Beat Buddy (we call it “Shaemus” after a drummer who left long before Beat Buddy arrived) became an indispensable piece for us out of the box. We play as a trio – two acoustic guitars and lead electric swapping parts on bass and I handle percussion and the odd flute/woodwind needs plus sound.
I’ve attached a link from a recent rehearsal effort as a demo (intros, fills, volume dynamics). I use Beat Buddy off the shelf – no midi or redesign. The array of styles and functions Beat Buddy (now 1.74 beta) comes with suits me well: hitting the main pedal for fills in the flow of play, starting some tunes with a cool intro, pause, and controlling volume all work. Building offline set lists and tinkering with the Manager (now 1.6 beta on MAC 10.11.1) worked ‘mostly’ OK even as early as 10.7.5.
Clearly the price one pays for equipment is more than just the cost of its parts. The forum support has been great. Beat Buddy Support (I think that’s Jay) apparently checks the forum regularly and surfaces issues so matters like Mac-derived problems with the SD card lead to receiving a subsequent BB Manager update and later beta firmware updates. All have been handled perfectly. Only product failure of note - the most used footswitch for pause/unpause became unreliable (there are two so in a pinch this can be remapped easily) but Support jumped on it and its remedied.
How we use it:
We aim for a full vocal and instrumental sound using only 3 people and try to cover a variety of styles. We also want some flexibility for soloing. Working as a trio gives us a facile small footprint on the floor and volume control for a variety of gigs.
The BB is nested on the pedal board near wireless receivers for bass and guitar, cabled in stereo through a Boss volume pedal into L/R channels of a 12-channel mixer (-10dBu unbalanced). No noise issues other than occasionally needing to rotate the 9V plug (the pedalboard power brick plug – I’m not using the BB supply) in its socket. All output goes through a 31 band EQ on the way to the PA – rolled off from 100 Hz down it is otherwise fairly flat with a couple of presence peaks for guitar and vocals. PA is EVZX-a1 with a QSC12 on the floor for our recalcitrant lead guitarist who won’t wear IEMs.
We each handle our own sound requirements - vocals go through an individual’s Harmony G or similar box and the lead guitar amp is picked up with an LDC hanging in front of it the bass typically goes from a DI into the mixer.
I record everything we do from performances to rehearsals without an engineer – simply direct to an Olympus LS10 recorder as MP3 files from EQ outputs that parallel the PA outs. Balance and other tweaks in real time could of course be improved with live hands-on but this works well.
With some allowance for not quite achieving perfection here’s a DropBox link from a recent rehearsal:
Taxman (we really have to come to some agreement on the backing vocals) uses an intro, some fills and volume pedal