Deciding to buy, any advice or experience is greatly appreciated!

Hi There,

I’m a solo pianist who has worked with a drum machine for nearly 20 years now. It’s a great and fluid way to work for me by not being tied down to prerecorded song backings, and having the opportunity to change up the song arrangement as I see fit (mainly cos I’m so crap I can’t repeat a song the same way if I try).

I’m wanting to increase the sound quality of the drums I have, and have the option for more pattern variations within one song (I currently only have A & B on my Alesis SR18).

I’ve attached a quick image I’ve made to explain how I would like it to work for me. Is this possible?

I have a number of questions:

  1. Would I be able to work as described in the image attached?
  2. What is the sound quality like out of the BB? (I run a Bose L1 Model2 so output sound is very clear.)
  3. What is the load time for a patch (group of patterns for a particular song)
  4. Can a patch be brought up via a midi control change?
  5. Can the BB also accept audio loops for the pattern?
  6. If so, whats the tempo change like for audio?
  7. How many patches can be stored in the BB

I use an iPad with the Bandhelper lyric app (ex Setlist Maker). It has midi output capabilities and what I would like to be able to do is when I select the song I wish to perform, the iPad sends a midi CC and sets up the BB with the appropriate patch and tempo ready for me to simply hit the Start pedal.

Very keen to hear your advice!

Many thanks in advance.


  1. I believe you could do what you want set-up wise, or at least get very close. There is a midi transition command documented in the midi manual, CC 113. I have not used this particular feature, so maybe someone who has can weigh in on that issue.
  2. The sound quality is excellent. The Factory samples and additional kits are of very high quality. I also use a Bose L1.
  3. Songs load very quickly. There are not groups of Alesis style patches that get combined. Songs can be customized, or perfected. Part creation is best done in a good quality DAW.
  4. A song can be brought up with midi commands. I use OnSong, and it works well for this. Others use other Songbook programs and report good results. Individual song parts are a bit more troublesome to call up. You can go directly to a part that has been designated as the ending. Generally, the pedal processes songs in a linear fashion. There is a designated intro part, followed by or more main loops, with transitions available between main loops. You can duplicate parts within a song. So, for example, if you wanted to control a song that had an intro, verse 1, verse 2, chorus, bridge, chorus, outro. You could have an intro, 5 main loops, and the outro. BB would play the intro, and immediately go to verse 1, it would loop verse one, until you press the pedal for transition. Many of use would lay out a song as I described, with the intro, one main loop for the two verses, then press for the chorus, press for the bridge, press for the chorus, repeat the chorus as many times as you want, and then press for the outro. It’s a different mind set than using the Alesis. There are also much easier methods. There is no limit to part length. A song could be one long part, or it could be split into smaller parts. As a blues player, I tend to build my songs as 1)everything before the jam, 2) the jam) 3) everything after the jam. The transitions are built into the parts, In my method, I only need to tap the pedal once to begin the song, the tap the extension pedal after the jam to trigger the outro.

I have not used the CC113 feature, but I believe this could be enable to allow skipping of parts.

  1. No. Very short audio parts can be added to a drum kit as an effect, but the BB plays midi files, not audio. The midi triggers samples in the BB stored as drum kits.
  2. N/A
  3. I currently have over 2000 songs in my BB, and over 130 drum kits. I am using a 16GB SD card. It is not full. The BB can use 32 GB cards maximum.

Some users have reported that using the BB with a large midi pedal, like the Behringer FCB 1010 provides an excellent method for accessing the BB features available via midi. Many others use simply the BB and the extension switch and are quite pleased. Keyboard players have noted that the screen display is too difficult to see at ground level, and prefer to have the BB resting on the keyboard, or at desk level. This would necessitate use of an external switching device like the FCB 1010.

I believe someone is using Bandhelper. In general, all of the songbok program that can send a midi command work with the BB for pulling up songs.

There is a tap tempo feature on the BB.

I hope that helps.

Hi Terry,

I am sure other members will be able to give you a more elaborate response, but I will try to get you a short answer to your questions:

  1. Would I be able to work as described in the image attached?
  • Yes, you would need to add a MIDI controller with enough pedals, such as the Behringer FCB1010, and the MIDI command list for the Beatbuddy can be found in this forum
  1. What is the sound quality like out of the BB? (I run a Bose L1 Model2 so output sound is very clear.)
  • The sound quality from the BB is very good, I use a Bose L1 Compact and a Bose L1 1S and it sounds great on both. I almost use no EQ, sometimes I like to bump the lows a little bit and cut the mids and highs a bit.
  1. What is the load time for a patch (group of patterns for a particular song)
  • The patch is loaded immediately, the drum kits sometimes take a few seconds but nothing that may interfere in a regular performance.
  1. Can a patch be brought up via a midi control change?
  • Yes, actually a program change is used for this.
  1. Can the BB also accept audio loops for the pattern?
  • Nope, you would have to use an external looper. I use an iPad based looper, the Quantiloop.
  1. If so, whats the tempo change like for audio?
  2. How many patches can be stored in the BB
  • Don’t know exactly how many, but basically whatever you can fit in the SD card. I use a 16gb SD card.

I hope this helps! But as I said, I am sure somebody with more expertise will jump in to complement my response.


Hi Phil… you hope that helps? What an extensive and outstanding reply, thank you! Very in depth and helping to hone my decision.

I’m hoping someone does weigh in with their experience of the CC113 command. It’s a biggy for me. I’m grateful for your advice on how to set up the run through way with multiple parts, but for the way I work where I may want to go backwards in the song to repeat a part on the fly, having the parts set out and activated by individual pedals would be very useful to me.

Once again thank you for your advice. BeatBuddy is looking like a positive choice for me!


If you search the forum, you will find positive and not so positive feedback from piano players. Their comments address the audio quality of the drums to the ergonomics and useability of the pedal.

I think it all boils down to how well a piano player can adapt to the BeatBuddy’s capabilities and limitations as the pedal lends itself very well to a familiar format for guitarists but has proven itself to be quite flexible for all types of musicians.

Thanks Mike!

Once again really useful info. There seems to be a recurring theme so far and it seems that it is all very proBeatBuddy. I am really interested to see if any of the members are using a foot pedal setup like I’m suggesting and can skip back and forth around the pattern parts with a fill transition on each change. If thats a goer… I’m sold!

Really appreciate your reply… thank you!


Check this video out, this guy uses the Behringer pedal like that:

And yes, you can assign a different transition to each part so that it jumps to the desired transition.
I am a former user of the Alesis SR18 too and the Beatbuddy excels it in every way.

Good comment!

It seems most pedal of this ilk are designed more for guitarists. Thats not a problem. I have adapted a stand to have a shelf in front of me with other guitar based pedals on it where I have extended the pedal to be on the floor.

I’m interested that you feel there may be issues for some with the audio quality? The ergonomics isn’t that much of an issue for me as the iPad will select the song and the extended pedal system will control it. No need to touch the BB at all hopefully!


Perhaps not so much the audio quality of the drums but the quality of the beats. One or two piano players felt that the drums were too intrusive and were not what they expected when performing in a lounge or with softer genres of music. They didn’t seem to be happy with the premium kits either. If you want to preview the default kits, download the BeatBuddy Manager and give a listen. There are many free custom kits that have been crafted by forum users and I’m sure you will find something that will come close to scratching your itch. As Phil Flood said, the kits can be tailored with a DAW to a user’s specific needs. Also go into the Premium library and audition those kits too. My favorite is the Standard Pro.