Increasing drum pad sensitivity in Guitar Hero: World Tour

9th June 2009 – 5.41 pm

My confidence in Guitar Hero: World Tour drumming isn't helped when I am sure I strike the right pad at the right time but it doesn't register, and I find that the orange cymbal pad is remarkably insensitive compared to the other pads. I really need to hit it hard and centrally for the hit to be recorded, which can become frustrating when I get occasional misses through no apparent fault of my own. After a few days of this I research the problem. Opening up the pad shows it to be a simple transducer feeding to a connector, so nothing that can be adjusted and there are no loose wires.

I remember Zoso being able to adjust the sensitivities of his Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit but I can't find anything about sensitivities in any of the menus, only an option to calibrate the lag between the output from the console and the display on the screen, which has already made a difference in correcting the timing of the notes. I perform a search of the web to find out more information and see that Red Octane admitted that there were sensitivity issues with some kits and created a piece of software to enable 'tuning' the sensitivities of the Guitar Hero drums. I also read complaints that there is no Mac version of the software and that it also requires a USB-to-MIDI cable, which is not something most people have lying around.

Luckily, I am a late-adopter of the game, to the extent that Red Octane now have a Mac version of the Guitar Hero drum tuner and information on obtaining a free USB-to-MIDI cable from them if required. Thinking that increasing the sensitivity of the orange cymbal would solve the problem of its transducer not registering precies hit I download the software and inquire through technical support about getting sent an interface cable.

The first reply from tech. support informs me that my problem is not normally fixed with the software, so they are reluctant to send me a cable. This sounds a bit peculiar to me, considering the hardware involved and issue I an experiencing, but I reply politely detailing what exactly the problem is. I am then asked to swap the orange and yellow cymbals over to see if the problem changes sides as well. This fault-finding exercise is an obvious way to remove problems external to the pads so I swap the two cymbals over and, sure enough, the problem remains with the orange pad. I report this to the advisor, with an abundance of detail just to ensure that his understanding I reported a problem with the yellow cymbal pad, rather than actually with the orange one, was only typo.

The next reply I receive confirms that there is a sensitivity problem with the cymbal pad and that they will send an interface cable, 'if you wish', along with a confirmation number for that, before mentioning another option being to buy a replacement pad, now available separately. I repeat my desire for an interface cable, quoting the confirmation number, and restating that the kit is only a week old and I would rather not have to pay to get a faulty part replaced. The response comes back that a cable has already been confirmed for despatch, hence the confirmation number, and a link for warranty support as the kit is newly purchased.

Now, I don't quite see how the phrase 'if you wish' fits in with actually having performed the action, nor do I really appreciate being lied to in the first place about the tuning kit not fixing my problem. I would not have been insulted to have to work through a fault-finding step or two to confirm the diagnosis, particularly as the company is beneficent enough to send out free cables to anyone who asks, but I don't think lies are the best way to advance customer cooperation. Never the less, I get a cable sent to me and a link for warranty support, should I require it after attempting to change the sensitivities of the kit, so I consider the conversation to be successful, even if a little frustrating overall.

With the cable and tuning software I am able to crank up the sensitivity of the orange cymbal pad up, even past eleven! The difference in which hits now register is significant. Playing through a few tracks that make good use of the orange pad, like Smashing Pumpkins' Today, is now a much less frustrating experience as more notes are picked up by the software and I am measured more by my general ability than perfection in hitting an area one square inch in size. I may increase the sensitivity a little higher, but more may be gained in seeing if I can get the stalk for the orange pad to be a little more stable, such as the yellow one is. Either way, my playing will be boosted as my confidence grows and I will continue to practice, practice, practice on my way to becoming a wannabe drummer.

  1. 5 Responses to “Increasing drum pad sensitivity in Guitar Hero: World Tour”

  2. I had the same problem with my red drum head. What I did to fix it was take apart the drum set, and I detached the red wire which is connected to the red drum head. I striped the red wire and reconnected it to the outer metal ring using electrial tape.

    By souppp2123 on Jun 22, 2009

  3. I had have the same problem with my orange symbol also and I contacted Activision such as you and they tried to sway me away from getting the free MidiUSB. The woman I was communicating with wanted me to send in my whole drum kit claiming it was broken. Even though I gave her in very fine detail that the pads and cymbals ALL work but sometimes I need to hit harder and in a specific spot. But finally she gave me the confirmiration after I asked for it.

    They say to ask for it and they will give it for free but they make you go through twenty questions but I am glad its done and over.

    By Puppet_Doctor on Jul 16, 2009

  4. I can understand why they don't want to simply give away the Midi-to-USB cable to just anyone who asks, but the representatives do seem to be a little boorish on first contact.

    I'm glad you got your kit sorted out in the end.

    By pjharvey on Jul 22, 2009

  5. The URL for mac version of the tuner is dead. Got a new one?

    By AmStatic on Sep 4, 2009

  6. Thanks for the pointer, links are now updated in the post.

    Guitar Hero: World Tour Drum Tuning Software, Mac Version.

    By pjharvey on Sep 4, 2009

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