Thoughts on BB (after only a few days)

I’m really new to this so I’m still getting my head around the possibilities but I’d like to share a few thoughts. Forgive me if I’m way off the mark on a few things & am missing vital points.

Firstly, great forum, some super knowledgeable & friendly folk here, respect.

BB, a great albeit pricey product with some fantastic potential.

Here come the gripes.

Individual song volumes. How is it possible that they can’t be saved either on the pedal or the BB manager? This is basic stuff & anyone who’s has ever gigged with drum machines or rhythm loops knows that it’s one of the most important things to get right. I’m reading that folk are getting around it adding volume pedal & sound levelers? Come on, we shouldn’t be having to do this, this is a fundamental issue. Controlling the volume via midi control on a app like Onsong seems the most practical way to deal with this & I’m curious to know if anyone who uses Onsong in this way can walk me through how it can be achieved?

Fills, why are they so freakin’ loud & in many cases way over the top in complexity?
IMO it’s a machine & shouldn’t be calling that much attention to itself, the main thing the audience should be focused on are the humans playing not the BB. Be subtle.

Intros, I know this can be switched off but do you really want the 1st thing that the audience hears at the beginning of a song to be the drum machine? I’ve played with real drummers for 40 years + & pretty much the only time a drummer will do a fancy fill at the start is in reggae music. Probably the best way is to remove the intros from the songs where you don’t want them in BB manager. Which brings me to BB Manager.

OMG what a poor piece of software, it should & could be so much better. I’m having to export my midi files into Cubase where I can edit them properly. This brings mapping issues which makes everything so time consuming going back & forth.

It’s going to take me weeks if not months to get this thing up to gigging standard & that’s disappointing tbh.

It would seem to me that the main use for BB is in solo/duo/trio gig situations where the performer/s need an adaptable backing rhythm with a couple of good grooving, realistic sounding parts for each song & maybe some subtle fills for changes outros etc.

Other than that it’s just a hobbyist’s bedroom toy for those with pretty deep pockets.


Hey! Welcome!

We’ve been playing 60+ shows a year with ours, from pubs to festivals. The only real change I’ve made to the pedal is I’ve rebuilt the original Standard kit with more live-style EQ and gates on (mostly) the toms, and it works, because my biggest issue out of the box was that the toms are way too lively and ring for-freakin’-ever. I do program parts (not very often fills) for almost all of my songs because I am a little anal (okay, a lot anal) about the drummer playing the exact right thing.

The only fills I regularly tweak are the intros (I still need a four-count).

The BB MIDI editor was created by a user here, and was added to the BBM as a reluctant response to popular demand. The bigger issue, in my mind, is that they don’t have a native MIDI editor. But I’m not sure that would make people happy if they did because of the way people work: I really like the MIDI editor in Reaper, and really don’t the editor in Cubase. But it IS a hole, for sure.

It sounds like you have the original parts rather than the Rev.02 parts, which are much more tame, so you might want to consider looking for the current content download on the main site to see if that helps. If not, you may want to sample some of the songs uploaded by users here on the forum, some of them are beyond excellent.

All that said, welcome to the BB family. Stick with it, it’ll come together a lot quicker than it feels like right now.

Good luck!

Thanks for your responses John.

I do have everything updated.

I guess the way forward is really to make my own custom kit & stick to that.

Joe, actually.

There’s a thread on the forum about drums for live use (Best BB drumkit for live use). Might be worth a read. I believe it includes my remastered kit as well. If you try it, please let me know how you get on with it.


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@braziliansway Hello.

I can help you with changing the BB Master volume on a per song basis via Onsong.

If I’m not mistaken, you should have downloaded the PDF file I shared recently, regarding connecting and controlling the BB via Onsong.

The same principle applies in this case but instead of Program Change (PC) messages you’ll be sending a Control Change (CC) message associated with the BB master volumen, namely CC 108, with a value between 0 and 100.
The procedure is the same as shown in the PDF file but select Control Change instead, and the menu will change accordingly and should be self explanatory.

You could do that for each song if you are that meticulous. I only do it for a few songs and for the rest I use a global volume (80) which I code either within the same song in Onsong (but it requires a manual action and you may forget) or use my MC6 MIDI Controller.

And last but not least, I program most of my songs using the BBManager, believe it or not. It’s very rudimentary, no doubt (e v e r y o n e here agrees), but after a while I got pretty good with it and I’ve been coding the beats reasonably fast. I suppose all I’m saying is breathe in, put your patience to the test and give it a try… many tries, that is. You may find it “usable” after all (…the time spent :))


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Thanks Joe.

I read that thread, the kit sounds nice too.

I often play with cajon in a trio or quartet so I’m finding the Flamenco kit quite useful & just adding extra instruments into it that I need from other sources.
The bass cajon (kick equivalent) is a bit toppy though & has reverb that I don’t like but I have loads of good cajon samples so I’ve swapped them, Sounding pretty good so far but it’s a work in progress.

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Great info, thanks so much. Yes I downloaded your PDF.

I’m likely to have many questions for you if you don’t mind?

I don’t generally use Onsong although I have it, my charts are all on IReal Pro. I can however import these as PDF’s into Onsong. Will it work by editing some text into them in Onsong but still using the imported file instead of the Onsong format?

And what connection do you use from ipad to BB, wired or bluetooth?

I don’t know iRealPro but I can speak for Onsong and today I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s not just that I can’t remember all the lyrics but Onsong is a marvel when it comes to simplifying my live performance. If you use backing tracks with it (which I don’t) you can tell the BB what to do at each section of the song -which you could emulate by using One-Press (OP) songs, granted, but that’s another BB realm.

I use a Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth adapter for a wireless MIDI connection, but nowadays there are a couple of other adapters, the CME WIDI Master being the most popular one, I think (I mention them on the first PDF I mistakenly uploaded on the other thread)
The Onsong version I have is a relatively old one because I have a 3rd Gen iPad and they stopped supporting iOS versions lower than… 9.3 or something. But their latest version is a lot more powerful than the one I have.

Anyway, I’m writing this much because I have some free time :stuck_out_tongue: But I’ll be happy to try to respond your questions.
EDIT: About editing some text into them (your PDF files?), I don’t think Onsong will be able to provide many of its features. All my songs are in Onsong (text) format, so I can’t be 100% sure.


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Yes I downloaded that 1st PDF too, thanks.

I don’t want to use a midi controller like the Morning Star I’m trying to cut down on the amount of boxes & do less tap dancing. I’m already having to look down to my feet far too often in a gig situation I really want to be looking more to the public. Having a certain amount of control from the ipad via Onsong & bluetooth is very appealing to me.

My version of Onsong is 2020 so I guess that’s pretty decent even though my ipad is not a new model?

So far I’ve only managed to connect my BB to my RC-5 which works very well as a slave to the BB master. Do you think the Onsong being the master will affect the BB’s ability to sync with the Rc-5 looper?

I have the BB breakout cable & would presumably just connect the bluetooth adapter to the in of the breakout cable? The Widi adapter looks interesting, I’ve looked at the videos for it but can’t quite understand if I can just use the din part to connect ipad to BB & then use the other bit (din to TRS) to connect to the RC-5? It would be very handy if I could as that little male midi din to TRS adapter is just the thing that seems impossible to buy. All the other such connectors are all at least a foot long that I have found.

@braziliansway The “Master” lingo in MIDI refers to the unit that sends the MIDI Clock. While Onsong can send a MIDI Clock signal you need to have this option disabled (it’s disabled by default) because the latency/delay over Bluetooth renders it unusable. The BB needs to be the MIDI Master Clock unit and the parameters contained on my PDF take care of that (I think!, It’s been a while since I looked at it)

So, in nutshell, having Onsong sending PC and CC messages to the other units down the MIDI Daisy chain doesn’t make it the Master. The BB is the Master.

Regarding the WIDI Master and its connection:
since you want to sync your RC-5 (MIDI Clock wise) you need to connect the CME-instructed 5-Pin socket of the WIDI to the BB lN cable socket, then from the BB OUT to the RC-5 IN (physical MIDI 5-pin cable) and finally the RC-5 OUT to the other WIDI socket. This is called a MIDI Daisy chain. The WIDI mini TRS needs to be connected to its counterpart (afaik)

This way you can send MIDI messages from Onsong to both the BB and RC-5 (think PC and CC messages) and the BB will relay the ones sent to the RC-5 (via its chosen channel) when in MERGE Output mode (see PDF). Additionally, you could control some features of your RC-5 and Onsong with your BB, since the WIDI will relay them to Onsong (which needs to have its own channel, also).

For example, I have songs that start scrolling as soon as I start the BB. Onsong is constantly reading incoming MIDI messages, your just need to tell it what to do with them (plenty of videos on their website)

I hope that wasn’t too complicated. I’ll upload another instructional PDF that a BB/Voicelive 3 user made (Jan Koskela) after interchanging messages with me, a long time ago. It’s more comprehensive than mine and I think it might be useful too.

Jan Koskela - Onsong setup.pdf (1.3 MB)


Agree totally with your post. I have owned mine since buying it as a pre order before it was released and decided not to gig with it due to the complexity of using it. The BB manger is just terrible. Would I recommend it NO, but obviously some people do like it and use it so I suppose you would need to try it.

What do you find complex? The unit or MIDI?

One way to change individual song volumes, is to send CC:108 - value 0-100 for Mix-Vol.
See the updated manual page 34 at BeatBuddy Firmware 4.0.x "Playlists!"

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