I’ve spent time reading this forum to help me decide if BB is the device I am looking for. I do a lot of solo gigs in small clubs and outdoor venues. I want an easy to use drum pedal/unit that can handle 100 plus preset song patterns for my set lists. Im not much of a programmer so it would need to be easy to use as is and easy to access the patterns live, as well as being used for song writing and recording.
The discussion here on the inadequacies of the BBM has made me hesitate to buy the BB. So, a couple of questions.
Can I use the BB alone, with its current set up, to accomplish all or some of what I want to do as above, without requiring the use of the BBM?
7 years is a LONG time between software updates, IOW it ain’t gonna happen until BB2 comes out, or whatever the next version of BB is. Are there other pedals/machines out there that are similar in function or is there a BB2 on the horizon?
The short answer to your question is, yes, it will fit your needs if you’re willing to live the the (generally pretty good) quality of the songs in the library here. If you’re to-the-note anal about stuff like I am*, you’re going to have to learn a bit of editing.
So my question, if I were you would be: Are enough of the songs in the library here (a) what you want to play, and (ii) good enough for your standards?
Yes, I know I’m the only one who notices. And yes, I know I have a problem.
Yeah, 7 years for the BBM. someone posted a birthday notice in that long BBM thread.
The titles look good. I would need an easy to use interface to do any pattern mods, and it sounds like this BBM is not sufficient or easy for that function…
It’s not a MIDI editor. And the editor included was built by a customer and they include it as a courtesy. You’d want something like Reaper, a very powerful, but inexpensive and relatively easy to use DAW. Or, like I said, maybe the files available for free are already more than good enough for what you had in mind. I am anal about the drums to the point of insanity; not everyone is.
The short answer is “no.” You will need the BeatBuddy Manager (BBM) to load updates to the default content and premium library content (PLC). If at some point, you’re going to want to download and preview any of the user-created content from the forum, you will need the BBM. As long as you never intend to use any of the user-created content, the workarounds are kind of simple. If you buy the BeatBuddy (BB) pedal new, it will include an SD card loaded with the default content. From your post, it seems like you intend to buy the PLC. You can buy the PLC loaded on an SD card (ready to run on the BB) and it should lessen the dependency on using the BBM to load the content if you buy and download it. If you don’t buy the PLC and opt to buy premium single songs, you’ll probably need to use the BBM to transfer the songs to the SD card.
Updating the BB firmware requires your computer and a built-in slot reader or you can connect your pedal with the USB connection method (not recommended because of user-reported data transfer issues that sometimes lead to a bricked pedal).
If you haven’t done so, try downloading the BBM and default content 2.1 and experimenting with it to see if this is something that would meet your needs. No need to try to edit the content as you would probably only need to tinker with the tempo and the drum sets (which don’t require the BBM’s MIDI Editor)—pretty much the same thing you would be able to do on the pedal.
A BB folder is presently limited to 99 songs but a project can hold many folders of 99 songs so if your setlist is comprised of more than that, it will span at least a couple more folders. If you want to manage the number of folders and the content of those folders, you’ll need the BeatBuddy Manager (BBM) as it’s the proprietary data manager (projects, folders, songs and drum set) for that data. It’s also how you transfer that data to your SD card.
Let us know whatever your decision and how you arrived at that decision.
Wow, there are a few rather scary things there. A bricked pedal? Is that common? My computer has a slot for a mini SD card only. Also, how frequently is the default content updated? Hopefully it is shipped with the most current version.
At risk of echoing the Displeasure voiced in the BBM topic, with all these restrictions and issues with BBM, why hasn’t some developer figured out a fix by now? ( that is more of a rhetorical question than anything else, but it is rather puzzling for such an essential program.
Thanks for the reply. That was very instructive.
The bricked pedal does not happen often and when it does, it’s usually due to the power to the pedal being interrupted during a firmware update. It can be restored though. Sometimes but not often, it can happen when connecting via USB.
Although the default content has not been updated for several years, you will run into situations when you need to restore the default content to the SD card or to create a backup SD card—something a prudent and gigging musician would want to do anyway.
None of what I’ve said is intended to deter you from considering the BB as a seriously capable device that will enhance a user’s gigs. The BBM is the gateway to managing the content and it’s a part of the BeatBuddy system. You don’t have to use the BBM MIDI Editor. Despite not having been updated in several years, it can still get the basic job of helping users to manage the content on their pedal.
As for one of your original questions about alternatives to the BB, I’m not sure there’s anything like it.
Yes, I’m beginning to agree with that last statement. I have not found anything else like it.
At present I am also looking into Midi maestro as an accessory to BB. I watched the tutorial video byJoe V that was very appealing. I like the control options it brings.
I will probably take some more time on this to really dig in, and hope and pray that when I do spring for it, SS does not release BB2 hardware the day after I buy It .
When I got the BeatBuddy rather than purchasing the entire Premium content collection, I purchased a number of the Singular Sound MIDI drum beat sets and a few of the drum sets which I felt would suit my needs best. I added more MIDI drum beats from Groove Monkee which I can also use with Toontrack EZ Drummer3 software. Groove Monkee has drum beats in a BB format (PBF file) which can be imported into the BeatBuddy manager. I usually waited for a sale on the Groove Monkee site which are fairly frequent. There are free Groove Monkee MIDI beats available which can be imported to BBM
I’ve had the BeatBuddy since around 2017 and had no issues with it. I use it on a stand so I can reach the knobs and have a set of footswitches (BOSS FS-5U’s) to start and stop it. Over the years I’ve had a bunch of drum machines (still have a Roland TR-505 I bought in 1987) and the Beat Buddy is by far the best sounding and despite the BBM software, it is the easiest to import MIDI file content into. There’s plenty of help here in this forum that if you hit a snag with BBM someone can walk you through it.
Mark, thank you for your input. I have several FS-5U pedals, and the tip about buying specific songs is a good one. Later when I get through the original group of provided content and figure the BB out I can decide if I need more than that.
Also good to hear you have a positive history with this device. The BBM thread made me hesitate because SS stopped updating and everyone was (understandably) upset that its been so long.
~takes a step closer to the ‘buy now’ button~
Don’t worry, we all have GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), You just have a subvariant of GAS called GAPS (Gear Acquisition Perfection Syndrome)
Incurable, but necessary to get the product devs to try harder.;wink
I’m a fan of BBM. I tend to add my loops and other instruments that give us a bigger sound to drumsets. That way I can change tempo without worrying about re-recording a loop. I also use Audacity and Reaper, but BBM is my final port of call. I think we’ve all come to expect our software to do everything for us. Hail BBM!
I’ve been using beat buddy for many years on live gigs without any problems ever. I find free midi tracks online and download them, run them through beatbuilder(a free midi editor some nice person put on this site for free)if I wish to extend the songs lead solo, and then make a folder out of each setlist. I don’t think anyone will ever play more than 99 songs without taking a break so it works great. I always use one push songs and advance through my set list with the foot pedal.many folks on here are real picky about their drum tracks and overcomplicate a very simple and easy to use tool. in-between sets I just choose the next set folder and I am ready to go when the rest of the band is. I also use an older version of bbm because I’ve heard of problems with newer versions so I never upgraded. if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it! I am sure you would love the beat buddy as it is simple to use, sounds great and is very upgradeable. rock on brother!
I bought the 1st megapack, and I can now find 90% of the necessary drum patterns in it, which work well for me with my songs. You have to use the BBM to get everything organized on the Beatbuddy, and sometimes I have to make a little adjustment, usually in the volume of the toms to get it right, but that’s also easy to do in BBM. My method is as follows, I find a drum part that fits the song, and I first export it in BBM, and add the name of the song to the description of the file, so for example “Helples - slowrock4.sng” and then I import it again into the song folder I made, for example “outside gig”. Only when kk have imported it will I give it the name “Helples”. The advantage of this is that I use whatever original drum par I have with some kind of song. And indeed that there are still no updates from BBM is just a shame for the company, dd BBM could be much better, BUT it works and is usable.
Frankly, the Beat Buddy is not set up to play complete songs, doing so is kind of a hack.
I tried really hard to make Beat Buddy work for my duo. I tried to use the pre-configured loops but none of them really fit what we wanted to do so I went down the path of creating complete MIDI songs (I use Logic Pro for this). My plan was to do was store them on the BeatBuddy and then trigger them with the pedal. I bought a plug-in from Goranbeats in order to get the Logic Pro tracks to sound like the BeatBuddy ones and even experimented with using the MIDI Maestro. Because of the limitations of the Beat Buddy manager software doing all this was a really painful process. While I could get it to work the number of issues was huge and the effort required to maintain just not worth it.
In the end, reluctantly, I had to abandon the Beat Buddy. Now I exported my drum tracks as audio files, store them on my iPad and trigger them from a bluetooth pedal. The iPad is connected to our mixing board with bluetooth as well (I could also have used a cable).
I’ve used it for a couple of gigs now and surprisingly the whole thing works great.
Maybe someday Singular will embrace the performing musician who wants to create complete custom backing tracks but for now, I don’t really think that is their target market. Which is fair enough…not every tool is right for every job!
Every time I read one positive reply, the next contradicts. @Ryan_R , please explain “Frankly, the Beat Buddy is not set up to play complete songs, doing so is kind of a hack”
This just muddies the waters for me.
An active repertoire north of 200 songs and 60+ shows a year says otherwise.
I considered doing this a few years ago. Could have saved me some grief, but I would have surrendered the ability to stretch/shrink songs on the fly and to completely hose my duo partner with surprise changes. Both have proven to be priceless.
He seems to be saying the BBM is the BB’s Achilles heel. He’s not wrong. But a lot of people – myself included – have been using a BB for years to drive a band. It’s eminently doable. Yes, it involves some work and frustration from time to time, but it’s still way less aggravation than a real drummer.
I’m saying is the current Beat Buddy setup for creating, managing, and playing complete songs (which does require the use of Beat Buddy Manager Software) is quite painful. For example:
You don’t use BeatBuddy manager to create MIDI files, you need a tool for that. Most people probably use a DAW (I use Logic Pro). But whatever tool you use, your drum tracks will not sound like the Beat Buddy. That is because Beat Buddy has a limited number of custom drum sets and that is all you can use. Can’t add more.
NOTE: You can, however, purchase the exact Beat Buddy drum sounds from GoranGrooves as a plug-in for your DAW. I did this. The plug-ins have a few limitations (for example Logic Pro displays labels for native MIDI drums but not for plug-ins). But the plug-in does work and the drum sounds are identical to Beat Buddy ones.
Now that you have your MIDI track you need to get it ready for copying to Beat Buddy. So you get the Beat Buddy Manger software. The software interface is very clunky but you can figure it out. But just creating a song and adding your track is not enough. If you don’t set it up correctly, your drum track will play but it will then loop back to the beginning when you are done. When the audience is clapping do you want the drums to start up again? Not so much. So you need to get or create a dummy file and put it in the right place and put your drum track in the right place. This is not documented anywhere but people on the forum can help you to figure this out. You have to do this for each song.
Once you’ve set up all your playlist in BeatBuddy Manager you have to copy it over to the Beat Buddy. This is kind of a pain. Beat Buddy does have a USB port but sadly this does not work for copying files (at least not on a Mac - frankly I’m not even sure what that USB port is for). You need to pop out the BB SD card and copy your MIDI files onto it. This requires an SD reader on your computer. My brand new Mac Mini did not have one but I was able to purchase an SD USB dongle (I started with a cheap one but it was unreliable so I bought a more expensive one from Apple and that works). You may just want to copy your new drum track, but Beat Buddy manager does not allow this. Every time you want to update your SD card, even if it just changing one note in one track, you have to start from scratch and copy everything. If you have a bunch of songs to copy this takes a while. Once the copying is finished (and you had some coffee) you eject the SD card, and put it into the Beat Buddy.
Finally you have all your songs on an SD card, in the right order, pointing to the right drum sets, and ready to play. Controlling everything with the Beat Buddy pedal itself is possible but it takes a lot of dancing. Fortunately Singular makes a Footswitch to make it easier. You can set it up so one button starts the song, another moves to the next song in the playlist. But you won’t want to do this because every time you make a change and update your SD card it wipes out all your footswitch settings.
These are some examples of why the process is annoying. There are others.
Can you make it work? Absolutely. I did. And so have others. But at some point I realized it was far easier to output my drum tracks as Audio files, copy them onto an iPad (using DropBox so I don’t need to connect the iPad to the Mac) and trigger them with a bluetooth pedal. As a bonus I don’t even run a cable to the Mixing board from the iPad - I use bluetooth for that link too.
My take is that BeatBuddy is not really set up to handle complete drum backing tracks, at least not today. I do think the Beat Buddy is a great device when used it for what it is intended for. I still own my Beat Buddy. Perhaps Singular will fixes these issues in the future and I’ll try using it again. In the meantime my main goal is to play some music. The quicker and easier I can do that, the better.
I think I would have agreed with this if you had added “…the way I want to work with them.” But you’re right, there are a lot of other ways to work, and if BB doesn’t work the way you want to, then yeah, you can look somewhere else, for sure.
And I really like your solution. I considered doing a similar thing many years ago but the backing tracks were going to be recorded to a CD.