Singular Sound BeatBuddy Mini 2
By Chris Loeffler |
Singular Sound Beat Buddy Mini 2
And the beat goes on ...
by Chris Loeffler
The Singular Sound BeatBuddy launched several years ago and was one of the first products to successfully marry a digital drum machine with the format and interface of a guitar pedal. The new BeatBuddy Mini 2 branches off of the core BeatBuddy by stripping away a few pro features and pushing a few of the external controls into concentric knobs or digital menus to accommodate a smaller footprint and price tag. The BeatBuddy Mini 2 has two external controls, Volume and a shared, push-button knob for Genre, Song, and Tempo as well as a multi-purpose footswitch and an input jack for an optional controller, running at a standard 9v power.
What You Need to Know
Even if you’ve never used a drum machine, the BeatBuddy Mini 2 is as straightforward as could be, with the ability to choose between 24 genres of music (each of which features a myriad of variations for a total exceeding 200), set tempo via tap or the control knob, and introduce fills and transitions hands-free.
After choosing a genre, variation (Song), and tempo, stepping on the stomp switch initiates the beat with an intro drum fill that counts off four beats into the first bar. Once the beat is initiated, fills can be thrown in at any time by stomping on the footswitch (the BeatBuddy always quantitizes to the next bar) and transitions between choruses and verses are achieved by holding the footswitch for a second. To end a song, simply double-tap the foot switch and the BeatBuddy will cut out at the next bar with an outro fill.
Yes, it’s really that easy.
The beats themselves are, in general, varied and nuanced enough to be inspiring without being so full of character that they distract from the job at hand. Unless you are in an eclectic cover band, I suspect you'll find a hald dozen or so favorites and stick to those, but the deep bench means there are opportunities to stretch your confort zone if you're looking to step out of your box.
As to how it sounds? Really good, actually. While I wouldn’t say any of the settings could be mistaken for a professional drummer physically playing the part in a well mic’ed studio, they are absolutely of a quality that they are additive to a live performance and miles from the dopey drum parts included on many mid-level keyboards. The sound is natural, and while there’s no denying the inhuman precision of the beats, there is enough play in them to not feel robotic.
Integrated into a pedal board and run in to a traditional amplifier, there are sonic compromises as the signals compete for space and headroom, but even a low wattage tube amp like a Fender Champ does an admirable job of keeping up (at least enough for a solo gig). Where the BeatBuddy Mini 2 shines, though, is direct into a PA or run in parallel with a modelling amp system into a crisp, clean amp.
The BeatBuddy Mini 2 got mini by stripping MIDI functionality, the ability to load new content and sounds, and downgrading audio from 24-bit to 16-bit.
The BeatBuddy Mini 2 is a well thought-out product that perfectly walks the fine line between simplicity and deeper-level control. There were concessions to be made to hit the dead-simple control schema and price point that might keep it from being a must-have for live performers (that’s what the original BeatBuddy does best), but the deep library of 24 genres and over 200 styles of beats makes for a compelling (maybe essential?) tool for intermediate players looking to tighten their chops and pros who want an accompaniment to play over and try new things. -HC-
Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer.