Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review: Roadie Pro Upgrade

Well, probably about anyone who wanted to upgrade to the ION Drum Rocker has a master plan to evolve into a drummer. Of sorts, at least. This also means a watchful eye must be dedicated to equipment used to convert the ION a regular electronic drumkit.

ION recommends the Alesis DM5, which is a full-featured, and pricey drum module. What isn't highlighted by the Rocker manufacturer is that a kick pedal, kick trigger, and another cymbal trigger are also needed to make the conversion. With the DM5 already at $300+, that's already making the investment seem sketchy. A kick trigger is around $100, another cymbal trigger with mount is $50, and kick pedals can range from $50 - $300+, it'd be better just to buy a separate kit!

Sigler Music has a cheaper alternative with their Roadie Pro Upgrade. I've mentioned it before, but now I have the upgrade kit in-hand and ready to review.

Continue reading...

Out of the box, the parts were good-to-go. The kick pedal was a perfect tension for accuracy. The kick pad housing is sturdy and stays in place. The hi-hat pad is much sturdier than it looks in the picture. The only complaint I had about the now-open-box special is that the packing was poor; mostly just parts drown in packing peanuts. Nothing seemed damaged, but more care in the packaging would have reduced some uneasiness.

The picture instructions do the job, but the text instructions could have been better. All of the parts in the kit install easily, and use the same mounting hardware as came with the ION. It should be a no-brainer for the most part.

After playing with the kit for a few hours, I have two complaints. The first minor complaint is it seems the drum brain is overly sensitive with the hi-hat controller. It will double and triple the clasp sound with a single engagement. The second complaint is more important; the kick trigger is LOUD. It can be heard over headphones, and can even drown out the kick-sound when externally amplified. If keeping it quiet around the domicile is the plan, than this kick pad will certainly fail the task. Thwapping noises will ring throughout the halls and drive someone nuts. But maybe after jamming with the original Rock Band kit, co-inhabitants will already be numb to obnoxious clicking and banging.

Overall, this upgrade kit gets the job done. It looks great and performs it's functions as intended. The third differently-shaped cymbal doesn't look out of place and actually works with Rock Band, which is an added bonus in itself. The brain isn't going to impress seasoned drummers, but it should do the trick for budding "drummists". The kick trigger pad needs to be quieter; maybe some extra padding and/or a different beater would help. Other than that, aspiring drummers will have the perfect kit-completer on their game-controller-turned-drumset.

3 pros:
-Converts the ION Drum Rocker into a complete stand alone drumkit
-Low price for this set of items and gives a 3rd cymbal for Rock Band use
-Excellent for starting drummers that don't know what they need

3 cons:
-Still need a kickbox to make the kick trigger work with Rock Band
-Brain is is over-sensitive to the high-hat pedal
-Kick trigger pad is rather loud and obnoxious out of the box

Personal Appraisal: $199.99*
MSRP: $199.99
Other Opinions:**

8/10 forum user

*Personal Appraisal at the time of the review
**Reviews for this kit aren't readily available at this time

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you not just throw a towel over the kickbox to make it quieter?

10:49 PM  
Blogger SuicideNinja said...

You could try it I guess. But I imagine it would get tangled in the beater. If not, it may change the feel.

I'd try putting thin styrofoam behind the drumhead and/or adding the beater pad that you would use on real drums.

1:50 AM  

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