RockBand.com

Calibration

Question:

How do I calibrate my Rock Band 2 instruments?

Answer:

Some fancy HDTVs and sound systems introduce what we call “lag,” and it can totally throw off Rock Band 2’s gameplay. Luckily we have a calibration system in place that completely fixes that lag, and it’s pretty easy to use! Here’s how you calibrate your system... First, load up Rock Band 2 and your TV and sound system as if you were getting ready to play. This means also turning on Dolby Digital or Dolby Pro Logic II if you have fancy surround-sound systems. (If you don’t know what Dolby Digital is, then don’t worry about it). Next, see if you have a Rock Band 2 guitar – they’re most recognizable by their dark wooden-looking fretboards. If you do, then read the next section – Automatic Calibration. If you don’t, don’t worry, just skip to Manual Calibration.

Automatic Calibration

Your Rock Band 2 guitar has a pair of sensors in it that will actually calibrate for you! It’s great, and easy to use! Here’s how you start:
  1. Using your guitar, navigate to Options in the Main Menu. From there, go to Calibration Settings.
  2. Press the green fret to start the Automatic Calibration process.
  3. You’re going to start off by calibrating the audio tracks. Look at your Rock Band 2 guitar – you should see a tiny transparent circle right next to the guitar’s Start button.
  4. Hold up your guitar so that little circle is right next to one of your speakers. Press the green fret. You’ll hear a high-pitched beeping, and with each beep, the progress bar should fill up. Just hold your guitar there until the progress bar is full – don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to register one or two beeps, everything will average out.
  5. Now you’re going to calibrate the video lag. Hold the guitar right up to the screen and press the green fret. The screen is going to flash white – make sure the progress bar fills up at regular intervals with each flash. You might have to dim the lights in your room or cup your hand around the sensor so that it only picks up the light from the TV screen.
  6. There, that should be it! Once that’s done just press green until you’re taken back to the Main Menu.

Troubleshooting Automatic Calibration

Automatic calibration sometimes has a little bit of trouble on certain TVs, like really big-screen LCDs. If you keep getting a dialogue box telling you to try again, then try standing 4-5 feet away from the TV and calibrating. If that doesn’t work, try angling the guitar towards and away from the TV while you shield the top of the sensor with your cupped hand. With a little bit of effort you should be able to get the sensor to register the video flashes correctly. If you are still having trouble, be sure your television is set to "game mode" if it has one. Ensure you are calibrating to the sounds coming out of your external speakers and not the ones built into the TV if you're using the external speakers. If all else fails, though, don’t despair! Just read on to the next section.

Manual Calibration

Manual Calibration’s not hard, and you can do it with any instrument! Here’s how you start:
  1. Using any instrument, navigate to Options in the Main Menu. From there, go to Calibration Settings.
  2. If you’re using a Rock Band 2 guitar, you’ll have to hit the yellow fret to enter Manual Calibration. With any other instrument, just continue to the next screen. I highly recommend using a guitar to calibrate.
  3. You’re going to start off by calibrating the audio tracks. Start the audio calibration and hit the strum bar so that your strumming coincides EXACTLY with the drum hits that you hear. Do this until the progress bar is full.
  4. Then you’ll have to calibrate video. Hit the strum bar exactly as the needle hits the edge of the meter and you see the green flash. Do this until the progress bar is full.
  5. Take note of the final numbers you get. With manual calibration, it never hurts to go back to the beginning and do the whole manual calibration process again. If you get numbers that are within a +/- 15 ms range of your first set of numbers, then consider yourself golden.
There! You should be calibrated, and gameplay should feel much better. Don’t worry about calibrating any other instruments – calibrating once means you’ve calibrated the whole game, with every instrument. (Note: On the PlayStation 3, calibration settings are profile-specific, so if you sign into a different PlayStation profile you will have to calibrate again.) If you still feel that gameplay is a little bit off – and this can be noticeable on really high-level gameplay, like playing guitar solos on Hard or Expert difficulty – then you might want to fine-tune your calibration a little bit.

Fine-tuning Your Calibration settings: Only for the super-hardcore!

Audio - Do you feel like the music doesn’t match up exactly to the notes?
  1. Go Practice Mode and load up a Warmup song on guitar. I recommend "El Scorcho" by Weezer if you have it.
  2. Load up the full song on any difficulty you’re comfortable playing, but set the speed to 50%.
  3. Play the song, but pay attention to WHERE the notes are when the music plays.
  4. That big bar that indicates when you’re supposed to play the notes – we call that the Now Bar. If the music plays when the notes are above the Now Bar, then try increasing your audio calibration setting by 10 or 15 ms. If the music plays when the notes are below the Now Bar, then try decreasing your audio calibration lag by 10 or 15ms.
  5. To do this, go back into the Calibration screen. Choose manual calibration.
  6. On the audio calibration screen (the one that shows the big speaker in the middle), you can press the yellow fret to “Set Lag Manually.” Here is where you’ll change your audio calibration settings.
Video - Do you feel like you have to play notes early or late to get them to register?
  1. Go Practice Mode and load up a song on guitar. I recommend "Alabama Getaway" on Medium Guitar.
  2. Set the speed to 50%. Mute your TV/Sound System – you’re going to try to play the notes without any musical cues.
  3. Play the song, but pay attention to WHERE the notes are when you successfully hit them. Try deliberately playing just a little bit early and a little bit late.
  4. That big bar that indicates when you’re supposed to play the notes – we call that the Now Bar. We have an imaginary window surrounding the Now Bar that we call the “slot window” – it allows for a small margin of error during gameplay. You should be able to successfully play notes just a little bit early AND just a little bit late – i.e. the slot window should be centered on the Now Bar. If you find out that you can only successfully play notes when they’re below the Now Bar, try decreasing video calibration by 10-15ms. If you can only play them when they’re above the Now Bar, try increasing video calibration by 10-15ms.
  5. To do this, go back into the Calibration screen. Choose manual calibration.
  6. On the video calibration screen (the one that shows the big metronome needle), you can press the yellow fret to “Set Lag Manually.” Here is where you’ll change your video calibration settings.
You might have to repeat these process a few times – when I did this at home, it took me about 15 minutes of fine-tuning to get it down perfect. But finally being able to tear through "Painkiller" on Expert guitar was totally worth it.

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