Company: Krotos Audio
Product: Battle Bundle
Our Rating: 4.1/5
To Your Battle Stations!
World renowned Krotos Audio have just released their new 1.1 update to their weapon sound design solution Weaponiser, to include Round Robin triggering, Multi Mode EQ, Expanded Reverb and new Presets from respected industry Sound Designers. This is a free update to all current users.
Alongside this, they have surprised us with their first Weaponiser library 'Battle Bundle'. This library aims to add a more varied offering to the Weaponiser lineup, by focusing on more hand to hand combat and sword fighting sound effects. It is one of the most comprehensive libraries of combat-related sounds ever recorded for TV, film and video games, including 5854 high-quality combat sounds – from sword attacks and rapiers to chainmail, shields, metal, hand-to-hand combat, body falls and impacts at 96/192kHz.
Even though the sound effects are developed with Weaponiser in mind, you can choose to extract the WAV files for use in general tracklay, which is a nice touch. The overall quality of the sound is fairly consistent, and is rather neutral and soft in some cases. This works very well when realism is the goal, but hyper real sounds will need some processing. They intend for you to combine sounds and layer them with the on board synthesis engine. This becomes more apparent when browsing through the 'Swords' folder', as there is a Sweetener section that is more distorted and processed for layering. The new Weaponiser update means that these sounds can be combined to generate thousands of assets with the new randomisation features.
We used the engine's sounds combined with our own library to generate some Sound Design for a new film which included baseball bat hits, scrapes and punches. The randomisation helped in this case, as a large variety in each hit was not needed or wanted by the Director, but subtle changes helped reduce the 'Machine Gun Effect'. This would work very well in a Game Audio workflow. The presets are rather nice and have good starting points to build sound cues that would otherwise need a Foley Artist to be completed within a reasonable time.
The Devil in the Detail
There are opportunities that were missed with the latest update. These would have heavily increased the potential of the Battle Bundle. First, the amount of samples allowed per bank really could be increased to at least 15+. In our experience, when working on fight scenes, this amount of variation is needed within the file to really make a dynamic and interesting scene with sound. Pitch variation is becoming more obselete by the day because of increased computing ability and hard drive space for samples. It would make Weaponiser not only a great asset creation tool, but a live triggered 'Sound Design Machine' with enough variation to cover even the most dynamic and drawn out battles.
The sounds were noticeably neutral, which was rather surprising on a first listen. Even when combined, I found that reaching for other sound libraries to layer was sometimes needed to achieve the full, compressed effects that many battles need to cut through music in the mix. The cost is quite significant here too, which I think could be justified more if the sounds had more range for this purpose. Perhaps the sweetener section needs to be much more extensive, and have the level of processing quality that will allow it to really punch through a mix.
The Bottom Line
This library has a large variety of sounds. If you have purchased many sword/battle libraries from other vendors, and you already own Weaponiser, you will mainly be benefiting from the presets in this product, which will certainly speed up Game Sound Design workflows.
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.