BTV Solo has created quite a buzz in the beat making community since its apearance in 2012. No wonder since it’s a slightly stripped down software version of the award winning Beat Thang, a drum machine co developed by star producer and Grammy winner Jimmy Austin (Michael Jackson, Will.I.Am, Lady Gaga…).
While the hardware Beat Thang costs about 700$ by the time of this writing, its software version BTV Solo is available for a fraction of the price, 39$ to be exact.
I decided to buy and test the entry level beat making software to see if it’s as powerful and fun to use as acclaimed.
What I found out is that it’s different than other cheap beat maker software in many ways. In my BTV Solo review I reveal my impressions and experiences (playing around with it and making some beats.)
BTV Solo runs on both Mac and PCs. Right after the purchase it can be downloaded and installed on the computer. It cannot be operated online, but as mentioned in other articles on this site I champion software that is installed on the computer for performance and stability reasons.
Installation on my mac book pro was flawless. When I opended BTV Solo for the first time, I was surprised that it was up and running in less then 5 seconds.
Unlike a lot of beat maker software for under 50 $, BTV Solo looks nice and professional. Actually it looks like the hardware Beat Thang. A nice feature is that you can choose from different skins to fit your personal style and flavor.
Making beats with BTV Solo
BTV Solo has a different approach to beat making than any other beat making software I’ve come across. Instead of dragging and editing notes with the mouse, all the beats have to be tapped in via the drum pads. The pads can be triggered by mouse, computer keyboard or midi keyboard.
After more than 10 years of dragging notes with the mouse it took me some hours to get used to play and record all my drums and melodies. But as soon as I got used to it I began to enjoy working with BTV Solo. It actually reminded me more of playing an instrument than programming beats. And the results had a good organic feel.
BTV Solo is delivered with approximately 1000 sounds in 16 Bit, 44.1 kHz wav format. They cover a wide range from all sorts of drums and percussions to a wide range of synths, keys, guitars, even horns and a good variety of vocal and other FX.
I was honestly impressed by the quality of the sounds that sound polished, big and professional. I particularly liked the drums and percussions that have that clean but organic over the top R&B feel. Silky highs, crisp mids and a BIG bottom.
All sounds are well organized in drum kits and instruments. They can be loaded and previewed by double clicking them in BTV Solo’s browser.
Aditionally any sounds in WAV format can be imported into BTV Solo. Once imported they can be added to existing kits or organized in a new one.
What really sets BTV Solo apart from it’s competitors is it’s arsenal of effects and sound shaping tools. A lot of these allow you to tweak every sound in depth seperately. Some can only be applied to tracks.
With the included effects and sound shapers sounds can be altered from subtly to dramatically. If you edit sounds in depth you can actually create new sounds out of existing ones which opens up a creative playground of its own.
To be clear: An extensive sound shaping and effects section is common in more expensive DAWs. But in the price range under 50$ this is unique.
Another major advantage of BTV Solo over most cheap beat making software is it’s expandability.
What I mean by that are three things:
- You can easily connect a MIDI-keyboard for more convenience and fun.
- You can easily connect a professional Audio-Interface/Soundcard for better sound and performance.
- You have the option to upgrade to BTV, the big brother of BTV Solo, at a later time. BTV ads two features to BTV Solo: a) On board sampling and b) VST/AU-functionality which means you can use your BTV as a virtual instrument within any major DAW like Logic, Cubase, Albleton Live, FLStudio and many others.
You can see, feel and hear that BTV Solo has been created by professional music producers. It doesn’t try to replicate the functionality and workflow known of major DAWs like Pro Tools, Logic or Cubase. Instead it is intended as a beat making instrument in the tradition of classic drum machines like Akai MPCs or the EMU SP 1200.
BTV Solo has everything needed for making professional hip hop beats or urban dance music but doesn’t contain any unneccesary features. It’s a software for beginners and pros alike. Its ease of use will allow beginners to produce good sounding beats in little time. And the good, professional sounds and the unique workflow can give a pro new inspiration.
If you’re looking for a new beat making tool or want to start making beats you should give BTV Solo a try. It’s definitely worth the price and a lot of fun create music with.
For more information go to www.btvsolo.com
- Good, professional sounds
- Built in effects and sound shaping tools
- Instrument-like workflow
- Easy connection of a MIDI keyboard
- Support of professional sound cards/audio interfaces
- Upgrade to BTV (VST/AU connectivity)
- Workflow might not appeal to everyone
- $ 39.95
If you like this article, feel free to leave a comment and share it on facebook, twitter and g+.