How to Use the "Rock Band" Drum Kit As a MIDI Controller

Written by grahame turner
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How to Use the "Rock Band" Drum Kit As a MIDI Controller
(Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

The instruments that come with "Rock Band" are simple representations of their real-world counterparts, but they are fairly powerful pieces of technology. They include the capability of working as MIDI controllers, if you're willing and able to do a little hacking. The hardware is already capable of connecting to your computer. Many of the programs needed to break into the system are available for free. Set them up correctly, and you can record your own music.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • WBox 360 Wireless Adapter (optional)
  • Xbox 360 Accessories software
  • Joy2Key
  • MIDI software

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  1. 1

    Connect your drum kit to your computer using an open USB port, or the 360 wireless adaptor, if you own the Xbox 360 version of "Rock Band."

  2. 2

    Go to "Control Panel" and open the "Game Controllers" menu. You will find the "Rock Band" controller listed under the available controllers. You may not see the Xbox 360 controller unless you first install the Xbox 360 Accessories software from Microsoft.

  3. 3

    Open your MIDI sequencing program of choice. Select a MIDI drum kit on the program and note the mapping of the keys. As it stands, you can play the drum kit by pressing keys on your computer. Find out which keys map to which elements of the drum. If you have difficulty setting up this step, consult the manual or online help for your MIDI sequencing program.

  4. 4

    Download and install Joy2Key, MIDI Joys or a similar joystick mapping program. Open the program.

  5. 5

    Input the buttons that make up your MIDI drum set on Joy2Key, setting the buttons on the "joystick" to the elements of the drum kit.

  6. 6

    Test the drum kit by tapping the pads on the drum kit. The MIDI program will respond by playing a drum sound.

Tips and warnings

  • There are other programs designed specifically for the drum kits, such as "Drum Machine" for the Xbox 360 controller. You can find this program under Resources.

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