How to Calibrate Lag in Guitar Hero

One of the more important and overlooked options in Guitar Hero is the audio/video delay time calibration feature. In Guitar Hero terminology, this feature is known as Calibrate Lag.

By calibrating the lag times, you can achieve perfect synchronization between the music, the on-screen action, and your playing. Particularly if you’re using any digital audio or TV equipment, you need to calibrate the time delays before you can really rock.

Guitar Hero lets you calibrate lag before you even play a note in the game. From the main Guitar Hero screen, choose Options-->Calibrate Lag, select Calibrate, and then follow the instructions.

For many people, though, this feature isn’t sensitive enough to get that perfect timing. It takes a little more time, but you can find a more perfect lag calibration while you play.

1

From the main screen, select Quickplay-->Single.

Your axe should be strapped on and ready to go.

2

Pick an easy song with a strong beat and select Beginner mode.

Don’t do this from practice mode; the lag calibrations in practice mode don’t seem to work right, at least on the Wii system. And stick with Beginner — for the time being; you’re a roadie and not a rock star.

3

Play the song for a while, until you get the rhythm in your head. Then hit the "+" key.

This pauses the play and gives you a list of menu items.

4

Choose Options-->Calibrate lag.

The submenu that appears lets you adjust the lag time up or down in milliseconds (ms), or thousandths of a second.

5

Increase the audio delay by 20 ms.

Resist the temptation to try to adjust the audio and video lag times simultaneously. It’s just too easy to get confused.

6

Exit calibration mode (red button) and play the song again.

When you get the rhythm, close your eyes and keep strumming with the beat.

Don’t worry about the bridge and solo passages; wait for the main theme to return and pick it up again. Close your eyes and strum. If you’re still missing notes, then your audio timing is off.

7

If you’re missing notes, repeat Steps 3 through 6 until you have the audio delay just right.

You’re gradually increasing the lag time until you find that sweet spot. After you get the audio lag down, move on to the video lag.

8

Turn down the volume and try to play the song just by looking at the purple strum lines.

Your guitar will tell you when you’re missing notes.

9

If you’re missing notes, hit the pause button, increase the video delay by 10 ms, and try again.

Use a smaller increment to adjust the video lag time.

10

Repeat step 9 until you’ve found the right video delay settings.

When you get it right, the flames should be coming on exactly in time with your strumming (which will be exactly in time with the beat because you’ve already nailed the audio timing).

11

Try out the new calibration in the song.

If all went well, your strumming should perfectly align with both the audio and video.

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