Using BB to play actual backing tracks - a short tutorial

I recently was asked if it was possible to put regular backing tracks onto a BB. The purpose was to replace a Digitech JamMan Solo XT, which apparently is no longer getting Mac software support. I found a backing track process that works. Apparently this idea had been kicked around before, but I never really understood how to make it work, and I thought there was a limit on individual wav file length in the BB, significantly shorter than the 100mb kit limit. It appears that I was wrong on that count, as I have made a 50+mb, nearly 5 minute long wav into a BB song. In short, this is how it is done.

  1. Create the wav file. - It has to be 44.1khz (44100), 16 or 24 bit. I have always use 16bit with good success. The file will need to be less than 100mb, but for most reasonable length songs, this is not a problem.

  2. In BB Manager, create a new drum set. Add the wav file to any location in the kit. For my experiment, I used the #36 kick drum slot. But any slot works. Caution and warning - When you click on the wav to select it for placement in the drum kit, the wav will play through in its entirety. Be prepared to just let it go. Don’t click on it again, as you’ll get multiple instances playing at once. When the wav is done doing its thing. make sure the wav is shown as a percussion instrument.

  3. In the Drumset Maker window, right below where is says Drumset Maker, and now should read “New Drumset,” click on New Drumset, and change the name of the the Drumset to the name of your song. Then, Save the Drumset, and, SAVE AS to a location location on your hard drive. I have all my many drum sets in a dedicated Drumsets folder.

  4. In my experiment, for whatever reason, the new kit did not immediately appear in the Drumset list. I then quit BB Manager, and restarted BB Manager. After booting, I importing the drumset from the Save As location, and it was now in the list. Click the box to activate it.

  5. Next, Create the BB song. You will first need to create a midi file that will trigger the note in your drumset. You will need to know the length of your wav file in minutes and seconds, or have an easy way to see the whole wav file in a DAW. I use Logic Pro X, so this is fairly simple.

Method 1 - Start a new Logic Project and add the wav to a blank audio track. You will now have a visual representation of the audio track. Create a new blank midi track. Add a note at midi 36, or whatever midi drumset location you chose for your wav. Drag the right end of that mid note to match up with the end of the wav, one long note. Select and export just the midi track. This will be your midi file for the BB .sng.

Method 2 - If you know the length of the song in minutes and seconds, you can skip adding the wav file to the Logic Project. Just create the midi track. Set the Logic clock display to minutes and seconds rather than beats and bars. Then, add a note at midi 36, or whatever midi drumset location you chose for your wav. Drag the right end of that mid note to reach the time required for the song - one long note. Select and export just the midi track. This will be your midi file for the BB .sng.

Back in BB Manager, from the songs list, create your new song. Give it the title of your song. Select your midi file as the song’s intro. Put a null or blank file in the main loop. Select the Drum Set created above as the drum kit. Save your song. You should now have a backing track that will play as a BB song.

For those of you who wish to complain that this was not what the BB was intended for, yadda yadda, the point of this was to have a backing track player with minimal gear. You can haul just the BB and no other file player, if you wish. Yes, there are other ways to do this. Plus, if you want an alternative to the OPB with better sounding instruments, not limited by BB kit limitations, this will work. However, you will NOT be able to adjust the tempo of the song. Whatever tempo the song was created at is the tempo you will have.

This may open up some new doors for some of you. Some of you will realize that you could have multi part songs created with the method, etc. Explore, experiment, enjoy. Don’t whine.

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Clever way to “trick” the BB into being a backing track player. Since I do not believe this would interfere with BB’s other capabilities, seems like songs using original BB content/function could be combined with OPBx songs and full-on backing track songs in one overall set list. Someone wanting to use all 3 approaches to build up an entire performance would have one compact and simple device to take to the gig. At my age, I really like compact and simple.

BTW, I assume loading each .wav-based song would be similar to loading a traditional BB song with a different kit than previously loaded. Meaning one would have to wait for the large .wav backing track “kit” to load for each song. Probably not a big deal but would introduce a required pause between all songs. (I tend to use 1 kit for most OPB songs which makes load times between songs almost instant.)

I bet the folks at SS never envisioned how clever and creative their customers would be.

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The load time is not very long. The one long wav is smaller in total than most BB kits. But yes, all three techniques, OPB, traditional, and wav player could be in one set list.

here’s an article i made in 2015 :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Yup, that’s what I found, and I was like, huh, why haven’t we done this? I’m guessing no one really explored it. But, then I had a guy ask me if we could hack the BB to work something like his JamMan XT Solo. Anyhow, I had never tried it because I remembered something about at 3.2mb maximum sample. But then, when I did give it a shot, it worked perfectly. My only problem came from the length of the trigger note. I thought if I had the long wav set a percussion, even a short not would trigger the whole wav. When I tried that, the wav faded out after a second or two. Then I made the midi note as long as the wav, and it worked as intended.

Can you do a you tube video to your show process please ?

That’s outside my skill set. That’s why I use words.

You said to “Put a null or blank file in the main loop”. Will that not just keep looping the blank file after the backing track has played?

Yes. And then you double tap to end.