User Manual (for the 1st lot)

Table of Contents

Part names and functions​

parts and names (top) ,SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
  • Display
    Show status and information for operation.
  • Menu dial
    Rotate clockwise and counter clockwise for selecting menu.
    Push to enter or confirm the selected menu.
  • Back key
    Back to previous and upper menu.
  • Play key
    In Trim (truncate) mode, push to play truncated sound for selected Pad.
    In Edit Rhythm mode, push to play rhythm pattern. Pushed again, rhythm pattern stops.
    In Edit Track mode, push to play composed track.
  • REC key (Only in Edit Rhythm mode)
    Push to start recording a rhythm pattern. Pushed again, stop recording.
  • LED
    Indicates Play/REC status in Edit Rhythm mode. (*The LED is not a power on indicator. It works only in Edit Rhythm mode)
    Green color : Playing
    Red color : Recording
  • Pad 1 – 8
    Hit to play assigned sounds.
    Although SnapBeat can play eight sounds at the same time, simultaneous press of keys is not valid in real-time play mode.
  • Line in
    Connect to audio sources such as audio player, PC and smartphone with 3.5mm stereo cable. In Sampling mode, SnapBeat records sound from this input.
  • Line out
    All eight channels mixed output. Connect to external speakers or amplifier with stereo analog cable. Volume is fixed. 
  • Headphone out
    Connect to headphone or earphone. Volume is adjustable.
  • Volume
    for headphone : adjust volume of headphone output.
    for metronome : adjust volume of metronome sound in Edit rhythm mode.
  • USB-C port
    Connect USB type C charger for 5V power supply.
parts and names (side), SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
  • USB Mini-B port
    Used for updating firmware of Arduino Nano.
  • Rubber feet
    Absorb shocks. Also hide screw holes.

Operation guide

SnapBeat has four operational modes.

  • Play mode – play sampled sounds by hitting pad 1 – 8 in real-time. It’s like a finger drum.
  • Edit sound mode – truncate (trim) and extract only certain part of sampled sound.
  • Edit rhythm mode – compose a rhythm pattern by playing rhythm along with the tempo of metronome and SnapBeat records it in real-time.
  • Edit track mode – compose track (entire song) by arranging rhythm patterns created in edit rhythm mode.

Play mode

Display play mode
photo of play mode of SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
back panel connection in play mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
display setting menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
display level menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
display level menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
display level menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
enter vol.1 level setting menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
Adjusting vol.1, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
vol.1 adjusted, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
display save volume menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
Pressing back button, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler

Rotate a menu dial until right arrow aligns to Play menu (no need to push a menu dial to enter Play mode).

Hit eight pads to play sampled sounds. Each pad from pad 1 to pad 8 corresponds to sounds from sound 1 to sound 8.

SnapBeat can play eight sounds at the same time, but multiple keys input is not vaild. Only one pad can trigger its sound at once.

To hear sounds, you can connect audio device as below.

  • Headphone (ear phone)
    connect to headphone out jack. Volume can be adjusted by headphone volume.
  • Powered speaker or external amplifier
    connect to line out jack with stereo audio cable. Volume is fixed.

To adjust sound level of each sampled sounds, rotate menu dial until right arrow aligns to Setting menu. Then press menu dial and enter the setting menu. 

Press menu dial during right arrow is on Level menu.

You are now in level setting menu, rotate menu dial and select the sound which you want to adjust level (Vol.1 means level of sound 1).   

For example, to adjust level of sound 1, press menu dial during right arrow is on Vol. 1. 

Now, right arrow cursor jumped to the right. The rectangular icon is showing level. Level is from 1 to 8 (8 is most laud).

Rotate menu dial and adjust level of sound 1. 

Push menu dial. Right arrow cursor goes back to the left. Here when you hit the pads, sampled sounds are play with adjusted level so that you can confirm level balance between sounds.

 

After adjusting levels of each sampled sounds, rotate menu dial and select SAVE level menu.

Press menu dial during right arrow is on SAVE menu. The adjusted levels are saved on ROM of SnapBeat.   

Press back button several times until getting back to the top menu. Rotate a menu dial until right arrow aligns to Play menu.

Edit sound mode

Edit sound menu has two major functions.

  • Play and trim
    truncate (trim) existing sampled sound
  • Sampling
    sample new sound from external audio source

Play and trim

display edit sound menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting sound 1 menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting Play and trim mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
truncate sampled sound by start and end address, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
truncate(trim)-sampled-sound-SnapBeat-musical-sampler
save start and end address in edit sound mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
pressing back button in edit sound mode

Rotate menu dial until right arrow aligns to Edit sound menu. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.

Rotate menu dial and select the sound which you want to truncate (trim). Then press menu dial to select the sound (For example, here choosing sound 1)

Next choose Play and trim menu. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.

Here START is starting point of the range of sampled sound and END is end point of it. Sampled sound between the START and END point is played (other part of sampled sound is cut and muted). The value is from 16 to 159. 

Rotate menu dial and adjust START or END point value. Press menu dial to switch between START and END.

By pressing Play button, you can listen truncated (trimmed) sound so that you can confirm the sound in real-time.

After pleased with the truncated (trimmed) sound, long press menu dial (about 1 second), then the range of truncation (trim) is saved.

Press back button several times until getting back to the top menu.

Sampling

display edit sound menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting sound 1 menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting sampling menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting Lo-fi or Hi-fi, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting Hi-fi menu, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
Starting sampling, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
pressing pad 1 in sampling menu
selecting Play and trim mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler

Rotate menu dial until right arrow aligns to Edit sound menu. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.

Rotate menu dial and select the sound slot which you want to sample new sound. Then press menu dial to select the sound slot (For example, here choosing sound 1)

Next choose Sampling menu. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.

Select Lo-Fi or Hi-Fi sampling mode. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.  

  • Lo-Fi : Sampling frequency is about 12kHz. High frequency sound can’t sampled and reproduced accurately. It’s suitable for bass sound.
  • Hi-Fi : Sampling frequency is about 20kHz. High frequency sound can be sampled with better quality than Lo-Fi mode. Instead, low frequency bass sound attenuated. It’s suitable for sampling treble sound like cymbal. In addition, the time interval of one step of START and END point in Trim (truncate) mode becomes finer, it’s useful to fine-tune the timing and response of the sound.

For more detail about these two mode, please refer this blog post. (A hack of ISD1700 voice recorder chip to improve recorded sound quality)

Connect audio source such as PC or audio player with 3.5mm stereo cable via Line in input. SnapBeat samples and plays sounds as monaural sound. The input stereo audio signal is down mixed into monaural inside SnapBeat.

Please set volume of the external audio source as loud as possible for getting best recording sound quality. 

  • If sampled sound seems to be distorted, the volume of the external audio source is too loud. Please decrease it until distortion disappears.
  • If volume of the external audio source is too small, sampled sound likely to have noticeable noise.

If you selected Hi-Fi sampling mode, please don’t forget to set playback speed of the audio source down to 0.5x. Windows Media Player and Spotify (only web browser version) can change playback speed.

When you press pad of the selected sound, sampling starts immediately. Please playback audio source at the same time.

During pressing pad, the input sound is sampled.

Maximum sampling sound duration per each sounds from sound 1 to sound 8 is

  • about 6 sec. (Hi-Fi mode)
  • about 12 sec. (Lo-Fi mode)

As soon as release pad, sampling is finished. The status changes from Recording.. to Recorded!. 

Then, press back button and go to Play and trim menu. And truncate (trim) the sampled sound.

Edit rhythm mode

selecting edit rhythm mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting rhythm in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
preview the rhythm in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
menu of rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
pressing pad 1 in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
green LED on in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
red LED on in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
Metronome volume of SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
adjusting BPM in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
save menu in edit rhythm mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
confirmation in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
saved in edit rhythm mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
clear menu in edit rhythm mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
confirmation in rhythm edit mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler

Rotate menu dial until right arrow aligns to Edit rhythm menu. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.

Rotate menu dial and select the rhythm slot which you want to make a new rhythm pattern. Then press menu dial to select the rhythm slot (For example, here choosing rhythm 1). Currently, SnapBeat can memory up to eight rhythm patterns (rhythm 1 to 8).

By pressing Play button in selecting rhythm slot menu, you can hear and preview the selected rhythm pattern (if rhythm pattern exists in the rhythm slot). 

This is edit rhythm menu. 

By rotating menu dial, right arrow cursor jumps between BPM, clear and save.

  • BPM
    adjust BPM.
  • clear
    clear saved rhythm pattern from ROM.
  • save
    save the rhythm pattern to ROM.

By hitting pads, you can listen and preview assigned sounds for each pad.

When Play button is pressed, LED turns to be green and the rhythm pattern save in ROM is played. (If rhythm pattern is not saved in ROM, nothing is played). When Play button is pressed again, the green LED turns off and playback of rhythm pattern stops.

When press REC button during LED is green, the LED turns to be red and you can listen metronome sound. During this condition, the rhythm played by your finger is recorded in real-time. To stop recording, press REC button again. Then LED turns to be green, and the recorded pattern is played.

If you press REC button during playing existing rhythm pattern, the new sounds  played by keys are overwrite to the existing rhythm pattern.

To adjust level of metronome sound, use metronome volume on the back panel.

Press menu dial during right arrow is on BPM. A square cursor appears at BPM number. Now, by rotating menu dial, you can adjust BPM for playback and recording of rhythm pattern. Press menu dial again after setting BPM number. Right arrow jumps back to the left of BPM menu. 

If you want to save the new pattern, select save and press menu dial to enter the menu.

The confirmation message appears. If you want to cancel it, press Back button to back to previous menu.

By pressing menu dial, the new rhythm pattern is saved to ROM. Now, the rhythm pattern is maintained even when the power is turned off.

If you want to clear the rhythm pattern, select clear and press menu dial to enter the menu.

The confirmation message appears. If you want to cancel it, press Back button to back to previous menu.

By pressing menu dial, the rhythm pattern is cleared from ROM.

Edit track mode

choosing edit track mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
selecting track, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
track cursor, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
rotate menu dial in edit track mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
composing track, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler
pressing play button in edit rhythm mode
playing track in edit rhythm mode, SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler

Rotate menu dial until right arrow aligns to Edit track menu. Then press menu dial to enter the menu.

Rotate menu dial and select the track slot in which you want to compose a new track (song). Then press menu dial to select the track slot (For example, here choosing track 1). Currently, SnapBeat can memory up to eight tracks (track 1 to 8).

A cursor appears.

By rotating menu dial, selecting rhythm pattern which you have created in edit rhythm mode (for example, 3 means rhythm pattern 3). By pressing menu dial, a cursor moves to next digit and you can select following rhythm pattern. 

Repeat previous procedure and arrange rhythm patterns.

On pressing Play button, SnapBeat plays the composed track from the beginning (rhythm pattern 1 -> 1 -> 2 -> 2 -> 1 -> 1-> …).

If a cursor locates in the middle of track patterns and Play key is pressed, the rhythm patterns before the cursor are played (in this case, 1 -> 1 -> 2 -> 2, then stop).

If a cursor locates at the beginning of track patterns and Play key is pressed, the whole rhythm patterns are played to the end.

Update firmware

Preparation

To update firmware with latest one, please prepare below items.

  • SnapBeat
  • USB mini-B cable
  • AVRDUDESS, a simple GUI tool for programming Arduino
  • latest version firmware (.hex file)
  • driver for CH340 USB-Serial converter chip (if necessary)
USB mini-B cable for updating firmware of SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler

Update procedure

If you haven’t used Arduino micro controller on your PC before, it would be necessary to install driver for CH340 USB-Serial converter chip to connect SnapBeat and PC.

Please download the driver from here and install to your PC before firmware updating procedure below.

connecting SnapBeat with PC by usb cable for updating firmware

Open lid on the left of SnapBeat and connect SnapBeat and PC with USB mini-B cable. (Please don’t connect USB-C cable for power on the back panel)

Please check which COM port is connected to SnapBeat from Device Manager (if you use Windows OS). 

Open AVRDUDESS software on PC.

Change setting as shown in the left image.

*Port (-P)
Please select the COM port which you are using for connecting SnapBeat to PC.

Firmware updating with AVRDUDESS(2), SnapBeat, the simple Lo-fi sampler

Open the firmware (.hex file) which you have downloaded.

Press Program! button to start updating.

*If update process doesn’t start, please try to press Program button several times until it starts.

When update is completed, the completion message is shown as the left image.