As of the date of this review 9/24/2018, this product has just been released. I bought it without seeing any 3rd party reviews (I couldn't find any). I have been very happy with the product and hopefully this will be of some assistance if you're also considering it but are on the fence due to lack of third party review content out there on this.
A version of this review was also posted by me on Amazon, just so nobody thinks I poached it.
- Home Practice
- Jamming with others
- Great to accompany Bass, Guitar, really any instrument that requires a beat
- Live use (with caveats: see below)
ABOUT ME, THE REVIEWER: I have been playing guitar for thirty years or so. Have played live in bands, recorded though more as a hobbyist/amateur performer than a professional musician (i.e. I have a day job). Took on bass about three years ago and have been having a blast digging deep into learning the craft, theory, and practice methodology for bass guitar. I have built my own guitar effect pedals, and thoroughly geeked out on gear.
WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS FOR:
Every guitarist or bassist who practices regularly without a real drummer.
THE PEDAL- WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT ISN'T:
The Beat Buddy Mini 2 IS:
1. Perfect to get up and running fast with musical usable beats, easily triggered fills and transitions. It is IDEAL for practice and makes practice much more fun and productive.
2. Far more convenient than DAW's or smartphone drum apps for practicing. Prior to purchasing of the Beat Buddy Mini 2, I had been using drum apps on my phone, using Addictive Drums software through my PC based DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, i.e. Cubase, Protools, etc.), or used a clip-on metronome. Or I just played without anything to help me keep the beat. And this was the problem- setting everything up- even using my phone just wasn't an easy enough pick up and play solution. This requires so little to get going with a good drum track. I'm a believer in always practicing with something or someone to keep time- it is a huge benefit. Especially for bassists.
3. Simple to use. The beauty of this device is in its simplicity. Unlike the other methods I've used, I don't have to stop playing (or stop for more than a few seconds), to fiddle with app menus to change tempo, genre, volume, or beat patterns. In literally seconds at most thanks to two sturdy pedal knobs and switch, I'm off and jamming with solid highly usable rhythm tracks.
One tap of the switch during a song and you get a fill that kicks in right on the nearest beat. Hold the switch down and it plays a transition fill until you release the switch and then you get to a chorus or refrain drum pattern. Hold it again and you get the fill, and you're back to the verse portion of the song. Reading how to do this doesn't do justice to how truly simple it is. Even without reading the maual at all, 99% of people will have this thing dialed in after about five minutes.
This is what's it's best for. A practice tool, learning songs and increasing/decreasing tempo.
4. Comfortable to use with a standard pedal form factor. I love the mushroomy footswitch. Seems such a small detail, but it is easy to push and comfortable. If you've ever grimaced while stomping a mechanical footswitch in bare feet, you'll appreciate the soft touch this pedal provides. It fits on a standard pedalboard - about the size of a Boss pedal.
IT IS NOT:
1. An ideal recording drum machine. Use your DAW. Or a drummer.
2. Customizable. It also will not (like the more flexible- but necessarily more complext- Original Beat Buddy) offer huge flexibility in programming songs, uploading and altering other beats etc. If you're practicing songs with time signature changes in the middle of the song, this pedal won't do that and it really isn't designed for this. For that you'll want the regular Beat Buddy.
3. Cheap. Though I would argue still affordable, it's not inexpensive at $149. There are other drum effect pedals out there for less but nothing anywhere near this price that really does what the Beat Buddy Mini 2 does, or as well. It is without hesitation worth the price, but again $149 ain't cheap for many of us.
1. Be quite a nice usable tool for live performances, but will require some getting used to.
If you've ever used a looper, you'll know what I'm talking about here in terms of nailing the timing. The Beat Buddy Mini 2 is more forgiving than a looper, but still requires a bit of practice to "nail" the fills and transitions exactly right. For a practice tool, no biggie- if playing live it would be something you'd really want to spend some time to get exactly right.
Also, if you use a looper with the Beat Buddy Mini 2, eventually, the looper pedal will fall out of sync with the Beat Buddy. The Beat Buddy keeps perfect time, a looper may get close but is prone to human error- even a few milliseconds off and the loop will eventually get out of sync.
There is an optional additional footswitch you can get that should help with live use.
HOW TO SET IT UP:
It comes with it's own power supply- 9V which should make it compatible with most pedalboards. You can either run it like an effect pedal at the very end of your chain (preferably in an effect loop if you have one on your amp), or through a separate amp to itself. I like using it with an Ampeg BA-108 practice amp has an Aux input with it's own volume control, so I plug it into that and it works great.
The LED lights and the LCD display show just what you need, no more no less. It's well thought out, readable, visible and usable.
Easy to just plug in and start playing with a drum track. This pedal doesn't over-complicate things. This is why I didn't get the original Beat Buddy. I preferred simple over flexible. This does what I want it to do and more, with intuitive, elegant controls and displays/indicators.
WHY NOT 5 STARS?
I reserve 5 stars for the most perfect of perfect products. This is pretty darn close. But here's why I dinged it:
1. Lack of 9V battery.
2. No off switch- unit remains powered on until you unplug it.
3. No brightness or contrast control for the LCD display, though I think it's set fine for 99% of the time, I could see a display control coming in handy for low light situations, or bright outdoor environments.
3. While they tell you this quite clearly, you can fry the unit if you accidentally plug in a higher voltage supply. My pedalboard power supply has 9V, 12V and 18V outs, and sometimes the cables get messy under the board. I could easily see myself accidentally plugging in a higher voltage cable. It would be better if there were some kind of failsafe for this.
The Beat Buddy Mini 2 is highly recommended for any practicing musician. I am truly happy with it. It works incredibly well, and is ultra-simple to use. Offers a vast internal library of songs, genres, and time signatures. It has already become an indispensable learning tool for me, and adds so much to the practice experience.
Nice work Singular Sound- this is an excellent, super fun little device.
Beatbuddy Mini 2 Drum Effect Pedal
Indispensable & Easy to Use Practice Tool Succeeds on Almost All Counts