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  • Logitech Xbox 360 Drum Controller 60% off, $91

    Posted on April 27th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Hey, Guitar Hero (WT, 5, Metallica, Smash Hits, Band Hero, VH) drummers, how about you get a new drum kit that blows the stock GHWT and Band Hero controllers out of the water? Logitech has made the competitor to Ion’s Drum Rocker. Though Logitech is focused at the Guitar Hero drummer, and the Ion is focused at the Rock Band drummer. At 60% off the regular prices, this drum kit is a must have if you are still using the stock Guitar Hero drum kit.

    This kit comes with three adjustable pads, two cymbal pads, and a kick pedal. Plus all the cables needed, and the built-in Xbox 360 controls.

    Here’s everything else you will find in the box:

    Package Contents

  • Logitech Wireless Drum Controller
  • 2 drum sticks
  • Quick-start guide
  • 2 AA batteries
  • 1-year limited hardware warranty
  • Game sold separately
  • It even folds up nicely (unlike the Ion) for easy and quick storage.

    Just like the Ion Drum Rocker, it is fully compatible with all Guitar Hero and Rock Band games.  Yes, this will work with all Rock Band games on Xbox 360, including Lego: Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and Green Day: Rock Band.

    As a Rock Band drummer myself, who has played many hours with Guitar Hero drum controllers, I can tell you the important differences.  The yellow pad for Guitar Hero games is always used as a cymbal (hi-hat, ride, crash, etc), whereas in Rock Band games, the yellow pad may be a cymbal or a tom. For Rock Band drummers, there will be a learning curve to get used to hitting a cymbal for toms, but it is doable.  I played this way exclusively for several months.  The orange pad is only used in Guitar Hero games.  This is a huge win for Guitar Hero drummers.  Having the orange pad gives you more authenticity of playing a real drum kit, due the the dedicated orange/cymbal pad.  For Rock Band drummers, the orange pad is not used.  There is no learning curve for the orange pad, since Rock Band just ingnores the orange pad, and Guitar Hero games display an orange lane.

    The reviews are mixed, though generally positive.  Most of the mediocre reviews are comparing it to the Ion Drum Rocker, and the fact that the two are so close in price.  But, at this current price of $91 with FREE shipping, this blows the Drum Rocker pricing out of the water.  Take a look at the Amazon deal for the Logitech Xbox 360 Wireless Drum Controller and see if this is for you.

  • Guitar Hero: Smash Hits — The Setlist (and editorial)

    Posted on May 7th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Activision dropped lots of news over the past 24 hours, and we will bring you as much as we can. First, let’s talk Guitar Hero: Smash Hitscoming for all major platforms on June 16.

    This is the greatest hits of all previous Guitar Hero games..the ones that only had guitar and bass, now for the full band experience. (See the set list after the break). If you ask me the set list is nothing shy of incredible.

    Incredible as the list may be, I’m still going to have a hard time buying anything with the Guitar Hero name on it. Why? It comes down to the engine that runs the game, the drum charting, the lack of import, and the DLC model.

    All of this years Guitar Hero games (Guitar Hero: Metallica, Smash Hits) are based on the the core Guitar Hero: World Tour engine, with some improvements. I generally do not like the layout of the notes, and the loose timing windows. Also, the fail window is scary. You can go from perfect to fail in less than 5 seconds. Maybe these things will be improved on for Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, and I hope so.

    As for drum charting, the guys charting Guitar Hero drums, just don’t get it right (unlike the guys charting Rock Band songs). Maybe it’s the layout of the 5+1 drums for Guitar Hero, versus the more simple layout of Rock Bands 4+1 drum setup. But, I can say for sure, that I have seen several fairly simple songs for Guitar Hero: World Tour and Guitar Hero: Metallica, where hi-hat notes were not charted at all.

    As for importing, I really, REALLY wish Activision would get an importing feature. If they did…I would buy every GH game that would support the import feature…and I would run out right now and get them. I HATE (and I know you do too) swapping discs, just to play some music.

    For DLC, I don’t buy any GH DLC, because of the lack of import. You buy DLC for one game, and there is no guarantee the DLC will import to the other GH games. Again, too much disc swapping for me.

    For now, Guitar Hero: World Tour is the first-and-last GH game I plan on buying…but it’s difficult to keep my word, since Guitar Hero: Smash Hits has such a kick ass set list. Pantera, Motley Crue, Warrant, Heart, and lot’s more. Oh, and there are a handful of duplicates from the Rock Band library too (which is a downer.)

    …and now, the set list you’ve been waiting for:

    Guitar Hero

    • Pantera – “Cowboys From Hell (Live)”
    • Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
    • Queens Of The Stone Age – “No One Knows”
    • Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – “I Love Rock N’ Roll”
    • Boston – “More Than A Feeling”
    • White Zombie – “Thunder Kiss ’65”
    • Blue Öyster Cult – “Godzilla”
    • Helmet – “Unsung (Live)”
    • Queen – “Killer Queen”
    • Incubus – “Stellar”
    • Ozzy Osbourne – “Bark At The Moon”
    • Deep Purple – “Smoke On The Water”
    • The Donnas – “Take It Off”
    • The Exies – “Hey You”

    Guitar Hero II

    • Avenged Sevenfold – “Beast And The Harlot”
    • Rage Against The Machine – “Killing In The Name”
    • Rush – “YYZ”
    • Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird”
    • Foo Fighters – “Monkey Wrench”
    • Iron Maiden – “The Trooper”
    • Nirvana – “Heart-Shaped Box”
    • Lamb of God – “Laid To Rest”
    • The Police – “Message In A Bottle”
    • Wolfmother – “Woman”
    • Kansas – “Carry On Wayward Son”
    • Stone Temple Pilots – “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart”
    • Warrant – “Cherry Pie”
    • Alice in Chains – “Them Bones”
    • Danzig – “Mother”
    • Jane’s Addiction – “Stop!”
    • Reverend Horton Heat – “Psychobilly Freakout”
    • The Sword – “Freya”
    • Mötley Crüe- “Shout At The Devil”

    Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

    • Pat Benatar – “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”
    • Living Colour – “Cult Of Personality”
    • Heart – “Barracuda”
    • Kiss – “Rock And Roll All Nite”
    • AFI – “Miss Murder”
    • DragonForce – “Through The Fire And Flames” < li>Priestess – “Lay Down”
    • Slayer – “Raining Blood”

    Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

    • Anthrax – “Caught In A Mosh”
    • Extreme – “Play With Me”
    • Judas Priest – “Electric Eye”
    • Poison – “Nothin’ But A Good Time”
    • Ratt – “Round and Round”
    • Twisted Sister – “I Wanna Rock”

    Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

    • Aerosmith – “Back In The Saddle”
  • Guitar Hero Free Chimaira Download, May 7

    Posted on April 27th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    I just stumbled on this from Twitter. Free DLC sounds good to me. This will be my first piece of DLC for GH:WT.

  • Guitar Hero: Van Halen is a Reality

    Posted on April 24th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Give me a break! Another freakin’ single artist music game, likely built on the same crappy engine as Guitar Hero: World Tour.

    Based on the image below (up on GameStop for a while, then pulled), we will be getting the Van Halen installment in August.

    From what I have experienced with GHWT and GH: Metallica:
    * No song importing, so you have to swap discs to play music from other installments.
    * A single list of songs and no DLC planned (GHWT excluded).
    * Poor drum charting and rapid failures.

    I’ll tell you now, before even seeing the charts, or pricing….PASS!

    Oh, and I’m a HUGE Van Halen fan. Diver Down, Women and Children First, VH I and II, are all amazing classics.  David Lee is my singer of choice (although it’s embarrassing to watch the video above), but also liked the Sammy stuff.

  • Why I Love Rock Band 2, but Dislike Guitar Hero World Tour

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 Shawn 4 comments

    I’m a regular player of Rock Band 2 (RB2), mostly drums and vocals. I play tours, challenges, battle of the bands, with friends online, etc. I buy lots of downloadable songs and look forward to what’s coming in the weeks ahead. When I play the game, I try to play in moderation, but find myself immersed for hours without breaking.

    One would think that a nearly identical game, like Guitar Hero World Tour (GHWT), would have the same (or very similar) effect on me. It does not, and I’m trying to figure out why.

    Drums: 6 versus 5. RB2 has 5, GHWT has 6. You’d think, as a drummer, more is better. But, possibly, my brain has been trained from 11 months of playing with only 5, that the 6th pad is a real detriment. I have to completely relearn the drums for GHWT. I think the 6th pad plays a lot into it, plus I think the charting is very different than RB2.

    Vocals: I have said in the past that the vocal in RB2 are too easy, and the vocal in GHWT are less forgiving…which I like.  Too many people are considered “expert” singers in RB2, when they should be singing at lower levels.  I truly like how difficult the expert level for vocals is on GHWT. Of course, if you don’t know the songs (or don’t have a desire to learn the songs), it doesn’t really matter.

    Charting: For drum charting, when I realized that Sweet Home Alabama, a fairly simple song, was missing some hi-hat beats (also the same in GH: Metallica’s Sad But True), I was a bit disgusted.

    Songs: RB2 has so many more songs, thanks to RB1 imports and all the DLC. I was expecting the GHWT set list to be incredible, but now that I’m playing through it (at about 40% complete), it’s not really grabbing me. Possibly because the repeated songs from RB1 and 2 I have played so much (The Middle, Eye of the Tiger, Mountain Song), I don’t want to play any more. Possibly because songs I expected are from original artists, not from bands that more recently made the famous (Antisocial, Kick Out the Jams).

    Friends: I have a lot of friends that play RB2 online, and only a few on GHWT. That’s probably because I selectively find RB2 players. If I could find more GHWT players, maybe it would be a better experience.

    Game Modes: RB2 has a slew of game modes, where GHWT has prefabricated setlists that increment you towards the end of the game. RB2 is not encouraging you to “finish” the game, they encourage you to come back for more; battle your friends; download new stuff and watch new challenges appear. That might be a big part of it. I must have done the RB2 Don’t Stop Believing vocal battle 15 times last week getting myself in the top 50 of all Xbox Live.

    Graphics: I believe that GHWT has the better graphics of the two games. The instruments, players, and backgrounds are more crisp. Having real rock stars in the game makes it very cool, but to be honest, when you are playing the game, you have little to look at the cool surroundings or characters. There are cut scenes in GHWT, but not in RB2. If you hit the drums when their are no drums playing in a song, the graphic drums for GHWT on-screen animate. That’s cool to see the graphics respond to what you hit. I don’t see that effect in RB2. Both games have some synchronization issues where drums you are playing do not always match up in game (which is poor).

    Let me sum up my thoughts. I don’t know for sure why I can play RB2 for several hours, only to want more. With GHWT, I pick and choose prefabricated set lists and log off after a set or two. I can say that poorly charted drum songs are a killer for me. If I feel like I’m playing a video game, versus actually playing the drums…I’d rather play Grand Theft Auto IV. For some reason, GHWT feels more like a game and less like a real music experience. RB2 feels like a real music experience, and I know that I’m actually practicing songs as if I were playing them on a real drum kit.

    I hardly ever play guitar on these games, so I won’t comment on that.

    I know most of our readers are RB2 players, though I’d love to hear from a GHWT aficionado and figure what I’m missing.

  • Rhythm Games: Favorite Song to Play?

    Posted on March 30th, 2009 Shawn 4 comments

    So, you play some music games right? Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero, Lips, etc. As of right now, what’s your “can’t get enough of” song for each game? If you could only pick one from each of the following categories, what would you pick?

    Rock Band
    Rock Band 2
    Rock Band DLC
    Guitar Hero World Tour
    Guitar Hero World Tour DLC
    Lips DLC

    Here’s my list.

    • Rock Band: Foreplay/Longtime..can’t get enough of the drums on that.
    • Rock Band 2: Panic Attack…I know it brutal, but the challenge keeps me coming back.
    • Rock Band DLC: I Don’t Care…I’ve recently become a fan of these guys, thanks to the game.
    • Guitar Hero World Tour: Beautiful Disaster…I’ve only played about 30 songs in the game, and this is still my favorite.
    • Guitar Hero World Tour DLC: Don’t have any yet.
    • Lips: Haven’t played it yet.
    • Lips DLC: See above

    So, what about you. You can jump over to the Forums to discuss, or just comment below.

  • Guitar Hero World Tour….$70 off Retail

    Posted on March 16th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Have you been hemming-and-hawing over buying Guitar Hero World Tour? Is it too expensive for you? Do you already have Rock Band 2 and not sure if GHWT will be as good?

    Get ready to find a reason to buy the GHWT Complete Band Kit. Our Amazon store has it on all consoles for $119.98 ($118.98 on PS2). UPDATED That’s 70% $70 off the retail price of $189.99. That’s an incredible price.

    You get the new Guitar Hero drum kit (compatible with Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: Metallica), the new Guitar Hero guitar, a wired microphone, and the Guitar Hero World Tour game. It works out to less than $30 per component.

    I got the GHWT Complete Band Kit a couple months ago when Circuit City had their clearance sale. I got it for $151, and was happy with the price. This price point is just incredible, especially since buying the drums separately is $100. If you are thinking about it, hurry up before they are gone. It’s a one-day only deal!

    If you want my opinion of this set, here you go:
    * Drums: They are so much better than the Rock Band 1 drums. Nice to play on (and play fine for Rock Band 2). Quite with good bounce. Works awesome for GHWT, though the layout for Rock Band 2 takes a little getting used too. Kick pedal does not attach to kit, so if not on carpet can slide around. Drums have midi-out, so you can easily connect a real electronic drum kit to play on.
    * Guitar: Haven’t used it yet.
    * Mic: Looks just like the Rock Band mic, but seems to be more responsive than the Rock Band mic.
    * Game: Great set list. Awesome sound, very good background graphics. Decent foreground graphics. Vocal tracking is great and realistic (in my opinion). Drum charting is not as good as Rock Band; I’ve played a few undercharted songs on the drums and that is disappointing. I love singing on GHWT, but don’t love drumming. I’m not a guitar expert, so I can’t give a good opinion on that.

  • 311: Get’s Schooled on GHWT, plus something Uplifting

    Posted on March 2nd, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    Our friends at RockGamer got this one up there. One of my all time fave’s 311, f’n up in the studio to none other than Guitar Hero World Tour. Producer Bob Rock gives some lessons, “BLUE-BLUE-GREEN-RED-BLUE-BLUE-GREEN…” We are then treated to a new track from the upcoming album, Uplifter.

    Check it…

    If this is a sign of GHWT DLC to come, looks like I will be buying some GHWT DLC afterall. Darn you 311, why are you not on Rock Band 2?

  • Guitar Hero World Tour – First Impression

    Posted on February 18th, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    Hell hath frozen over.  This Rock Band fanboy unwrapped and inserted into his Xbox 360, the game Guitar Hero World Tour.  I gave it about 15 minutes for first impressions, and here’s what I think.  Of course, it will be heavily biased on my love of Rock Band and Rock Band 2.

    Some things to keep in mind:

    1) I was not the only judge, my 2 year old and 4 year old kids attended the unwrapping too.
    2) I only tested out vocals.

    Opening Sequence
    * According to my 4 year old son, who is deathly afraid of the Rock Band 2 opening sequence, he was not initially scared of the GH:WT intro.
    * Though, with the freaky cartoonish characters running, Satan in the audience, spinning black-and-white eyes, and a Kenny G look-a-like…I asked my son if he was scared.  His response, “I don’t know”.  That’s what I thought.  I don’t know either.  I did not understand the intro at all.  It was very bizarre, I can say that much.

    * People have slammed vocals on GH:WT as too difficult.  In the 3 songs I tried last night on Expert, I do not concur.  I very much enjoyed the three songs I sang, and got between 88% – 93% on all three…and got 2 achievements in the process.
    * To give you a sense of my initial interest in the game, here’s what I sang (in order):

    311 – Beautiful Disaster

    Linkin Park – What I’ve Done

    Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (that was a kids request, one of their favorite songs on Rock Band 2).
    * Granted, vocals are harder on GH:WT than they are on RB2, but I think RB2 vocals are ridiculously easy.


    Overall Game Play
    * While singing, I would gain Star Power (i.e. Overdrive in Rock Band), but never had a sense of how much power I had available.  Maybe I didn’t see it.  I also wasn’t sure when to activate it.  It’s probably something I’ll learn if I ever RTFM.
    * I really enjoyed the game from a vocalists perspective. Graphics, songs, visuals.  All good.

    That’s the 15-minute first impression. Bizzare opening, difficult but realistic vocals, good graphics, great song list.  I will play it more…and focus a lot on drums.  I have heard the drumming on GH:WT is sub-par to Rock Band.  I’ll be back soon with my drumming impressions, and more detailed game impressions.

  • Rock Band & Guitar Hero with Real Drums – Part 3: basic setup

    Posted on February 2nd, 2009 Shawn 13 comments

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

    Ok, so you now have all the gear to get going. Let’s take a few (literally) minutes to get setup so you can experience this for the first time. Honestly, it won’t take you more than 30-40 minutes to get the basics setup.

    To review, here’s what you should already have:
    * Guitar Hero Drum Kit
    * MIDI Cable
    * Electronic Drum Kit/Brain with Assignable MIDI capabilities
    * can’t forget…Game console (i.e. Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) with game (i.e. RB2, GHWT)

    1. Setup the GHWT drum kit as instructed in the manual. Nothing out of the ordinary here; setup the stand, place the drums on the stand, plug in the pedal, plug in the cymbals etc.
    NOTE: If you are using the GHWT kit for Rock Band, put the Yellow cymbal on the left, and orange (unused) on the right. If you are using GHWT, put orange on left and yellow on right.
    2. Plug the GHWT kit into your game console and start up your game of choice (i.e. RB2 or GHWT). Play around and make the the kit plays as expected.
    3. Plug the MIDI cable into the back of the GHWT kit; there is a MIDI port right next to the kick drum plug port.
    4. Plug the other end of your MIDI cable to your e-drum kit brain (i.e. Yamaha TMX, Roland TD6V, etc).

    Ok, so let’s step back for a second. You have confirmed the GHWT kit plays fine with your console right? If the GHWT kit has issues, please make sure you get those corrected before proceeding.

    Now, let’s get into pad placement on your e-drum kit.

    5. Make sure you have at least the minimum number of pads setup on your drum kit. For example, Rock Band needs four pads and a kick drum; GHWT needs 5 pads and a kick drum. You need to have at a minimum 4 or 5 pads ready to plug in/configure.

    6. 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.

    7. Now, turn on your game and try it out.  If using RB2, test each pad in the Drum Trainer. This way you can start to fine tune everything.  Basically, every time you hit your kits snare drum (aka red), your e-kit drum drain will send the MIDI note #38 through your MIDI cable, into the GHWT kit, into your console…and of course onto your screen (and speakers).
    Now, you will likely have to recalibrate your game as I noticed a very small, but noticable lag.  After manually setting calibration, everything works great.

    What this leaves you is with your e-drum kit fully functional as a drum kit for RB and GHWT, and it also leaves you with a fully setup GHWT kit. The good part of this is, you can let friends (or kids) use the GHWT kit when they want to play, and keep them off your nice kit.  Both kits will be usable at the same time.  So, if someone hit a pad on the GHWT kit while you are playing your e-kit, the hit will get registered. What’s good is, you can let someone play the GHWT kit without unplugging the MIDI cable.  What’s bad is the obvious. Someone can break your streak by hitting a pad on the GHWT kit. It’s only an issue for me if my little kids are in the room and want to join in the song with me.

    There are two potential concerns to consider. First, You don’t have your Start, Select, or Menu buttons mapped on your drum kit. This means you need to use the GHWT controller to press Start etc.  The mapped MIDI pads can be used as a D-pad and the corresponding buttons, but you have no Start, Select, or Menu on your kit.  Second, you have a plastic drum kit now just sitting in your room unused. If you are short on space, this can be an issue.  My setup is in my basement, so it is not an issue and I’m fine with this.  In fact I keep the GHWT kit rght next to my e-kit, so I can press Start, Select, and Menu as needed.

    So that’s the basic setup.  Coming in my next post, I will talk about taking things further with more professional setups. I will talk about mapping multiple e-drums so you can expand well beyond the 4-5 pad configuration (see picture for a sneak peek). I will also talk about ripping apart the GHWT controller and mounting it on your e-kit (something I do not plan to do, but others with limited space have).

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