I decided to go for drum pads from RocPadz, which are basically just circular cut mouse mats with a rigid back. I went with these for a number of reasons, such as that the neoprene rubber is hard wearing and long lasting (unlike foam pads which quickly lose their effect). These pads also scored highly in reviews for ‘bounce’ which can make playing easier, and they were also rated highly for the QM drum set which I have. The other main contender was DrumSoft, but while their pads are nice looking, they seemed a little too delicate for my liking - reviews were very keen to point out that you could rip the top surface if you weren’t careful during installation, which made me think they might not stand up to long-term abuse as well. The only downside to the RocPadz is that they’re a little expensive for 4 modified mouse mats - you could actually just buy yourself some regular office mouse mats, cut them to size and get some rubber glue to apply them with, but a combination of laziness and the fact that the dollar is weak meant I decided to just go with the prefabs.
Installation was very easy, they even supply you with a little alcohol swab to clean the pads with first which I thought was a nice touch. The result seems very good - the noise from the pads is definitely reduced, and the fact that the drum sticks bounce more really does feel better when playing. The only downside is that it seems to very slightly exacerbate the lack of sensitivity around the edge of the drum pads, which was already there anyway but seems slightly worse. However the middle area of the pads, where you had to play anyway to avoid missing notes, are not affected at all, they’ve still highly sensitive and a very light tap will trigger them. I hope to play more over the coming days.
The kick pedal mod should be a familiar one by now, an aluminium plate from Pedal Metal. I went with the billeted metal version because it looked nicer than the regular diamond-plate - yeah, I’m a sucker for aesthetics. I also paid a little more to get the hinge replacement bit too - I don’t need it yet, and haven’t installed it because it’s more fiddly - I figure I’ll keep it as an emergency reserve in case my hinge does break, so I don’t have to wait for a replacement.
Installation was easy, once you get over the fact that you’re invalidating your warranty by screwing stuff into your plastic pedal. But I figure the warranty on the pedal is pretty useless anyway, since it’s the one thing that is highly likely to keep breaking in it’s original form under any long period of stress (given the cost of the kit, it’s scandalous that it isn’t already reinforced with metal), so I might as well make it more robust myself. Once it’s on, while it doesn’t make any difference to the play experience itself, it’s nice not to have to worry so much about how hard you’re stomping it, particularly as I’m starting to play on Hard now which is bringing in some rapid-fire kick pedal action in places. The main thing is that it totally eliminates the rather disconcerting ‘flex’ in the pedal if you pressed it between the hinge and the spring - this pedal ain’t for bending now.
So, I’m very happy with these mods - it’s yet more money down the throat of the ravenous Rock Band monster, but it’s so much gosh darned fun I really can’t hate it for it 😀