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Hooking up alternate keyboards to "Rock Band 3"

posted Apr 18, 2011, 6:53 PM by Ken Rushton   [ updated Apr 20, 2011, 5:19 PM ]

Now that Midi Integrator is complete, a number of new things can be done easily.

One example is hooking up any alternate instrument with midi to interesting tools like Rock Band 3, which has a "Pro" i.e. real music mode. In the case shown above, a jammer has been hooked up to an Xbox running Rock Band 3 Pro via a couple of midi connectors. 
 It has just recently become possible to hook up midi instruments to a high-quality, training video game like this.  The ingredients (beside the game console itself) are:
  1. A decent game: said game is Rock Band 3, and it has a “PRO” instruments option; the option to select having a real instrument (midi) hooked up to it
  2. A Gaming console (Xbox/Playstation/Wii) to Midi input interface:  Rock Band 3 midi PRO-Adapter. One plugs a standard Midi cable (non-USB) into it.
  3. An instrument with standard midi-out, of course.
Readers of this site will be interested in a bit more: what about alternate instruments? Can they work as well?  The answer is an unqualified yes.
The additional ingredients are:
  1. A decent alternate keyboard or other instrument:  even a PC keyboard will do, although it has definite limitations.  The raw, unmodified Axis-49 will work, but the signal has to go through a computer.
  2. Midi-routing software to convert the instrument’s production (which comes in on the “Midi-In” logical buss) to a signal on the “Midi-Out” buss.
  3. The new Midi Integrator does this well and there are doubtless others. Midi Integrator is free, works on Win/Mac machines, works as soon as installed and is easily configured.
That’s it. Setup is pretty simple.
Still unknown is the rate at which, if at all, this rig will facilitate learning. For news on this, see: www.musicscienceguy.com/

Here are the connectors used in the example shown.
1. to output the jammer's signal into old-style midi, a USB port is connected to an M-Audio Midisport 1x1 (~$35):

2.  to input the midi signal from the midisort into the Xbox, we have this new gadget: