BeatBuddy Mini Review

BeatBuddy Mini Review

PROS: Simple to use.
CONS: Drum sounds might be a bit generic for some users.
PRICE: $149

The original BeatBuddy (reviewed in Dec 2014) was a great, practical musical tool. Now there is the BeatBuddy Mini, which brings the same concept in a more streamlined package.

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Size-wise, it’s not much bigger than an MXR Phase 90, and the controls are simple: a volume knob, and a push knob selector switch that selects the Genre, Song, and Tempo. The connections are simple, too: an instrument input, and output, (meaning it can share the same output with an instrument) and a footswitch connection. Press the button, an LED is lit to indicate the mode, and the knob now runs that function; press it again, it goes to the next one, and so on. A bright blue display screen displays the functions and details. A single footswitch runs the stop/start functions. Tapping it once engages fills, tap it twice and it stops. At the top of the pedal are three mini-LED indicators showing what’s being played; intro, drum fill, or transition.

There are 21 genres to choose from, including rock, funk, reggae, and more. With 100 “songs” pre-loaded, it can also cover odd time signatures like 5/4 & 7/8. The actual drum sounds are good, the samples are 16-bit, and while some may find it a bit canned, they work well across various musical styles and are great for practicing new musical ideas when a real-life drummer isn’t available. But with only one option for fills per song it may seem a bit generic, selection-wise.

The blue display also has a cursor scrolling across, giving a visual cue to the beat. For live use, it’s not that hard to run, with just a few buttons it can give the illusion of a drummer. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but its limitations keep things from getting too complicated.

Overall, it’s a lot simpler than its big brother, which was larger, had an SD card slot to load drum patterns, as well as a USB port, and a bigger multi-color display and selection of multi-function buttons. That said, it’s not lacking the features for someone to use it as a rhythm machine right out of the box, with just a little practice, and not a lot of deep editing.

It clocks in at a $149 street price, and while the additional remote footswitch is not included, it really gives the unit a lot more functionality, allowing accent hits to be triggered, as well as stopping the beat. For players looking to set a rhythm, run it, add a fill here and there and stop it, without going down the rabbit hole of parameters, editing or other distractions that keep them from actually playing, this is an absolutely perfect solution.

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