I just thought I’d make a separate post out of this reply I got to my brief post of the Beat Thang, as seen at Best Buy Music, located here. I’m going to reply email style in the post below.
I’m quite glad they stopped by to post a response because it brings up a interesting point. Most of you that read here know I’m a regular guy just like the rest of you and that this isn’t a corporate or wanna be corporate blog. I make zero money for doing this and I do it, well, because I love it just like you.
To that end, my blog contains a high amount of editorial content, which is ok. I’m a guy with an opinion, and deep down there somewhere, we all are. And if I should happen to get called on it, that’s ok too because as you’ll read in the email below, it’s opened up the floor for discussion. And quite frequently I’ve found that in such discussions, they can be a great way to break down the barriers, cross some lines and learn something new.
So without further ado..
Thanks for taking a look at the Thang. I’ve worked with the Kangz off and on for a few years now, so we appreciate the pixels.
I’m not sure how much time you spent with the device, but I’d like to clear up a couple of things you said.
>> Honestly, not much. It was on a brief layover before I had to meet someone at a nearby restaurant.
You don’t exactly have to “menu dive” to get to the volume control. On the right side of the main menu is a “Volumes” button. One press gives you access to Main Output, and Headphone Outputs 1 and 2 (that’s right, 2 headphone outs).
Press the input button and you’ve now got access to the input gain. Plus, if you look at the back panel, there is an input volume knob for an extra layer of input gain control. That knob is right next to the mic/line input which also has phantom power.
>> I did find out that there was a dedicated volume button after I had asked the sales clerk. The problem was is that someone had left it on full blast and I got quite a jolt when I hit the play button. Obviously, the first thing I did was to try and find the volume.
Although I can see how in regular use, you can easily leave it at a comfortable level and then adjust it as necessary, I prefer myself to have a dedicated volume control.
So there is no external volume control, but with a push of a button, you’re there. It’s really no sweat.
Again, you didn’t say how much time you spent with the device, so I’m not sure how many of the 3000 sounds you were able to test.
>> Actually, quite a bit. One thing I will say I enjoyed was how easy it was to run through the kits, I was able to audition many in a relatively short span of time.
If you’re already using Live, you may have a pretty extensive sound library that you have compiled over the years. If you so choose, you can link your Beat Thang to your Mac or PC and drag that library into the Beat Thang. Now you can layer those sounds on with the Beat Thang’s library, or replace the Thang library altogether.
>> I do have a pretty comfortable and evolved setup and the acid test tends to be “can I already do this with something I already have?” I just personally prefer working with a software sequencer. Of course, other’s mileage may vary.
For most users, however, the on board sound library is hot! I’m using the Thang extensively on my new album, and I’m combining it with Reason and live instrumentation for extra meatiness.
>> One of the things I did notice was the particular attention given to the claps. In most dance music (libraries), both the clap and the snare are relegated as stock sounds and not as percussive elements in their own right. I was impressed with the particular attention they received.
You also mention the Beat Thang Virtual software. That software comes with the Beat Thang hardware, so you can sync them and pull up the software as a plug-in in your DAW. This offers the best of both worlds and portability to boot.
Certainly the price tag can be a challenge for some potential users. But you’ll find that the feature set makes it quite comparable with the higher priced MPC5000.
>> True, but for those on the start up, the software can’t be beat either. Most hobbyists and beginners are going to lean towards the software, which is just a fact and I always want to encourage people to pay to play and not pirate. Taking ownership of your tools and yourself reaps rewards far greater than a piece of software. Do the right thing people..
But don’t take my word for it. Go into Best Buy and spend some time with the Beat Thang. Make a beat. It’s really simple. You can be up and running in 5 minutes if you know how to use a tape recorder.
The Beat Thang isn’t for everyone, but most veteran users and beginners alike will find a lot that they like, if they spend a little time with it.
>> Thanks for stopping by! I’d also like to point out that the Beat Thang is a Best Buy exclusive! So mad props to them too. Since Best Buy has opened their music department, I’ve gotten to know many of the staff and they’ve been more than kind enough to let me take photos and demo gear for posting reviews on my blog; not to mention the sheer convenience of having music center nearby.