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  • ION Drum Rocker. Not so Real Life

    Posted on August 25th, 2008 Shawn 7 comments

    First, Thanks Pabel for starting the conversation about the ION Drum Rocker for Rock Band on Xbox 360. This will keep us busy.

    I’ve started to review the photos over at Engadget, since those guys got their hands on a pre-release Drum Rocker. Hmmm….how does a schlep like myself get pre-release swag from the people in the biz? Honestly, I’d love it for free, but I’d pay for it too. Same thing with people getting pre-releases of Rock Band 2 and guitar Hero World Tour.  Just saying, think about the little guy over here on his blog.

    Back to my reason for this post. I take some issue with the ION Drum Rocker, and have quickly realized some early disappointment. I do hope what I have seen in the photo below is not the final plan.

    Look at the far left and far right sides. There are green, blue, orange, yellow, and red inputs for the drums/cymbals/pedals. At first sight, you might be excited about 8 inputs….I was. Then I thought about it.

    Wait a second…. Let me put on my real drummer hat for a minute. A basic drum set has 4 drums (snare, hi-tom, low-tom, and floor tom; hi-hat cymbal plus hi-hat pedal; kick drum pedal; ride cymbal; and crash cymbal. That’s 9 inputs. The Drum Rocker has 8.

    Hmmm. Ok, I have an even more concerning issue with this setup. ION has claimed that they are coming out for a second bass drum pedal for the heavy songs that use double-bass. Well, where’s the input for it? So, for me, a basic every day drum kit should have 10 inputs.

    I can say that some drummers use only two toms, but still that’s 9.  And not every drummer plays double-bass.  So I can see 8, but there is only one official input for “pedal”.  So, I don’t know. I haven’t played it yet, but I think they may have missed something here. I do want to get my hands on this ASAP for a real hands-on test drive and review.



    7 responses to “ION Drum Rocker. Not so Real Life” RSS icon

    • Great observation.

      Did you catch the end where it’s not easily convertible? I thought the idea was that it was a dual purpose RB kit and potential ‘real’ kit if hooked up to a PC. Maybe I read it wrong, but if that’s true, then the $300 tag is even harder to justify…

    • For me, I’m looking forward to what Mad Catz has an an alternative. They both had similar specs (as vaporware). Now, I want to really compare.

      I’d like to try the ION Drum Rocker plugged into my Yamaha TMX (which is a drum trigger module). It’s a rack mountable piece of equipment used for electronic drum sets. If I can get 8 completely different sounds out of the 8 inputs on the Drum Rocker…..then I’d be up for spending the $300. It might double as a decent practice set then. But if it will only allow for 5 total inputs (even with the TMX), then forget it. I’d rather save my money for a Roland electronic set and just deal with the original Rock Band drum kit for game playing.

    • Wow..that totally just went over my head….apparently I don’t speak drummer….guess that means I need to stick with the 4 pad RB1 set and work hard on the upcoming RB2 tutorial 🙂

    • According to Ion’s site the second pedal plugs into the existing pedal in a daisy-chain. I would assume it treats it as a double-bass since Rock Band doesn’t recognize a hi-hat input.

    • Thanks Maki. Now looking at the Drum Rocker a little closer, I see that it uses 1/4″ inputs, which are standard with all electronic drum modules. So, with that, I could take the 4 drums / 2 cymbals / 1 pedal that come with the Drum Rocker, then buy and additional 2 pedals (one for kick drum, one for hi-hat), buy an additional cymbal…plug each into my Yamaha TMX (or Alesis DM5…if you role that way), and boom!!! Full electronic kit for under $500.

      Hmmm…I’m wondering though, what if I bought some high end electronic drum pads, like Roland pads, and the Drum Rocker converter. Could I plug the Roland pads into the Drum Rocker converter for when I want to play Rock Band? Now, my brain is working and I’m wondering about the possibilities.

    • Well, RB doesn’t recognize a hi-hat pedal anyway, so I can see why they don’t have that input on the controller. Ion has said that when plugged into an electronic “drum brain,” the bass pedal used for RB becomes a hi-hat pedal. You’ll need a separate kick trigger to get bass drum sounds with the electronic config. As far as using Roland pads with the Ion Xbox “brain,” it depends on how the cross talk setup works. If it’s set a certain way in the Xbox brain, when you hit the snare, you might also trigger a tom. Or the other way, you might have to whack the heck outta the pad just to get it to register. We won’t know until someone actually tries it.

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