If you haven’t used BeatBalance yet, we recommend that you have a look at the Getting Started section first.
The main screen
The main screen is where exercises take place:
A: Exercise Name
B: Exercise sticking pattern
This shows you the sticking pattern you are supposed to follow for this exercise. If you follow this correctly, you'll be able to see your microtiming for each hand when you get to the performance summary.
C: Countdown wheel
The wheel in the center of the screen gives you several pieces of information to help you diagnose your setup and playing.
The Dark Grey segment represents the amount of time left in the exercise.
Black indicates that the microphone is not picking up signal. If you’re playing and seeing this, you may need to make sure that your device is close enough to the practice pad, with nothing between the pad and the device’s microphone.
Dark red indicates that your playing is being detected but is out of time. If this happens regularly you won’t be able to silence the metronome. It is normal to see some dark red at the end of orange (silent) segments as you re-synchronise with the metronome.
Yellow indicates that your playing is within the time window with the metronome audible. This will occur while you’re getting back in sync with the metronome.
Orange indicates that the metronome is silent and you are playing in time without the support of the metronome!
TIP: BeatBalance is designed to operate best when you’re playing exercises that you’re able to play consistently in time when the metronome is audible. If you’re seeing a lot of dark red bands, then you might need to check that you are executing the pattern cleanly.
If you are still seeing a lot of dark red, then it’s best to try creating the same exercise at a slower tempo or at an easier timing detection level so you can practice the exercise at a speed you’re confident with. This is done in the create exercise screen.
NOTE that you can’t adjust the settings of an exercise that already exists. This is to make sure that your exercise information screen is comparing like for like data.
D: Exercise Information
This displays information about the current exercise: tempo, timing detection (accuracy), session type and exercise length. For more information about these settings, look at the help page on creating exercises.
E: Play/Stop Button
Press this to start (or stop) your performance. Stopping playback will reset your performance and no data will be saved.
F: Volume Sliders
You can choose to vary the balance of what you're hearing between the metronome (quarter notes) and the rhythm pattern (in this case, sixteenth notes).
This screen will show you information and overall statistics for your performance, and allow you to view your progress over time and records you’ve achieved.
First you're shown information about your tightness. From left to right you’ll see timing for strokes from early to late, and on the vertical axis you’ll see the number of strokes recorded. In the example shown, most of the hits fell well within the window, but a few were well outside of it. You can view this graph for your left hand, right hand, both at the same time or both combined.
You're awarded a tightness score, based on an "ideal" value of 1000. It is possible to have a score greater than 1000, and BeatBalance lets you know if you've broken your own record. You’re also given a star rating for your performance.
Tap on the Progress button at the top to see how your tightness score is improving over time.
Next up is your solidity - how much of the time you can hold your tempo without the aid of the metronome. In the example here, the metronome was silent for 47.8% of the performance.
The pie chart shows a breakdown of your performance, showing the proportion of time you’ve spent with the metronome silent (orange), how much you were in time (yellow) and out of time (purple).
Tap “Record” to see your performance as it happened.
Using the buttons at the top you can see your suppression progress (i.e. for how much of each performance the metronome was silent over time) and your deviation (a detailed, hit-by-hit breakdown of what happened each time the metronome went silent). Check back in to these screens regularly - even if you have a bad day (or two!), you're probably still making progress overall.
Finally you have your Balance. This is showing you, for each of the 16th notes, where you were on average compared to the beat. You can use this to identify parts of the measure that you are regularly struggling with. In this example, the drummer was consistently ahead of the beat across the whole measure, apart from the first two hits in the third beat.
Once you have reviewed your performance, you can repeat the exercise, go to your playlist or move on to the next exercise in your playlist.
A. Create Exercise
Tap here to go to the create exercise screen which will allow you to create a new practice exercise and add it to your playlist.
B. Current exercise
This shows the currently selected exercise. Once the exercise is selected you can tap on it again to start it.
The Playlist is an ordered list of all your practice exercises, showing some basic information about each exercise.
D. Exercise info
Tap this to be taken to the exercise info screen to view records and data from this exercise.
E. Edit button
Go into Edit mode to delete or reorder exercises in the Playlist.
Enter the settings screen for extra settings, including recalibration of the app.
This page shows you a summary of your performance data for an individual exercise, with a summary of performance records and graphs allowing you to track your improvement over time when learning or improving your drum technique.
Use this to give your exercise a descriptive name (for example ‘Single Stroke Roll’ or ‘Paradiddle’).
Use this to turn pattern analysis on or off. Pattern analysis matches the sticking pattern chosen using the +/- buttons, and allows you to analyse your left and right hands separately.
In Exact mode you need to exactly match the rhythm pattern you hear. At the moment this means only patterns which consist of a steady stream of 16th notes in 4/4 time are possible. This mode will give you the quickest feedback on mistakes.
Suggestions for exercises suitable for this mode include:
Single Stroke Rolls
Double Stroke Rolls
Any of the ‘Single Beat Combination’ exercises from
‘Stick Control for the Modern Drummer’.
Free (subscribers only)
In Free mode, you have more leeway to change the pattern you hear. Each stroke you play must still line up with the rhythm pattern, but rests of up to 2 full beats are allowed before the metronome will un-mute. This allows you to improvise, or to practise changing between 8th and 16th note rhythmic subdivisions while keeping a steady tempo and consistent note spacing.
This mode allows you to use the timing analysis features of BeatBalance without silencing the metronome. It operates exactly as the ‘Exact’ mode except that the metronome clicks will not be silenced.
Speed (subscribers only)
Speed Builder increases the tempo of the exercise by 1 BPM once you reach a certain standard of accuracy. What that standard is, and how many times you have to consecutively achieve it in order for the tempo to increase is controlled in the settings screen.
Note that the metronome does not go silent in speed mode.
Set the tempo at which you want to play the exercise (or play the first exercise, in the case of Speed mode). We recommend starting off slower than you think (around 40BPM) you need to in order to really build up your accuracy.
Tip: If you attempt an exercise and regularly score less than 700 Tightness then it’s likely that you will improve most quickly by practicing the exercise at a slower tempo first and then building up to it once you’re able to achieve this, either by using the Speed Builder (if you’re a subscriber) or by simply creating a slower version of the exercise.
Set the length of your exercise in measures (bars). Exercise lengths are also shown in minutes and seconds, corresponding to the number of measures at the selected tempo.
This setting determines how accurately you’ll need to play in time to silence the metronome (and keep it silent). The exact length of the time window depends on the tempo of the exercise.
Currently the timing settings work like this, but this may change as we do more testing and get feedback from users:
Beginner timing means the time window length is 6% of the inter-beat interval. At 60BPM this is 60 milliseconds, meaning that each stroke needs to land within +/- 30ms of the metronome beat in order to silence the metronome. This will allow you to play audibly somewhat out of time and still silence the metronome, so it is not recommended unless you find the other modes too challenging.
Normal timing sets the time window at 4% of the interbeat interval, or +/- 20ms, whichever is the greater.
Tight timing sets the time window at 3% of the interbeat interval, or +/- 15ms, whichever is the greater.
We expect this timing setting to be challenging even for highly experienced drummers, especially at higher tempos.
The timing resolution of BeatBalance’s detection is better than 0.5ms, so significantly more challenging time settings are possible, well beyond what we expect the limits of human capability to be. We aim to provide a musically useful tool first and foremost so these are not in the current version. However, if you are an advanced player and don’t find the provided settings sufficiently challenging then please let us know!
Use this screen to update the following settings:
Turning tempo tones on will give you audio feedback to indicate if you’re rushing or dragging.
Takes you through the calibration process. If you’ve done this when you first started BeatBalance, you shouldn’t need to do it again, but it’s currently unknown whether iOS updates cause latency changes.
Audio record session
This will record your exercises as an audio file. This will use A LOT of storage space on your device and is really intended mostly to help diagnose any timing issues so you shouldn’t need to use it in normal circumstances.
Recreate challenge exercise
Use this if you have deleted the challenge exercise from the playlist and now want to try it.
Delete all user data
This should be fairly self explanatory, but beware, it can’t be undone!
Speed Builder settings
Note that Speed Builder is only available to subscribers.
These settings give you control over how speed mode exercises work. You can set the score that you must achieve to progress, and the number of consecutive times you must achieve it.
We recommend calibrating BeatBalance before you use it so that your timing can be measured as accurately as possible. This will only take about a minute.
When you first open the app, you'll be guided through the process. Make sure you allow BeatBalance to use your microphone. If for any reason you need to repeat the process, you can go to settings from the playlist screen.
The Paradiddle Challenge is a little bit of fun that allows you to compare your performance with that of other drummers using BeatBalance, and give you a place on the scoreboard. When you first try it you’ll be asked to give yourself a name to show on the scoreboard, and to give your permission to upload your performance data. Please note that we do not link this to any other data, and it is only used for the scoreboard.
The exercise itself consists of 60 measures of a standard paradiddle at 60 BPM, and your place on the scoreboard is determined by your suppression percentage. Each time you break your record, your place on the scoreboard will be updated.
If you want to opt out of the challenge, you can delete it in the playlist screen. If you’ve previously deleted the challenge and you’re now ready to give it a go, you can add it back in to the playlist on the settings screen.