Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
B3
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by B3 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:51 pm

willdahbe wrote:
B3 wrote:
willdahbe wrote:You can set up it so samples load into drumracks with a user setting. i.e. envelops opened all the way up. I know it's not an exact answer, but it will help from always having to turn up decay, sustain, release in sampler or simpler.
Oh, this sounds pretty excellent. Thanks for chiming in! How do you go about this?
- Put a drum rack on a channel, then drop a simpler or sampler on one of the cells, depending on which one you like to host your drums with.
- Adjust parameters of simpler/sampler for how you like the settings to be when a sample is dropped on a drumrack cell
- Then right click on the simpler/sampler title Device title bar that you just edited and click on "Save as default preset"

And thats it.
Thank you. That's a great solution!
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Todd OMG
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by Todd OMG » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:30 am

Hi B3! Lots of misinformation in this thread from other users who are assuming some things that aren't true. I have a mind like yours and ask myself questions like this all the time, in my experience I've found that 95% of the time it's a placebo effect and the sounds are in truth, exactly the same. It's important to find objective testing methods when dealing with this kind of thing as our ears (more likely, our brains) can occasionally deceive us.

The classic method of choice here is a phase cancellation test. Simply put a utility on a track, check both phase buttons, and if you play that track at the same time as another track (that does NOT have a utility on it) and no audio comes out of the master track - that means both tracks are exactly the same. Many times I've fooled myself into believing something was 'better' when a phase cancellation test proved that they were exactly the same.

To clear up some misconceptions posted in this thread:

1. HQ mode for audio files does absolutely nothing to both unwarped and warped audio files, UNLESS they are being transposed. The Hi-Q is not a magic "higher quality" button for audio playback, it is a more complicated algorithm for pitch shifting audio files that introduces less distortion. It has no effect when the file is not being transposed. This is proven with a phase cancellation test.

2. Playing an audio file through simpler is exactly the same as placing an audio file directly into the Live timeline. Simpler Vs. Audio will always phase cancel, whether the Hi-Q button is checked or not on the audio file.

3. The Interpolation setting on Live's sampler is used in the same way as the audio file Hi-Q button - it's for the quality of transposed samples only. Simply playing a sample back, it has no effect. Playing an audio file through Sampler on No Interpolation or Normal Interpolation will phase cancel with either a Simpler or Audio version of that same track, always. Good Interpolation and Best Interpolation however, will NOT! This does not mean that these settings are better quality though, I'll explain why in a second.

4. Although not brought up in this thread, a 4th common misconception is that warping must be turned off to preserve the highest audio quality. There are some cases where this is not true - if an audio file is warped with Beat, Tone or Texture and is warped at the exact same BPM as your track then the warping has no effect whatsoever. An audio file warped at 128 BPM on Beat playing on a 128 BPM song will phase cancel with an unwarped version of that same audio file. This is not true of Complex or Complex Pro, though. Those always introduce distortion.


Here's where we get into very nerdy ground. The Hi-Q and interpolation modes in Ableton also effect one other thing - the Sample Rate conversion. With everything I've posted so far I've assumed all of your audio files are at the same Sample Rate as Live is playing back. If you're using samples from sample packs, that's almost always going to be 44.1k. But when we mismatch the two, let's say we have audio files at 44.1k and a session playback at 48k, Live now has to convert those audio files to this new playback format. How it does that exactly is determined by the Hi-Q switch, Interpolation on Sampler, etc. Whenever you convert the sample rate of an audio file, you're going to get distortion in some way. Period. This is why you hear over and over again to record at the same sample rate as you're playing back, and use samples that are at the same sample rate... just avoid converting altogether will ensure the best quality.

Even when mismatching sample rates, a simpler vs. an audio file (Hi-Q on or off, doesn't matter) will phase cancel. But sampler behaves a bit differently. Of the 8 different combinations you could try with an audio file vs. sampler (Hi-Q on or off vs. the 4 different interpolation algorithms) the only ones that phase cancel are Hi-Q off for the audio file and Normal Interpolation for Sampler. Any other combination will not. It's my best guess that these modes don't so much convert the file, they just play it back at the new sample rate without changing anything. I don't know that for certain though.

So, let's answer that question of yours finally. Why does Battery sound better than Simpler? Here are the possible answers:

1. It doesn't. The two phase cancel and you're fooling yourself.
2. Battery 'Upsamples' it's audio files by bringing them up to 96k or whatever and then bringing them back down to your playback sample rate before the output. Many plugins do this for added audio quality, however, when playing back a regular audio file this wouldn't do anything but add a bit of distortion because of the conversion process. This is the same thing as playing back an untransposed audio file through Sampler with Best Interpolation. It's not making it higher quality, it's making it lower by converting something that doesn't need to be converted. This could be why it sounds different, much like how Sampler sounds different to you. Even though this is technically lowering the quality, there's no reason why that can't be pleasing to your ears for whatever reason.
3. Battery is adding delay to your kick and it magically aligns better with your hats/snare by sheer chance. To check this, freeze and then flatten Battery and compare the flattened audio file to the flattened Simpler version or whatever. If they start at exactly the same time this isn't the case.
4. Battery purposefully colors the sound of your samples. I know for a fact Guru does this... I am not sure if Battery does. It wouldn't surprise me.

It is one of these 4 things, no other way around it. A bit of sleuthing will reveal.

Cheers!

simonlb
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by simonlb » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:02 am

agent314 wrote:
In Ableton Live, Drum Rack loads with Simpler with an always on Volume Envelope with "your kick is gonna sound like shit" values already dialed in for you.
This made me laugh out loud
Same... it's true though, the standard envelope on Simpler is pretty useless. Changing new defaults is one of these unglamorous but ultimately very useful tasks I keep meaning to do, like making a new default set and changing some other defaults...

B3
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by B3 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:01 pm

@Todd OMG - thanks for a detailed post that delivered some great info. Posts like that help make this forum truly useful.

As new and more detailed info has continued to show up in this thread, I've also been continuing to look at what Battery has to offer. There is obviously plenty of room for Battery alongside Drum rack, Simpler, and Sampler.

Late last night I found a few useful videos about using Battery with Ableton Live by dubspot. I especially like the way they show how you can quickly tweak sounds in Battery. I'm including the second video re: routing Battery channels to different audio tracks in Ableton simply because it was one of the topics I had to figure out when starting down this road of messing around with Battery in Live.

Sound Design w/ NI's Battery + SoundCloud App for iPhone, Android +
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4bSIt9KfBI

BATTERY 3 Tutorial: Sound Design + Multi-Channel Routing by Dubspot
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4d9rqt5iQI

If anyone else has any other useful stuff re: Battery, Drum Racks, Simpler, and Sampler as it pertains to creating great sounding drums and percussion in Ableton Live, please post away. I'm definitely interested, and I've learned a lot from this thread already :)
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lunabass
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by lunabass » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:34 am

nice informative post Todd OMG. thanks :)
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Filterheadz
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by Filterheadz » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:15 am

Just did a quick test: Same kick sample in both simpler & battery. I made sure the envelope on Simpler was full open. Both midi clips at full velocity. Output of both Simpler & Battery at -6db. Inserted Utility with phase flip on Simpler channel. When you delay the Battery channel with 44 samples the two channels null out and are therefore identical. Switching Simpler to Sampler didn't change anything.

B

3dot...
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by 3dot... » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:43 am

so..means that simpler/sampler are late ...?
doesn't make any sense ..
Image

swishniak
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by swishniak » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:57 am

i always thought battery sounded fatter, as if there was some built in high quality transparent compression / dynamic mojo preset as part of the code. ive heard this in alot of NI products too. "if it sounds good it is good" i guess - but i dont think it fits what im doing all the time.

Filterheadz
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by Filterheadz » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:41 pm

3dot... wrote:so..means that simpler/sampler are late ...?
doesn't make any sense ..
I suppose it has something to do with the delay compensation for battery...

3dot...
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by 3dot... » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:13 pm

Filterheadz wrote:
3dot... wrote:so..means that simpler/sampler are late ...?
doesn't make any sense ..
I suppose it has something to do with the delay compensation for battery...
that doesn't make sense either...
did you turn off all the sections ('filter/lfo/envelopes')..in both simpler/sampler?
is the simpler filter introducing latency ?
this is very weird .. .
gonna try it when I get home..
Image

Filterheadz
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by Filterheadz » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:30 pm

Just did the test again. Something weird going on. With the original sample they nul out at +44 samples. With another sample they nul out without delay compensation.
Actually, they "almost" nul out. Almost, because I can see something happening at -58db. Maybe there is Battery magic happening deep down there :-)

B

mholloway
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by mholloway » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:03 pm

B3 wrote:
willdahbe wrote: - Put a drum rack on a channel, then drop a simpler or sampler on one of the cells, depending on which one you like to host your drums with.
- Adjust parameters of simpler/sampler for how you like the settings to be when a sample is dropped on a drumrack cell
- Then right click on the simpler/sampler title Device title bar that you just edited and click on "Save as default preset"

And thats it.
Thank you. That's a great solution!
Great solution...except it's not true and won't work! The above process only creates a default simpler for when Simpler itself is opened by you, outside a drum rack. But when dragging samples into a drum rack, the Simpler that is created WILL NOT have those settings. This is a common misconception. So, what you do (as taught to me on this same forum): change the simpler to the settings you want, then drag that simpler to Live's library and this path: "defaults > dropping samples > on drum rack".

-M
my industrial music made with Ableton Live (as DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER): https://deadwhenifoundher.bandcamp.com/
my dark jazz / noir music made with Ableton Live: https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp. ... guilt-noir

Skatta
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by Skatta » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:02 am

The filter????

Ryder17
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Re: Why does Battery sound better than simpler or sam for kicks?

Post by Ryder17 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:26 am

Just a thought but.....

Which sounds closest to the raw .wav file? Did you test that?

Battery is heavily processed by all accounts. I would imagine that with the right processing, you could easily get simpler to sound close to battery. This will not be true the other way around.


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