Pedal Guide

Foot skills are undoubtedly a key part of learning how to drum. As a VR drumming application trying to be as flexible as possible, Paradiddle offers multiple ways of bringing your feet into the app. There are currently 5 major ways you can do this:  USB Pedals (or any USB peripheral capable of emulating keyboard input), Rock Band Pedals, E-Drum (Electronic Drum) Pedals, Vive Trackers and Driving Pedals. You can find an overview of each pedal type below, along with a discussion of pros and cons, price, with links to examples. Note: Keep in mind that pedals aren’t a requirement whatsoever to use and enjoy Paradiddle, since the buttons on your controller can be mapped freely to do all the actions that your pedals can.

  • USB Pedals

     

    Cheap pedals that emulate a key press, typically used as a switch for functions such as push-to-talk in games.

    Instructions: The USB pedal should come with software to remap what key is triggered when the pedal is pressed. If it doesn’t, you should be able to download it online by just looking up the name of your pedals.
    You can set your pedal to trigger either a Space Bar or Ctrl press to connect it to Paradiddle. By default, Space Bar will trigger the kick, while Ctrl will control the hi-hat in the app, but you can change this mapping in the Controls tab in the in-app menu.
    Note: A few users have had issues getting the key mapping software that comes with the pedal to properly work, feel free to join the Paradiddle Discord if you run into any issues or want some solutions to problems that have come up in the past.

    Price: $15-25

    Pros:

    • Low price
    • Plug and play after initial setup
    • Possible to make your own custom pedals, like this

     

    Cons:

    • Single velocity
    • Pedals might feel flimsy / unrealistic compared to real drum pedals

     

    Examples: 

  • Rock Band Pedals

     

    Instructions: There are two ways of connecting a Rock Band pedal to Paradiddle:

    1. Through USB: This method requires you to connect the pedal to your PC via USB, by connecting your Rock Band kit. You might need to get the USB breakaway cable in addition if the kit doesn’t already have one. Once your kit is connected and the drivers properly installed, it’ll work like a regular controller, and the kick pedal will trigger the kick in Paradiddle by default. If you’d like to use the pedal to control the hi-hat instead, you can change this in the Controls menu under Options, where it says “USB Input” under Rock Band Pedal.
    2. Through the microphone jack: This method doesn’t require any additional hardware except for the pedal itself, so you won’t need to have a Rock Band kit/controller or the USB breakaway cable. To configure it, go to Controls and click “Mic Input” under Rock Band Pedals. This will bring up a list of your audio input devices. Select the microphone jack that your Rock Band pedal is connected to, and then select the action you want it to trigger. Note: The microphone jack selection currently isn’t saved and loaded automatically across sessions, so you’ll have to re-do it when you start Paradiddle. This will be added in the next update, sorry about the inconvenience in the meantime!

     

    Troubleshooting: If your Rock Band pedal doesn’t seem to work upon following these instructions, or you find yourself triggering accidental or missing hits while pressing on the pedal, here are some things to try.  Open up your sound settings, select the microphone jack that the pedal is plugged into in the Input section, and open Device Properties. Under the Levels tab, make sure your microphone level is set to 100. You can also play with the microphone boost level if just changing the microphone levels alone don’t seem to help. If you’re having issues with too many accidental hits being triggered from pedal presses, you might want to lower the microphone or boost level.

    Price: USB Method: $60 – $100 Mic Jack Method: $25 – 45 (Note: Especially for Rock Band pedals, you might be able to find all the hardware for much cheaper through other sources like eBay)

    Pros:

    • Better feel compared to USB pedals
    • Relatively low cost if connected through mic jack
    • Plug and play through USB. (The mic jack method requires a very quick setup in VR.)

     

    Cons:

    • Triggers only a single velocity
    • USB method requires additional cables and controller/drum kit
    • Takes up a mic jack without USB

     

    Examples: 

    USB Method:

     

    Mic Jack Method:

     

    Future Roadmap:

    • Autosave/load of the microphone jack selection
    • Support for pedals connected through multiple microphone jacks

  • E-Drum Pedals

     

    Instructions: E-drum (electronic drum) pedals can be connected to Paradiddle via MIDI. The pedal needs to be connected to some sort of drum module that converts its signals into messages, and the drum module is then connected to a PC via USB. Here are the steps you need to follow to make sure you can receive the relevant MIDI messages in Paradiddle:

    • Launch Paradiddle and go to the Options tab. Under MIDI, select your MIDI Input device to be your drum module.
    • Now Paradiddle will be listening to MIDI input, but we need to set up the kick drum or hi-hat pedal to accept MIDI messages. Let’s say we want to play the bass drum in Paradiddle using our e-drum kick pedal. Place a bass drum in your scene, click on the button over the drum to expand the drum options. Under the MIDI tab, click on ‘MIDI In Off’ to toggle it to On.
    • That’s it! You should notice that now when you press on your e-drum pedal, the bass drum will play, properly making use of the velocity information as well. If you wanted another type of drum to play when you hit your pedal, you can do this by enabling MIDI in on that drum, as well as setting its MIDI note to be the incoming MIDI note (36 in our example if you’re using an e-drum kick pedal.)

     

    Price: $200+

    Pros:

    • Velocity sensitivity when triggering the kick
    • Realistic feel

     

    Cons:

    • High price

     

    Examples:

  • Vive Trackers

     

    Vive Trackers are supported in Paradiddle as foot or pedal trackers, and they can currently be used to either trigger the kick or control the hi-hat.

    Instructions: Make sure your Vive tracker is connected before you launch the app, as currently Paradiddle can’t detect it if the tracker is connected after the app starts. As long as it’s connected, you should see a little white sphere pop up where your tracker is with some options floating above it. The options are:

    • Kick or Hi-Hat Pedal: Use these to select what functionality you want your tracker to perform. The kick mode currently triggers the kick at one specific velocity, but in further updates I’m hoping to add some velocity sensitivity to this that’s based on how hard the tracker is pressed down.
    • Calibrate: The tracker might just work by default if you’re using it as a foot tracker, but it’s highly recommended to calibrate it on first use. Simply press the Calibrate button, press down on your pedal or your foot down on the ground as the instructions direct you, and pull the trigger to complete your calibration. This value will be automatically saved and loaded, so you won’t have to worry about doing it again each time.
    • Down and Up Threshold: The down threshold determines how close the tracker needs to get to the calibration height before the pedal is triggered. The up threshold is how far it needs to go back up before the pedal is reset to an “up” state. You can also refer to this picture which illustrates how the thresholds work. The thresholds were set to default values where you ideally shouldn’t have to tweak them at all, but you’re free to do so if you want finer control over the tracker movement and how it triggers the kick/hi-hat.
    • Reset Defaults: Resets the tracker mode, threshold values and calibration values to default.

    All of the calibration and threshold values are saved automatically when you exit the app, so no need to worry about re-calibrating or resetting those values! The app also supports as many Vive trackers as can be connected, and will keep track of these values for each tracker.

    Quick note: This feature is still in development and this is just a big first step, so if you have a Vive tracker, I’d really appreciate it if you could test this out and let me know if you have any comments or further suggestions. The UI will most likely be improved further in future releases as well, I just wanted to get an initial usable version out so that people with Vive trackers could finally use them in Paradiddle.

    Price: $99

    Pros:

    • Highly responsive
    • Flexible in terms of usage – can be used to track a foot, or be placed on a pedal/pedal-like object to track that

     

    Cons:

    • Expensive compared to some of the simpler options

     

    Link: https://www.vive.com/us/vive-tracker/

    Future Roadmap: Velocity sensitivity – the triggered kick sample will change based on how hard the foot was pressed down.

  • Driving Pedals

     

    Instructions: Use a keymapping software such as Joy2Key to have your driving pedals emulate key presses. Space Bar will trigger kick by default, while Ctrl will open/close the hi-hat. The actions that the key presses are mapped to can be changed in the Controls menu in Paradiddle.

    Price: $150+

    Pros:

    • Usually comes with its own software, which allows for tuning the sensitivity before a key press is triggered

     

    Cons:

    • No native support within Paradiddle yet, so requires going through another program like Joy2Key

     

    Examples:

  • DIY Pedals

     

    Thanks to the app’s flexibility when it comes to peripheral input, it’s very much possible to create custom or DIY (do-it-yourself) pedals or peripherals that will work with Paradiddle.

    Instructions: There are two main ways of communicating to Paradiddle with a custom peripheral:

    1. Keyboard Input Emulation: If your custom peripheral is able to emulate keyboard input, you can simply have it send a Space or Ctrl press and have it get picked up by Paradiddle without changing anything else. For any other key, you can also rebind the keyboard keys in Paradiddle to use the key that your peripheral uses.
    2. MIDI Input: You can refer to the MIDI Guide, and specifically the Default MIDI Info, MIDI Input, and MIDI Channel Numbering sections to get all the information you need when having your peripheral send MIDI messages to Paradiddle.

     

    Price: Dependent on the parts being used or printed.

    Pros:

    • Can be much cheaper than other options depending on the parts used.
    • Possible to get a better pedal feel or look since it’s custom made for this purpose.
    • The feeling of satisfaction that comes with making something yourself and using it for your drum practice!

     

    Cons:

    • More time consuming than purchasing another pedal option due to assembly, part printing, testing.

     

    Examples: Luckily, some of our very own Paradiddle users were kind enough to share their custom pedal processes with the rest of the community!