Do You Need a Real Tone Cable to Play Rocksmith?
Guitar Hero has undoubtedly inspired tons of people to take up the guitar, but unfortunately, the popular video game isn’t going to make anybody a better player. There is another video game, however, that might just help your guitar skills improve, and that game is Rocksmith.
Playing Rocksmith can be a ton of fun for players of all standards, but the technology and the user experience could definitely be better. In this KillerGuitarRigs review, we’ll look at the controversial Real Tone cables that are required to play Rocksmith, and look at alternatives that we can use to play without a Real Tone Cable.
- Do You Need a Real Tone Cable to Play Rocksmith?
- What are Real Tone Cables?
- Why Should You Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable?
- Ways to Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable
- Final Thoughts on Real Tone Cables and Their Alternatives
What are Real Tone Cables?
Real Tone cables are cables that are “required” to play the Ubisoft Rocksmith 2014 game. For those who haven’t played Rocksmith 2014, you simply use the Real Tone cable to plug your electric or acoustic guitar into Xbox, Playstation, or even PC to play the game. Electric guitars can be plugged straight into the device, while acoustic guitars will require a pickup to plug into the game.
Real Tone cables are quite simple, and they are not much different from a regular guitar cable. While a regular guitar cable has a standard ¼ inch jack for both output and input, a Real Tone Cable has a standard ¼ inch jack on one side and a USB cable on another side.
Why Should You Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable?
As mentioned above, a Real Tone Cable is a pretty simple device that is just a ¼’’-to-USB cable that serves as the connector between Rocksmith and your guitar. Unfortunately, Real Tone cables can be quite problematic and are known for issues with latency, connectivity, and build quality, not to mention the high prices.
One of the main issues with the Real Tone Cable is its price. Real Tone Cables cost around $30 or higher, and are too expensive for how simple they are. It is possible to get a better quality cable at a lower price.
Latency is a delay between your input and the playback of that note through the system. This is a problem that can arise whenever you plug your guitar into a digital device, and we know from our own experience that it can be an extremely frustrating experience when what you play and what you hear don’t match.
Latency is a common problem that many Rocksmith users face when using a Real Tone Cable. This might happen for every single user, but if you’re very sensitive to slight latency when you’re playing Rocksmith, getting an alternative cable is probably a good idea.
When we tested Rocksmith with a Real Tone Cable, sometimes the computer’s USB slot didn’t recognize the device at all. It was a frustrating experience, but as the computer only recognized the cable on certain USB slots we quickly realized the issue was with the cable and not the computer.
We didn’t face this issue when using XBox, but the Real Tone cable seemed to have some difficulty connecting to Mac and PC. So, if you’re planning to use Rocksmith on your Mac or PC, we recommend that you look into getting a more reliable guitar to USB cable.
Poor Build Quality
Real Tone cables are known to break easily and often break down within 6 months, with heavy users needing to replace theirs even more frequently.
Considering there are better options available that will last longer, it’s not ideal having to spend $30 every couple of months for a Real Tone Cable.
For these reasons, you are much better off getting a guitar to USB cable from a different company with better quality at an even cheaper price.
Ways to Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable
Using another guitar to USB cable
The easiest way to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone cable is just to get another guitar to a USB cable. Real Tone cable is marketed as a unique cable that is irreplaceable, but there are some viable aftermarket solutions.
YESPURE USB Guitar Cable
If you want a cheap and reliable guitar to USB cable, the YESPURE USB Guitar Cable is a great option, and it typically retails below $15.
The most obvious downside to this option is that it isn’t plug and play, but fortunately all you need to do to get it up and running is to download “Nocablelauncher” (in order to use this cable with Rocksmith). It works well with a Mac or a PC, and it’ll be a great replacement for your Real Tone cable.
Roland RCC-10-US14 Black Series
If you want a high-quality guitar-to USB cable that will last you for a long time, the Roland RCC-10-US14 Black Series is a fantastic option. It’s one of the best made options on the market and works well with Rocksmith. It’s a bit more expensive than a Real Tone, but it won’t need frequent replacements.
Behringer Guitar2USB cable
The Behringer Guitar2USB cable is another excellent high quality cord for connecting your guitar to Rocksmith. It’s not quite as well made as the Roland, but we still found it to be superior to the Real Tone, and it costs less.
Using an audio interface to play Rocksmith is another great way to replace your Real Tone cable. Additionally, an audio interface has the benefit of being able to be used for its primary purpose, which is recording, too.
To use an audio interface for playing Rocksmith, you will have to switch the game to Microphone Mode on your computer.
Note, this method will only work for PC or Mac, and getting an audio interface will cost you a minimum of around $100. The most popular options for cheap audio interfaces are the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface, and the IK Multimedia iRig HD 2.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
IK Multimedia iRig HD 2
Acoustic Guitar with a Microphone
Another easy way to play without a Real Tone cable is to just use an acoustic guitar and use the Microphone Mode in Rocksmith.
This method will only work if you’re an acoustic guitar player and don’t need to play electric guitar. The Microphone Mode in Rocksmith allows you to use an external microphone to play Rocksmith, and this is a great way for acoustic guitarists to practice without a Real Tone cable.
For this method, we recommend that you get a USB microphone like Blue Yeti USB Microphone, or the SHURE MV5.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Playing in Disconnected Mode
Finally, probably the simplest method of them all, is just to play in Disconnected Mode. When you use Disconnected Mode, the game won’t be able to detect your playing and match it with the screen. Instead, you’re just following along the screen and playing along with your guitar.
If you’re someone that just wants to use Rocksmith as a way to practice guitar instead of playing it as a game, Disconnected Mode is a simple way to practice using Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable. For the full game experience, this method is not recommended.
Final Thoughts on Real Tone Cables and Their Alternatives
Real Tone cables are often overpriced, and their latency, connectivity issues, and poor build quality tend to cause more frustration than you’re likely to want to deal with.
Purchasing an alternative guitar to USB cable online is the easiest way to replace a Real Tone cable and find a long-lasting, and reliable solution, but using an audio interface, playing acoustically with the Microphone mode, or playing in Disconnected Mode are other easy ways to play the game without needing a Real Tone Cable.