Rock Band FAQ
Recently Harmonix and MTV Games along with EA released the long awaited Rock Band Bundle. The bundle is exactly what fans were promised allowing for online and offline (local) play. There have been a lot of gamers asking questions about set up and general gameplay. This is an FAQ on the set-up and some advice on how to enjoy Rock Band.
Set-Up and Frequently Asked Questions:
Harmonix made the Rock Band bundle easy to set-up as far as putting together the drum kit, guitar and microphone. Using them and playing the game can be the confusing part. Let me start with the most asked questions so far.
Using the Powered USB Hub:
You need to use the powered USB Hub and it should be in the first USB port (bottom one) of the Xbox 360. You do not need to unplug the Hub after playing the game, but you will need to unplug any instrument from it. While the USB Hub supplied is nice, they just released another one that is square and has a longer cord and AC adapter that is a little easier to set-up. Best Buy or GameStop have these and they are official Rock Band accessories that cost $9.99. Offline bands are a little easier to set-up for since you will be prompted to join. Remember that the first instrument plugged in will be using the player one or first light slot. This is important when using the microphone since you need to use the controller and microphone together.
When online and using the guitar, it would be in the first plug when you want to switch instruments and to rejoin you must leave the room, go to the start screen, unplug the guitar and then plug in the drums or turn on the controller and then insert the microphone. Always look if the first green light is lit on the Xbox 360 ring. You do not need to unplug the AC adapter after using the powered USB Hub. The reason they went with a powered USB Hub is so the power drawn is not coming from the power supply of the Xbox 360.
If you did not get the bundle and want to play, you can plug in any USB microphone 'Keep in mind if a driver is needed it will not work'. Even in the game booklet it states this and it is true. Same rules apply. You need to turn on the controller first, and then plug in the USB Microphone. Please keep in mind that the performance of the microphone will vary and you may need to make adjustments as you play.
Guitar Hero III Guitar:
You can use the wireless guitar from GH: III. My advice is to use it as the bass and not as the lead guitar. It has been tested and works. You will have to hit the sync button on the guitar and the Xbox 360 in some cases. There are a few issues at times when you may miss notes. If so, use the calibration tools in the Rock Band options. Please note while you can use the Guitar Hero: III guitar to play Rock Band, you cannot use the Rock Band Fender Guitar to play GH: III.
You can go buy different drum sticks to use with the kit. Just keep in mind that they are electronic drums. If you are not sure what size to ask for, the best size is 5A. Personally, I can't use a drum stick that is not coated or natural. There are official Rock Band Black Drumsticks now being sold just like the new USB Hub. Do not attempt to hook up or add another drum kit to the Rock Band drum kit. All electronic kits out there require AC power and the game is built around their drum kit.
You should always be able to look down at the drum pads. If you need to look up to hit the pads, the kit is not adjusted to your height. The bass peddle should be in the center. It may be easier to use if you place it to the far left or right but keep it in the middle.
Headset Adapters and a Quick Fix:
In the bundle there are two adapters for the Xbox 360 headsets. While they do work, they are a pain if you have the Chatpad. Just use the headset that came with that and you will notice how much easier it is. Plantronics also has a straight jack with the volume control on the cord and it also works. If you played Guitar Hero II, you will remember how fuzzy or distorted the voice sounded. It is not that any of the instruments are defective. USB powered devices handles voice differently and I am sure in time they will have a patch or perhaps their own brand of headsets to help clear up the sound quality.
Players Can't Hear Me Sing:
The Rock Band manual says you can hold in the left trigger for chatting. This is not meant to be used to allow players to hear your singing skills. Online you will hear the singer's voice on the track and not your friend. This is the way the game was designed. Personally, unless I'm with friends playing locally, I am glad for this fact.
Other Tips and Closing Comments:
Rock Band offers a lot of fun, but parents and gamers will grow tired of all the cables. I suggest getting some colored tape and right near the plug color code each instrument to make it easier to know what is what so to speak. Try and keep the wires separate and out of the way. This is harder than it sounds, but younger gamers may need some guidance and rules laid down so no one trips or gets hurt due to wires laying everywhere. If you find the guitar strap to be uncomfortable, you can buy any real guitar strap and use it. While it may sound a little odd, I would rather be comfortable than trying to use a strap that is too small or not wide enough.
I will be adding to this and updating it as needed. If you have a question that was not covered here, send it in and it will be answered. We do not know when the extra drum kit, guitars and microphones will be out at the time this was published. We did get an official word that said after January. In the meantime there are still a few bundles out there for sale. I would strongly suggest not buying one on eBay due to the fact most of the kits being bought have been nothing more than demo kits for stores. I would like to thank 'Gronar' Jim Kennedy for his help and also the time to test things online.
Rock Band Xbox 360 FAQ Written by Rich Reed Head Writer of xboxsolution.com.