The Ion Drum Kit is a high quality replacement drum kit for the Guitar Hero and Rock Band systems of games. Where the basic drum kits you often buy with those two games have flat heads and unresponsive action, the Ion Drum Kit is made to professional standards to provide a real setup and experience that any drummer would enjoy. It turns these "games" into good quality drum trainers which build up drum techniques, posture, rhythm and "limb independence" skills (doing one thing with a hand and another with a foot).
I spoke with Adam Cohen, Director of Business Development at Ion Audio, about how his company became involved in the Rock Band and Guitar Hero world.
Adam first explained that Ion Audio and its sister companies have been experts in electronic drum kits for many years. "Our group of companies includes a variety of brands that do business in the musical instrument space. One of those brands, Alesis, is the third largest manufacturer of electronic percussion products in the world. We had a natural understanding of how to do electronic drum sets - electronic percussion products in general - and that's part of what led us to the conversation with the folks at Harmonix about developing a premium drum set for Rock Band."
"Having worked in the electronic percussion space for a long time we saw immediately with the kit that they put out what the benefits were and what some of the deficiencies were. We saw that we might be able to address those by taking that next step and putting out a product that could give people more adjustability along with cymbals and other things that were a little more reminiscent of the real experience of playing."
Ion Audio's involvement with Rock Band was not an after-thought - it came about in the very first phases of Rock Band's development cycle. "One of our employees was working with Harmonix on some of the original instruments when they developed them for Rock Band. Our Creative Director worked for them as an outside consultant. We had a pretty solid understanding of the entire ecosystem that they were putting together and how the game worked and how those peripherals interacted with the game pretty much from day one."
"Long before Rock Band 2 hit the streets we were already well in discussions with folks at Harmonix about developing this kit for the original version of Rock Band. As a natural, when Rock Band 2 was in development we realized that there were some things that we could do the drum sets to make it not only good for Rock Band but for Rock Band 2 as well. That included among other things adding velocity sensitivity to the kit."
Continue the interview with
Ion Drums Interview - Designing the Kit!