Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit Review
The Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit is a mid-range electronic drum set and it’s one of the many in Alesis’ wide range of electronic kits. The DM10 MKII Pro Kit has a few features that are seen on other drum kits by Alesis.
It’s a six-piece drum set with four cymbals. This is the same configuration seen in other Alesis kits such as the DM10 X Kit. The main difference with this drum set over the DM10 X Kit is that it comes with a fully mesh drum head setup. Another upgrade is in the form of the accompanying drum module. With the DM10 MKII Pro Kit, Alesis have redesigned their highly popular DM10 drum module. This module features new sounds and a sleek new look.
Who Should Buy the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit?
Fans of mesh drum heads will be interested in the DM10 MKII Pro Kit. Numerous other Alesis kits come with either rubber or Mylar heads on their drum pads. Both of these materials are robust and durable but they lack the playability of a mesh drumhead.
Drummers who are used to playing on an acoustic kit will appreciate the response that a mesh drumhead offers. There is more spring to the head and this makes it easier to perform multiple bounces with the drumstick. The heads can be tightened or loosened to suit your tastes too. Many players will opt to have a higher tensioned snare drum to compliment looser heads on the toms.
When it comes to the bass drum, there is also a lot of room for customization. Many players get used to one type of tuning with their kick drum and rely on that for their foot technique. With the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit you can easily adjust the bass drum head so that it more closely resembles the acoustic heads that you are used to playing on.
This kit is also an ideal practice kit. It’s not terribly expensive and will fall within many drummers’ budgets. The kit is quiet to play on and produces less room noise than either a rubber pad or Mylar pad drum set. The DM10 MKII drum module has all the usual features for playing and practicing such as a metronome and a selection of playalong songs.
The DM10 MKII module can also be used in conjunction with any modern DAW. You can hook up the module to your PC or Mac by way of USB or MIDI. This allows you to use the drum set as a MIDI controller for your favorite drumming virtual instruments. You can also import and export audio files using the USB connection which allows you to constantly update your collection of drum kit sounds.
The Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit is not restricted to experienced drummers. Its sub-$1500 price tag means that it could feasibly be purchased by or for a beginner drummer. The quiet nature of the kit means that it can be played indoors in a busy household without any major disturbances. It’s also a well-built drum kit that should hold its value should you need to sell on at any stage.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
This is a six-piece drum kit with four cymbals. The drum sizes are bigger than those of many kits in its price category. The snare is 12 inches in diameter. It’s a dual-zone drum so that you can get sounds from playing on either the rim or the head surface, or a combination of the two.
Rim shots and rim clicks are playable on this snare which sets it apart from many pads in the entry-level electronic drum set market. The 12 inch diameter makes this drum enjoyable to play on. There’s enough room to play comfortably with a nice percentage of the drumstick covering the playing area.
With other kits such as the Roland TD-11K or the Yamaha DTX522K, this is not the case. These kits come with smaller 8-inch snare drums. Playing on smaller drums like this can be a bit fiddly and there is less room for error. With other manufacturers, typically you don’t see 12 inch drums until you enter the professional high-end level of electronic drums. But Alesis have made larger mesh drums accessible to a wider range of consumer by making them affordable.
The 12-inch snare drum comes with its own fully adjustable snare stand. This is a welcome addition to a kit like this. With an independent snare stand you get more stability and more playability. The snare feels solid to play on and there is no fear of drum mounts coming loose as is sometimes the case with rack-mounted snares. Having a separate stand for the snare means that it can quickly and easily be repositioned at any time.
There are also two more 12-inch drum pads acting as the the two floor toms that come with the DM10 MKII Pro Kit. These drums are mounted to the drum rack, unlike the snare. Each pad is also dual-zoned like the snare drum, allowing for more expressive playing. You can trigger rim shots on each tom as well as reassign the rims to other samples. For example, it can sometimes be convenient to have auxiliary percussion sounds assigned to tom rims so they can easily be played. This also saves you the need to expand the kit by purchasing more pads.
Along with the two floor toms, there are also two front rack toms. These toms are smaller than both the snare and the floor toms. They’re 8 inches in diameter and also feature dual-zone triggering.
The bass drum on the DM10 MKII Pro Kit is an 8-inch mesh pad. This pad is mounted on an upright bass drum tower. The tower is solid and can fit either a single or double bass drum pedal. Like the snare and toms, the head on the bass drum pad is fully tensionable. There are supporting spikes on the tower base which allow it to grip onto any floor surface. This type of bass drum tower is best suited to be positioned on either thin carpet or a drum mat. On hard or shiny surfaces, such as wood or tiles, you can sometimes get a bit of unwanted slippage with bass drum towers, so bear that in mind.
There are four cymbals with the DM10 MKII Pro Kit. The sizes of these cymbals are identical to those of another kit in the Alesis collection, the DM10 X Kit. The hi-hat is 12 inches, the two crashes are 14 inches and the ride is an impressive 16 inches in diameter. Although these cymbals are much bigger than other kits in this prices range they don’t feature a full 360 degree playing surface. Under half of the cymbal surface is playable. Ordinarily this is not an issue. Each cymbal is weighted so that by angling the cymbal you will automatically end up with the playable area closest to you.
The ride is a three-zone pad so there are triggers in the bell, the bow and the edge of the cymbal. This allows for realistic and dynamic playing. (On some of the more basic cymbal designs you’ll find that the bell area is not playable and the only way to trigger a bell sound is by playing with more force on the bow.) These cymbals feel good to play on and the larger size adds to the realism.
The hi-hat is controlled by a free-floating pedal. This pedal works on the same principles of a hi-hat stand, only it doesn’t have a physical hi-hat stand. There are sensors inside the controller pedal which detect the playing position of your foot. You can play a wide range of hi-hat positions from open to closed, as well as heel splashes and ‘chicks’.
With this drum kit, Alesis have upgraded the module to a DM10 MKII Pro. This module has many of the same features of the original DM10 and a few improvements. There are 50 preset drum kits built into the unit along with space for 30 of your own custom creations.
Creating kits with the DM10 MKII Pro module is extremely easy. First select a sound that you want to work on. Next, make adjustments to the sound by navigating through the module’s sound control features. You can play with the pitch of each drum or cymbal sound as well as add effects such as reverb to them. When you are happy with the overall sound, simply store the drum kit to one of the empty preset slots.
There are over 700 sounds on the module which range from the orthodox to the not so orthodox. There are kits which are modelled on top-end acoustic drum sets and a fine collection of different cymbals. You also get a selection of world percussion samples, electronic drum sets and a few melodic sounds too.
Play this video to hear the DM10 MKII drum module in action:
The DM10 MKII Pro drum module comes with built-in sequencer. This sequencer has 100 preset patterns for you to play along with. You can adjust the tempo of each track much in the same way you would use a metronome. The module also comes with the ability to import samples.
Importing samples is a great way to increase the amount of drum kits you have in your arsenal. You can use any USB drive, either an external hard drive or a smaller thumb flash drive, to import Wavs and MP3’s. This feature lets you build up your drum sample sounds as well as use the kit to trigger backing tracks. Many bands nowadays require the use of sampling to replicate album tracks at live concerts. The DM10 MKII Pro drum module makes it easy to assign any sample loop you want to one of the drum pads. This makes it extremely easy to start and stop backing tracks with the touch of a drumstick.
The DM10 MKII Pro Kit comes with many features that will appeal to drummers and home recording enthusiasts. This is an extremely quiet mesh drum kit with fully DAW connectivity. You can use it for practice at home or to record with in the studio. This kit is much cheaper than many mesh alternatives on the market currently.
You’ll need to purchase the Alesis ProX hi-hat if you prefer stand-mounted hi-hats. The DM10 MKII Pro Kit comes with a hi-hat pad and controller pedal combination. While this offers a slightly quieter playing experience, it does mean that you lose out on playability and realism a little.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
Both Roland and Yamaha offer mesh kits that are around the price range of the DM10 MKII Pro Kit. The Roland TD-11KV is a mesh drum kit with three cymbals. It’s roughly the same price as the DM10 MKII Pro Kit but has smaller pads and fewer of them. With the TD-11KV you get a five-piece drum set with mesh on the snare and toms but not on the bass drum. The pads are small in comparison to the DM10 MKII Pro Kit and you can’t tension the heads in the same way.
Like the TD-11KV, the Yamaha DTX562K is also a five-piece kit with three cymbals. And like the TD-11KV, the mesh heads on this kit cannot be tensioned. You can purchase a DTX562K for around $200 more than the DM10 MKII Pro Kit, so while it’s a bit more expensive, it has one major benefit. The DTX562K comes with a real Yamaha hi-hat stand and a mountable hi-hat pad and clutch.
The Bottom Line
This is a good kit considering the price tag. When it comes to many of Alesis’ competitors, they only offer smaller drums and fewer of them too. The DM10 MKII Pro Kit feels great to play on and this is largely due to the larger drum and cymbal sizes. You may want to invest in a ProX hi-hat if you are not a fan of the controller pedal design, but this is only another $100. You will have to supply the stand, however.
If you like the feel of mesh drum heads over rubber and Mylar then you should definitely consider the DM10 MKII Pro Kit. When it comes to value, this one is hard to beat.