Bill Pendry wanted to use his PlayStation 3 Rock Band controllers with GarageBand on the Mac, so he’s posted step-by-step instructions to do just that. The secret formula: a wonderful utility that helps you use HID-compatible game controllers on the Mac, sans drivers.

GamePad Companion (US$15 shareware)

Of course, the nice thing here is that the basic steps apply to other controllers, just in case Rock Band doesn’t float your boat (or rock your socks, or whatever).

I ended up choosing kick, snare, two toms and one cymbal, since the other cymbal I wanted was in a inactive area of the keyboard. I re-mapped the keys in GPC, switched back to GB and gave it a try. Success! Samples were triggered correctly, the fast key repeat rate didn’t cause any problems, and latency was basically nil.

The results:

And step by step instructions:
GarageRockBand [ blog]

More good news: Bill has updated the post with information on Xbox 360 controller possibilities. Generic Xbox controllers work just find via the Wireless Gaming Receiver. No word yet on the Rock Band controllers, though, and I think they do a little more than the standard controllers. Anyone got an Xbox 360 and a Mac who can tell us if it works?

Game Day: Use Rock Band Drums as MIDI Controller – Windows, Yes, Mac, Soon? (and I guess we got our answer!)

  • XBox Rockband Strat controller plugged into my MacBook shows up in System Profiler as:

    Harmonix Guitar for Xbox 360:

    Version: 1.03

    Bus Power (mA): 500

    Speed: Up to 12 Mb/sec

    Manufacturer: Harmonix Music

    Product ID: 0x0002

    Serial Number: 006B0712

    Vendor ID: 0x1bad

    Howdja like that VendorId? hehe

    GamePad Controller, however, does not appear to recognize it.

    OK, dammit, how do I read this thing, and turn it into MIDI??? How???

  • You've installed the XBox 360 Controller Driver for Mac OS X?

  • Pingback: kprrt » How to Use Rock Band Controllers (And More) with GarageBand, Mac()

  • hrrm, can't see the Xbox version with Connect360 either.

  • Martin

    Let me guess…The controlers isn´t velocity sensitive? If they are, i´ll buy one of those drum kits tonight! (Never mind the stores are closed! I´ll break in :D)

  • Codeflex

    I have an Intel Mac running Leopard, and an Xbox360 version of Rockband. So far, Gamepad Companion doesnt recognize it, and neither does the Xbox 360 controllers driver. Anyone know of anything yet? I'm dying to use the drums in garageband

  • Patrick

    I have 10.4.11 OS X and the Microsoft drums, they're recognized in System Profiler, but Game Companion doesn't recognize them. Looks like Microsoft will do anything to keep their products from working on Macs (See: Microsoft Zune)


    Can anyone give us an update on this?

    I just sent in my xbox 360 for repair (ROD)

    now i want to give this a try.

    I have an 10.4.11 OS with intel Imac

  • matt

    I just googled it today and found a youtube site that showed new downloads for mac. I downloaded a driver for mac that shows, and responds to, my xbox 360 rockband drums in system preferences. However, I don't know how to make Battery or Live find the midi interface.

    Any help yet??


  • Aleksi

    XBox 360 Rock Band (at least Rock Band 1) drums can be used with Logic (or propably with others too( using with couple of apps.

    First the driver what is needed so mac will detect XBox 360 game controller.

    Secondly I use junXion what can detect that USB device and can convert its data to MIDI. 

    Third, the Logic/GarageBand/whatever. So, the key app is junXion&nbsp ;

  • You Sir/Madam are the enemy of confusion eyverwhere!

  • Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho

    Doesn’t work.
    The controller driver is broken and gamepad companion is useless.

  • Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho

    Doesn’t work.
    The controller driver is broken and gamepad companion is useless.

  • Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho

    Doesn’t work.
    The controller driver is broken and gamepad companion is useless.