November 19, 2008 - The fine folks at Ion Audio sent one of the best gaming accessories we've ever had the privilege of beating up. That's right; the Ion Drum Rocker is a premiere drum accessory made specifically for Rock Band 2. The model we were sent was for the Xbox 360, but PS2 and PS3 models are on their way.
What makes the Ion Drum Rocker standout?
Truly Solid Construction: From the aluminum tubing that makes up the frame to the all-metal kick pedal, Ion and Alesis have put together quite a durable rig. What's more, the pad material is more resistant, and the plastic pad housing is more likely to break a drum stick before getting damaged itself. The kick pedal also can take a beating due to its light, all-metal construction. Additionally, retractable pegs and Velcro are included so that the pedal won't damage wood floors and won't slip on carpet.
Fully Customizable Layout: The Drum Rocker doesn't limit you like other kits out there. The cymbals, pads, and kick pedal can all be freely adjusted to positions that are more comfortable for the player. Also, the adjustable array perfectly mimics a real drum set. Positioning flexibility includes the ability to tilt the angle, adjust the layout, and the height of all pads and cymbals. Essentially, players can manipulate the X, Y, and Z axis of each drum to their ideal arrangement.
Best Drum Pads Available: The velocity-sensitive pads do a really nice job of giving you more realistic bounce-back. As a result, nailing rolls and fills is a lot easier and more intuitive. Plus, we noticed a significant amount of noise reduction when compared to the standard, bundled drum kit. That means other band members are still able to enjoy the experience despite the drummer's ability to go all-out on the sweet rig.
Real Electronic Drum Kit: Though the Drum Rocker was made for gaming, it still can be used as a real electronic drum kit. All that players have to do is switch out the controller module for a compatible electronic drum brain. Of course, drummers will likely buy a traditional set for gigs, but it is nice to know that players will be able to make the switch from gamer to musician without having to cough up a lot more cash.
Future-proof and Expandable: Gamers can add a third cymbal to the layout to round out the true drumming feel. Also, a second pedal attachment is in the works to allow for more realistic double-pedal setups.
Great Learning Tool: Because of the true layout and additional attachments, this is a great tool for learning to play drums for real. Pair the rig with Rock Band 2's drum lessons and the $299.99 price tag begins to look like a real value!
What are the drawbacks?
Corded: The Ion Drum Rocker is not wireless. The lengthy cable is more than sufficient, but it would have been great to jam wirelessly.