Unfiltered Audio Battalion, new hybrid generative drum machine plugin

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Unfiltered Audio Battalion is a new synthesis/samples melting drum machine plugin with advanced sequencing and modulation.

Plugin Alliance is currently one of the largest plugin providers. The company that belongs to Native Instruments sells plugins from Brainworx, DS Audio, Elysia, or Unfiltered Audio. The latter is one of my favorites because it offers modern, experimental-colored synth and effect plugins.

The latest plugin, Battalion, takes you into fascinating, deep worlds of drum synthesis, samples, and rhythms.

Unfiltered Audio Battalion

Unfiltered Audio Battalion

Unfiltered Audio’s previous plugins offered playful and experimental ideas. I can say with certainty they are not the classic ones. Neither is the Battalion drum machine. It’s hybrid and offers samples and synthesis on eight tracks. 

The drum synth part offers 24 algorithms, each with five tweakable parameters. Synthetic models for kicks, snares, hats, claps, cowbells, FM, additive, and more are included.

Below is the sampler, where you can load a sample from the factory or your custom libraries. The playback modes are exciting: classic, phase warp, cloner, or granular.

The latter sounds interesting in a drum machine plugin. It also ships with five parameters for each mode, allowing you to tweak the samples in detail. For example, the granular algorithm has pitch, size, rate, speed, and blur. 

Just as exciting for me is the possibility of mixing the synthesis with the samples. You can use synthesis or samples or both, making it very capable—and that per track.

Then, you can route each track through a tone-shaping section, starting with a multimode filter of various types. From here, it goes into a distortion with multiple modes (bitcrush, wavefold…). Nice, you can tweak the filter routing to post for different shaping flavors.

Each voice has a dedicated modulation engine, each with two multi-wave LFOs, two envelopes, random, velocity, and two macro controls.

If that’s not enough of movement, each voice also has a big variation knob. It’s a unique random generator that modulates nearly every control on the voice page. Perfect for incorporating small inaccuracies or for making the entire track unpredictable.

Unfiltered Audio Battalion

Mixing, Sequencing & Performance

Mixing is also a topic in Battalion. A virtual mixer allows you to mix and fine-tune your sounds with extra goodies. Besides gain and pan control, you can route two and send FX (shatter delay, headspace reverb) to each voice.

Both effects are flexible and offer a solid feature set. The reverb is especially mighty with its 10 algorithms. On the same page, you can also create groups for your tracks and more. And for the entire mix, it also hosts a 3-band EQ with controls for the low, mid, and high frequency bands.

Unfiltered Audio Battalion

Further, there is a sequencer, which should not be missing in a drum machine. It’s also deep and playful. Special feature: it is not just a classic step sequencer. It’s a generative one. Something very trendy at the moment. You can generate patterns, using the three sections: generate, modify, and settings. 

The results range from classic, complex up to glitch-like rhythms. Unfiltered Audio also has something built-in for the upcoming Richard Devine musicians.

Besides its generative engine, the sequencer boasts a modulation engine with various per-step modulators. Tweak the velocity, add ratcheting or probability per step, or create parameter automation using the macro control. With the built-in dice, you can turn your entire pattern upside down in seconds by randomizing all slots.

Last but not least, there is a performance page where you can set/mute tracks, mangle the sounds with filter and distortion on the fly, and more. Don’t forget that the GUI color is not fixed to blue/rose. Like the other UA plugins, Battalion ships with 22 different GUI color themes.

First Impression

Battalion is wild and very deep. I downloaded the 14-day demo version, and at first glance, I have slight flashbacks of iZotope BreakTweaker or Sugar Bytes DrumComputer. Unfiltered Audio’s drum machine goes to the same depth of customization.

It’s certainly not another 808 or 909 emulation. This is a modern, even experimental drum machine with a mighty feature set. I’m happy that it’s coming to iOS too. It is an excellent release. Check out the 14-day full version demo to explore it and see if it fits your sound and workflow.

And if you’re not interested in the current offer, just wait a bit. New Plugin Alliance plugins are discounted relatively quickly. I’m pretty sure we will discounts for Black Friday or Christmas 2024.

Unfiltered Audio Battalion is available now for an introductory price of $129 instead of $199. The introduction offer includes LION Synthesizer for free. Battalion runs as a VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin on macOS (native Apple Silicon + Intel) and Windows. An iOS version is coming in the near future. 

The plugin is also part of the Plugin Alliance MEGA bundle subscription. 

More information here: Plugin Alliance

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