July 17, 2008

Rock Band 2 Drums Examined

Wondering what, exactly, the difference is between the new Rock Band 2 drums and the original Rock Band 1 drums? Me too. Engadget has a great set of photos from E3 that reveal all the new features. Let’s examine them one by one.

Reinforced bass drum pedal — check.


Neoprene or rubber drum surface for better “bounce” and less noise — check.


Fully wireless (look ma, no wires in this picture!) — check.


The one disappointment I have is that the new Rock Band 2 drumset offers no additional reinforcement of any kind between the green and red drums. This means the red and green hits will be vulnerable to excessive vibration and might be unreliable under intense expert-level drum play, as they are on the original version. I hope my drum reinforcing struts will work on the new kit; it looks nearly identical in shape, so I’m thinking they will.

But there is one exciting new feature which you can see hinted at in this photo — green, blue, and red plugs on the back of the drumset.


These are for the add-on cymbals you can attach to the drumset. According to a source from E3, the cymbals can be hit at any time instead of their respective tom pads, but during drum fills, the game knows to play cymbal or tom sounds depending on which you hit. We have yet to see any information on pricing or availability of the add-on cymbals for the Rock Band 2 drumset.

Still, I’m encouraged that two out of three major flaws with the original Rock Band drums are being addressed with the new Rock Band 2 drumset:

  1. Reinforced pedal
  2. Improved drum surface for better durability, bounce, and less noise.
  3. Structural support for the “hanging” red and green drums

I guess two out of three ain’t bad.

C’mon, if they’d fixed everything, I might not be drooling over the Ion set/ considering getting a real electronic kit.

July 17, 2008 at 4:22 am

Thanks for the info, I knew about all of this except the cymbals which count as different hits even though they map to an existing color. This would make it possible to play GH:WT with the RB2 cymbals I guess (if Activision cares).

July 17, 2008 at 5:52 am

Also, if you haven’t seen the premium “Ion” drum set, it seems to offer better structural support.

It costs a lot more ($300) but doubles as an electronic drum kit too.

I’m definitely interested in buying that kit.

July 17, 2008 at 6:37 am

I cant wait to try out the new drum sets…but I still love my GH3 Wireless guitar… that thing is NAILS!

July 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

Sad. With my RB1 drum set for PS2, I gold-starred 37 of the 58 on-disc songs, doing a full combo on 12. Now with my shiny new Wii and RB2 drum set, I get four stars on tier-one songs because the RB2 set registers spurious hits all the time. I’m not impressed. I put in an RMA; hopefully the new set works better. But I’d be happy if I could just use my PS2 RB1 kit… come on, it’s all USB. :P

December 22, 2008 at 2:58 pm

I got tired of waiting for the RMA and picked up an RB1 set at Wal-Mart for $50. It plays beautifully–I’ve gotten several 700-plus-note streaks on it, and a handful of gold stars too. When the RB2 RMA finally arrives, if it works, I’ll sell one of my sets… or maybe keep one in the closet as a spare…

In total, I’ve played on a total of 5 RB1 kits and 4 RB2 kits (most of these not my own). All five RB1 kits played fine. But only _one_ of the RB2 kits I’ve played on (not including the one I own) was free from spurious hits.

Small sample size, maybe, but it still hasn’t left me impressed with the new drums…

December 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm

We have had problems with the drum pedal on our Rock Band 2 kit pedal suddenly registering incorrectly, but nor problems with the drums themselves. Somehow the pedal reversed itself so it only registers when you let go of it rather than when you step on it. Makes it rather hard to play any songs with heavy pedal work.

I wrote a bit about it on my review site, http://www.squidoo.com/RockBand2orGuitarHeroWorldTourWhichWaytogo



January 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

I know I’m bringing up a dead topic, but…
I now have the RB2 drumset, and the red and green pads are helped a lot by the pad being able to sink in to the structure about an inch, but as for my question. What is that jack under the bass pedal jack but above the cymbal jacks? The RB2 guitar has a random extra jack as well, on the bottom, directly opposite of the headset plug in. I have no clue as to what it does, as it isn’t mentioned in the instructions or the diagram of either controller… :\

April 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm

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