To Fix Our Drums, We Tested The 'Guitar Hero: World Tour' Drum Tuning Kit

When I received my full band game copy of "Guitar Hero: World Tour" earlier this month, my drum controller had sensitivity issues.

I had to hit the red pad on my kit really hard for it to register, but in doing that, I would fire off the yellow pad (the cymbal) at the same time. As you can imagine, this didn't make for a good score or streak.

I wasn't the only one who had this problem. Other players, on multiple platforms, had complaints that their drum controllers were either too sensitive or not sensitive enough -- or both. Activision promptly released a drum tuning kit, a 10MB PC application that lets players assign a sensitivity level to each pad on the drum controller. While the tuning kit is easy to install and has a simple interface, you need a midi-to-USB cable to hook up your controller to a PC.

Consumers can submit their information to Red Octane and receive the midi-to-USB cable. About a week after I requested one, I got it in the mail and was able to try the drum tuning kit.

Here's how it went:

I downloaded and installed the drum tuning kit available at the Red Octane support website. I turned on my Xbox 360 and my wireless drum set, and connected the drum controller to my PC laptop with the midi-to-USB cable. The instructions were a bit confusing at first but all I had to do was enter the Recording Studio in the game, accessed from the Music Studio in the main menu. Once there, I opened the drum tuning kit application on my PC and clicked the "Test" button and a note highway for the drums began rolling in the game, as if I was recording and making an original song.

There I was able to see how sensitive the drum pads and the kick pedal were, and adjusted the sensitivity accordingly. I could choose anywhere between levels 1 and 20 for each pad; the default setting was 10. I ended up setting my not-so-sensitive red pad to 15. I did the same for the blue, green and orange ones too; even though I hadn't had major issues with them, I did notice I had to hit them a bit harder just to navigate the menus in the game. I tuned the yellow one down to 5, since it had been firing off whenever I hit the red pad. I left the kick pedal alone at 10. Once you've adjusted the settings to your liking, hitting "Save" should do the trick.

I tested the new settings with a bout of "Eye of the Tiger," which in easy mode uses a lot of the red and yellow pads. Before I tuned my kit, I hit 78% of the notes with a mere 21 streak. After I tuned the kit, I hit 99% of the notes with a 168 note streak. Much better!

Though I will say on occasion, I missed a red note that I thought I had hit at the proper time. It could be paranoia; regardless, I have the tuning kit and midi-to-USB cable at my disposal to adjust it to my whims.

I've asked Activision what the company plans to do, if anything, for Mac or Linux users, and I'll provide an update when I hear back.

Has anyone else tried the drum tuning kit? How has it worked for you?

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