Can I create a click track from the midi out?

I am looking for a (simple) way to create an analog click track signal sync’d w the BB. Some boundary conditions:

  • BB is receiving midi in (for starting-advancing songs, setting tempo - volume etc…)
  • no midi out is used now.
  • As we do not plan to use looper applications now I am initially looking for a minimal stand-alone solution.
    We would use the signal e.g. before start of the song - or in silent periods during the song.
    Looking to know:
  • any stand-alone budget-friendly solution to convert the midi signal to an analog click track?
  • what midi commands to use? clock? Sync?
    Many thanks for sharing

Quite easy to do! Create a click on the beat in an unused instrument in the BB midi parts. Connect the BB midi out to the drum module you are going to use to receive the midi click. Now, this is where some research may be necessary. The receiving module would have to have a way to ignore all midi except the midi on your click part. I would assume there are drum module that let you turn instruments off, but if I were doing this, the simplest most cost effective way would be to use a 2nd BB. You could create a custom “drum kit” consisting only of the tone you want for the click track. The signal hits that BB and you have just a click coming out of it.

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Many thanks for the advise. I ll take a close look at that.

Hi Phil,
Your answer - to use the outgoing stream of note messages - changed my way of looking at this and actually opened another - much larger - topic:
Originally I was just thinking of using the clock signal to sync with an external metronome for generating a click - your idea (to use the note messages trigger a second “sample player”) looks like a solution that can do much more than a click.
I have a Nord Stage 2 lying around - idle for 60% during gigs (yes its a shame). Just checked the manuals and it is fit for playing pre-recorded wav files based on a midi note stream. So (1 + 1 = ) I want to explore the possibility to have the Nord play pre-recorded sound (bass line, keys, etc) triggered by the BB notestream. Before investing a lot of time I am curious to hear your advise such as:

  • what about the note-off issue I saw in the forum - any experience with people that trigger a Nord as a sample player from the BB?
  • I understand I will have to get used to another midi editor than the BB one? (note-off…) I have Ableton Live - any hints to get started with that? (So I will no longer be able to monitor the whole song while I am editing the beats/fills/transitions?)
    As you see I am quite new to all this - but happy to learn.
    Thanks for your advise (btw the BB is doing a wonderful job - much easier on stage now that it is midi controlled from the Helix).

I’ll try to hit all your points here. Get back to me if I miss something.

The above tutorial explains a process for having the BB play back a prerecorded song. The principles apply equally to a song section, and could easily be adapted to playing a song section from an external device. But, this is where I am unclear as to your intent. If you are planning to play back a section of recorded music that already has its own beat, you need to realize that you are stuck with that beat. That is, unless, your Nord has the capability of beat mapping a song section that you through into it. If, however, you just intend to use the Nord to function as a midi sound module and play back samples, well then, yes, absolutely you could do that.

Note off issue - the BB does send note off cues. The instrument sent the part in the BB drumset needs to be marked as non-percussion, and the note would extend to the end of the intended part as explained in the tutorial. If you are just sending notes, then, again, use non-percussion, and just make the notes the appropriate length.

Ableton live is a great DAW. I just tried it out a little over a month ago, and I am considering building up a PC rig just to run Live. I did not use Live to send out to an external midi device, but I know it can be done. In fact, if you use BB to handle all you drums, and your Nord to handle Bass and keys, you should be able to monitor your edits as you make them and play them back. You would, of course, need to be able to program the Nord to have bass notes of C1 through G3 play back from received signal arriving at midi 0 through 31. Then have your keys set up to respond to 72-127 while playing back, for example, C2 through G6

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Hi and many thanks for the advise.
OK - sounds like a go - indeed I only intend to use the Nord for playing non-time-critical stuff (bass, vocals, keys samples of limited size) - and obviously sync’d to BB - all beats coming from the BB and recording tempo = playback tempo.
Let me work my way thru this info and get started with Ableton as the midi editor.
Thanks again.

Hello - here is an update:

  • I managed to get the Beatbudddy stream out midi to the Nord - I hear the Nord play OK - but I seem not to be able to control the note length. (All notes sound for the same - very short - length)
  • My configuration:
  • BB FW rev 3.9.3
  • Nord Stage 2 in “dual keyboard mode” (responding to incoming midi as piano, synth etc )
  • Note lenth controlled in Ableton Live 10 intro
  • BB custom drum kit based on standard rock (till nr 59) enhanced with “dummy” notes from 60 to 80 - all notes populated with an “empty” wav (1 sec of silence) - instruments type = non-percussion - choke = 0
    I am convinced I am overlooking something simple - so if you recognise anything - would be very grateful for your advise… Just too tempting to let go now…
    Some ideas:
  • can accidental quantizing in BB manager be a reason?
  • or is the length of the wav file playing a role?
    Sorry for the ignorance… happy to learn…
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Quantizing is BB manager could be the problem. What does the file look like in the BB Manager midi editor? Are the notes now extremely short or almost invisible? I have had that happen when moving midi from Alesis to BB. I have to make sure the notes were at least 40 midi ticks in length to work as intended.

Hello Phil and thanks for your attention and advise - much appreciated.
I am checking out - bear w me - not an expert…

  • When exporting the midi file from BB into Ableton I hear the note at the right length (e.g; via Organ)
  • In BB editor I see the note (before quantise) in its “normal” length (always limited to a BB frame - I guess BB editor does not show real note lenth - ?) – (using mgr 1.64)
  • I also see the correct note lenth in the Ableton editor
    Checking out further - but i m encouraged if you confirm BB streams out note length as in the midi file…

BB plays the notes the length that they are written as midi. Settings within a drumkit determine if the audio coming from BB treats the wave file as a “one shot,” when the note is set as Percussion, or as a note that gets cut at the end of the midi note, when the note is set as “Non-Percussion.” At least that how I believe it works.

Hi Phil, thanks for this - I am checking further - just did a test: I changed the notes to “percussion” and I still hear the same “staccato” audio coming from the midi player connected to the BB. I also changed to another midi player (Ferrofish B4000+) and the effect is the same. I will now investigate further on the front-end - create some new midi files…
(Any hint you can give to accelerate the upload from MAC into the SD card welcome…)

I can answer this one: There are two Mac commercial utilities that can take the place of the BeatBuddy Manager (BeatBuddy Manager (BBM): Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC); I use CCC to update my SD card whenever I edit my project. The first time you clone your project using either of these utilities to your SD card, it will take about the same amount of time as the BeatBuddy Manager (BBM)to export; on any subsequent updates (the equivalent of synchronization), it takes roughly 10 seconds to complete. I’m not aware of any other workaround.

Bruno, post the BB file you are using. Let me take a look. You should be able to post the .sng

Hi Phil, thanks again for the help - here is the .sng file - Pls check notes 100 - 110 in part “verse” - This file was exported from BB manager - checked OK on note length in Ableton (I m also checking if any BB settings can be the reason). - 4-IGottaFeeling.sng (1.5 MB)

@persist - many thanks for this advise - I ll definitely check this out!

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The notes are fine in the BB file, and would trigger an instrument placed in the drum kit at those locations, midi 107, 108, and 109. (B6, C7 and C#7). You also have a little part going on between C6 and G6.

If your Nord acts like a software sampler works, it may be transposing the notes you intend to use for a click to a higher octave and, thus, shortening the notes. If I were to place a wav in Logic’s sampler, and logic detected it’s actual value as C1, but I then tried to trigger it within the sampler at C7, I would get a very high pitched short note, as the wave form would be compressed to reflect the change of being 6 octaves higher. In Samplers, you can “trick” them into playing a higher note at the correct octave, by telling the sampler that the root pitch it actually the much higher pitch (or whatever pitch you want it to be), or by having the Sampler treat the wav as something that does not respond to pitch values.

Here is an example from Logic’s Sampler. Your Nord must have similar settings somewhere:

I have a wave called 72 Long Whistle. Logic brought it in as a Pitch detected at C1. I assigned it to C4. But, if you look closely at the Playback settings, Pitch is not active, so the Sampler is not adjusting the pitch. It plays the wav back at its recorded pitch. I believe since you are hearing short tick-like notes, your Nord has treated your click track tones as material which is having its pitched transposed.

If you just play a B6, C7 or C#7 from the Keyboard going into the Nord, do you hear the click track tone at the correct pitch and length?

Hi Phil, after some further checks this weekend:

  • When I use the Keyboard of the Nord (in dual KB mode the sound modules respond to the keyboard as well as to the incoming midi) the sound is normal. Transposing just changes the octave up or down.
  • Also when I replace the beatbuddy by my Midi controller keyboard (M-Audio code 49) the sound is normal - leads me to believe the Nord reacts normally to incoming midi.
    So I ll be checking out if I m doing anything wrong that leads the receiving sound module to believe the incoming notes are all of very small length.
    I saw a similar request from somebody last year (dereck.nistler?) talking about integration with an Integra 7 - would be happy to hear if anybody else plays the BB in a configuration with a midi sound module as slave - and how they connect…
    The plan B is to introduce Live into the Stage rig as the master - but I m not in favour - sounds too complicated and risky for an amateur like me…