The new Rock Band 3 drums with “pro” cymbals shipped a bit early, so I picked up a new set at my local GameStop.
The drums themselves aren’t terribly different; if you own a set of wireless Rock Band 2 drums these are virtually indentical. The pad texture is slightly cosmetically different, but the same nice rubbery feel of the RB2 kit is still there. The only thing that I could tell was definitely different — the front panel xbox (guide) button now has a bit of a delay before it activates, presumably to reduce the “whoops, the darn drummer accidentally whacked the guide button with his drumsticks and paused the game for everyone again!” effect. Which is certainly welcome, but it’s a minor tweak at best.
The main difference, as previously announced, is that the “pro” cymbals are indeed much improved! Compare these pictures to see what I mean:
Rock Band 2 cymbals
- the rubber texture goes all the way around the cymbal
- the RB3 pro cymbals have 5 hit sensors around the full edge of the cymbal, whereas the RB2 cymbals have 3 hit sensors only in front
Also, some other things you can’t quite see in these pictures:
- the RB3 pro cymbals are angled a bit more downward by default, whereas the RB2 cymbals tended to be “flat”
- The RB3 pro cymbals are MUCH QUIETER and “rubberier” in play. There is a huge difference; the RB2 cymbals felt like hitting hard plastic, these RB3 pro cymbals feel more like hitting the softer drum pads.
Anyway, I heartily recommend these new Rock Band 3 pro cymbals, as they are indeed a major and welcome upgrade over the RB2 ones. They’re not available as standalone items quite yet, but will be soon!
And if you haven’t picked up a drum set, or you need a new upgraded drum set over your old RB1 or RB2 kit, the Rock Band 3 drumkit with pro Cymbals is definitely the way to go — and it’s shipping now.
(unless, of course, you’re going with the Ion premium drum kit ..)