Newbie midi sync question BB/Looper/Onsong?

Hi, I’ve been reading many of the topics on here with great interest & this is my 1st post.

I have been using loopers with home made drum/percussion beats pre loaded in my solo & duo shows for years & this has been working pretty well.
The looper has been been providing the beats for my music & when I want to play a solo I loop a chord progression & go for it. The downside is that the length of the loop has to be pre determined & the original looped beat has only 1 section. I can also program related beats with different bar lengths or B sections with ride cymbal etc. in neighboring patterns. Well you get the idea & I’m sure most of you will have been performing similarly at some stage.

I’ve been looking at the possibility of adding the Beatbuddy to my set up for a while & have finally made the purchase, arriving today.

The Aeros loop studio is designed to work with the BB & looks interesting but it is expensive & maybe a bit of an overkill for me. I’m not a live loop artist, I just want to play & sing a song with a good realistic sounding beat with occasional fills or changes of song sections & sometimes loop a part to play a solo over, nothing more really. I’m sure the Aeros can cope with that? Or is it? There appears to be a lot of dissatisfaction with the Aeros on thesis forum?

The other advantage would appear to be that I can have the BB inputting into the Aeros separately to the guitar & not have the drums recorded into the loops but the resulting mix can all be outputted to a single channel & thereby saving a channel on my mixer. (I have larger mixers but I like to take the minimum gear possible to solo & duo gigs so I can do most of them with a Bose S1 Pro & its simple 3 channel mixer).

At present all the changes I need to make between songs can be done via a FS-7 connected to my current looper of choice (RC-5) so I want to continue this functionality & not have to bend down & find the next song on the BB etc. I believe this can be done connecting a footswitch (either the FS-7 or my NUX footswitch). If there is any extra useful functionality I can get by purchasing the BB footswitch I will buy it.

Reading many posts on here it appears that the BB can communicate well with my RC-5 via midi & I have purchased the required cables. I’m very exited at this prospect despite the fact that it’ll be 1 more box on the floor.

I’ve also been reading on this forum that I can use Onsong to select the required song & tempo of the BB through midi, that sounds amazing too. I have Onsong on my ipad although I don’t use it that much (I prefer IReal Pro) but I would certainly consider making set lists on Onsong for this functionality to control the BB.

So basically my question is this (apologies for the long preamble).
Can I get Onsong to select the song through midi in of the BB & still have midi out syncing with a looper (the RC-5 in this case although I’m prepared to shell out for the Aeros if necessary)?

I understand that there is a 3rd possibility of a midi foot controller to get this functionality too but I’m trying to reduce the amount of units & floorspace?


My current rig is OnSong selecting a BB song via MIDI over bluetooth and the BB syncing with my looper without issue. I use a Boomerang looper, but there are lots of options for loopers depending your needs. In my case, I have folders of songs on the BB (with their respective tempos etc), when I bring up a song on OnSong it sends the MIDI message to load the specific song on the BB. The BB in my case is configured as the master MIDI clock provider so my looper syncs with that once the song on the BB is loaded.

I have done hundreds and hundreds of gigs with this setup and it works fantastic. It is highly reliable for me.

No bending over required at all :smile:


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Thanks Rick. So you connect onsong via your ipad with bluetooth & then then the looper is the slave to your BB?

I’d be grateful if you could walk me through this process. It’s all a bit confusing to me at the moment tbh.

Onsong-MC6-BB MIDI Setup.pdf (8.3 MB)

I am not sure if the attached PDF will upload. It’s something I did sometime ago to help others with connecting Onsong - Beatbuddy - Voicelive 3 (which you can ignore )
If it does upload, let me know if you have questions.

Good luck! Cheers.

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Onsong_BB_VL3_MIDI_Setup_LuisLugo.pdf (5.6 MB)

Apologies. The previous PDF is a more recent one which includes a Morningstar MC6 MIDI controller (a marvel!) in the setup. This (attached) one doesn’t.


Very nice doc! This should be super helpful for anyone getting started in wiring up OnSong etc…

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That’s amazing, thanks very much.

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I highly recommend Morningstar Engineering’s MC3, 6, or 8 midi switchers. Midi may seem overwhelming but once you get into it it really isn’t. I was a raw novice a month ago. Now I’m a rank amateur! And Morningstar support and the user forum help is simply unparalleled. I am controlling my BB, Boss RC-500 looper, and other pedals with my MC8. Zero latency and extremely responsive and versatile. Now, the only time I touch my BeatBuddy is if I want to add a drum fill (I simply tap the main pedal). Everything else is done with my MC8 foot switches–song selection, drum kit selection, song part transition, BPM, etc—EVERYTHING. There is simply no substitute for me (okay, I haven’t tried onsong, but based on what I’ve read, it probably won’t work for “me.”)

Best of luck!


Wow, I wish every diagram was that clear. Nice job!

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I’m sure the Morningstars are excellent pieces of kit & I’ve seen many others recommending them.
But I really don’t want anything else on the floor & I don’t want any more tap dancing either. I’ve seen a few videos from some posters on here & they’ve got great set ups & do some fantastic things but in some instances they barely look up from their feet in the entire song. That’s not for me, control from an ipad app is more appealing for my use.

On the floor I’ve got an Tech21 acoustic fly rig that covers eq, reverb, delay, chorus & compression (all great quality analogue effects), my RC-5 & now the BB & footswitch (I’m using 1 that came with my old NUX looper that’s even smaller than the SS one). That’s enough floor real estate for me.

Controlling the BB’s song change & output volume through an ipad app like Onsong will be great.

@braziliansway I’m sure you still haven’t got the whole picture about the benefits of using a MIDI controller specially when you have several other pedals to control. @Crash painted a clear picture. Of course, it all depends on each case or song and how complex you want your execution to be.

I don’t work for Morningstar, just in case, but I’ll give you a fresh example using the song I’m Not In Love, by 10cc):

Pressing one switch of my MC-6 executes the following actions simultaneously:

1- activates the 2nd Step on my VoiceLive 3, which has the harmony voices of the 2nd part (bridge?) of the song
2- changes the Wurly piano for a Grand piano
3- moves the Grand piano one octave up (Roland GR55)
4- activates the Delay on the Wurly piano (GR55)
5- mutes the “Oooh” voice present in the verses

In other words, it actually reduces the tap dancing to one tap. I couldn’t do all that in real time otherwise.

Pressing the switch again reverses all the changes and returns to the verses setup. I have other 4 switches programmed to do other stuff on that same song (ON/OFF the D string on the bass (GR55), activate the synth-like voices on the verses (VL3), activate harmonies on a lower key -in case my vocal chords aren’t the greatest that day (VL3), etc.)

I have songs with more (also less, 'course :)) actions assigned to a single MC-6 switch.

And no, I won’t be posting a video sample anytime soon because I’m still struggling with my video shyness :grimacing:.

Anyway, I’m not trying to sell you a MIDI controller -despite very much looking like that, ha ha!-, I’m only showing you what you can do with it.

PS: controlling pedals from the iPad (other than non-real time messages) doesn’t work for me as my hands are busy with the guitar.

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This is what’s at my feet :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the replies & that’s a nice set up you have & beautifully laid out but personally I’m trying to make things as simple as possible.

I have a GR55 but I’m not using it anymore as I have a guitar with polybass built in which gives me an octave lower on the 5th & 6th strings. My guitar style allows me to play the bass with my thumb (I’ll post my guitar soon, it’s real beaut).
Speaking of the GR55 & totally off topic but just for interest, some years ago I made a solo vid playing everything on the GR55 (drums, gtr, EP, bass & looper) to demonstrate what it was capable of. It was a nice exercise but playing drum sounds on the GR55 is very hit & miss & not something I’ve ever attempted live, (the vid took me quite a few takes to get right)

I also have a harmony vocal pedal but I don’t use that anymore either preferring at present to just add my 2nd voice to my wonderful singer.

As for drums, all I want are grooving simple patterns with some variations & simple fills. The BB’s pedal functionality is fine for that.

As you might have guessed by name name we play a lot of Brazilian music & the singer is Brazilian. I have bought the Brazilian percussion set up for the BB & the rhythms are good & quite nicely played but way too complicated & too much. I really don’t need a 20 piece Brazilian percussion section behind the 2 of us, that would be overkill.

What I’m going for now is the Flamenco cajon kit adding other instruments that I need to it. That’s giving me the right balance for what we do.

The only thing I need midi to do is sync my BB to my RC-5 which it does perfectly via the breakout cable & TRS adapter. Then the ability to change the song program & song volume on The BB with Onsong is a nice bonus. Latency wont be an issue for that as far as I understand?

I don’t need any further midi control to my RC-5 as all I do is loop a section to play a solo on top & that can be done simply with the RC-5 pedal itself without even a footswitch.

I use my ipad (with iRealPro) to remind me of the chords for each song anyway (although it’s only really a back up as I know our sets pretty well). So if changing from iReal to Onsong & adding a bit of added midi code to the charts is going to change the BB song for me without scrolling through the songs on the footswitch that’s absolutely wonderful.

Things evolve though & maybe one day I will require a more sophisticated set up via midi.

This set up is just for our duo, which gigs twice a week at present, when we do the quartet or sextet everything is fully live, no midi or drum machines.
Here’s another vid showing what we do as a duo, although it’s using my old guitar, the GR55 & some very simple drum loops to which I hope the BB will be a massive upgrade.


Man, that sounds awesome! Congrats! You’re quite an accomplished musician and your duet partner has a great voice. I thoroughly enjoyed both videos.

I now see what you mean. I, on the other hand, as a one man band and with a perfectionist syndrome (not proud of it) started building my pedalboard a few years ago, focusing on harmonies (think Bee Gees, Eagles, etc.), virtual instruments and drums, and that’s where I am right now. The MS controller has given me extra powers.

I have a Yamaha silent guitar, nylon strings, that looks a bit like yours but has no 13-Pin capabilities. I use a Godin Multiac, nylon strings, to drive the GR-55. And when I sporadically use loops I use the Voicelive 3 (integral part of my setup)

I’ll be watching your other YouTube videos in due course (I just suscribed to your channel)

Cheers, then, and let me know if you need further help with controlling your BB via MIDI, I’ll be happy to help.

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Earlier I forgot to answer your question: No, latency shouldn’t be an issue for PC messages and most CC messages. But controlling real-time looper tasks like record/play back/overdub can be problematic via Bluetooth but not via wired MIDI -I’m thinking BB to RC-5.

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Thanks for the kind comments.

The Widi master has arrived now so I’m looking forward to getting it working with OnSong.

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After some time I’ve managed to connect my ipad to the Widi master & update its firmware.

Ad thanks largely to the fantastic advice given here I’ve also managed to add the metadata to a few of the pdf’s by assigning a BB patch to the songs.
My question as to whether I could do this within an imported PDF within OnSong has been answered, you can.

The light on the Widi has finally gone to a steady blue so connection appears to have been made.

As I turn to the 1st song in my OnSong set list I can see clearly the metadata in large grey letters in the middle of the part PRG 0, MSB 0, LSB Ch0 & this fades away so I can see the uninterrupted details on the PDF.

But it’s not working yet.

So I’ve either failed to put the correct info in or it’s not recognizing the folder in the BB for some reason?

Any ideas?

The folder with the songs in appears to be the first in the list in the BB Manager, does it also have to be named 0 or 1?

@braziliansway Not sure if it’s a typo in your text but Channel numbers go from 1 to 16 (not “0”) and the channel number in Onsong should match the BB channel number you assigned to it (default is 1)
The rest of the parameters should set the BB to the first song on the first folder.


I think @braziliansway is referring to the folders on the BB and how they are accessed by MIDI commands. I believe he is correct, in that the folders and songs are 0 based. So the first folder on the BB is 0 and the first song in each folder is 0 based too.

I believe you were referring to the MIDI channels you would communicate on.


@User_Name That’s correct, Rick.

The reason I pointed out the channel number as the possible culprit of his problem is because he typed “Ch0” and 0 is not an option for channel numbers (only between 1 and 16). My last paragraph tried to convey what you said - though it may not have been as clear as I thought, I take it :slight_smile:


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