Song volumes

Why are some song beats louder in the beat buddy than others? Can it be fixed without having to go into editor and manipulate each part?

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Are you referring to the default content or the user-created content? If the former, I think Goran Rista would have to share his insights.

Warning TL;DR:

As for the latter, back when I started transcribing OPB songs, I lacked both experience and useable user feedback and the multi-instrument kits were not quite as prevalent as they are today. As I was no longer actively gigging I did not have a public address system and so I worked up songs that were pleasing to my ears using just the gear in my music room: instrument amplifiers and studio monitors.

Some gigging users contacted me privately and mentioned that the volume in my early OPB and OPBk songs (mainly the cymbals, bass and keys) were so loud that they were causing their PAs to clip and sound distorted. Working with those users, I began to cut way down on the instrument velocities, always trying to find the volume sweet spot based on our constant dialog. This is one of the reasons I’ve been reworking all of my earlier songs and using the SUB-Standard Pro Plain and SUB-Std Pro PL Bass 0-31 kits for my DOP and OPB songs in an effort to try to make the volumes consistent. Even with all the experience and private feedback I’ve been gaining, I still hear that the count-ins are not loud enough, the cymbals are still overbearing and the keys (piano and organ) still tend to be too loud.

A lot of it depends on the quality of the MIDI source files. Most of the Ultimate Guitar MIDI files tend to have the drums centered on a velocity of ~80 (not very much in the way of dynamics). Other sources tend to be pretty good but it’s still based on the sequencer’s tastes and ears—in other words, their interpretation of what the various instruments should sound like. Other variables are the genres of music that musicians have in their set lists and the audiences they play for.

The other variable is probably the drum set memory available to the BeatBuddy. Being limited to 100Mb meant that the guys like Guitar_Stu, Phil_Flood, GarryA and many others had to make the best use of that memory limitation. They made tradeoffs as to how to fit bass and up to two other instrument (keys and strings) into that 100Mb. This posed challenges (at least for me) in terms of how to transcribe songs.

There have been many threads and posts to the forum on how to make the song volumes more uniform and suggested solutions included compressors, limiters, volume pedals, MIDI controllers and mixers. Other users chose to create their own custom drum sets (Just Jake and Joe in Ottawa).

I’ve always wondered if was feasible and suitable to create a bass and drums kit for use on one pedal and a keys and strings kit for use on a separate pedal and sync them to play in tandem. The expected result would be improved sound from both pedals. But that’s just my meandering aloud.

As far as editing the songs or beats using the inline BeatBuddy Manager (BBM) MIDI Editor, I think you’d have to do that for every song or beat. Tedious and frustrating given the shortcomings of the MIDI Editor. Even using a DAW (digital audio workstation), which would be much better but would still take too much effort. My suggestion? Learn how to use a DAW and transcribe your own songs or beats using existing MIDI source files or sheet music.

FWIW, I have been in the process of reworking every song on my BB to make them OnSong linked. I am finding the volumes to be mostly very high. I am checking the output levels to avoid clipping, setting the max levels between -1 and -6 db. To get there, I am having to set a maximum velocity of between 50 and 55, and then using an exponential velocity applied to everything at a level between 1.5 and 2.0. After that, I have to play and tweak instruments up or down in the range of 20% to get reasonable balance. There is no easy fix.

I’ve worked out a system of standard velocity and volume settings in bothe the drum kits and song files that assure continuity throughout my song list. It took awhile but it has eliminated the need to turn various songs up or down during a gig to compensate.

Now a new song can be placed into my set parameters fairly easily.

Id be very much interested in your solution if you care to share

Im extremely interested in your solution for volume stability

The first thing is to make sure the files in the drum kit are good e.g; not clipping on recordings…not too quiet. Just good solid files. The SS content is professionally done and solid… User recorded files may or may not be.

You will have to go into each file in the drum kit to set your preferred volume for each part of the kit.

I use the same kit for my entire show for continuity. I want the drums to blend in…switching from a brush kit to a stadium rock kit may be a great effect…but it is a distraction to me and some listeners, I think. I want them to forget about my electronic helpers.

I then go into each song and find a volume point for each instrument. I tried to use the same level for each…but they vary depending on the song…e.g; side stick is more pronounced in some songs or parts of songs, so it’s never one volume fits all. I leave room to vary it up or down to allow for swells and dynamics as needed.

Some songs require very little adjustment in volume…some reqire hours of work. If you use bass guitar, piano, strings etc…it gets even more involved. The length of the midi notes are very important to make it realistic and smooth, and not sound choppy or muddled.

I hope this helped. It’s hard to explain how it’s done. I tried a video tutorial once but it didn’t get many views.

I use the free midi editor. I tried the others but couldn’t figure them out.

I can clear up any questions if you some.

Thanks for the info. The drum kit i use is just the standard one from SS. but to go into each individual song and check the volumes os far out of my realm. I have tried to use the BBM editor and i get lost in there. I think i inderstand what your doing but man that gotta be a lot of time cinsuming work. Probably a winter project for me. So for now il just turn the volume level down on the drummer output. Thanks again.

Do not use the BBM editor. Id have given up 6 years ago if that was my only option. Watch this tutorial. Lemme know if you can load it.

I have linked BeatBuddy to Songbook songs using midi commands. So far I have done beat selection, kit selection, and tempo. Have you tried using a midi command to set volume? It won’t help with balance, but it is simple and it will at least boost the very quiet jazz beats.

I have not done that. I have a pedal, a Pfeiffer Leveler, that is essentially a 5 or six position cut/boost. It does what it does well. Same idea, it doesn’t help with balance, but if I’m too soft, on or two up clicks can do the trick,

Where do you connect this pedalmm

It’s 1/4 guitar wire connections. I place it after the BB, between the BB and the amp. I don’t know if they are still making them.

I dont use amp. I connected bb stereo direct to the mixer . It would be betewn bb and mixer right?

Right, same idea. The pedal is just a combination boost and pad/cut.

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Here’s to that! I’d love it if they could level the volume across all the drumsets. As it is now, I’m constantly having to adjust when performing. Pain in the butt!! One more update they’ll never get to.

I say your right. Makes me wonder if they know enough as to how to do it.

This got so annoying on gigs (especially starting with a volume that is way too loud on a song) that I finally broke down and went through my entire Songbook library and added midi set volume commands to every song. It sure would be handy if in BBManager there was a “Default Volume” right next to “Default Tempo” and “Default Drum Set”, together with a toggle on the Beat Buddy itself to “Load Default Volume With Song Y/N”.

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Wholeheartedly agree!
Please urgently introduce >> “Default Volume” right next to “Default Tempo” and “Default Drum Set”, together with a toggle on the Beat Buddy itself to “Load Default Volume With Song Y/N”