Backbeat Club - For Those Who Silently Rumble

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Pat C., Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    A Club for Backbeat Users. Now that they are getting into the hands of end-users I figured I'd get this thing rolling.

    Official link here: BackBeat – Play bass, feel bass.

    Club Members:

    #1 @Pat C.
    #2 @archisland
    #3 @Firesalt
    #4 @Goatee220
    #5 @BoydG
    #6 @joaobass


    Posted in the Amps section because it IS my amp. My band runs a silent stage and this unit gives my back all the low stuff I've been missing on in-ears.

    Maybe we can agree on a few guidelines for club posts?

    Anything Backbeat related discussion is cool - how you use it, you love it, you hate it, whatever. It'd be great if we could minimize repeated posts from non-users of "what is it", "you don't need that" and "that's dumb", etc. to keep that type of noise down. I'm not a mod and have no way of enforcing any of that, and in fact do not know if I'm going about starting a club in the correct manner.

    Mods or admin, if I'm off base or this needs to be moved to a different forum, let me know and do what you will.

    So who's in?
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
    SakuBass and ybassman like this.
  2. archisland


    Mar 5, 2016
    I’m in! Got mine yesterday - really cool piece of gear! :)
    ybassman likes this.
  3. Firesalt

    Firesalt Is good enough. Supporting Member

    May 18, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    I'm in, got mine a couple of days ago. I really like it and all the options it offers and the feel it gives sinceswe also run a bare stage. What I don't like is all the dents I've put into my bass from taking the bass off and the Backbeat hitting up against it on the strap. I've probably out five dings into it in two days and I haven't even played out with the unit yet... :/
  4. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Yes, the Backbeat acts like a wrecking ball on the strap when you take the instrument off. I've found I need to hold the unit as I'm taking the bass off and putting it down, then carefully position the strap so it is hanging neutrally next to the bass in the stand before I let go. A bit of a PITA to be honest, but unavoidable give the weight the Backbeat adds to the strap.
    Firesalt likes this.
  5. Goatee220

    Goatee220 Bassist/Photographer/Goalie Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Spring City, PA
    Got mine Friday as well - haven't gotten too much time to play around with it - but I'm off this week and will get some time to check it out thoroughly.
    Firesalt likes this.
  6. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Had one gig with the Backbeat the Saturday before Christmas, wanted to lay out an initial review in two parts - at home and at the gig.

    First-look review summary:


    Amazing innovation. Creates a transformative in-ear monitor experience.

    Half a point deduction for cable logistics and unwieldiness. An admittedly unfair deduction because both issues are unavoidable and inherent to a unit with all the included features.


    At home:

    I'd received the unit the day before and messed around with it at home for a few hours. It was really cool using it as a practice amp, playing directly into it using headphones (Sony MD7506) and in-ears (Shure SE215). It was certainly powerful - just over halfway up on the 'Thump knob' seemed to be more than enough - and I definitely could sense the notes a lot better with it than without. And using the aux jack to have playing along music was really neat, overall a better experience than routing through the small 4 channel mixer I usually use.

    The response is most significant in the lowest two octaves or so on my 5 and 6 strings, and reduces quite a bit above that until about the 12th fret G on the G string at which point most of the thump is from right hand finger thump (such as from a rest stroke) rather than a note vibration. To be expected since that's the top end of the BB's frequency response. It absolutely slams in the lowest octave and the feel and response on the fundamental notes on the low B of both my extended range basses was unlike anything I've felt through an amp or PA.

    But I'll admit to not being totally blown away by the at-home experience. I did not love the "localized" thump feel on my back. I found myself thinking, 'will I really want this thing buzzing on that one spot on my back for a 4 hour gig?' The cable management is a bit of a PITA, having to run a cable from the bass to the unit, from the music source (phone or computer) to the unit and a headphones from the unit to my ears. Then, having to run out of the unit to my amp if I needed. That's a lot of cables. Admittedly, my use doesn't necessarily require me to run to my amp, but it's still a lot of cables to deal with every time you strap the bass on or take it off. Unavoidable with this particular routing (I used an alternate routing at the gig that is better, discussed below), but still a PITA.

    Then there is the "wrecking ball" effect the Backbeat/strap combo. The weight of the unit causes the strap to swing around anytime the bass is moved, resulting in the BB almost always getting whipped back towards the bass body due to its attachment to the strap. I learned quickly that the BB must be directly held in the hand that is holding the strap while the bass is being taken off a stand, put on my body, taken off my body or being put back in the stand. I was lucky not to put any significant dings in any of my basses. This too is unavoidable, the unit has to weigh something, and it is very light for what it is and does. With some behavior modification on the player's part it ultimately will be a non-issue.

    A more minor issue I had was with the attachment clips. I have a thick padded strap - Gruv Gear Neo Solo - and the clips were super difficult to get onto the strap. I actually had to use a flathead screwdriver to get them open enough to slip on to the strap. And slip on is the wrong language, ham-fisted finagling is more like it. But the good news is that sucker ain't coming off. I usually gaff tape my wireless packs to my strap at the gig, there is no need for tape on the BB. I've decided that the BB is going to stay on my strap semi-permanently, even during transport, so I don't have to wrestle with it each gig. And in this case I can wrap the BB in the strap so that the strap acts as a kind of padded cover for the unit, which transports either my gig bag pocket or separate small gear bag.

    On the gig:

    As I mentioned in the OP, my main band runs a silent stage - in-ear monitors, no amps, electronic drums. We do lots of weddings and corporate parties and the FOH volumes are such that I do not get much (or any) tactile feedback from the subwoofers. This was a rare club gig for the band - a rowdy live-music college bar - probably holds a few hundred people at capacity. Big ol' JBL PA hanging from ceiling, plus a group of 2x18" subs under that stage. The monitors and drum fill pictured were not in use. They tend to mix kick heavy at this place, meaning most of the time the bass guitar is buried in the mix and I absolutely cannot count on getting any feel from the FOH system which can be frustrating.

    RnB stage.jpg

    Using the BB completely transformed that experience. It felt as if there was a stack of 2x18"s behind me the whole night. Actually better, because this thing was solid down to the low B, which is an amazing feeling and unlike playing with almost any amp. Yeah, the vibrating was localized on my back but it did not bother me in the way that I expected it to. It created an immersive experience where my bass was truly the foundation for the mix I was hearing in my ears, not just part of it. In my mind's eye I felt like my bass was a flowing river, with all the other instruments floating on top. The kick drum was making waves that I could lock into at will. I felt like I got back my ability to apply subtle dynamics with the right hand in particular and moving from light finger-style to thumb muting, to slap/pop and double thumbing to aggressive FS all had the significant feel changes I was not getting on in-ears alone.

    My cable routing for the show was simpler and more effective than at home. We are completely wireless for the gig so I've got a instrument transmitter, in-ear monitor receiver and the BB clipped to my strap. I run a cable from my bass to the transmitter to get into the PA. Then I ran a 1/8" TRS - 1/4" TRS cable from the receiver into the BB (the red input) and out of the 1/8" jack with my earbuds. It's still a lot to juggle but easier than dealing with all the of the cables hanging from the bass when I used it at home.
    Running the entire mix through the single input (rather than the aux input) allows the thump intensity knob (L) to adjust both the bass thump and kick thump. I then adjusted the balance in my mix to suit my taste. It was great being able to feel the kick again on stage. I could also feel the toms a bit, which made the whole mix feel more musical.

    I definitely went overboard with the thump knob most of the night. It was difficult to find just the right knob position to get the feel I wanted without excessive vibration. I never pushed it more than 60%, which was overwhelmingly thumpy. In terms of gain staging I found it best to run the headphone volume knob (R) almost all the way up and then regulate the mix volume via the volume knob on my in-ear receiver pack, which was between 50 and 80% most of the night. I never quite found the perfect balance between overall mix volume and thump, but more gigging will give me time to sort that out.

    It's not an easy task to adjust knobs on the BB since where it's positioned my strap the unit cannot be reached with the bass on. I'd have to remove my ear buds (and hold onto them so they don't get tangled in the strap), then rotate the neck-side of the bass down until the strap rotates the BB unit to a reachable position on my left shoulder for adjustment. That's like a 20 second process minimum, and I cannot test or feel the result of any changes I made until the bass and in-ears are back in place. So I really can only truly tweak my thump during sound check or between sets. I'm considering recruiting the drummer to twist some knobs between songs in a pinch, but we'll have to come up with hand signals to make sure he knows what and how to adjust.

    I've got three gigs this weekend, two weddings and a New Year's show on a big casino stage, so I'll report back some more after all that goes down.

    See below for a diagram of all the Backbeats knobs, jacks and indicators.
    BB desc.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  7. BoydG


    Nov 16, 2011
    Pflugerville, TX
    Mine is due to arrive tomorrow, so I'll get to try it out Saturday before I use it at church on Sunday morning. We run a clean stage with IEMs, and I hadn't planned on running the monitor through it, but based on Pat's comments above, I may have to rethink that.
  8. Not a back beat but similar concept has anyone tried the woojer strap?
    reggiem likes this.
  9. BoydG


    Nov 16, 2011
    Pflugerville, TX
    Please count me into the club, Pat.

    I'm 6' 4", and the included 38" cable struggles to make it from the BB to the guitar output, and during rehearsal this morning it kept backing out of the BB. I'll have to get a cable a bit longer.

    Then again, if I follow Pat's hook up, I'll just need the 1/8 to 1/4 cable.

    I'd better buy both, just to be safe.
    Pat C. likes this.
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Interesting thread. I am considering one.
  11. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Any other gig reports?
  12. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I had three shows over the New Years Eve weekend. The Backbeat worked great, plenty of thump on my wedding gigs. Had a NYE show where there was about 20,000 watts of subwoofer 10' from my stage position so I got full bass immersion that evening. :bassist:

    Current observations:
    • I'm now totally comfortable on stage. It's like having a big amp behind me, but better. Definitely a required piece of kit now, I'd not be happy to have to play an ampless in-ears gig without it.
    • I've settled on the "thump" level being at halfway or less. Higher than that feels like it throws the balance of highs/mids to lows out of whack. And that's saying something coming from a guy whose rig for over 15 years was four custom 12/6 cabs powered by 1500+ watts from a bridged Crown Macrotech 2402.
    • Nitpick - the knobs on the back are too easy to adjust. A few times they've gotten bumped while on my back - even getting caught on and turned by my earphone cable - and I've had to re-adjust mid-set.
    • That said, I've gotten much better at rotating my bass to adjust the knobs if I need to between songs. It still takes 10 seconds or so, but I'm comfortable doing it now.
    A montage from my NYE show:

    StudioGC, docmaster, Zbysek and 3 others like this.
  13. bass4scott


    Jan 6, 2019
    Used my BackBeat again this morning at church and had an odd experience and wanted to see if anyone else has experienced anything like it.

    So I had the “volume” of the rumble set at about 75% and while I was holding out a low C it seemed as if the rumble was going through my body and into my bass causing the note to vibrate more and almost feedback; kind of like holding your bass in front of your amp. I only happened on the C, it must have just been the right frequency.
    Garret Graves, Firesalt and Zbysek like this.
  14. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Thank you for your report!
  15. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    I would like to use Backbeat with my EUB. EUB is on stand so I don't wear any strap... How can I attach BackBeat to my body? Any thoughts, recommendations, experience? Thank you.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  16. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    I’m using mine regularly for gigs and have been able to run my in ears quieter. Simply dig this thing. Once I got my levels set I’ve had no need to adjust only turn it on and off.
    JCBass777 and Zbysek like this.
  17. BoydG


    Nov 16, 2011
    Pflugerville, TX
    That happened with me on the open B, but I don't recall if it was my Fender or my Sire (probably the Sire). It looks like it vibrates the strap enough to feed into the guitar body.
    JCBass777 likes this.
  18. You can put it in your pocket... but be careful ;)
    SakuBass, PlatoFunFactory and Zbysek like this.
  19. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
  20. BoydG


    Nov 16, 2011
    Pflugerville, TX
    Oh, and I'm amused by how much metallic debris gets picked up by the hyper-powerful magnet in the BB.

    "Oh, here's a paper clip."
    "That's where that twist-tie went!"
    Garret Graves and Zbysek like this.

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