Sound is very good! Lots of control per drum sound. Drag-and-drop samples.


GUI is a bit daunting. Medium to high learning curve. No pattern sequencer.

Posted July 24, 2010 by Stephan Earl

Full Review

Are you on the hunt for a good virtual drum sample player and can’t decide which one is right for you? It’s understandable since there are so many good virtual drum instruments out there.  There are also different categories of virtual drum instruments such as: groove production machines, drum machines, drum samplers, virtual drummers and software / hardware hybrid products.

In the Virtual Drums that Rock! series I’ll take a look at some of the virtual drum software that I’m using or have used, and review some of their advantages and disadvantages.   Virtual drum  instruments are often used differently and for different purposes, so for that reason this overview isn’t to tell you which product is better than the other, but rather to point out some differences and advantages of each. This way if you currently only have enough coin for one virtual drum software, you have some information to help you choose one that’s the best fit for your needs.


Home Music Production - Virtual Drums That Rock! - Battery 3

Virtual Drums that Rock! Battery 3

I’ve had Battery 3 for some time and was first introduced to it in 2009 when I first got NI’s Komplete Virtual Instrument package.  During the time period I first installed and opened it up, I was in the final weeks of completing my debut album ORIGINS.  With so many things going on at the time, Battery 3 just looked too complicated to learn and not something I needed at the moment.  So as with all plug-ins I don’t use… I uninstalled it.

Fast forward several months and I was looking for a good drum sampler to place some of my unique sounds and groove parts.  I was toying around with Groove Agent ONE by Steinberg which comes preloaded in Cubase, and was growing frustrated with its limited capabilities.  Then I remembered that my Komplete package had a drum sampler that was sitting in the box underutilized.  So I reinstalled Battery 3, ripped though the user guide and tutorials, and it became an immediate favorite.

OK so what is Battery 3?  Plain and simply put, it’s a feature rich drum sampler.  It allows you to drag in your own sounds and create kits from your sample and loop libraries.  At a cost of $199, it’s priced a bit less than comparable drum samplers such as BPM by MOTU $279.


Battery 3 is great at what it does.  Its user interface is setup as a cell matrix which allows you to create up to 128 fully customizable sample cells.  The GUI is packed with features and can be a bit daunting to see at first, but once you dig in and watch a few tutorials on YouTube, you’ll feel right at home.  After a little more digging in, you begin to appreciate the control you have over each sample.  Features available to each cell include cell effects: EQ, compression, saturation, bit control and tuning.  There are also Aux effects such as reverb and delay, and wave edit capability including start/end time, looping and envelope control.  Battery 3 also has a master effects bus in order to smooth out the entire kit with compression for example.  The cells are customizable for better organization, and samples are easily dragged and dropped into cells either from the Battery 3 browser or directly from your DAW project.

Battery 3 doesn’t have built-in MIDI grooves or a pattern-based sequencer, but it does allow you to drop in loops in WAV, Acid WAV and REX formats which are mapped to your project’s tempo.


Battery 3 comes with over 12 GB of professional drum samples.  The included kits and sampled sounds include: acoustic, electric, vintage and processed sounds; and the quality of the samples are top notch.  None of the acoustic drum kits in Battery 3 match the realism and detail of EZ Drummer or Addictive Drums, however producing realistic acoustic drums isn’t Battery 3’s area of expertise.  So if you’re looking to build a powerful library of drum samples, hits and loops and need a powerful player to bring them to life… Battery 3 is eager and ready for the challenge.


Some alternative drum samplers that allow you to use your own samples and also include a pattern-based sequencer are:

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via


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