Now I know why the guy sold me his Beat Buddy!

—Could this thing be any more unintuitive to use? Setting up the Beat Manager was terrible but I think I got that much accomplished but now actually using the darn thing is so frustrating!
I downloaded some songs off of the forum site and thought, “okay I’ll put these in my BB to use”…wrong!
They play just fine on the computer BB but when I tried to load them into my pedal I found nothing. Then I decided since I can’t do that I will try to use the onboard beats making the songs we do fit them and have a setlist. Yeah right!
Why can’t this just be like other programs and you load the whatever into the folder and use it? I have owned and programmed synths for decades and don’t remember running into anything this convoluted even with the newest O.S.!
Can anyone explain to me how to make a setlist and how can I load onto my pedal new midi or song files please! I hate to have to try and sell this like the other guy did because it was just too difficult for me to use. I programmed a Synthi AKS for "Pete’s sake!
Thanks, Scott

Just be patience for now…the BB team are still working for the BB firmware update …BB pedal is amazing…

Yes, there are several folks on the forum who are willing to take the time to help you through the learning curve. Once I got the gist of what the BB does, how it works became a lot more intuitive. The reason it can’t be just like other programs or boxes is because of the flexibility it was designed to provide. You’ll feel a lot better in a couple of days.

One big tip - don’t manipulate anything outside of the BBManager (at least until you’re ready to begin generating your own midi files). If you’re using the OS to manipulate files, the BB won’t see it. The Export, Import, and Save As functions in the BBManager are your best friends for now. Despite the snow storm about to hit the DC area, I’m about to jump into a telcon. I’ll offer my insights in 1/2 hour or so.

The BB divides the drum parts of a song into chunks - intro, main loops, fills, transitions, outro. When you start the BB, it plays the intro then transitions to the first main loop. It repeats the main loop until the user presses the pedal to start a fill or a transition. A fill will play until the end of the measure in which it was activated then return to the main loop, a transition will play until the end of the measure then the next main loop will play. Upon ending the song, the BB will play the outro. The BB also has the flexibility of easily changing drum kits. Additional files are needed in each kit to reflect the various parts of the kit and the various volume levels of each part (making polyphonic IIRC).

Since you’re a fellow techie, the reasons for how it’s organized should become more intuitive once you get your head around this. The BB has to keep all these different files (midi and wav for the song parts, wav files for the drum kits) straight and play them at the times directed in the files associated with song parts and activated by the user. Since the various element are all individual files, the BB needs it’s own meta-file structure to keep them straight. Those files are a combination of keeping track of what files are active in the BB (via excel spreadsheets) and the songs/folders that are the highest level of organization that the user sees.

The BBManager must be used to move songs around, build song lists, manage drum kits etc so the extra file management features are all kept in sync.

Nicely laid out, Rob 22315

Telcon done, that took longer than expected.

Now, on to the major activities: managing projects, importing and manipulating songs, setting up folders (aka set lists), and managing drum kits.

Projects - Each project is a collection of songs, folders and drum kits. The BB SD card can only hold one project but the BBManager will let you build multiple projects on your computer. For talking purposes, let’s say you play in multiple bands of different styles who have separate set lists and gigs etc. You might establish a project for your work with each of those bands that only has the songs, folders, drum kits etc you need for playing with that band. The SD card comes with a stock project. As you add kits, build songs or folders/set lists, you’ll want to save these as separate projects on your computer for re-loading back onto your SD card when you need to get the BB ready for a gig. Use the Open/Close/Save/Save As commands in BBManager to manage your projects. Attempts to manipulate projects in the OS is very likely to result in losing stuff or not having anything playable on the BB. I only play with one band and one style of music so I don’t need separate projects other than for archival purposes. I like to load the project from my SD card, manipulate it, save it back to the SD card, then archive it to my computer. I have a small number of archived projects on my computer.

If you need multiple active projects for various bands or genres or gigs, then you will likely want to do all your editing work in the projects on your computer and make a final save to the SD card when you need to load up for the gig. The BBManager has great features to work either way. Play around with these features a little and it should become more obvious which commands get the job done. The only one I haven’t fully figured out is the synchronization feature so I stick to Open/Close/Save/Save As. Others may have the expertise to explain how synchronization works.

Import and manipulate songs - Obviously, songs are what the BB is all about. A song file tells the BB how to play the various files associated with each part (the intro file, the loop files, the fill files etc.). You can swap the various parts within the BBManager but, like most else with the BB, attempting to move files around using anything but BBManager will result in lost capability. In the beginning, I recommend you only deal with songs in the BBManager which is basically swapping song piece/parts, setting tempo, and assigning drum kits. There are tutorials on how to do the details of these so I’m not giving you a step-by-step for this but as you build your songs, you’ll have to import/export them in the BBManager. It’s not obvious at first but it’s very easy to get the hang of it and I’m not an expert in all the ways the BBManager can do it (I haven’t been able to do any drag/drop across folders yet). After tweaking a song to the way you want, you’ll need to save it someplace besides the default location - I recommend you export it to a folder of your choosing organized in a way that makes it easy for you to remember. I do this by exporting the generic stock song to a file with the name of the song I’m tweaking it for in a folder that’s just labeled ‘Songs’ in the OS. I then set up a folder in BBManager (more in the next section) with a set list name (like Feb 20 Gig) and import the song into the new folder. I make final manipulations then save the changes back to the current project. Within songs, the opportunities to manipulate are fantastic. You can swap pieces between songs, set up multiple series of loops/fills/transitions, put them in any order/repetition necessary to match the verses and chorus of the songs. Copy/paste became my best friend here as I couldn’t figure out how to manually manipulate the individual midi/wav files that make up the loops/fills/transitions etc.

Eventually, you may want to build your own midi files using the Beat Builder software available elsewhere on this forum. That’s beyond my knowledge so I can’t help you there.

Setting up folders - Folders basically contain lists of songs. The BB comes stock with folders named after music styles but you can name and organize them any way you want. Practically speaking, a folder is equivalent to a set list so you may want to name them accordingly as you create them. Using the BBManager to manage folders is similar to using the OS features but not quite as robust. You can add new folders, delete old folders, move them around, rename them etc. The BBManager commands are in the File and Song tabs so look at both places to get a sense for what you can/can’t do.

The big interest here is getting the songs into the folders. I do that by importing songs into folders from a separate location on my hard drive - the place I’ve saved the song once I’ve made all the changes I want. There may be other ways within BBManager to move songs into folders so play around a bit with drag/drop or copy/paste. I’m pretty impressed with all the ways BBManager gives us to manipulate stuff so my methods don’t necessarily capture it all.

Drum Kits - Selecting drum kits can be done within the song editing features or using the Drum Kit knob on the front of the BB. Beyond that, there’s a separate drum kit editor (Drum Kit Maker) that’s activated when you double click on the name of one of the drum kits. I don’t know anything about editing drum kits but user Psalm40 has some tutorials on this. Use the import/export features in BBManager to make new drum kits available to your projects, don’t use the OS. The extra step with drum kits is that you must also check the check box next to the kits you want to make active in your project before they can be used in songs.

Hopefully all this helps. It’s arcane but not beyond comprehension once you play around with things a bit. Give yourself 1-2 weeks of exploring before you return the pedal. It’s got some very powerful features and the drum sounds are very high quality so it’s worth the work to learn it.

–Thanks to everyone who wrote in and I promise your advice is appreciated. Getting the meaning of “project” defined really helped as did the other replies. I love working with technical things as long as I can understand the mindset behind the verbiage.
It just seems like if I want to place a beat created by myself of someone else (thank all of you have done this) that I should be able to use the software and copy and paste the song into it.
I’m still kind of at a loss how to create a setlist where my classic rock band could match the songs to the drums, I guess I’m so used to using the iPad through the ITunes store to integrate programs inside an app, it’s quick, painless and makes sense to me. Getting old and lazy!! LOL
Once again I really appreciate the help, I’m kind of still in the dark but I know the sounds are there so once I figure how to use them I’ll love them.

If you don’t end up loving this thing, I will be very surprised. If the BB was nothing more than a glorified backing track, I would feel cheated. There’s a lot going on and it will take some time and work to get the hang of the advanced use. Seldom does something that is remarkable and worthwhile come easy. I feel that only using it with the pre-loaded beats (which are fantastic and very usable, by the way) is like getting into a Ferrari and letting it idle.

A folder is basically a set list so start by setting up a new folder with a name that indicates what’s in the setlist. Once the folder is available, you’ll have to import songs to it but you might want to tweak the songs along the way. The simplest way to being building a set of songs is to find a stock song that’s reasonably close to what you want. There’s a separate section in this forum where users have posted what they use (stock song, tempo, drum kit) for specific songs. You might also find song files specifically built up to match the songs even better. Follow the tutorials to figure out how to tweak songs or load them from external sources. Make sure they end up in your set list folder and don’t forget to save the updates along the way.

I don’t get hung up on recreating the original drum track - something in the ball park will suit most live audiences just fine.

Thank you very much for this advice, I’ll try it out…

Wow I wish I had read this when I got my BB Im a musician not a tech guy by any means, and had a hell of a time just getting the firmwear updated, well explained thanks!!!,makes more sense now, I figured it out and its easy now to load songs and add accent hits, now on to learn how to make beats to my original songs, im glad I didn’t give up, I got a digitech trio too when I ordered the BB, cause I couldn’t decide which one was better for me, the Trio is in the box so it dont collect dust its cool and all but once you get the BB figured out it’ll be worth it!

This site is really great! Having a strong community makes the process of learning and producing quality songs a lot easier especially if you’re someone like me who between fighting cancer and holding down that dreaded day job it’s also my obligation to program synths and figure out drum machines that I have no ability to understand. The help here has been tremendous and is greatly appreciated.

Thanks rob22315 … Question once i create a set list file and load it on the sd card will it show up on the screen ?
Coffee shop gig?

You are creating a set list folder, not a file. It will show up on the BB after you create it. So will any songs you add to the folder.

did you mean show up on beatbuddy?
Show up where? On what screen?

Yes, my Blackberry autocorrects BB to ‘Blackberry’, go figure. I didn’t catch it this time but it’s fixed now.

Creating a folder in your project with the name of the set list will result in a new folder showing up alongside the current genre listings (e.g. Pop, Rock, R&B etc.). When you go into that folder, you will see the names of songs you’ve added, just like you would with the existing stock folders. The folders/songs show up the same way whether you open the project with BBManager or with the BB via the SD card.

If you wanted to, you could create a project with no genre folders - just delete them all - and only have user-created folders.

There’s only one screen (literally) on the BB so that’s where you’ll see the new set list folder - alongside the genre folders. Where it shows up depends on where you put it and where you leave it when you create it in BBManager.

Thanks Rob… I am enlisting my 17 year old daughters help… With her help i created a new project / file with 3 songs in it that i customized … It shows up on my bb as folder (in between blues and brazilian) but the bb just scrolls over it like its not there close but no cigar yet!

It is not in bold text? Indicating its empty?[ATTACH=full]2114[/ATTACH]

Yes, it’s probably empty. Did you check it out thoroughly in BBManager before loading the project on the card? You should be able to scroll through the folders and play the songs in the folder with BBManager using the virtual BB. If it plays on the virtual BB, it should play on the real BB.

You must use BBManager to put songs in the folders. If you use the OS, the BB won’t see the songs. Drag/Drop will move songs between folders, export/import will basically copy songs from the old folder to the new folder.

IIRC shift-up/down will move the folder location in the listing.