Logitech Wireless Drum Controller


posted 10/13/2009 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: 360
With the explosion of musical games lately, you knew some companies would start churning out some high end faux instruments to use with these games. Logitech's released a few already for the PlayStation 3 but in the past few months the 360's been getting the love as well. Today we have Logitech's high end drum kit that was first released on the PlayStation 3 but now comes compatible for the Xbox 360.

While I did see a prototype of the Wireless Drum Controller for the Xbox 360 at E3, I didn't get a chance to play with it like I did with the guitar. Well it's finally available and I'm here to get an up close look at the setup. First of all, the drums are based on the Guitar Hero World Tour setup of three drum pads, two cymbals, and a kick pedal. Let's start with the drum pads. What's really nice about the drum pads, and I think they did this with the Guitar Hero 5 kit coming out, is the edges of the drum pads are recessed. This enables you to hit the drum pad with a greater chance than say the original design. For the standard drum kits that come with the game, there's an annoying plastic piece that goes around the edges that produces a very harsh sound as well as feeling horrible when struck. The drum pads themselves are very quiet and offer great feedback when hit. It's definitely an improvement over the stock drum kits out there. Logitech offers up a better designed drum pad and the look pretty cool too.

The drum pads are attached to the frame individually on a rotating rod. The rods allow you to raise and lower the pads as well as tilt them in either direction when inserted into the holders. Individual attachments offer a lot more flexibility in placement of the drum pads so that they are comfortable for you. It's a very nice feature and a welcome one when you think of how inflexible the standard kits are. The rods are held in the holders through compression so you can slide them closer or away from you in any number of lengths constrained by the size of the rod.

Two cymbals, yellow and orange, sit up from the drum kit and can be raised or lowered easily. Compared to Guitar Hero World Tour's cymbals, you have a lot more range of movement on how high or low you want to place them. They are of a 3/8ths circle design just like the Guitar Hero World Tour kit. You have some limited range on what angle you want to place the cymbal though. By unscrewing the colored knob, you can then rotate the cymbal in a few positions and lock it back in place by screwing the knob back in. They do produce a little more sound than the pads though since they sit higher and are a solid piece rather than having a flexible drum pad but overall they are still pretty quiet.

All of the wires that protrude from each piece end in a spring wrap design. This makes the wires extend when needed but keeps them at a nice length when they aren't stretched. I didn't need to use any ties or anything as I felt the wires were of a good enough length, stretched or not, to be out of the way. I liked how the wires weren't just straight making the setup a little cleaner.

One nice thing that Logitech did was allow you to place the control panel wherever you want. Because of this, I have it sitting above the drum pads rather than below it like some drum kits. I don't know how many times I see people accidentally hitting that area causing the game to pause and throw the other players off their rhythm. The control panel holds all the regular Xbox 360 buttons on the front and all the connections in the back. As you can see, there's also a MIDI port as well for such things as using it on the PC as an electronic drum kit. (Logitech clarified that it's only a MIDI in for future expansion. Apologies for the error on my part.) My one concern though is the attachments for the pedal, drum pads, and cymbals. They use the small plugs we're all used to but it didn't take much to pull them out. Now I never had any pop out while playing but I would've liked a more solid connection between the plug and the hole on the control panel. If you need to use a microphone, the rear of the control panel houses a standard Xbox 360 headphone jack for easy connection. Two AA batteries also fit into a compartment on the back to power the kit and it's rated for about 50 hours of play.

Something that companies started to do after the first Rock Band was to reinforce the kick pedal with some metal to make it a little strong. The Wireless Drum Controller has the same thing as the kick pedal's top is lined with stainless steel. The shaft that connects the pedal to the floor plate's still plastic though and I couldn't tell what the hinge was unfortunately. One nice feature though is there's a tension wheel underneath the kick pedal so you can adjust how much force you will need to press down on the pedal to register. If you want it looser so you don't tire down as fast, just turn the knob until the desired tension is achieved. Some folks like a stronger spring while others prefer a softer one so giving you the ability to adjust it is pretty nice.
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