Beatbuddy Loops via Samples (Warren G - Regulate)

You can’t just call them Beatbuddy beats anymore.

So that link is the link to my latest creation. It took a LOT of experimentation (all freakin day) :), so I’ll explain what I did, for when anyone else wants to have sample based backing tracks.

So basically I created a new drumkit that has note 36 = the main loop, note 37 = the intro, note 38 = the fill, and note 39 = the outro. Each of those “instruments” trigger a sample, which is just a WAV file. You could basically create any backing track situation, as long as you figure out the rules.

To make sure that the sample plays in its entirety I made the midis trigger the appropriate note, then trigger a bunch of notes that are NOT in the drumkit (note 35, in my case) I don’t know if this is necessary, but I’m just doing trial and error here. In this case, some samples were 10s long, and some were 20s long which is basically 2 measures, and 4 measures, i think. I cut the sample to make it pretty near exactly 10s and 20s. You can do this by time stretching or shrinking, but this song was close enough to just chop it there.

How do you make a midi be exactly 10s long? Well, I set the bpm = 60, and the time signature to 5/4, or 10/4. 60 bpm at 5/4 = 10s.

Unfortunately my midi editor Reaper somehow doesn’t record the bpm and time signature into the midi, so I had to re-edit the files in Aria and add that. As you play the song though, you can see the “tempo” guide is five steps, once second each, across the display.

Tools used: Reaper, for midi editing, and wav comparison. Aria Maestosa, for midi editing and setting bpm and time signature. Audacity for creating WAV samples, and editing of WAVs. It also can compare the length of midi clips with WAV samples.

Bravo, breaking down barriers. :slight_smile:

Very cool! I was planning to do this for some songs where I need to trigger certain non-drum sound effects at repeatable points in the song structure, but I hadn’t taken the leap to consider doing whole sampled backing tracks for different song sections.

I did something similar last night and well into the early morning hours (without seeing your post). In my case, however, I am focusing on triggering MIDI files in a sequencer that will then play backing tracks from a hardware synth. For experimentation purposes I was using Ableton Live on a laptop and triggering software synths, but the same principle could be applied to any sequencer/synth combo whether software or hardware. One advantage of doing it this way is that you can change the tempo of the song at will. Also, since the audio for the backing track is coming from a different output, you can mix/EQ it separately from the BeatBuddy output.

I created a single dummy MIDI note that is not in any of the drumsets at the start of a drum pattern MIDI file (started way up the scale at C8(#108)) that I uploaded into the BeatBuddy. I then mapped this particular note to trigger a specific MIDI clip in Ableton. Ableton is synced to the Beat Buddy via the MIDI Out cable and when BeatBuddy plays the loop, it sends all of its note info out the MIDI port. When Ableton sees that particular note, it immediately triggers the MIDI clip associated with it at the MIDI clock tempo at which the BeatBuddy is playing. I tested this out with a simple song that had an intro with no synth, a synth line on the main loop (loop #1), and a different synth line for the chorus (loop #2). Worked great! I can provide further details in a write-up later…

The limitation of embedding the loops into the drumkit are that the drumkit can’t exceed 100 mb. However, my first try was to have a single song as a gigantic loop (Reelin in the Years), was a song almost 5 minutes long (4:45), and it only took up 50mb, as a 16 bit 2 channel wav file. I don’t know what the specs are on how good the WAV files can be and it make a difference in the sound.

What I want to try in the future is doing a song like Crystal Blue Persuasion, and not only have it play the drums and bass, but the distinctive organ hits too. I have a Nord Electro 2, so I can make some amazing tonewheel samples if I need :slight_smile:

My ultimate goal is to blow people away at how great a one man band can sound without sounding “canned”. I mean, anyone can get karaoke tracks and play along with them, so there is that fine line.

That’s the challenge! Provide enough material to sound impressive, but at least look like you are manipulating a lot of it rather than having it appear pre-canned. Not sure where that line is.

Yeah, that’s a tricky thing. I had a great crowd tonight at my weekly show, and did much better when I wasn’t fighting the Beatbuddy. Man, one mistake or mis-time, and sometimes you just have to stop mid song. That’s ok if I have like one guy drinking a beer not paying attention, but I can’t do that with a crowd.

You know the old maxim about writings: write 10, and maybe 1 will be good. I’m thinking with beatbuddy songs, given the current limitations of midi note length, and the way you interact with it, maybe 1 in 4 are actually usable, of the songs I’ve created. I’m going to keep churning them out in hopes that I can get a larger number of usable BB/Bass songs that I can use with confidence. Not sure why, but some songs, even with my interaction, perform flawlessly, and others are ALWAYS a trainwreck. Hopefully some firmware updates will help us simplify the songs, and make the interaction more predictable.

I let the song lead, I can get away with fills in the wrong places and transitions but if we drift out of time I just kill it using the pause function and then restart it. Our music group at Church and the congregation has to follow the Beatbudy but some sometimes we all instinctively speed up or the song suddenly does not feel right with the chosen beat so I just stop the BeatBuddy. In my context the BB just helps out keeping the beat and creating a groove, it does not dictate what we do - sometimes it is very effective just to switch it off :slight_smile: - every situation is different though.

Hi Ash. I just made another post in a seperate thread but I will post it here as well as it was In regards to another poster with the Idea of using full length bass samples in songs using your method instead of the drumkit with bass to get around the popping noise that is present when cutting bass samples short.

Hi MaraP. Thanks for the input. I understand where your coming from with your idea and it uses the similar concept as aashideacon has in his Warren G song In that you can use the beat buddy to trigger a full length WAV file for the song.

I had a go at this after reading his thread in an attempt to include rhythm guitar samples into a song with bass. I tried it on a relatively easy song (Bad Moon Rising). Had some success in the intro for the song but when I tried to include a wav sample that was triggered by one midi note at the start of the loop and played over the four bars of the loop I ran into some trouble. The wav file would trigger and start but after about 1 bar it would cut out. Unsure of what was happening I removed either the bass or drum midi’s cant remember which and the sample lasted about 2 bars. There must be a function in the beatbuddy that after a certain number of midi notes are triggered the initial samples would be cut off if they are still going. Might be after 20 midi triggers for example which would explain why the sample lasted longer without both drums and bass.

I was not really that interested in adding extra parts,and really only want bass and drums so I only spent about an hour on it and didn’t look for any other solutions. If the popping noise was removed the bass in the beatbuddy would be perfect as far as I am concerned. To use short bass samples will be possible but it means creating a dedicated drumset for each song and recording the samples. Far to much work when I have like 100 songs already.
I think there will either be a fix for this in a future firmware update or in a beatbuddy 2 or another company will come out with it cause as far as I am concerned having bass tracks with the beat is absolute killer and if your a solo player once you start using it with bass,drums only seems like an inferior product.

Good luck on looking for a solution

[My answer from the other post, so it will be on this post for posterity. Get it POSTerity!? Ha!]

I believe drum notes don’t have a “duration” like other midi notes. Just an “on”. So what I did was make my midi trigger piece be the length of the sample, by using bpm, and time signature. I set bpm to 60, and the time signature to 5/4. My sample was 10 seconds long, so the midi was exactly 2 measures. Then, I trigger the wav in the first measure, and put 9 ghost notes in each beat after that. That seemed to fix the problem using a wav in the loop. In the fill, it seemed to just play the whole thing without this trickery, but I ended up making all the parts line up the time of the wav with the midi, and that’s how it eventually seemed to work properly.

Exactly. Right now internal format throws away every MIDI event except MIDI Note On ones when parsing MIDI files.
As far as I saw, the playing sound may get cut off when there are no free channels in the mixer (out of the pool of 32) - then the “oldest sounding” sample is selected to be replaced with the new one. I have no definite information about how the channels are being chosen and freed at this time, though.