Alesis Burst Kit Review
The Alesis Burst Kit is an entry-level electronic drum set with four drum pads, three cymbals and two pedals. The Burst Kit is a level above the Alesis DM Lite, which is a cheaper and lighter drum kit, built with the interests of quick and easy transportation.
The Alesis Burst Kit is more expensive than the DM Lite and usually retails at around $500. Alesis are even generous enough to throw in extra accessories such as headphones, drumsticks, a drum key and a drum throne, making the Burst Kit an ideal purchase for those starting out on the instrument.
The Burst Kit setup includes one snare, three toms, a bass drum, a hi-hat and two other cymbals. This is often a standard is and usually the preferred configuration of most electronic drum manufacturers.
Who Should Buy the Alesis Burst Kit?
This drum set is aimed at beginners to the instrument. It will suit all ages, from the very young to the elderly. The Burst Kit can be adjusted to suit any reach and is equally flexible when it comes to left hand configurations. Each drum and cymbal is attached to the Alesis drum rack. This rack is easy to assemble and solidly built.
Experienced drummers who are in need of a viable practice kit will be interested in the Burst Kit. The rubber pads and free-floating pedals make it a much quieter alternative to an acoustic drum set. You can easily play this kit in built-up areas like apartment blocks, or even in a bedroom of a busy house, without annoying anyone with loud noise.
The Alesis Burst Kit will also suit musicians who need a drum set to create tracks in their home studio. The DM6 module that comes with this drum set can be connected to any Mac or PC for use with a DAW. You can even use the USB port to send your performance as a MIDI signal to the computer. This is extremely useful when used in conjunction with studio software and VSTs such as EZ Drummer and BFD.
Parents who are interested in introducing their son or daughter to the drums will also be interested in the value that the Burst Kit offers. A kit like this is far cheaper than many acoustic alternatives and comes with the added benefit of being extremely quiet. You won’t be risking an obscene amount of money by purchasing the Burst Kit, which will appeal to many people, no doubt.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
The pads that come with the Alesis Burst Kit are plastic with a rubber playing surface. The triggers for sending signals to the drum module are located beneath the rubber drumheads. The triggering on this kit works depending on how hard you strike each drum. You have one snare and three toms. The snare is a 9-inch rubber pad while the toms are each 8 inches in diameter.
Stick response is good from each pad and allows for a healthy bounce. There is a little noise from each pad but nothing major enough to worry about. The 9-inch snare comes with a rim trigger, whereas the toms do not. Each drum can be attached to the Alesis rack and positioned where best to suit your playing style. There are wing nuts under each drum which can be used for tightening the drum into position.
The cymbals consist of three 10-inch circular pads. Just under half of the cymbal surface contains the rubber trigger area. Each pad sits on a cymbal stand and is fastened in place with a wing nut. There is little or no lateral movement when playing on the cymbals which is good to see. Each cymbal is identical in design and has just the one trigger area.
The ride cymbal has no separate bell to play on so the only way to trigger a bell is to play harder on the pad. This can work perfectly well but is one of the ways these entry-level kits are inferior to more expensive models. There are no fancy features such as cymbal chokes or three-zoned playing surfaces.
The hi-hat is made up of the same 10-inch pad that works in conjunction with a freestanding foot controller. The controller is lightweight and just over 1 foot in length. It is portable but will stay in place on most surfaces, such as carpets and drum mats. There can be some slippage when using the pedal on certain shiny wood or tile surfaces.
The pedal reacts to how you press your foot and changes the sound sample to suit. Playing on the hi-hat pad with your foot totally off the pedal triggers the open hi-hat sounds. By gradually pressing down on the pedal with your foot you can change the hi-hat sound from open and sloshy to closed and tight. There isn’t a great deal of subtlety with this hi-hat controller but it’s equal in fidelity to the hi-hat on similar priced kits such as the Yamaha DTX400K.
The crash is another 10-inch cymbal pad and is typically used to trigger crash, splash and china cymbal samples. Flicking through the kits on the module you can hear it being assigned to a wide range of usual and unusual sample sounds.
The bass drum on the Alesis Burst Kit is a freestanding pedal, much like the hi-hat in design. There is no beater with this pedal and it takes up a great deal less room than a standard bass drum pedal. The pedal is connected to the drum module and triggers samples based on how hard you play on it. With beaterless pedals like this one, it can be hard to play certain advanced bass drum techniques such as heel-up and swivel methods. For players that like to play with their heel down on the plate, this pedal works fine. Higher-end electronic kits often come with a separate bass drum pad that you can use in conjunction with your own favorite pedal, but they tend to cost a little more than this kit.
The Alesis Burst Kit sits upon a four-post aluminum rack which is both simple and flexible. There’s no great trouble involved in setting up this rack. It’s relatively straightforward to see where every part should go just by looking at the finished setup. The rack supports every drum and cymbal and allows you to raise or lower them for maximum comfort. There isn’t a great deal of movement in the toms, but the snare sits on a separate pole so it can be rotated easily to suit your own playing style.
This is a more solid rack than some other entry-level kits such as the Alesis DM Lite. It holds up to a solid pounding and shows little signs of wobble or vibration. The drum module on this kit is typically positioned just beside the hi-hat for ease of use within reaching distance.
Included in the Alesis Burst Kit pack is a drum module user guide and an assembly guide, so if you run into any difficulty you can consult them for help. There’s also a safety and warranty manual, a power supply and also a cable snake which neatly houses the connection cables.
The drum module that comes with the Burst Kit is the same module that ships with the Alesis DM6 USB Kit. It’s a nice little module with a very clear and intuitive user interface. There is a large knob on the face of the unit which controls the main volume and a host of control buttons.
The front of the module has a section for pad indicators which show when each drum, cymbal and pedal has been played. You can choose to play with or without a metronome click and changing the volume is done by pressing the plus or minus buttons. There is also a handy ‘drum off’ button which allows you to mute the drums on any of the playalong tracks so as to hear yourself better.
There are 108 sounds built into the DM6 drum module and this amounts to 10 drum kits in total. Selecting each kit is done by navigating through the preset sounds using the plus and minus buttons. You get a selection of acoustic and digital drum kits along with a number of common percussion sounds such as cowbell and tambourine.
The DM6 also has the ability to record your playing. You can do this by selecting the start/stop button to begin and finish recording. This feature is handy for remembering cool drum licks or grooves and can also be used to monitor your overall sound at gigs. Just record a short section of your playing and hop out front to hear how you sound.
This module comes with 40 playalong songs that you can use to jam along to. Songs are composed in a wide range of styles from funk to pop to rock and jazz. By using the tempo setting on the module you can slow down or speed up a track for added variation. You can also remove the drum tracks from each song to really test your ability to stay in time.
The DM6 module has inputs and outputs on the back of the unit. The stereo jack input lets you plug any audio signal through the module. This is useful for playing along with MP3 players and iPods. There is a headphone output which is stereo and will be compatible with most headphones on the market. You also get a stereo output which can be used for connecting to a standalone monitor or band P.A. system.
You can hook up the Burst Kit to your desktop or laptop with the USB port on the back of the DM6 module. The module is compatible with modern DAWs and can send your performances to either Mac or PC for editing, mixing and mastering.
A nice feature of the Alesis Burst Kit is that it allows you to switch up your hi-hat to function as another bass drum. This is great for those who would like to experience double bass drum playing without the heavy investment of a double pedal.
Watch this video to see the DM6 in more detail:
The pros of the Alesis Burst Kit are the price and the quality. This kit is more durable than the earlier DM Lite by Alesis and feels better to play on. The DM6 module that comes with the Burst Kit has a nice selection of quality samples to play with.
An added benefit of the DM6 module is that it is compatible with the Drum Rocker game controller. You can plug your Drum Rocker into the DM6 module and play with the built-in sounds instantly.
Some downsides to the Burst Kit are that it does not feature many of the drum coaching functions that are so popular with many kits in this price category. You still get an adjustable metronome and 40 playalong songs to jam with but Alesis have left out some of the features that come with the cheaper DM Lite drum module.
The sounds on the DM Lite are not all great and suffer in comparison to the sounds on the similarly priced Yamaha DTX400K.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
Roland’s TD-1K is worth looking at and is in the same price range as the Alesis Burst Kit. It has more drum kits built-in, namely 15, and is a similar five-piece configuration.
Like the Yamaha DTX400K, the TD-1K has some useful coach functions that help improve your timing and skills on the set. Both Yamaha and Roland kits retail at around $500 which is around $200 more than the entry-level Alesis DM Lite.
The DM Lite is an extremely lightweight and portable drum set with the same number of kit sounds as the Burst Kit. It’s not as sturdy as the Burst Kit, but would suit a drummer who needs to be able to transport their kit around easily.
The Bottom Line
The Alesis Burst Kit is a good kit for the money and will last you many years with care and attention. It will suit beginners and experienced players alike. The pads are nice to play on and the beaterless bass drum pedal makes for less noise.