April 20, 2011 | 10 Comments
This is a follow up to my most active post ever about connecting my Yamaha DTXPlorer kit to Rock Band and Guitar Hero running on XBox 360. About a year after this post was published, I finally got Rock Band 3 but it took me until recently to get my hands on the Mad Catz Midi Adapter for Xbox here in France (stocks were scarce).
Once you have the Midi Adapter, you can play Rock Band 3 in Pro Mode using your drum kit and that is the ultimate experience. Rock Band 3 is all about learning to play music “for real”. I have yet to test the keyword and guitar mode but on drums, it’s wonderful. The whole kit comes alive as songs are mapped in full including snare, kick pedal, all three toms, crash, ride, hi hat and even hi had pedal. Now this is getting serious. Playing a song in pro mode at expert level really is playing the song.
As you can see in the above picture, this is the symbol to hit the blue cymbal as opposed to the blue tom (the blue cymbal actually is the crash). Jumping from Rock Band II/Guitar Hero World Tour to Rock Band III in Pro-Mode I actually had a lot more to handle : the cymbals and the hi-hat control. I didn’t start learning the hi-hat control yet but the jump to the cymbals was surprisingly easy. In my first session, I could play the easiest songs at expert level. And that felt pretty cool.
How does it work ?
If you are coming from my previous setup using a computer and a GH:WT module, you know that the GH:WT module was needed to send the signal to the console while the computer was used to map the midi signal sent from the drumkit to the midi signal expected by the GH:WT module. The Rock band 3 Mad Catz Midi Adapter pretty much acts as a all-in-one-box GH:WT + Computer. It receives the midi signal from the drum kit, maps it to the known midi notes of the game and send the signal (via USB) to the console.
Because the Mad Catz Midi Adapter is more advanced than the GH:WT module, it enables the mapping of several more notes enabling the use of snare, toms and all three cymbals. Somthing one could not do with the old setup since we had to map all of our cymbals to play and register as one of the recognized pads in the game.
What will you need ?
- Mad Catz Midi Pro Adapter for Xbox 360
- Midi cable
Connecting it all together
Using the Mad Caz adapter is very simple. All You’ll need to connect your DTXPlorer kit is a Midi to Midi cable. I grabbed one from Amazon myself. Connect your kit’s module Midi port to the Mad Catz Adapter Midi port. Connect the Mad Catz adapter to your XBox USB port. Finally, on the Midi Adapter itself, place the instrument selector on D for drums. Turn on your console and everything is ready.
This time, the mapping of the midi notes is dictated by the Midi Adapter and you can not change it.
Here are the values of the implemented mapping :
|Midi Note||Kit Pad||Game Pad|
|38, 31, 34, 37, 39, 40||Snare||Red Pad|
|48, 50||Hi-Tom||Yellow Pad|
|45, 47||Low-Tom||Blue Pad|
|41, 43||Floor-Tom||Green Pad|
|22, 26, 42, 46, 54||Hi-Hat Cymbal||Yellow Cymbal|
|51, 53, 56, 59||Ride Cymbal||Blue Cymbal|
|49, 52, 55, 57||Crash Cymbal||Green Cymbal|
|33, 35, 36||Kick Pedal||Kick Pedal|
|44||Hi-Hat Pedal||Hi-Hat Pedal|
|CC#4 (foot controller)||Hi-Hat Pedal position||Allows Hi-Hat pedal to be held closed|
Luckily for DTXplorer owners, our kit has been tested with the adapter and is known to work.
Here is the result for us of this mapping in the game :
As it shows in the table above, the Mad Catz Midi Adapter maps the blue cymbal to the ride, the green cymbal to the crash. Personally, and it seems from the image above that Yamaha’ default setup matches my expectation, I placed the crash on the left and the ride on the right.
Here are the midi notes sent out by our DTXplorer
The crash sends out the 49 and 57 notes, the ride sends the 51 and 52 (depending on whether they’re hit in the center or on the edge). Using these values and comparing them to the table above, we can see three problems :
- the 49 and 57 (crash) is mapped to the game crash pad (green) although I would like it to be the ride pad (blue)
- the 51 (ride) is mapped to the game ride (blue) although I’d like to the be the green
- MORE IMPORTANTLY the 52 (ride edge) is mapped to the game crash (green). That means that the ride is mapped to blue but the ride edge is mapped to green. Conclusion, do not hit your ride edge or your hit won’t be registered !
So here is a more precise view of the default mapping :
The solution is both “quick” and “dirty” as it simply involves inversing the cables in the DTXPlorer brain module.
Notice how the crash and ride wires are plugged in the “wrong” place.
Once the wires are switched, here is the mapping we finally get in the game :
The ride’s edge problem remains but I am much more comfortable with both green cymbals and tom placed on my far right and both blue cymbals and tom in the center. Anyway, this is just a preference easily achieved by switching the wires.
When I would play Rock Band 2 or GH:WT with my old, computer-based, setup I would usually turn off the sound of the intrsument in the game and listen to the sound of my drum kit using the headphones (I would bring the rest of the song to my kit’s input using a jack running from the console audio out to the DTX aux plug). That way, if I decided to play a given “color” say green using the ride instead of the tom, I could hear the result of that decision.
Anyway, I do not relay on this anymore in Rock Band 3 since the game truly acknoledges the differences between toms and cymbals.This really makes it simpler to set the whole game up and also makes the sound a lot more balanced altogether.
Rock band 3 Pro Mode really delivers the ful drumming experience I was hoping for when I started connecting my kit to the game. The Mad Catz Midi Adapter, in addition to unleashing the use of a real kit as opposed to the game’s kit, is the ultimate version of my computer-based setup. The adapter doesn’t go in sleep mode when inactive (okay, that could be fixed by installing caffeine on the MacBook) and, more importantly, it seems to correct the lag issues I was sometimes having on fast drum sequences (like in GH Metallica). And, to really make it better, it’s a whole lot easier to setup. Just connect the kit and the adapter, no need to bring in the computer and a trillion of extra cables.
Can I use the old computer-based setup in RB3 ?
Yes, it works. Also, since I realized now with the release of the midi adapter that my original mapping was more GH:WT/Metallica oriented, I made an alternative one to be used with the Rock Band games which is exactly the one showed above (except of course than in RB2, there is no distinction between toms and cymbals)
Can I use the old computer-based setup in RB3 ProMode ?
No. RB3 detects the presence of the Mad Catz Adapter or the Mad Catz cymbals kit to enable pro mode. So, when using the old computer based setup (and the GH:WT module) you can not enable this mode. And yes, this is a shame as I would have loved to be able to use my Mad Catz Adapter on the guitar for a guest while using the old setup on the drums. Now I know I will need to get another Midi Adapter as soon as my kid brother moves near by 🙂
Can I use the Mad Catz Midi Adapter with Rock Band 2 / Beatles ?
Can I use the Mad Catz Midi Adapter with Guitar Hero : World Tour / Metallica ?
Short answer : yes but it’s not as good.
Long answer soon to be published.