The joy of computer based instruments is the ability to download updates to fix bugs and add features. Whilst the Soundbeam 5 is entirely self-contained, the rear panel features a USB port that allows you to connect it to a PC. Although you rarely need to do this, it’s always worth checking to make sure you’re running the latest version. Best of all this is a free download from the Soundbeam website.
Checking your firmware version
When you first turn on the Soundbeam, the display will show the version and the build number of the unit. After a few seconds this will disappear, so you may need to turn the it on and off a few times to check.
The latest version is v2.1 Build 1682 Nov 18 2013. If you already have this then you can stop now.
What you’ll need
- A PC
- Access to the internet
- Soundbeam 5 and power supply
- A USB A-to-B cable (see right)
Downloading the firmware updates
Soundbeam have a set of pdf instructions and all the software and files on their website at: http://www.soundbeam.co.uk/products/download-manuals.html
A word of warning that you can only update Soundbeam from Windows, not on an Apple Mac. The software works with Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
When the folder appears give it a suitable name, for example ‘SB5 Update’.
Navigate to the downloads page on the Soundbeam website and click on the file ‘Soundbeam 5 software (zip)’.
Windows will save this to your ‘Downloads’ folder, but if given a choice put it into the folder you just created.
Find the .zip file and double click on it to open. Select the folder called ‘soundbeam5-software-03-12-2013’ and drag it into the ‘SB5 update’ folder. It should end up looking like the following screenshot (click to enlarge).
Connecting the Soundbeam to your PC
Ensure that the microSD card is back in the Soundbeam. Connect the unit to the power and turn it on.
If this is the first time you’ve connected it to your PC then it may take a few seconds to find and load the right drivers. Soundbeam appears as a MIDI device.
Updating the software
There are two update files that you need to install in the right order. To begin, double click on the ‘sbfirmware.exe’ file.
The top section labelled ‘Midi’ should say ‘Soundbeam 5’. If not, select ‘Soundbeam 5’ from the drop down list.
Next, use the ‘Browse’ button to find the first file to update ‘sam5.hex’ and select ‘Open’.
Soundbeam will then reboot, indicated by the lights going on and off and the unit restarting.
Next, use ‘Browse’ on the update software to find ‘sb5.hex’. Again ‘Open’ the file and then click on ‘Update firmware’.
You should see the same downloading and programming process, before the Soundbeam reboots.
It’s worth downloading (and printing) a copy of the latest Soundbeam manual to go with your update.
In part 2 I’ll look at updating your sound sets.