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  • Rock Band & Guitar Hero with Real Drums – Part 4: pro setup

    Posted on October 29th, 2010 Shawn 1 comment

    This is Part 4 of a multi-part series.
    Part 1: the discovery
    Part 2: intro and shopping
    Part 3: basic setup
    Part 4: pro setup

    This post is long, LONG overdue.  It began in January 2009 when I discovered that an electronic drum kit could be used to play Rock Band and Guitar Hero (see Part 1). Then I set out to buy the gear needed (see Part 2), which included a Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit. Once we get the basics setup, we are able to play Rock Band and Guitar Hero with Yamaha and Roland drum kits. Now that Rock Band 3 is out, it’s time to finish up this series with the “pro” setup.  How fitting that 21 months ago, I titled this post “pro setup” and Rock Band 3 also calls this “Pro” drums. Great minds think alike, I guess.

    First, lets discuss what my current drum kit consists of. A simple Visio picture should speak a thousand words.

    My Roland/Yamaha Drum Kit

    I did not purchase a specific drum kit. Instead I leveraged the fact that I owned a very old (but fully capable) drum brain, and purchased my drum kit piecemeal. Most came used from eBay, some new from Guitar Center and J&R. in all, I probably spent about $700 over the past 2 years to get this setup.

    There are four drum pads (red PD-7, yellow PD-8, blue PD-8, green PD-8) making up the typical drums on a Rock Band drum kit. I also have three cymbal pads (yellow/blue VH-11, blue CY-8, green CY-8). There is one kick drum pad (Orange KD-8), with a Gibraltar double-kick pedal. For the drum brain, I have a (circa 1994) Yamaha TMX, though any Roland, Yamaha, and some ION brains should do the trick. All of the equipment is mounted on a Roland MDS-10 stand.

    This part is a repeat from Part 3, step 6 to help set the scene for the MIDI note mapping. Configure each pad on your e-drum kits brain with the following MIDI value.  NOTE:  The voice (actual sound) doesn’t matter, what matters is the MIDI value.

    RockBand Settings (CREDIT: Doc_SoCal)

    RED – MIDI Note 38
    YELLOW – MIDI Note 46
    BLUE – MIDI Note 48
    GREEN – MIDI Note 45
    KICK – MIDI Note 36

    GHWT Settings are the same, you just add the orange pad at MIDI Note 49.

    1. I started with the basic Rock Band drum kit setup, 4 pads (RED, YELLOW, BLUE, GREEN) and 1 kick (KICK) pedal. This is all plugged into the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit’s MIDI port.
    2. Next I added a single cymbal, which for Rock Band I mapped to GREEN as a crash cymbal.
    3. I created a second “drum set” in the TMX brain for Guitar Hero, and repeated the MIDI mapping in step 1. For the cymbal, I mapped it to the ORANGE cymbal specifically used in Guitar Hero games. I switch back and forth from my Rock Band “drum set” and Guitar Hero “drum set” depending on which game I use.
      1. NOTE: For Rock Band 3, I currently use just the Guitar Hero drum kit. Rock Band 3 makes use of the Guitar Hero orange pad by mapping it to a cymbal.
    4. Next I added the hi-hat. This is a fully functional hi-hat (though only made up of one cymbal) which sits on a real hi-hat stand, and utilizes the stands hi-hat pedal. It has two 1/4″ inputs for open/closed/pedal voices. For my Rock Band “drum set”, I mapped the closed voice to YELLOW, the open voice to BLUE, and the pedal voice also to YELLOW. The reason for this is in Rock Band games, closed hi-hat sounds are sent to YELLOW, the open hi-hat sounds are sent to BLUE.
    5. Just this week, in preparation for Rock Band 3 Pro Drums mode, I picked up another cymbal pad and mapped it to BLUE. This will give me the third cymbal pad I need for the upcoming Mad Catz MIDI adaptor (coming November 28) for Rock Band 3.
     

    1 responses to “Rock Band & Guitar Hero with Real Drums – Part 4: pro setup” RSS icon

    • Great post, very helpful. It’s old but worth adding in here how I’ve configured mine for rock band and it works absolutely flawlessly. I have a Roland TD-15 kit (snare, 3 toms, crash, ride, hi-hat & single bass trigger with a double pedal) which I play through the PS3 midi pro adapter. My physical layout is basically identical to your diagram above, the one notable difference is that I have the green note mapped to the crash cymbal above the snare, and the blue mapped to the cymbal on the right, to simulate a more standard layout. It’s sometimes difficult for sight reading that way since you have to transpose left/right and green/blue in your mind on the fly, but it makes for a more authentic playing experience for each song in my opinion, gets the correct muscle memory attached to the song. After all but mastering expert on standard drum scores with my old Ion drum rocker kit, I broke this kit in on the same and then quickly delved into the Pro Drum scores. This is where I actually have some useful info to contribute, regarding mapping the pads & cymbals independently to work in the Pro Drum mode.

      Red – 38
      Yellow pad – 48
      Blue pad – 45
      Green pad – 41
      Yellow cymbal – 22
      Blue cymbal – 51
      Green cymbal – 49
      Hi hat pedal – 0
      Kick pedal – 33

      Most of the notes in the game actually have multiple usable midi values to trigger them, but there’s no need to use more than one, even if you’re worried about wanting different notes for dual-triggers, it just doesn’t matter. I have my HH pedal mapped to 0 because while originally it was mapped to trigger the yellow cymbal, I found that it was often triggering an extra yellow cymbal hit during runs of yellow cymbal with an occasional open hi hat (blue note) during the run, from the action of just the pedal closing. Doesn’t change how you hear the open/close in the headphones, still sounds right, just doesn’t ruin your streak in the game that way.

      While the Ion drum rocker did work in Guitar Hero WT, Metallica, and Van Halen (the only GH games I tried), the midi pro adapter does not, no matter what you do, the game tries to recognize it as a vocal player, can’t even get past the main menu to a song. So I had to buy an old decrepit set of GHWT drums to use the midi thru jack to talk to the PS3. I made a distinct kit within the drum brain dedicated to guitar hero games, and mapped it with the midi notes you have in color above in this post. The old Ion kit used to cause the game to go from 5 lanes to 4 (no orange) automatically so it was new for me trying to re-learn how to play some of the old songs with an unfamiliar orange lane. It plays a little different from RB since I had to map both my ride and crash cymbals to the orange note, but I’m starting to get used to it. If i have any epiphanies about improving the setup for GH, I’ll be back with an update. Hope somebody finds this useful.

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