How to Use Guitar Hero Drums As MIDI Drums

Written by jason parnell
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How to Use Guitar Hero Drums As MIDI Drums
Turn your Rock Band drum kit into a MIDI kit. (Musical Instruments image by agno_agnus from Fotolia.com)

A cottage industry of third-party peripherals allowing users to exploit the design of the Rock Band instruments has evolved since the introduction of the popular multi-platform music game. Most notably the use of USB interfaces for the instrument has generated a variety of software that allows users to take their instruments out of the virtual game environment and use their game controllers for real music. Using the Rock Band drum kit as a real digital drum kit is one of the most common and easy projects.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug the wireless USB cable of your Rock Band drum kit into an open USB port on your computer and power up your computer.

  2. 2

    Download and install Matt Ground's rb2midi (Rock Band To MIDI) software. Assign each pad of your Rock Band drum kit to the General MIDI Drum Map represented in the rb2midi interface. The rb2midi software handles the mapping, click on each drum sound name and tap the corresponding pad on the Rock Band drum kit.

  3. 3

    Download and install a MIDI Loopback Driver to send the messages from rb2midi to your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or software sampler. The loopBe1 driver works best with rb2midi, but other options include Hubi's MIDI Loopback Device and MIDI Yoke (see Resources).

  4. 4

    Run either a standalone software sampler program or your digital audio workstation (DAW). The Rock Band drum kit is only a controller unit and does not create drum sounds internally. The Rock Band drum kit does, however, send MIDI data that tells software samplers or electronic drumming software to play sounds.

  5. 5

    Configure your software sampler or DAW to receive MIDI data from the MIDI loopback device by assigning the driver name to the MIDI receive port. The MIDI configuration of most DAW and sampler software is under "Preferences > MIDI or Devices > MIDI", but you may need to consult your software manual.

Tips and warnings

  • Adjust the velocity, or how hard the drums sounds will strike, to taste in rb2midi.
  • If you experience latency, or delay between trigger and sound, then adjust your softwares audio buffers accordingly.

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