Saturday, 7 October 2017

BeatBuddy, worship, MIDI tracks, Logic ProX and bass sounds

The BeatBuddy is a great device for playing back your beats and managing / creating your own MIDI beats to play back. New features are being implemented all the time with firmware updates from the manufacturer, Singular Sound. Some of these updates have come from user suggestions or even hacks.

An overall guide to creating beats for BeatBuddy -

One of the hacks to the BeatBuddy has been the implementation of other instruments into the BeatBuddy so that it plays back not only beats, but bass and even piano and synth.

To do this, you need to download a 'with bass' kit. There are a couple available over on the mybeatbuddy forums but it's good practice to buy a beat from Singular Sound first and then ask contributors for the 'with bass' beats.

In order to get the 'with bass' kits to work, you need to export the MIDI files from the BB Software (this is the information that the kits within the BeatBuddy plays back). The MIDI files then need to be imported into a MIDI editor, edited, re-exported and then imported back into the BB Manager software.

The ability to export and manipulate the MIDI also means you are able to create your own beats via MIDI then implement them into BeatBuddy. Within the BB Manager software you can add your own beats, replace beats, update beats and change the order of the song.

This is a quick look at the process within Logic Pro X on a Mac.

You can also find help on the forums such as here -

MIDI isn't the same as audio. MIDI is information and includes a number of different pieces of information within it - such as velocity etc (meaning the same track can produce different sounds etc). MIDI has a range of numbers and BeatBuddy has to have MIDI information in certain numbers in order for it to play back. So any MIDI file created by you (or edited by you) will need to be set up to play back within BeatBuddy and need to have various numbers to play back the drums. Those numbers can depend on the drum kit within BeatBuddy, so you just need to check, test and test again!

When creating a new track, you can do one of 3 or so things. Firstly you can find a MIDI track online, save it and import into Logic Pro to edit (or direct into BB Manager only if the MIDI files have already been prepared for the BeatBuddy). Secondly, you can create your own MIDI track. Thirdly you can export a MIDI track out of BB Manager into Logic, edit it and then import it back to BB Manager.

More information here -

To be certain you're using the right MIDI notes and everything is in the right place, the best way can be to export a MIDI file from the BB Manager. Select it, right click and 'export as MIDI'. Save somewhere you'll remember (I created a folder called MIDI in the BB Manager folder and in the user_lib folder).

Then you'll need to open this within Logic.

The MIDI track as a software instrument 
If you click the waveform editor in the top left of Logic (the pair of scissors), it will open up the MIDI editor.

The MIDI editor (the colours represent different velocities / sounds)

In this instance, I imported a file from the Blues 6/8 file and then slightly re-arranged some of the sounds to suit the Cory Asbury song 'Reckless Love' (without really getting into copying the beat, which I have done within another MIDi file).

If you were simply using the beats, you can then simply export the song from Logic (File > Export Selection as MIDI file).

If you want to export the file back with bass, then you'll need to know the MIDI location for the notes on the keyboard. I've got the 'Standard Pro with bass' kit which I got off the BeatBuddy forum after buying the Standard Pro drum kit. So for this kit the bass notes need to go above C3 on the MIDI keyboard as you can see in my example below.

Next I simply drew some MIDI notes (or you can play them) on one track and then simply added them into the original beat MIDI track in the correct location (above C3) as below. The alternative is to add the 'bass' track within Logic as a software instrument, then combine the two tracks (beat and bass tracks) via Cmd-J.

Then the song is exported and then imported into BB Manager and onto the BeatBuddy by saving and synchronising.

With other drum kit files (ones that add synth and bass or piano etc. check the creator's information for where you need to place information to be played back accurately for that individual beat!)

The MIDI information on the MIDI keyboard within Logic's editor


Re-reading this, it may not be the simplest tutorial ever done! But hope it helps someone. When I started trying to create my own MIDI files I was a bit nervous but this is my workaround.

Just remember that if you want to edit a song within BB Manager, it's worth exporting it first, then re-importing it, re-naming it and then saving it first. This avoids editing original files!

Once you've got the hang of this you can create / replicate song beats and bass within BeatBuddy and then have a more flexible, dynamic and accurate drum pattern than simply an audio backing track!


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