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Video Blog: Using Guitar Hero World Tour Wii Drums as MIDI Controllers on OS X with OSCulator

Posted on Thursday 9 July 2009

Ever since I heard that Guitar Hero World Tour’s drums were velocity sensitive, I wanted to try using them as MIDI controllers.

Thanks to this post by Camille, developer of OSCulator, I finally got the Wii World Tour drums to work with velocity sensitivity. Unfortunately, as the video demonstrates, they don’t work too well. Either they’re not sensitive enough, or bluetooth doesn’t have enough bandwidth to transfer notes fast enough.

I also talk a little bit about being out in LA for our summer semester program.

Osculator can be downloaded here. It is free to try and costs $39 to buy. It’s a great program, though I’m disappointed with what seems like hardware limits on the drums.

5 Comments for 'Video Blog: Using Guitar Hero World Tour Wii Drums as MIDI Controllers on OS X with OSCulator'

    July 9, 2009 | 9:17 pm

    Wish I had seen this video before I bought the GHWT drumkit. I don’t own the game but I but the kit with the same idea in mind. Downloaded demo of Osculator (after trying and failing to get Junxion, Remote Buddy, Wiinstrument or anything else to let me figure out how the GHWT kit’s events were translated through the Wiimote). I have the same experience that the drum kit is indeed velocity sensitive but any reasonable attempt to drum a decent beat or create drum fills is met with latency and dropped events. I thought maybe this is a “scaling” issue but sounds like it’s a Bluetooth limitation. Bummer.

    July 11, 2009 | 2:14 am

    Hey Tim,
    Camille has been super responsive and we’re troubleshooting here:
    Feel free to chime in.
    Also, I found out that activision has a “guitar hero tuning kit” that interfaces with your computer to adjust the sensitivity of the drums:
    They have mac and PC versions. I got excited at first because it hooks up via USB to your computer, but realized quickly that it just uses the MIDI IN port. In fact, I downloaded and tried it, sent it to the IAC driver, and recorded its output into logic. Here’s some complete geek talk:
    The sensitivity is controlled by controls 102-106 on MIDI channel 16. The values are 40-4 for minimum to max on the drums, and 60-4 for the cymbals.
    The drum pads are notes C1, D1, A1, A#1, C2, and C#2.
    Anyway, you can request a free MIDI-USB cable from Activision. I certainly did, those are worth like $40!
    I’ll keep you updated. I may try Xbox or PS3 guitar hero drums, but all the ones I see online are wireless too! Damn. I wonder if there’s a way to hack the MIDI signal before it gets sent over bluetooth.

    Márton Ruska
    November 25, 2009 | 6:17 pm

    Is it somehow possible to use this on Windows? And does it work OK if I don’t need velocity sensitivity?
    And does this mean that the sensitivity is still not good? Sorry for so many questions 🙂

    June 25, 2011 | 4:11 pm

    So it sounds like the bluetooth / wireless aspect is causing some of the latency.

    Have you ever tried a direct USB in from the drum pad?

    Thanks for all these helpful posts Jordan. I’m a songwriter / musician and just found a free rock band drum pad set sitting at the goodwill donation box. I’m about to see if I can rock with it!

    June 26, 2011 | 4:07 pm

    Are the velocity sensitive “World Tour” pads wireless only? A few web searches and all I can find are wireless ones.

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