Alesis DM10 MKII Studio Kit
The Alesis DM10 MKII Studio Kit is the successor to Alesis’ hugely popular DM10 Studio Kit. It features a newly designed drum module with 120 presets and 5 user songs. This module is based on the highly successful Alesis Crimson drum module and has some similar sound samples and functions.
This kit is expandable so you can add another tom to the setup and it also has the usual host of connectivity ports that you would expect with a mid to high-end electronic drum set.
You can hook the DM10 MKII Studio Kit up to your computer DAW for use as a controller kit or for MIDI transfer. It also has inputs and outputs for MP3 playalong, headphone monitoring and connecting to a P.A. system.
Who Should Buy the Alesis DM10 MKII Studio Kit?
The pricing of the DM10 MKII Studio Kit puts it in the entry-level to mid-range of electronic drum sets. It’s affordable to drummers with a little disposable income and won’t break the bank. For many parents, the DM10 MKII Studio Kit will be within their budget should they be in the position of purchasing a drum set for their son or daughter.
For beginners too, the price tag means that it’s not too high of a risk to take on a new instrument. If it doesn’t work out and you end up never playing the DM10 MKII Studio Kit, then you shouldn’t lose out much financially. Kits of this level are always in demand so if you’ve taken care of your set you should be able to reclaim much of the cost through second-hand sales.
The DM10 MKII Studio Kit brings much to the table in terms of desirable features. It is a fully mesh drum set with a high quality chrome rack and a newly designed drum module. The mesh heads make for quiet playing and are a big improvement over earlier Alesis electronic drum sets. Many of the earlier kits came with Mylar drumheads which are strong and durable but do generate more stick noise than mesh.
Some years back Alesis made a deal with Roland for the rights to use mesh heads on their drum sets. Since their introduction, mesh heads have always been hugely popular among drummers and still represent the highest quality electronic heads available today. Mesh heads are tensionable, which means you can tune them like you would a regular acoustic drumhead. Customizing the individual drumhead tensions to suit your playing style is just another way of enhancing the realism of the playing experience.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
The DM10 MKII Studio Kit is a five-piece drum set with four cymbal pads. With this drum set you get a 10-inch snare, two 8-inch toms, one 10-inch floor tom and one 8-inch bass drum.
Each tom and snare is two-zoned so you can play on either the drumhead or the drum rim. This essentially means that you are getting twice as much triggering per drum as most single-zoned entry-level drum pads.
The size of the two front toms is a bit on the small size but fairly standard for a kit in this price range.
The mesh heads are black, which complements the overall look of the DM10 MKII Studio Kit. The chrome of the Alesis drum rack sits well with the matt-black cymbal pads and shiny mesh heads. Tuning the mesh heads is easily done with a standard drum key and allows you to control the rebound of each drum.
The bass drum can be tuned as well, to increase or decrease tension on the head. The default Alesis setting is pretty much spot on and needs no tampering with, but if you have an alternate preference you have the option of making adjustments accordingly. The pad is 8 inches in diameter and so is big enough to support both single and double bass drum pedals without any fuss. The bass drum tower is solid and stays in place well during performances. There are two adjustable spikes either side of the tower base that can be used for extra traction on the floor surface. A pad tower like this is ideally suited to sitting on carpeted floors and drum mats. You might run into trouble with harder floorings such as tile or wood.
With the DM10 MKII Studio Kit you get one more cymbal than most typical basic electronic drum sets. You get two crash cymbals along with the hi-hat and ride cymbal. Both crash cymbals are 12 inches in diameter and are two-zoned. You can mute the crash sample sound with your hand by gripping the outer edge of each cymbal pad.
The hi-hat is also a 12-inch pad and sits on a cymbal arm just beside the drum module. You can raise or lower the hi-hat and angle the pad for more comfort. There is a wing nut on top which can be used to tighten or loosen the pad to the cymbal stand depending on your preference.
This pad works with the Alesis hi-hat foot controller to simulate different hi-hat cymbal positions of real moving hi-hat. On most entry-level to mid-range kits you will find such a setup. For experienced players a free-floating pedal like this often lacks the realism of an actual hi-hat stand.
Unfortunately, hi-hat stand-mounted pads are not available with electronic drum sets until you move into a higher price category. One such kit is the Yamaha DTX532K which comes with a moving hi-hat pad, with a Yamaha hi-hat stand included.
For beginners, the Alesis hi-hat will work just fine and be good enough to learn the basics. One advantage of the stand-less hi-hat design is that it produces less noise in the room. You will need to bear the same things in mind as with the bass drum kick pad though. This pedal controller can tend to go walk-about if it’s not placed on an appropriate surface such as a carpet or drum mat.
The ride cymbal that comes with the DM10 MKII Studio Kit is the biggest pad on the drum set. It’s a 14-inch, three-zone cymbal pad with more response capabilities than both the crash and the hi-hat. You can produce different samples by playing in three areas, the ride bell, the bow of the cymbal, and the cymbal edge. This ride is also chokable so you can quickly and easily mute it during songs.
All drums and cymbals are mounted onto a slick looking Alesis chrome drum rack. You can loosen and slide each component around on the chrome poles in order to find the configuration that best suits you. There are two basic straight cymbal arms and two boom arms. The boom arms have extra flexibility so you can position the ride and crash precisely. The other two are basic cymbal arms which can be used for the hi-hat and the other crash. All stands can be angled.
The toms and snare too can be positioned on the rack to suit your playing style. There are wing nuts under each drum pad which tighten and loosen the drum to the rack poles. The DM MKII Studio Kit is by default configured for a five-piece setup with two toms up front. Should you prefer, you can reposition one of the front toms to sit beside the floor tom but this will mean making some room up front for the second crash stand to sit.
The DM10 MKII Studio Kit comes with a redesigned drum module that resembles the Alesis Crimson module. This unit is mounted onto the chrome rack and can be conveniently positioned within arm’s reach. The module is based on the Alesis Crimson module and on first impressions looks very similar.
It has the same number of buttons on the module face along with three dials. Two of these dials can be used for adjusting the levels of your headphones and the overall master volume. The other dial is large and circular and positioned in the middle of all the controls. This is the main dial you use for navigating through the features of the module.
There are 671 sounds onboard this module along with presets and user kits. Alesis have provided 54 drum kit presets while you can also store up to 20 of your own creations.
On the drum module are 120 songs which you can use to play along to and improve your timing and drum skills. This is much more than most kits of this price range have, so if you like your playalongs, then this is great news.
There is 15MB of memory which can be used to import your own custom drum samples. This means you can sample your own acoustic kit or download new samples and load them onto the module. It’s a nice feature, and even if 15MB is not a whole lot, it should be enough to hold a handful of drum kits, depending on file size and quality.
The DM10 MKII Studio Kit has room for another tom pad so it is expandable. This will take the number of pads on the kit up to 10, that’s including the five toms, four cymbals and hi-hat controller pedal.
You can plug your MP3 into the module and adjust the level for easy playalong practice and there are ports for a headphone out and a main out as well. The module connects to all modern DAWs using both USB and MIDI and you even get a set of drumsticks and a drum key included.
Take a listen to some of the sounds on the Alesis Crimson module which has a similar collection of sounds to the DM10 MKII Studio Kit:
Getting a mesh drum set like the DM10 MKII Studio Kit is a serious plus in itself. Mesh makes for a more enjoyable playing experience, both in comfort and realism. It also reduces the noise when practicing and is kinder to the wrist joints. The DM10 MKII Studio Kit has all the connectivity to make it a great drum set for home recording too. It will work with any modern DAW and is easy to setup and install.
The cons with a kit like this come down in part to the module and sounds. The sounds are not the best Alesis have to offer and may tend to grate on experienced players after a while. There is some room to import your own samples onto the module but it’s not a great deal of space. You might find that you have to intermittently erase older kits so as to make room for new samples.
The hi-hat with the DM10 MKII Studio Kit is like that of all the other lower-end kits in the Alesis range. It’s a free-floating controller so it can tend to move around during playing and does not have the realism of a proper actual pedal. The free-floating hi-hat pedal design means that the hi-hat cymbal pad doesn’t move up and down like a real hi-hat stand setup.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
If you like the features of the DM10 MKII Studio Kit but want a more realistic hi-hat, then maybe consider the Yamaha DTX532K or the DTX562K. Both kits come with a stand-mountable hi-hat pad and a five-piece configuration. There’s about a $500 difference between price of the DTX532K and the DTX562K, but what you are paying for is the mesh setup. The DTX532K has a mesh snare while the DTX562K has a mesh snare and three mesh toms.
The Bottom Line
This is a competitively priced kit by Alesis and will give other beginner kits, such as the Roland TD-11K and the Yamaha DTX450K, a good run for their money. The main appeal of the Alesis DM10 MKII Studio Kit is the mesh head setup on all drums, which makes it stand out in value from other kits in this price range.