Store/recall Beads buffer

I know we’re probably a few months away from access to Beads’ firmware, but I’ve been dreaming about possible hacks. The ability to save a frozen buffer to be recalled later I think would be very handy. Obviously there are likely storage issues, but I’m curious if there would be a way to interface with an external storage device, an SD card or flash drive for example, then you could in theory build up a library of stored buffers to load.

I’m not very knowledgeable about the digital side of these things but am curious if a hardware mod like this would even be possible.

You could use an external sampler device or a looper.

Keep in mind there is a load time so it wouldn’t be instantaneous.

Clouds has 4 slots to save buffers.

Beads’ buffer is 768kb long, and the onboard Flash memory is 2MB large. Once you remove the firmware code, there is room left for only one buffer (used for the implicit, background save when FREEZE is enabled – a feature which has the enormous advantage of not requiring any UI).

Clouds could save more because its buffer was only 128kb large.

To save more, you’ll need external storage, either an SD card or an external Flash chip – both of those options will require a hardware mod. The only software-only hack I could think of would be to backup the buffer as an mp3 or vorbis stream.

I think using another sampler as suggested by @abortivechronicles is probably the much easier option, but just out of curiosity, how difficult would a hardware mod like that be?

Would it be as simple as soldering an SD reader to some input of the microcontroller or would it be a much more complex undertaking?

Again, I’m not very experienced with digital circuit.

It’s as “simple” as soldering four wires from the microcontroller to the SD card socket (and some extra wires for ground and power). If you can reliably solder wires to pins of an LQFP100 package, you’re good to go!

Another option would be to create an expansion module with the SD-card socket and its own microcontroller, maybe a button or two (it could very well perform, on its own, the duties of a lightweight sample player module à la radio music), and communicate with Beads using the UART RX and TX pins which are properly exposed on the back of Beads’ board. Beads would simply receive commands to initiate the reception or transmission of blocks of the saved buffer. With a transmission rate in the Mbit/s range (as for Stages chaining), the buffer would take half a dozen seconds to load/save.


I have done some tiny soldering like that before, but I don’t think ‘reliable’ would be a word I’d choose to describe the results :grimacing:

Very interesting, though I think I’ll just look into a stand alone sampler. Hmm, I do have an old iPod, maybe loading it up with a library of sounds to play on repeat to sample from might suffice to scratch this itch, wouldn’t be able to record though…

Anyways, cheers and as always thanks for the input!

I’ve had good success with a guitar pedal looper that has multiple slots or for cv controllable sampler I’ve been using MakeNoise Morphagene.

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