Please be honest - will Beatbuddy Manager ever get updated?

It was a 6/10 in 2016 maybe. Not now.

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Hi Phil,
Just a side note regarding the MC8. You can very easily add aux switches to it’s 4 omniports, giving you up to 20 switches/buttons total. They also can be expression in, midi out and fixed. But even with just the 8 buttons on the device, you can program a multitude of commands per press, release, long press release, double tap, double long press etc etc.and you can make them any assignments you could possibly think of. Plus you can set it up to message scroll, which will basically run 16 commands in one action. Plus, it has 30 banks, two pages of 8 switches per bank.
I love the thing.

Although the BBM has so many shortcomings and bugs I have always defended it as a usable product and a majority of my MIDI compilation is done using it. Once you know how it works and what is represented it is a great tool. But holy fuck it is flawed to the shithouse and missing such basic functions as cut & paste in MIDI editor, play from a cursor position in the MIDI editor etc. Because of basic features missing from it it is slow and cumbersome to use and continuously having to work around bugs. I don’t understand why SS will not update the main software for their flagship product. Even worse when they don’t join the discussion here and have no interest in any updates. Disappointing.

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Too busy making new products.
But it will bite them later.
Why would I invest in another product that may not get supported?
Doesn’t make any sense.

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Just wanted to let you know that I had a bunch of problems running Beat Buddy Manager on MacOS 11.x.

What got it working on my Mac was to run the Windows version in CrossOver: https://www.codeweavers.com/crossover

Now everything works as expected… or as well as expected on Windows :slight_smile:

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Hello everyone,

Regarding the original question of whether or not the BBManager will ever be updated. The answer is yes. That includes both Windows and Mac.

Now to answer the question of why it is taking so long, the simple and concise explanation is that the BBManager has been programmed in such a way that it has become extremely difficult to fix. We would fix one thing, and 3 more problems would pop up, and the cycle continued over and over. Any programmers in this forum could probably relate and share similar experiences in their past projects whenever trying to fix “spaghetti code”.

We are currently rebuilding it from the ground up, as that is the only solution as far as we can tell, and we came to this reluctant realization relatively recently.

Longer explanation for those who want more details:

In repeated attempts to patch up the BBManager and all of its flaws, we have gone through about 4 separate programming teams since 2015. After each team seemed to not make significant progress on fixing the critical issues, we’d search for a different team to replace them that we hoped could accomplish what was needed. Searching for and getting a new team up to speed on the project takes significant time as well. This is 4 separate attempts, in which we invested a ton of the company’s earnings into this one individual project.

This whole process has been VERY frustrating for us as well. Because not only are we spending time waiting for it just like the rest of the BeatBuddy community, we have invested so much of the company’s funds on top of that. Funds that we could have used to work on additional products - but we felt it was critical to fix the software for our original flagship product.

It doesn’t serve us in any way to neglect the BBManager. Most of the online bad reviews we received are in regards to our software, which has been (at least until you get used to using it) a royal PITA to newcomers. As the CEO of Singular Sound it is a painful thing admit, but I recognize it. Aside from personal feelings, from a pure business perspective, we not only want it to work to its full capacity without problems, we NEED it to work to its full capacity without problems.

More importantly, we care about our customers. We care a lot. We want everyone to be happy with our products even long after purchases were made, whether that’s last year, or 5 years ago, or longer. We are all part of the same musical community. We care about your satisfaction whether or not you continue to purchase products from us. We will give the same level of support to the guy who purchased the BeatBuddy once in the Indiegogo campaign years ago as we give to the guy who instantly purchases anything we make available the day it becomes available.

As it stands now, we are rebuilding the BBManager from the ground up. We are working on a simplified version of it, with none of the issues and required workarounds existing in the current BBManager. Once we have solidified this version, we will work on developing more complex features, hopefully reaching a point of all the fancy bells and whistles. It is one of our primary focuses right now. We were very careful before starting this new version not to repeat the mistakes of our previous attempts and have consulted with several software experts to make sure we build a solid foundation.

In addition, we are continuing work on the current BB Manager in case we somehow manage to fix enough of the bugs to make it a worthwhile improvement that we can release while the new version gets built. We made the original version open source so any programmers who would like to try their hands at fixing some challenging bugs are more than welcome to join us in this effort.

I completely understand everybody’s frustration. I feel that frustration as well. But I also feel a deep responsibility to you all to live up to my promises and we all are working our asses off to make it happen.

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Hi David,
Thank you for the update and great to hear.
I have faith in you all at SS.
Keep the flag flying. With water off the ducks back.

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This is a great response David. Thank you for the update. I sure hope the new version will still have a built in MIDI editor similar to what is in the Manager now. It is still my preferred method of compiling for the BB.

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This is great!
I can’t wait.
Like many others, I have learned to work with the current BBM & it’s limitations.
The BB is an awesome pedal.
It deserves awesome PC software.
GO DAVE GO!

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Your response is all good, but I find this a little worrying. It sounds like the original version is now abandonware, and that’s the only reason it’s open source. That any new version is not going to be open source.

That’s a shame.

There’s a lot to be said for making ancillary software like BB manager open source – after all, you want to sell hardware, and BB manager is a tool for managing that hardware. And you could benefit from community contributions, but you have to do open source right. Where “right” means early involvement, open development, no large code drops, treating community like a partnership not a source of free developers.

Please make strong consideration of making this new ground up rewrite open source right now, help form a community by doing it’s development visibly. There’s nothing secret in BB manager, there’s nothing (more) to be embarrassed about, so what’s the downside? You might get no help, but you might also get the help you need from people who love the product too.

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Excellent question. I’ve given up hope on this, as well as on other things one might assume a company would normally have a vested interest in accelerating so as to retain credibility or promote customer loyalty. As an owner of the BeatBuddy since its inception, as well as of the Aeros and Midi Maestro (also since their inceptions), I have seen way too many months and years pass by with agonizingly slow (or no) responsiveness on a great many issues, gripes and even delivery of functionality promised upon market launch. Yes, the developers have achieved a lot and improved a lot over time. Yes, they have listened to their customer base on many points, and taken action accordingly. But no, they have not addressed several fundamental issues such as the BB software, and I feel they have no motivation to do so, just as they didn‘t seem to care about the Aeros having tremendously noisy footswitches that are not at all conducive to an acoustic performer‘s needs (think small venues with 30-80 people sitting close to the stage, with the PA not glaringly loud), nor about all the fact that early Aeros adopters were abused as guinea pigs for way too long. The people behind this company are wonderful individuals - that I am sure of. But they have regularly promised more than they could deliver, thus (intentionally or unintentionally) misleading their users and potential buyers. I am done with these products. All three sit in the corner, unused, until I can sell them. I prefer to put my faith in companies that deliver fully usable products with all the promised features, right out of the box. The BeatBuddy is a fantastic product, but I now prefer using a Boss RC-500 for backing tracks and beats, plus a Drumport StompTech Laser Stomp IR 2-in-1 for foot-controlled beats (and automatic beats). Works like a charm, right of the box (both of them!). No messing with software, no waiting for firmware updates, no endless waiting for promised features to show up, no hassling with overly cumbersome software to get simple tasks done or meet simply needs - in fact, no issues whatsoever. I can simply make music, which is what I wanted to do with the SS products all along. The product ideas are great; the execution is (still) lacking. And if anybody asks me to get specific, I won‘t any more. I‘ve seen a great many users offering up great ideas in this forum, and being patient for months and years, sometimes to no avail. Over and out.

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David,
Thanks for this update. I’m surprised that you’ve only just come to the decision to rebuild from the ground up, as you and others have been telling us the original was badly programmed for years. But I really hope that this time you have got the right team in place with the right management to see that the task is completed.
One general request - once you have the basics in place, please do lots of incremental releases. Do what many other software companies do - have two links on the download page; one stable, fully tested version and one which is the latest version to be used at the downloaders risk. This will build trust that work is really being done and we can see progress. It also enables early adopters to try out new functionality easily and give you quick feedback.
Thanks again

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@kingofthejaffacakes The current BB Manager is also still in development, or better say “bug fixing” process., as David had said. It had not been abandoned.

@Tim_Gaved This is not the first time that BB Manager rebuild was started from the ground up. 3 years ago a team of developers was working on a very ambitious undertaking. It was going to be the greatest thing in the world, but in the end, the fancy software couldn’t reliably do the functionalities of the current BB Manager. After the company invested a small fortune in it, the project had to be shelved as the developers couldn’t deliver on the promise.

So the current state of the BB Manager is neither for the lack of trying, lack of investments nor for the lack of willingness to make things right.

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I know. This is why I was suprised when David said that they had only recently come to the conclusion that this was the only solution.

Which is why I said that I hoped that this time there was the right management in place to make it a success. To an outsider it seems that SS has a lot of entrepeneurs, musicians and programmers, but insufficent management to bring everything together successfully.

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@kingofthejaffacakes
We are not abandoning the current BBManager from the support perspective. And as Goran mentioned above, we are still fixing bugs where we can. The last official version (1.64/5) was released in July 2016, so even if no further developments happen, we will continue to support it indefinitely and it won’t be any different than its been the last 5 years. It will still work the same, with all the quirks and workarounds or what have you. We hope that as we advance in the development of this new project, people will eventually stop using it as it is even better! (But we will give support for it for whoever needs it until that happens, as mentioned)

We made the original BB Manager open source before we decided to migrate to the new simplified version. Although you are correct, initially we did release this as a way to see if we can enlist help from the community in addition to our programming team. We will definitely consider making the new version open source, as we already feel that we are in a partnership with the community. And at the end of the day, we make everything for the entire community, not only for us (although we have fun with our products as well :wink: ).

That being said, I can’t make any promises at this stage, but I can definitely see the advantages of making it open source as you suggest.

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From the way everything looks externally, I completely get you here. And although you may not immediately believe me, we definitely do have a vested interest in accelerating progress for the reasons you mentioned. And as you elaborated in your own response, we actually have responded to the issues, albeit not all of them and for some key ones not fast enough, this is true. I cannot sugarcoat that fact.

The BBManager is its own separate beast from the other development issues, as I explained in my original response. We have had 4 attempts to fix it as I elaborated above, and the unfortunate thing here is that the reason certain other developments have not been made (such as the ones you mentioned) was precisely because we didn’t have the funds for it, due to those funds being invested into fixing the BBManager. It is ironic, I know. We are not a big company like Apple (yet) so we do not currently have the budget and resources that they have to invest in several projects at the same time. So we decided to invest exclusively in the BBManager as that is what is most complained about, as we aimed to satisfy as much of the community as possible in one go. Had I known ahead of time that the projects will flop, of course I would not have invested in them. But I had to make decisions with limited information, and I could only know how wise the decisions were once the time and money have already been invested. As my father used to say “life gives you the test first and the lesson after”.

Nobody here was (or is being) used as guinea pigs. We simply wanted to deliver what we promised as fast as possible. The disadvantage of doing that is that people may feel they are being used as guinea pigs, but I can promise you that this was FAR from what we intended. Also oftentimes we only find out about bugs and problems from the community itself, so a portion of the issues we were not even aware of until it was reported to us from users here on the forum and/or to our support team via email.

I understand your decision here, and we will always welcome you back with open arms whether or not you keep our products. You are always welcome here and your feedback has been (and continues to be) invaluable.

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@Tim_Gaved

Thanks for this update. I’m surprised that you’ve only just come to the decision to rebuild from the ground up, as you and others have been telling us the original was badly programmed for years. But I really hope that this time you have got the right team in place with the right management to see that the task is completed.

As Goran elaborated above, this is not the first time. One of the 4 attempts we made at fixing the BBManager was a dedicated rebuild from the ground up. It didn’t work out, primarily because it was too complex a project and the programming team was not up to the task. We have a better programming team now, and we are starting from the very basics first.

One general request - once you have the basics in place, please do lots of incremental releases. Do what many other software companies do - have two links on the download page; one stable, fully tested version and one which is the latest version to be used at the downloaders risk. This will build trust that work is really being done and we can see progress. It also enables early adopters to try out new functionality easily and give you quick feedback.

We do plan to do this. We have moved to this type of release schedule for the Aeros and I believe it is a significant improvement.

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TO THE ANGRY ONES - We all understand the frustration. We should remember that just because a company has a nice product and a slick website it doesn’t mean that they have a staffof fifty, a snazzy facility and gym memberships all around. They often have to manage their funds very carefully and programming teams cost a lot of money. If they have the hope that their software can be fixed for a certain amount or rewritten from the ground up for twenty times that cost, they have to stop and look at their available funds. If a team vanishes, they have to redo that process all over again. Just getting the new team familiar with the design of the software can cost $15K or more in salaries and that is before any real work can be done. It is a challenge.

I once had to do some programming that was equally challenging and it took me seven months to get it to beta and another couple of months work before gold. And then there were all sorts of tasks to follow. It cost the company $60K - and I was an employee, not a contractor (who would have charged a bare minimum of 50% more). All the while I was doing that, I did not have the time to do any work on any other vital projects.

One thing that we do not know is what is Singluar’s margin on its devices and how many they sell a year. How many BBs and Ms would they have to sell to cover the cost of the programmers - and how many more in order to pay their staff and operating expenses?

What we do know is that Singular intends to stay in business and in order to do that they need to fix things as well as move product. They do not want to have everyone POd at them. They are not mentally ill.

My approach is to work with what I have, with the products as they are. When Singluar is done with the rewrite, they will test it thoroughly and then release it. Not before. They are normal, everyday people just like the rest of us. Flaming them will not speed up their work. All it does is attack their morale.

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Beautiful sentiment but…
It’s my hard earned money that I’m spending and want a good product or I will shop somewhere else.
I am not trying to be cruel but speaking the harsh truth.

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This is a good post and a lot of us do understand the cost of programmers. It’s a shame that the money spent so far seems to have been wasted on maybe those who promise the world and then realise they are in over their heads. This would be hugely frustrating for David and SS.

I wouldn’t call myself angry though, I’m just frustrated. I am one of those that do use the BB Manager extensively, especially the MIDI editor. I like how it represents what I’m trying to achieve. I know I can easily put my MIDI together in Cubase and port it across which I have done many times, but then I find I’m still fine tuning them in the MIDI editor anyway. I have seen comments made where it’s stated that SS aren’t really concerned about having a MIDI editor built in for the reason you can use a DAW etc to compile but I think it would be a huge mistake not to. The Manager should be the COMPLETE software package for the BB.

I’m excited to see what could eventually happen with the Manager now that David has pointed out it’s currently being rebuilt. Hopefully they get it right this time. :+1: