In the Pocket: TheToneKing.com checks out Singular Sound’s BeatBuddy Drum Machine Stompbox

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View-1_Shadow[1]Don’t forget to check out The Tone King’s video review below!

Hey! Did you hear about the drummer who finished high school?

Me neither.

Joking aside, it takes a special kind of person to want to beat on things with sticks, and usually they aren’t very reliable. Which is why the world was forced to create drum machines. But, they’ve never been very intuitive, they’re a pain in the ass to carry around, and they fail at their most fundamental mission: They don’t sound like real drums.

That’s where the BeatBuddy comes in.

Built to be the be all end all drum machine for players, the BeatBuddy is a dynamic, versatile, easy-to-use pedal that includes 200 beats in 21 different genres that can be played on 10 different drumsets. And, that’s right out of the box! TheToneKing.com had a chance to take the BeatBuddy for a test drive and see if it could keep us in our place.

When something doesn’t exist, you either build it or wait for someone else to. Singular Sound didn’t feel like waiting.  Looking at the landscape of drum machines, Eli Packouz and his brother, David, weren’t impressed. Besides for being hard to use and cumbersome, conventional drum machines just had an overly mechanical sound that wasn’t natural.

Machines are built for precision. Every beat in a conventional drum machine is quantized and snapped to a grid. Some will try to include an algorithm that will pull the notes out of the grid, but they seem random and irregular.

Look, I love science too, but no amount of programming is going to take the place of bone, wrapped in muscle, coursing with blood, carrying a stick, attached to a dude who’s had way too much to drink that night. So, when Singular Sound was working on the BeatBuddy, instead of trying to recreate a human drummer through technology, they just hired some real ones.

Our beats are recordings of real live drummers and we have numerous high-quality samples for each sound, so it never sounds exactly the same.  The percussion the BeatBuddy produces is so realistic that we receive letters from people telling us that their wives/girlfriends thought they had a drummer over with his entire kit! – Eli Packouz, COO, Singular Sound

Sounding natural wasn’t enough for Singular Sound: They needed to make sure that the BeatBuddy was user friendly. The Tone King was stoked to see a bunch of killer-sounding metal and rock sounds right out the box. No programing. No scrolling through bullshit menus. Just plug and play. Now that’s user friendly!

Most of us only have two hands, something that seemed to be lost on most conventional drum machine manufacturers. How in the hell are you supposed to add fills or change your beats midstream while you’re busy playing power chords as 140 bpm?

Built for hands-free use, performance with the BeatBuddy is as simple as tapping your foot. Besides for controlling the beats, fills, and rests, players can adjust the tempo and jump between different songs without putting down your axe.

The BeatBuddy was designed for players. Plain and simple. From being able to incorporate drum fills on any beat on the fly, to including a MIDI clock signal that will sync your looper with the BeatBuddy to the nearest quarter note, Singular Sound has created a stompbox that seamlessly integrates into even the most complex rig.

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Focused on building the ultimate drum machine, Singular Sound went to the source: the players.

Besides for the musicians that they have on their team, Singular Sound posted their plans on a number of forums, carefully taking input from all different types of players with a whole lot of different interests.

The looper enthusiasts made sure we included MIDI sync, the jam-at-home types gave feedback to make it easy to use, the songwriters wanted to be able to create new content, the solo performers wanted it to be seamlessly integrated into their gig, the teachers wanted it to be educational ­¾ and everybody wanted it to sound REAL. –  Eli

Being everything for everyone can be a difficult trick to pull off. Fortunately, the BeatBuddy doesn’t feel overloaded. For those who just want to plug and play, the BeatBuddy will work right out of the box. For those who want to dive a bit deeper, the pedal can be used to create custom beats in any time signature.

You can import MIDI files from GarageBand, Ableton, Cubase, or any of your preferred programs into the BeatBuddy Manager software, arrange those files into new songs, and load them onto your BeatBuddy.

Hell! Out of the box, you have a start roll, an end roll, three unique fills and two verses with transitions, just like a real drummer  ̶ one that manages to show up to the gig sober that is! With an added footswitch, players can add accent crashes and pauses, creating live-controlled dynamics that you won’t find from a drum machine.

Topping it all off, you can customize your own drumsets. It’s like having every drummer that you ever wanted to jam with on stage with you. And, if you’re worried if you’ll be able to get through a whole set of songs with the BeatBuddy, it can store up to about 400,000 songs or 40 hyper-realistic drumsets. Plus, the drumsets on the BeatBuddy are about 100-1000 times larger than conventional drum machine drumsets! Unless you’re planning to play a gig that lasts a little more than 4 years, you’re probably not going to use all of that space.

The BeatBuddy could easily put drummers on the endangered species list. But, that’s not Singular Sound’s intent.  Sometimes playing with a live drummer can be fun.

Sometimes.

But, there’s a whole new breed of singer/songwriters out there who are playing small gigs who can’t travel with a drummer. Or, there are the dudes who want their songs to sound exactly the way they do in their head. Or, there are the teachers who just need a tool to help show their students how to play with a drummer. Or, there are the players who want to practice along with the beats that their drummers laid out at home. Point is, for all of these dudes and more, the BeatBuddy will get them where they want to go.

Don’t worry, drummers will survive.

At TheToneKing.com, we’re always stoked to check out the latest and greatest from the latest and greatest. When players put their brains together, there’s almost nothing that they can’t accomplish. The dudes at Singular Sound put their brains together and came up with something that no one else has: the ultimate drum machine stompbox for players. Regardless if you’re looking for something that works right out of the box, or if you want to get a little more involved, the BeatBuddy will give you the backbeat that you’re looking for.

 

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Filed Under: FeaturedPedals

About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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