Today I want to look at something completely new and fresh on the market. It is called “Barrage” by Hidden Path Audio, and it is a cinematic percussion designer for Kontakt users.
It is their first Kontakt instrument, and they are breaking into a fairly competitive market in terms of samples, so naturally I was curious what these guys are going to bring to the table.
“Barrage” has an interesting approach towards percussion sampling. It focuses on layering different percussion sounds overage over each other, and thereby quickly creating custom fit percussion sets, specifically tailored to the current need of the track.
Three different microphone positions, internal EQ, filter, envelope, and internal effects board, are the secondary tools your given to achieve that goal. In the spotlight stands, of course, the ensemble designer itself, with its ability to mix and layer samples on the fly.
Opening “Barrage” for the first time is a pleasant surprise. Graphically the interface is extremely pleasant, and well-designed. It strikes me as especially friendly you to newcomers, but also to experienced users, since every section of the interface is pretty much self-explanatory, and with only two pages it’s quick and easy to navigate within this library.
The main page is separated into six key areas, which starting on the top left are:
The build in filter with control over cut-off frequency and resonance, as well as three different filter shapes. Also in this area, the EQ with low, low mid, high mid, and high-frequency control.
Next, we find the mixer area, offering close, stage, and hall microphone positions. Next to the sits the FX area, containing in the drop-down menu slam, crush, delay, and reverb, as well as some knobs for the corresponding parameters, and another drop-down for effect presets.
In the lower left corner sets a small master area, with volume control and width control, and next to that the trigger button that leads us to the ensemble designer, followed by a small envelope section, providing control over attack and release.
The ensemble designer itself contains four columns: sub, hits, accent, and tail, which each contain four rows of samples that can be turned on and off. On the bottom, you also find four knobs for volume control: sub volume, hits volume, accent volume, and tail.
“Barrage” comes with three major sample categories: ensemble hits, single drums, and sound design percussion. Each of those contains several presets that serve as good starting points for further development.
The sample quality is all right, and the amount provided samples covers the basics needs of any cinematic score.
There’s a lot of positive things to say about “Barrage”. It comes at a fairly affordable enterprise, with sample quality high enough for commercial purposes, and a decent selection of sounds to build a basic framework of percussion. The interface is very well-designed and easy to understand, and I imagine it could make a great sketching tool for quickly laying down drum lines, and figuring out what kind of percussion sound works best.
On the other hand, I can see this library reaching its limits very quickly, especially on a professional level, where I would be wishing for way more control over the samples as well as the effects.
This doesn’t go to say that I don’t think I will ever reach for it, but I would probably treat it rather as a quick sketch tool, or maybe use it to layer on top of an existing percussion line.
If this would be your first percussion library, and you’re a little short on the budget I would still recommend “Barrage” is one of the better options. It might not have all the features of the big top drawer percussion libraries, but what does it does well, and off the top of my head I can’t think of a cinematic percussion library that is this good or better for the same price.
- Price: $99 Intro Price (until March 17, 2017) / $ 149
- Requires FULL Kontakt 5.5.1
- 2.3 GB of free drive space
- From 6GB of 48Khz – 24 bit .wav files