For any musician wanting to concentrate on playing instead of programming, this is an excellent drum/percussion instrument that sounds great right out of the box. BB has been designed for live performance, and everything about it has been made simple and intuitive—so you can concentrate on making music and not on hassling with processing or sequencing. BB is not made for drum sequencing—which requires other tools which interact with BB—but it is ideal for quickly and easily adding drums to accompany your band or solo act. Its elegant simplicity is exactly why I love this little thing!
Within 30 minutes of initial start-up, I was comfortably playing complete songs on guitar accompanied by BB. After another 2-3 hours with the BB Manager software, BB’s pre-sets were providing extremely high quality, natural-sounding pre-set intros, transitions, fills, and outros that fit with about 75% of our duo’s 36-song set list. After another 2-3 hours spent getting familiar with the BB Manager software, learning how to juggle around song parts and pieces and downloading some Premium content, we had the other 25% of our set list done, and we were using BB throughout practices. One week after purchase, with another 4-5 hours spent with the BB Manager and the addition of a little more Premium content, we began playing our entire set list with BB. Two weeks after purchase we decided to stop auditioning drummers and use BB exclusively for all practices and gigs.
My beautiful flute-playing wife has started affectionately calling him “Buddy,” and I’ll admit I’m starting to get a little jealous. What is it about drummers, anyway?
So if you are considering buying a BB, here are some things to note:
- The BB pedal itself is very well-designed and durable, with lots of options and functionality.
- The BB Manager software is relatively easy to learn and use, making it simple to create and manipulate songs and set lists.
- Singular Sound looks to be extremely responsive to user needs, with positive online support and excellent product improvements over time.
- The BB website is one of the key ingredients in making this an excellent product; great instructional videos and downloads.
- The BB Forum is fantastic; I found answers to every single one of my newbie questions and minor technical issues.
- You most definitely will need to purchase a two-button footswitch to use the pedal properly; otherwise, you’ll be bending over constantly to use the pedal controls. (I returned the noisy BB footswitch and began using a quieter easier-to-trigger Boss footswitch.)
- The website has excellent Premium content providing new songs and drum sets for purchase. I’ve already acquired 7-8 beats or drum sets; you’ll likely want some, too, so add that into your budget.
- The Forum also contains tons of user-generated content and ideas (such as using BB with OnSong); quality varies, but it’s all free!
- To preview additional beats and sets, go to the BB Main Page–Store–Premium Content Library.
- To get an idea of how BB works live on stage, check out YouTube.
- I don’t know anything about the BB Mini, but it looks to have much more limited functionality and pre-sets.
I have played with a lot of really good drummers, so my expectations for BeatBuddy were very high. Needless to say, I now give BB my highest recommendation for any musician looking for either a practice or live performance drum machine. In addition to being a great musical tool, this is one of the best pieces of technology I have ever encountered for ease-of-learning, functionality, versatility, and online info/support. Now that we are in our third week post-purchase, and Buddy has become a permanent part of the family, you would have to pry my cold, dead guitar-pickin’ fingers off this thing to get it.