The Real Tone Cable is a fundamental part of playing Rocksmith, and it can be very frustrating when something goes wrong with it.
Luckily, problems with this hardware are usually easy to diagnose and have some simple solutions.
In this guide, we will walk through some common fixes with the cable and get you playing again!
The issues commonly associated with the real tone cable can be broken down into two categories: No audio and Latency.
Having no audio is mostly self-explanatory; your guitar is plugged in, but it’s not making any noise.
This issue can also include intermittent audio that cuts out, or a very low volume signal.
Latency occurs when you play a note on the guitar and there is a small delay when you hear the note in-game.
This can be a very frustrating issue, as it can easily throw off your timing while playing or otherwise make the game experience very difficult.
With these main problems identified, we can address some easy fixes for both of the described issues.
One of these solutions is likely to get you back to playing.
Often times when you are not getting any audio in Rocksmith, it comes down to the Real Tone cable or your device not interfacing with it.
Though it might seem obvious, it’s easy to completely forget that the volume knob on our guitar or bass is turned down.
So before moving on to the next steps make sure all your knobs are turned up.
Check your volume knob when you plug in your guitar.
The next step in addressing the audio issue is to calibrate your guitar within the game itself.
The calibration setting can be found in the Tuner menu when you’re playing a song.
Once there, follow the in-game directions to calibrate your guitar. When calibrating, once the game asks you to mute the strings after playing, mute them with your hand and immediately release them.
Otherwise, you may be setting the noise floor too low, and you’ll get unwanted noise and other issues.
Sometimes the game has trouble recognizing the Real Tone cable in the console or the computer’s USB ports.
Switching the cable to another available USB port can help with this issue.
If swapping ports does not work, try unplugging the cable and then restarting the game or console, then plugging the cable back in.
You can also check the USB device volume on a PC or Mac. One hundred percent USB volume may be too high for the game to receive, so try reducing it to seventy-five or fifty.
This fix can also help if your cable is transmitting audio, but is also very noisy.
Dust and other detritus can sometimes accumulate on the contacts of the Real Tone table.
Cleaning the contacts on the USB connector with a blast of air from your lungs or a can of compressed air can help.
You can also clean the second connector in the cable, which you can find a few inches up from the USB side of the cable.
Disconnect the two halves and clean each side of the connector in the same way as the USB.
Now reconnect the secondary connector and plug the Real Tone cable back into your console or computer.
This option is only for PC or Mac users.
Reinstalling the USB drivers on your computer can sometimes help reset the Real Tone cable and get it to start transmitting audio again.
Find the Real Tone cable driver in the computer’s device settings and uninstall it.
When you plug the cable back in, you should be able to reinstall the drivers automatically.
Latency with Rocksmith usually comes down to the HDMI cable or another cause of interference to your display and speakers.
Thankfully, we can use a few methods to circumvent these latency issues.
Like we did for the audio fix, calibration can also help with latency.
The calibration setting can be found in the tuner menu while playing a song. Once there, follow the in-game directions to calibrate your guitar.
When calibrating, once the game asks you to mute the strings after playing, make sure you mute them with your hand and immediately release them.
Otherwise, you may set the noise floor too low and get unwanted noise and other issues.
Here’s a handy calibration checklist for you to use as a guide:
Most current TVs and monitors have different presets for different audio settings.
If your device has an audio preset for Games or a “Game Mode” make sure you select it.
This can often reduce latency to the device’s speakers and remove any delay you might hear while playing.
A pair of headphones can help with latency and improve your sound quality.
We recommend plugging a good pair of headphones into the headphone jack on your controller.
4 Types Of Audio Compressors & When To Use Each Of Them
This way you will be getting audio directly from the console and you can avoid latency between the console and TV speakers.
Make sure the game audio is turned up in your settings.
Like the headphone fix, we can also bypass the audio latency in the HDMI with external speakers.
If your console or computer has an audio out, connect this to a set of external speakers like a home stereo system.
Note that most modern consoles will have a digital audio output, so you need a more specialized cable like TOSlink to connect your console to the speakers.
If you don’t have an external speaker system, but you do have a guitar amplifier, it could help with latency issues.
You will need an AB/Y pedal for this fix. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. The Donner ABY Box will do just fine.
Connect your guitar to the input of the AB/Y box with a regular quarter-inch instrument cable.
Connect the A or B output of the box to your amp with another regular instrument cable.
Finally, connect the other output to the Real Tone cable and plug the Real Tone cable into your console or computer.
Ensure the AB/Y pedal is set to output both the A and B outputs via the foot switch.
Hopefully, these fixes solve your audio and latency issues and get you back to playing.
Lastly, we have a few other tips to keep in mind for good audio and connectivity while playing.
Humbucker pickups tend to work better with the Real Tone cable, so if you have a guitar equipped with them it will probably provide the smoothest experience.
If you don’t have a guitar with humbuckers, playing in a switch position between two single coils (i.e. position 2 or 4 on a Strat) will also work nicely.
It is worth mentioning that the standard Real Tone cable will work with most consoles and computers.
Regardless of which version of the game you bought, you can still use the cable on a different device.
Some third-party Real Tone cable alternatives are readily available and will likely work on most devices.
Finally, if you have tried all of these fixes and you are still having audio or latency issues, it might be time to replace your Real Tone cable.
Luckily, official Real Tone cables are still available on Amazon and similar sites.
As mentioned before, third-party cables work, but your mileage may vary.
It’s also a good idea to pick up an extra cable so you can play two-player with a friend!