The software "sucks"

I think what people don’t understand is that especially with kick starter type projects, it’s the gadget that comes first. The “gadget” is the miracle, not the software that supports it. The software will always be a work in progress hoping to realize the magic that is the hardware we wanted. We want software that requires no tutorial, and that’s just not how things work.

I agree with that statement, but the product is no longer being marketed as a kick starter project. It’s being sold as a finished product, and in that regard, there is no denying that the software is a mess. I’ve worked with a lot of music gear that has very basic, ugly, limited, but ultimately functional software, so it’s not a surprise at all to me that the BB software lags behind the excellent hardware. However, not everyone has been exposed to that sort of thing and when they shell out their hard earned money expecting a polished perfect product, and don’t get it, they get bent out of shape really fast.

You’ve got our attention! :slight_smile:

If there is a certain aspect of the software (or many aspects of the software) that plain and simple need to be improved, we want to know! We are already working on the next version of the software, but we are always open to feedback. We are all ears.

BB Support,
I like to be able to copy a song from one folder to another folder, and also move a song from one folder to another.

Really speaking, the entire interface should be intuitive. When you have to watch a lengthy tutorial video just to cover the basics, and then spent an afternoon trawling the forums for hints and work-arounds, because the video wasn’t enough, then I think it’s fair to say that the software side needs some work. Not having a bash, I think it’s a great product, but I’m probably using it to about 40% of it’s potential just because I cannot justify the time I need to spend on tackling the interfaces learning curve.

I’ve just ordered a couple of custom tracks from one of the guys on these forums at a very reasonable price. However, when they get delivered to me I will be astonished if I can actually integrate them into the pedal without, at the very least, dedicating an afternoon to the task. Realistically, I’m expecting them to sit on the desktop and never grace my pedal. That’s how much faith I have in the software. I know a load of guys will come on and say how easy it all is, and that I must be dense. But, I’m a musician, not a programmer, or systems analyst.

I feel that the interface should be nice, easy, simple, uncluttered. That wading through directories, folders and sub-folders should be something that the software handles under the bonnet. I’d like to see my pedal (or SD card) on the left of the screen, with the songs, beats and sounds it contains, and a similar list on the right-hand side of things that are available to me. Then dragging and dropping should be the order of the day. Obviously, editing sounds and kits can’t be as simple as that, but it should still be achievable without having to invest hours upon hours just trying to grasp the mechanics of the interface. I like to spend that time on the musical side of things. I can’t be the only one who has looked at the BB Manager and thought “Bugger that!”.

Again, please don’t think I’m having a pop. I LOVE my BB, and it is a permanent fixture in my setup. But I would dearly love to be able to see it’s true power.

I guess I have to admit that I spend a lot of time fixing everything that should already be done. The software doesn’t make it easy to do. Having to export-import songs all the time is a pain just to add or move a song to a different location on an already open project page. You can’t do a simple “Drag & Drop” which would be much easier in the BB Manager. Also, I spend a lot of time fixing the Intros, Fills, Outros, Transitions, and the “Beat” timing to make it right. I have spent hours upon hours just reseting the volume of the notes one at a time to achieve a decent output level of the total sound. Even though the output volume is adjustable, it is still way too high for a decent output to an amp. When the Pedal is engaged to start a song, it about takes your head off with the intro drum beat and you have to reach for a knob to turn it down or build a box with controls in it to quiet everything down. Why should a person have to do this or add a volume pedal or whatever to make things the right levels. I build a lot of extra things to accomodate the way things should already be useable and I don’t mind doing that, but a lot of people aren’t as intuitive or able to do those things. As far as the software goes, it was a learning curve for me and I was able to get things finally setup properly. I still have to hunt things down but I am used to it now that I have learned how to do it without any written instructions. You have to figure out how to do it on your own and I would hate for a person to follow me through the steps I have to take to get something accomplished. The software does funny things once in a while and won’t let you do things a certain way so you have to sit and figure how to get around it to finally make things work out right. Then you have to remember how you got there. The price that a person has to pay for a device such as this should not have to jump through hoops to get it to work decently.
Sorry for all the complaints, but you ask for it. I have to say that everyone has been helpful and there has been great support for all the problems that have come up in the last few months and it is much appreciated. Hopefully, everything will be fixed and much easier to work with in time. The product is awesome and if we can get all the bugs out of it including problems with the software, we all should end up with a decent Pedal that will enhance our abilities to play music as we wish to. Thanks all for listening to all of the above. I hope that I have not insulted anyone in the process.
Sincerely, Fingerstylepicker.

I can’t think of a single other piece of equipment that has a software part that is anywhere near as complicated as the bb manager. my vs2000 allows me to select vs tracks to upload to a computer. my tc helicon h-1 pedal lets me specify the harmonies for each preset, etc, but absolutely nothing i have ever bought required a software element as complicated as beatbuddy. they are responsive enough i give them a pass, well as long as they are willing to improve

I think when using BBM as a basic songbuilder, drumkit loader and working with “good/functioning” midi patterns it does a decent job and it’s already pretty much all it has to be with the exception of song management improvements that would be nice. Where people seem to be getting surprised is with the leap to editors like DAWs and loop libraries that are needed to go beyond the standard loops to customize it as opposed to basic step editing to tap in a robo-beat in something like and old Alesis drum box, not something I found enjoyable. A lot of the BB learning curve is because digital music and working with midi files effectively is an investment in time, software and loop libraries if it is going to be for more than occasional downloads to grab beats.

It’s good to see the progress this year and I’m hoping the real BB can continue to mature. It’s a computer that looks like a stomp box but that’s about all they have in common, which to me is a good thing and why I bought it.

I agree working with midi editors is a bit of investment in time but like anything with practice comes experience and rewards. I am confident I can make a beatbuddy sng file for any song I want now and I can create a drum track by just listening to the track I want. Any song I want to learn now I can easily make a quality .sng file. I have always wanted to play a Tea Party song but it would not ever be played by the band I am in so I never bothered. Picked out The Bazaar, made a .sng file, worked out the parts on guitar, currently memorizing the lyrics and Its good to play at a solo gig with the beatbuddy. Not to sure how many people might know the Tea Party in an audience but it’s a kick ass song.

It might seem like the impossible to most people but the rewards more than make up for the pain in my opinion. Still if they could incorporate an easy to use editor with a good video instruction they would kill it. I think this is more important than adding new features to the pedal firmware.

r6

I don’t know the internals of the programs, but it seems like we have the pieces we need, but just need some integrations. Imagine if Beatbuilder could accept a BB drumkit. We don’t necessarily need the multi velocity, multi sample versions of the kit. I would probably use Beatbuilder if I could use a BB drumkit. It looks like beatbuilder uses soundfonts, so the missing piece I think would be a BB drumkit -> soundfont creator.

For better user experience
[LIST]
[]Playlists so that songs can be in a library on BB and in BBM vs. needing to copy and move songs around, manage favorites in sets on BB just by selecting a song and picking add to set for example.
[
]BBM checks on input midi files when building songs with transpose options so that entry level users can use 3rd party loops without needing to get into editing. An example would be when saving a song for each segment to warn when track 10 drum notes don’t map to the default kit and prompts or menu option to change the rogue notes to valid notes and save to the original midi
[*]Disable double tap outro on main pedal and be able to assign to ext foot switch for outro so that main switch can be fill/transition only, less focus on trying to cram everying into a stomp box and more on usability with external switch/midi options

[*]To be more familiar for old school drum box users add patterns from a library to BB for a pattern play and add a BB step edit option to tap in a beat on the fly without a computer that can later be saved from BB to BBM export and get matching loops etc.
[/LIST]

Noted. This is certainly a better, more convenient option than exporting + importing. I will definitely pass this on. Hopefully, this is something that can be implemented in one of the upcoming versions. @fingerstylepicker I also noticed that you mentioned this.

@Bilbosmeggins What specific topics did you (and others) need to troll the forums for? Workarounds for what? What precisely did Psalm40’s and Goran’s most recent videos not cover, or not cover clearly enough? I need some specifics, and this is really important. Was there some learning stump that you just couldn’t get past, and you were stuck on for hours? Or was it a bunch of learning stumps? Let us know… We certainly don’t want anyone spending an entire afternoon on editing their songs.

What other topics would you like to see the next tutorial video cover?

@fingerstylepicker What funny things does it do once in a while? Does something seem buggy, or is it just designed weird? Please give details on this particular aspect. Also, regarding the volume issues, are you referring to the default gain? I just want to be 100% sure that I understood that part correctly as well.

The funny things I was talking about that if you try to change the beginning of a riff or fill in Beat Builder when it is not at the very first slot, try to put it there, save it with a suffix added (which is the thing to do) then pull it back into the song you’re working on, it will not trigger properly and sometimes causes the whole song to stop right at the point of triggering the fill. It hangs the whole song and cannot be fixed. You have to “Not Save” and completely back out of the Manager, come back in and start editing the song again. It seems to have something to do with the way Beat Buddy sets up the original song. This also seems to happen at the end of the riff or fill when you try to adjust the timing so it will come back into the “Beat” on time without creating a double-bass beat or be too slow or too fast. Some times you have to completely delete the last note insert at the end to stop the double-bass beat when being triggered to start the “Beat” again. You also have to lower the volume of the last note so as not to trigger a double-bass note also.
As far as the volume issues: the total overall output of the pedal is way to high db wise and has to be antennuated all the time to not overload the next pedal in-line or cause extreme loudness at the output into the amps or mixing board. Instead of purchasing a stereo volume pedal, I built my own stereo Volume/Tone Control Box to antennuate the signal and to add the tone control to take the harsh edge off the cymbals and snare hits. The sound was too loud, harsh, sharp, and the bass was overwhelming no matter how low you set the volume control on the pedal to almost off. The setting I am using on a normal basis is to set the volume at 30% on the pedal, 40% on the volume at the control box, and 30% on the tone with 500K potentiometers and .1mfd Capacitors. This gives a better output signal to work with for all applications. The sound is much better and is much easier on the ears. As you can see, the volume is antennuated approximately 70%. That’s how “Hot” the output signal is.
Hope this helps to explain more in detail what I am trying to tell you.
Sincerely, Fingerstylepicker.

Now, I like that thought completely about the Soundfont Creator. That’s the only thing I have against the Beat Builder. I work with it quite a bit but I am used to step writing from the Cakewalk days. I am writing some helacious drum tracks and once in a while, the Beat Builder freezes and I have to use the Task Master in Vista to shut it down. Don’t know what’s locking it up. My PC does not have good sound fonts at all. I don’t even know what kind of sound card that Dell puts in them. I wish I could get somebody to build me a new computer with an old “Mother Board” in it so I could use my “ENSONIQ Elite” sound card. I still have it. I bought it new way back when the PC run on Windows 98. It’s the only sound card I ever owned that delivered real sounds. The company folded after a few years. Too bad.
Are you using a sound generator of any kind other than your computer? By the way, do you play keyboard or guitar? What types of music do you like to play? Write back!
Sincerely, Fingerstylepicker.

I spent around two months learning how to choose the songs I wanted on my play lists, taking them off of the BB and then putting them in the right format to load onto my SD card so that I could scroll down the names of the songs and play them. I am hoping that this fall I can learn how to mix things up and customize some of the stuff I play, but doing that on a midi-editor scares the day lights out of me and I have not started it. If I thought I could produce some decent 3/4 time drumbeats that way, I would sit down tomorrow and start wading through it.

My suggestion would be to use the “Beat Builder” to create your own 3/4 tracks the way you want them. Take a good basic 3/4 track and start adding Toms or Snare Hits wherever you may want them and test them out in BB Manager. You would be surprised at what you can come up with. I like to play a few good waltzes now and then like the old Les Paul favorites “I Really Don’t Want To Know” and "Via Con Dios. I play them through the Beat Buddy into a looper and stop the Beat Buddy at a point then start “Stacking” the different layers of Rhythm and Bass Tracks and then playing lead over the top of them. Fun!
Sincerely, Fingerstylepicker.

Well, you are an inspiration to what can be done. I really like the classic Willie Nelson and others of that genre and I have just about worn out the Waltz section in the World folder. So I will get busy and see if I can learn this Midi loop stuff. I was hoping that the creators would develop some 3/4 but I think there are not enough of us old timers using the darn thing for that to happen. I may spring for the advertised songs where I see a Patsy Cline “Crazy” track.

Go to BEATS then go to COUNTRY BEATS because I just put the drum beats up for “CRAZY” by Patsy Kline.

I’ve done a fair bit of business analysis, and this software looks like something the engineer of the pedal came up with. This could be quite a barrier, especially to the novice that doesn’t really understand what a fill is, or doesn’t know their hi-hat from their crash.

Tell you what, if you implement the ability to play full MIDI tracks through the pedal, I will write a complete set of use cases for the software based on what’s been included on this thread and a bunch more.

Thanks
Matt

I mostly play guitar, but I’ve always dabbled in keys, drums, and bass. My concern is always more about the song than the instrument, which is why the beatbuddy was originally an interesting novelty, until I (well, Guitar Stu) figured out how it could be a backing band as a trio. Now it’s my obsession. I have created dozens and dozens of beatbuddy songs, all with bass. I’ve posted a bunch of them, but kinda stopped posting them as soon I created them, because until you play them live, you don’t really know what to expect. My plan is to build my own site where people can download them, but also offer up feedback, advice, comments, etc, so that I can improve them, and get the best songs possible.

By the way, I’ve created a soundfont sf2 file of the drumkit Guitar Stu created, but I haven’t figure out exactly what to do with it yet. I’m investigating creating a sfz file? I use Reaper as my main editor, and I’m investigating incorporating the sfz into that, so i can preview my clips as they might sound on the pedal, but in the editor. I’d abandon it all for @CharlesSpencer 's beatbuilder if it used my soundfont file, and handled the idiosyncracies that the pedal has. (e.g. time signature issues, etc).