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These drums were individually released alongside the Xbox 360 release of Rock Band 2 and later released for other consoles. They are an upgraded version of the drum set released for Rock Band (original). These were later released with the Rock Band 2 bundle that includes the wireless guitar, and microphone. Several different types of sets still exist which each have very small, usually unnoticeable differences.
- Metal reinforced bass pedal: Metal plate placed over the top of the old pedal to provide stability.
- Velocity sensitive drum pads: Based on how hard the pads are hit, you will hear more or less noise during drum fill sections.
- Redesigned sturdy structure: Kit stays together while transporting. Pedal stays in place while lifting the set.
- Wireless connectivity: Connects wirelessly to the console. (also can be a flaw; see flaws)
- Expansion Ports on the back: Used for the cymbal expansion pack, which allows you to attach up to 3 cymbals to enhance the drum experience.
With this new release of Rock Band drums, it was a chance for Harmonix to perfect their instrument design. They did make a lot of good improvements but some flaws are still present, such as…
- “Bubbling” pads: Mostly occurs with the red pad. Basically it is when the rubber-like material separates from the plastic underneath and causes the rubber to bubble up and mess up the pad.
- Sensitivity issues: Sometimes the pads don’t register if not hit in just the right spot or just not hard enough. Though not as much of a problem as the original Rock Band drums, it is still a problem that shouldn’t exist being the second generation.
- Pedal still breakable: It is possible to still break the pedal even with the metal reinforcement. But it’s so rare that it can almost be considered a non-issue.
- Batteries only: No option to plug the set in means going through a lot of batteries.
Set Versions And Their Specific Problems
EL and QM
When Rock Band first came out they used a model of drum called the EL (because of the EL in the serial number). Soon the reports came in of the drums breaking or not registering notes and they came out with the second series of drums called the QM series. The QM series has greater sensitivity and can be hit much more softly and still register notes. Harmonix decided to continue to use the same sets plus some upgrades for Rock Band 2. The two sets can be distinguished by where the serial number is on the set. If it is located directly under the controls, it's a QM. If the serial number is under one of the pads, it's an EL.
- very sensitive pads
- fast drum rolls would not be detected
- hard hits often not detected
- possibly fixed with sock mod (see below)
- Pads were not sensitive enough
- harder hits needed to be detected
- often drops notes for no reason
- possibly fixed with coin mod (see below)
The SL set is the newest set Harmonix has released. It is exclusive to Rock Band 2 sets and was never released as a Rock Band 1 model drum set. It is almost the same as the EL set in every way. Some of the only differences are:
- The EL set velocity sensitivity requires very hard drumming for loud hits. The SL, on the other hand, requires incredibly light tapping to trigger soft hits.
- The EL bass pedal was easier to press down, which made multiple bass kicks in rapid succession easier to manage.
- The SL main stands have clamps that do not close fully; the EL set’s leg clamps close flush with the surrounding black plastic.
The remedy for the QM sets being too sensitive was eventually found and it works fairly well. Basically it involves placing tube socks over your drums and then securing them with rubber bands in order to decrease the sensitivity and not lose detection with faster and harder hits. There is a good video on this fix here. This method is more popular with the original Rock Band kits but is still relevant with the new kits.
The Coin Mod is the solution for the EL sets lack of sensitivity. Basically what you do is open your drum pads and tape nickels right under the sensor of the pads. I guess this helps the sensors pick up hits easier somehow. There is a video for this method also, here.