Guitar Hero III For Wii Is Mono?

Dissatisfied customers who bought Guitar Hero III for the Wii are claiming that the game is in mono and doesn’t work properly on their surround sound systems.

Reader John writes:

Would it be possible for you guys to cover the Guitar Hero 3 for Wii sound issue? Activision and Red Octane so far have not and will not acknowledge that there is a problem with the sound for the Wii version of the game(which they should have made a press release that they were going to fix this once it was known there was a problem). When you contact support they just tell you to set up your receiver correctly which is wrong. The sound when set correctly to Dolby Pro Logic only comes out of the center speaker when it should come out of all speakers. Furthermore, a user has proved that the sound coming from the game is not even stereo sound, it’s Mono. This is absurd for a game that is completely based off of sound.

John pointed us to a thread where one user is comparing the sound waves coming from the game to show that, with the exception of a few sound samples, the game is in mono.

Seems like the sort of thing that should have been disclosed on the box, no?

Guitar Hero III audio issues (thread)
No surround sound? (thread) [Guitar Hero]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jeffeb3 says:

    You know what else is in mono? An actual guitar!

  2. cablemonkey says:

    Shh! No confusing the issue with facts! These people are angry! And must rant!

  3. C2D says:

    What’s a Wii?

    I’m still playing my LameCube.

  4. Adam Hyland says:

    that’s pretty bogus.

    As for the two comments above me, of course the guitar is mono, but the band comes out in stereo (or should).

  5. davebg5 says:

    Disclosed on the box? It’s my understanding that the box states that it supports Dolby Pro Logic.

    This is a bug and a pretty big one at that. Normally such issues in next gen games are resolved via a downloadable patch. However, the lack of significant space to store such a patch on the Wii may complicate such matters.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no idea how large such a patch would be or how much of the Wii’s internal memory it would take up, but I’m reasonably certain that it would be larger than that copy of Techmo Bowl that I downloaded from Virtual console.

  6. Buford T. Justice says:

    Uh, that would be Tecmo Bowl.

  7. mgyqmb says:

    @jeffeb3: Yes, but we’re not talking actual guitars here. Using your logic, everything is mono.

    The problem is that the game is a virtual ‘simulation’ of a band performing. An appropriate simulation would be (at least) in stereo, to faithfully replicate the different positions of each instrument on stage. The way it is now in GHIII is akin to the entire band sharing one amplifier.

    Maybe I’m off base, but I see the point of the fuss.

  8. Falconfire says:

    @davebg5: Not likely, patches tend to be very small things. Patches for Socom on the PS2 where stored on the memory cards, and those where much larger than this patch likely is, if it is in fact a bug.

    If its not though, and the game was mistakenly developed with mono-sound, there could be a VERY big problem.

    And to put some understanding to this, the game outputs mono to the guitar (which is using the wii-mote speaker to simulate the sounds coming from the guitar), but stereo to the band. It would seem, the game is outputting EVERYTHING mono, both the guitar and the TV sound.

  9. DeeJayQueue says:

    @mgyqmb: Yeah, you’ve got it right there. Even stereo is weaksauce compared to how a real band would sound on stage, but given that most recordings are in stereo, and that’s what they’re working with, it’s acceptable.

    The other rant is that for a game on a “next gen” system that, while Nintendo never really touted the hardware’s capabilities as compared to the PS3 or 360, should at least keep up with this century’s advances in technology. Mono is for Victrolas and AM radio. Not “Next Gen” gaming consoles.

  10. bookling says:

    It sure hasn’t affected my gameplay yet. My boyfriend and I played GH3 on the Wii for about two days straight after it came out and didn’t notice anything wrong with the sound. And if it’s not noticeable, who cares?

  11. savvy999 says:

    @jeffeb3: LOL Outstanding!

  12. kc2idf says:

    Even gearing towards Pro-Logic II is weak. Why aren’t they gearing towards AC3 or DTS, you know, real surround sound?

    Maybe I’m asking too much, seeing as they clearly can’t even handle stereo.

  13. Shadowman615 says:

    Whether mono or stereo is realistic or whatever is not the issue here. The sound should at least be comparable to the way it is on other consoles. If it’s surround sound on the PS2 and Xbox 360, the Wii is surround-sound capable, and the game is the same price, it probably should be in surround sound on the Wii also.

  14. quiksilver says:

    waa. So change your surround sound settings… if you have a decent receiver, it should be an easy fix.

  15. Sportyboard says:

    The e-mail is slightly misleading. Activision has admitted there is a problem, but they don’t have a time-frame for fixing it yet. I imagine CSRs not acknowledging the issue is more of a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

  16. redragon104 says:

    While the game should be in stereo, the fact that it is in mono hasn’t affected me at all. In fact I bet that most people wouldn’t have noticed or cared unless someone else pointed it out. Notice how they had to use spectral image to convince people this was actually happening. Was anyone expecting amazing sound quality from this game anyway? Buy the real music if you want to listen to it. Then you won’t get those screeching noises every time you mess up a note.

  17. enm4r says:

    @quiksilver180: This makes no sense. Your receiver can’t turn mono into stereo. Sure, you can set it to play out of L/R channels, but it’s still mono. This is not a case of user error.

  18. conformco says:

    Wonder how much it would cost for them to send replacement discs to all GH3 Wii owners?

  19. XTC46 says:

    @conformco: probably a dollar per disc + shipping

  20. davebg5 says:

    @redragon104: According to recent surveys of people who owned PS3s and 360s the vast majority of people either didn’t know that their next gen system was capable of displaying in HD or they thought they were displaying in HD when they really weren’t.

    Does the fact that the gereral public is unaware of what their gaming system can do mean that I shouldn’t be pissed if my PS3 didn’t display in HD? Of coruse not. Same thing for Guitar Hero III on the Wii not supporting stereo, let alone surround sound.

  21. wring says:


  22. louisb3 says:

    @wring: Perhaps you’re in the wrong place. This is the Internet.

  23. kpfeif says:

    I have the game and frankly I don’t care. It’s a fun game with our without surround. Kudos to whoever cut on Pro Logic above…DP II is simply a matrixed surround sound and can never get near what a discrete delivery system can provide.

    The Wii is NOT capable of discrete surround – just the phony matrixed surround that DP II does. If you want true digital surround, time to buy some other console.

    Me? I still don’t care.

  24. opfreak says:

    Wii users are generally non-caring people: poor graphics: we dont care. Poor sound: we dont care. Most games = bad mini games = we dont care.

  25. Daveed says:

    I’ll just wait till they get this worked out.

  26. MYarms says:

    What do you expect from the company that makes kiddie games? And how many kids and grandparents do you think actually own and know how to use a surround sound system? Buy an Xbox or quit complaining.

  27. FLConsumer says:

    None of you play guitar in a real band, do you? If you do, and you’re on-stage, you’ll have either a floor-mounted monitor speaker or in-ear monitors.. BOTH are mono! Imagine that. Yes, that’s the way it works in the real world kiddies, even on the megatours.

  28. jeg18 says:

    “The Wii is NOT capable of discrete surround – just the phony matrixed surround that DP II does. If you want true digital surround, time to buy some other console.

    Me? I still don’t care.”

    “You know what else is in mono? An actual guitar!”

    “While the game should be in stereo, the fact that it is in mono hasn’t affected me at all.”

    But your ability to detect whether or not the sound is played in mono is not the issue here, is it? Stop derailing the real crux of the matter here.

    “Whether mono or stereo is realistic or whatever is not the issue here. The sound should at least be comparable to the way it is on other consoles.”

    You’re close, but still off-base as to what the real issue is.

    I think DAVEBG5 hits the nail on the head. If, in fact, the sound is in mono, this situation is more analogous to the situation where the person who bought a hard drive from Best Buy but found bricks in the box. In both instances, what was advertised by the merchant was not the actual product purchased.

    In this case, Activision (the publisher) and Red Octane (the developer) have advertised and offered for sale a game for the Nintendo Wii that supports a specific sound type. The game offered is Guitar Hero 3. The specific sound type is Dolby Pro Logic II. A consumer would reasonably expect, upon viewing the offering, that the consumer is purchasing Guitar Hero 3 with Dolby Pro Logic II sound. However, that is simply not the case.

    This is a situation of misleading the consumer, at best, and simply false advertising, at worst. Whether a person can detect the difference in sound, whether the Wii is a comparable game system to the 360 or PS3, whether the Wii version includes the Les Paul guitar, etc., are simply distractions. The point is that Activision, and possibly Red Octane, have knowingly or unknowingly, have offered a product to the public for purchase based on false pretenses.

  29. BigNutty says:

    Quit knocking the greatest guitar game ever.
    Worry about hitting the right notes.
    If Slash promotes and plays it, it’s perfect

  30. Bladefist says:

    i hate the people who knock on this and say “play a real guitar” or are comparing it to a real guitar. I have a real guitar, and guitar hero. One is a music instrument the other is a video game. One I play pure crap, the other I can drink beers and play ACDC. I dont think people play this game because they think it makes them good at real guitars. They play this game cuz its fun. Relax. Real games should be in stereo.

  31. floydianslip6 says:

    @BigNutty: Hehehe you know what “slash” means right?

    Yeah The game is definitely fun I play both a real guitar and this when I’m at someone’s place who has it. It’s sad though that some people play this obsessively that might get more out of dividing time with a real instrument.

    I’m growing weary of the multitude of games that realistically simulate perfectly attainable activities.

  32. RotBot says:

    @kpfeif: Yes, the Wii uses phony matrixed surround sound. The box of the game states that it supports said phony matrixed surround sound. The game does not (nor does it support stereo). Do you not see a problem here?

    I own the game for the Wii, too. I noticed that the sound was coming out of only the center speaker immediately. So I turned off Pro Logic, played the game and enjoyed it. I can also enjoy watching a movie on a 20 inch TV with a single speaker, too. However, this does not preclude me from enjoying it more on a 42 inch HDTV and Dolby Digital sound system.

    I’ve been following this since the game launched, so I’ll add a few details:
    Activision has acknowledged in its support tickets that Dolby Pro Logic II mode doesn’t work. However, they are still advising people to switch their Wiis to stereo mode, even though that doesn’t help. Support tickets for individual customers have been the only place Activision has acknowledged the issue. Activision has not released a public statement, nor has it added this to the frequently asked support questions for Guitar Hero III on the Wii.

    Intro movies, crowd sounds, and multiplayer battles are the only place where any stereo can be heard. The actual songs themselves are in mono. The songs in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are mixed in stereo, just as they would be if you were listening to them on the original album.

  33. woodenturkey says:


    You sir are a tard, Nintendo did not make the game.

  34. mexifelio says:

    Guitar Hero III? I’m still trying to pass the Cave of Ordeals in Zelda Twilight (and yes, I did beat the game).

  35. Spotpuff says:

    I noticed this issue immediately when playing the game as well. It’s disappointing to say the least. I still enjoy the game but knowing that there is probably a simple fix for this and that Activision/Red Octane refuses to acknowledge the problem irks me.

  36. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    But the big question is…does Heroin hero come in Stereo? I wanna chase the dragon in stereo.

  37. FezMan88 says:

    it’s a game…

    no reason to fret (lol, fret – guitars… sorry)

    It’s not based off of sound, its based off of beat to finger matching. As long as you can hear the game, you should be fine.

  38. bob9 says:


    Not really… depends on what type of amp you use…

  39. navstar says:

    The box clearly shows the Dolby Pro Logic II logo. The sound is not. If I were Dolby, I’d be PO’d that a company is soiling their good name.

  40. ry81984 says:

    Last time I checked if you went to a concert the speakers would be mono.

    So it being in mono makes it realistic.

  41. FLConsumer says:

    @ry81984: That is correct. I’ve worked with many of the large touring acts and 99% of them run a mono rig. The exception: Pink Floyd with their awesome Turbosound rig. I believe they run a 4-channel setup but haven’t worked that one personally. Just about every arena in existence also runs mono.

  42. bubbaprog says:

    This issue notwithstanding, I wasn’t aware the Wii didn’t even DO real surround.

    Original Xbox (2001): Full 5.1 Dolby Digital support
    Wii (2006): 2-channel output only (matrixed Pro Logic support)

    Original Xbox (2001): Full 1080i HD support
    Wii (2006): No HD support, 480p maximum resolution

    I realize the Wii isn’t supposed to be an advanced platform, but is it too much to ask Nintendo to at least be five years behind the curve?

  43. uricmu says:

    One of the suckiest things about the Wii is that it is stereo rather than 5.1… I understand no HD (bigger GFX which produces more heat). But sound? Jesus christ.

  44. Xkeeper says:

    @jeg18: All the other fucking comments on this page should be deleted except this one.

    Because 99% of the rest of them are “let’s just bash the console” and yours sums up the other ones just fine.

  45. rdmorris says:

    I have been on the road for a couple of years now, and I recall very few mono systems. Mostly stereo and a few LCR. Also floor monitors are mono, but you can have stereo ears.

    But to the point, they said it had something it doesn’t. What else needs to be said.

  46. PDX909 says:

    Ok, let me just check something here…. yep, just as I thought, I don’t give a rats ass about this.

  47. sofaking812 says:

    Sorry for the comment abuse, but I want to spread the word about Activision’s eff up as much as possible.

    I created a Facebook group designed to get the word out about ALL of GH3’s problems and hopefully pressure Activision into fixing the problems in a timely manner, if at all.

    Here is the link:

    Hope some people are interested, thanks.

  48. sofaking812 says:

    Link to GH3 problems Facebook group:

    Sorry for the comment abuse, but those interested need to get the word out!

  49. Smd75 says:

    Some of you people are pretty stupid. Why do you need to comment when you dont care, DONT COMMENT (ie, PDx909, wring, and jeffeb3.

    The issue is the game is sold claiming to be to be a certain way, Dolby Digital Logic sound. That means Surround sound SHOULD work. It works in Metroid Prime, Mario Super Strikers, Wii Sports even. Maybe its not true surround, but at at least the audio will come out of more than one channel.

    When you are playing guitar hero, you can hear the main guitar, vocals, and drums. What you cant hear is a second guitar or bass when you are playing against other people or with other people. If the other person messes up, you have a good chance of not hearing it.

    To correct something else, The only sounds the wiimote makes is when you messup. It clearly makes a horrendous noise to say YOU SCREWED UP. It does not play the actual song through the wiimote.
    Yes, speakers are mono, but when you put them in combination, they create stero sound. And that isnt happening, even though it is advertised to do so.

    Ya Know…For a bunch of people who complain about not getting the right products or services, I expect sympathy on this issue. NO a bunch of you are saying “OH THE WII SUCKS or GUITARS ARE MONO, ITs NOT ABOUT THE SOUND” Come one people wtf, This is a Music Game, sound is slightly important.

  50. morsteen says:

    Lots of people run a stereo amplifier to speaker setup on their rigs. Seems like the main point is it’s SUPPOSED to be offered in stereo. If you have no idea as to the difference or not is another thing. If you suddenly found out that you were missing a part on your car that you didn’t even know existed but helped out a little bit and was supposed to be included wouldn’t you like…want it!? HAHA damn. Stereo is important on recordings, it should be in stereo even if you don’t notice it. It’s not our fault you’re ears aren’t keen to hearing things in stereo.

  51. CapitalC says:

    Mono… d’oh!