The Ion Drum Kit for the Rock Band series of games is simply amazing. We have played with all previous kits - and professional kits - and the Ion drum kits really stands up to the challenge.
First, to give some background. We've played with the straight-in-a-line, very flat headed drum kit that came with the original Rock Band. This was groundbreaking at the time because it even let you PLAY drums, but it was like playing on bricks. We even tried getting the "pad baffles" for the kit to help it out.
Then we bought the "improved" drum kit that came out with Rock Band 2 / Guitar Hero 3 which had the drums a bit better laid out plus cymbals. That was better - but still not great.
In the meantime, we had a Roland TD-9SX drum set with mesh heads in the house, which was fantastic for playing on and creating a wide variety of sounds. We wanted something at reasonably good for our Rock Band training and playing. Especially since we'd imported all our Rock Band 1 songs and had quite a library to play with.
So we decided to bring in the Ion drum kit. It seemed like a solid quality drum kit for the XBox / PS3 / Wii setup, to let us enjoy our various music games that involve drumming.
First, the shipment. They pack this VERY well, with multiple boxes providing a structured framework. We order a ton of things online and this definitely ranks highly in the packing department. Setup was also a breeze. We used some of our own velcro tie wraps instead of their enclosed plastic tie-wraps, but other than that our kit was up and running in probably less than 15 minutes.
It is a very sturdy setup. The metal frame and connectors, if you screw things in properly (staggered, not one screw at a time) creates a great base. Get a good drum throne to go with it, and good sticks too.
On to gameplay! We've been playing these games since they first game out, so we dove right in. The kit felt WONDERFUL to play. The pads are very responsive, the cymbals are far better than the partial-cymbals of the other sets. With the padding and screws you can adjust them to exactly amount of the feel you enjoy, depending if you hit hard or soft.
Rock Band 2 has a dual calibration built in where you can calibrate to sound and video, so you can tweak your setup to be exactly perfect based on your TV setup. We really didn't have to do that, though.
Some people have complained about the kick pedal. Again maybe it's because we're musicians, but we found it amazingly responsive, no issues at all. There are several techniques for using a kick pedal well, and a quick Google search can help you with that.
We are extremely pleased with the Ion kit and use it very regularly. It is fantastic because "playing a game" really helps you become a better drummer, and it lets you have fun with friends and family at the same time.
Highly recommended! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all about the gameplay with the Ion or how it compares with the Roland.
Buy the Ion Drum Kit from Amazon.com