Alesis DM10 Studio Kit Review
The Alesis DM10 Studio Kit is a six-piece electronic drum set with the highly rated DM10 drum module. This drum set has a few improvements over cheaper Alesis drum kits such as the DM Lite and the DM6 Nitro Kit. It has better drumheads that provide added realism in look, feel and response. It’s also a bigger drum set than most entry-level electronic kits and comes with an extra floor tom and another crash cymbal. The DM10 Studio Kit looks great with its all-black finish, shiny drum heads and chrome finishes.
Who Should Buy the Alesis DM10 Studio Kit?
This kit is ideally suited to drummers who already have a little experience, but this is not essential. The DM10 Studio Kit is also a great kit for beginners. It’s a bit more expensive than most entry-level electronic drum sets but for the extra expenditure, you get a more solidly built kit with better sounds.
The DM10 drum module has more expressive capabilities than the earlier DM6 module and also has more sounds. The pads on the DM10 Studio Kit are closer to a real acoustic drum to play on. This will suit experience drummers who are looking for an electronic kit that is affordable and adaptable. The DM100 Studio Kit has plenty of connectivity with regards to computer DAWs and home recording. If you’re looking for a suitable kit to work with in your home studio, the DM10 Studio Kit promises to appeal to you.
Beginners will find this kit a good starter kit with many helpful features that are designed to help new players adapt and improve their skills and timing. The kit is also suited to drum tutors who work in music schools as it provides a low noise teaching tool. The DM10 Studio Kit has more pads and cymbals than most other entry-level to mid-range kits have, so that’s a bit of a bonus if you’re the type of drummer who prefers the larger setup.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
The DM10 Studio Kit comes with six pads, which means you’re getting an extra floor over a typical drum kit. The kit has one snare, mounted onto the Alesis drum rack, two front toms mounted on the front of the drum rack, and two floor toms mounted down and to the side. The bass drum pad sits on the floor, below the front two toms, and all cymbals are mounted on stands that connect to the drum rack, including the hi-hat.
This kit can be set up for either a left-handed player or a right-handed player. If you are planning on giving drum lessons with this kit and you have to switch over from a right-handed configuration for this reason, there are a few shortcuts. You can simply unplug the snare cable from the drum pad and swap with a floor tom cable. The same can be done for the ride cymbal and the hi-hat. The end result is a drum set that can be played easily by a left-handed student.
All drum pads on the DM10 Studio Kit differ from many other electronic drum sets by way of the drumheads. These heads are made from Mylar as opposed to the typical rubber heads that you associate with lower-end electronic drum sets. The end result is a drum that feels closer to an acoustic one, but without the loud volume. There isn’t the same springy rebound that you associate with mesh heads and these ‘RealHead’ drums are slightly noisier to play on.
The size of the snare on the DM10 Studio Kit is 10 inches in diameter. This is slightly bigger than earlier models and a more comfortable size to play on. It is fully dual-zoned so you can play on the drumhead surface as well as the drum rim. Rimshots perform admirably with the DM10 drum module and each rim can be assigned to separate sound samples.
Each of the toms is an 8-inch Mylar head, and all pads feature triple-flanged counterhoops. The toms all have dual-zone triggering and a healthy rebound. However, the smaller 8-inch pad might feel a little on the small side to experienced drummers who are used to bigger acoustic drums.
The bass drum pad is an upright tower with another Mylar head. It is also an 8-inch drum and therefore has plenty of room for both single and double bass drum pedals. The pedal feels pretty good to play on although the bass drum pad is little hard in comparison to most standard bass drum head tensions. There is quite a lot of pad ‘slap’ when played, and so it’s not the most silent of bass drum pads. Alesis have also built in the option of splitting the DM10’s kick input so you can actually hook up another bass drum should you choose to.
The drum rack that comes with the DM10 Studio Kit is an Alesis StageRack. This rack is flexible once set up and holds everything in place adequately. The weight of this rack is quite low as it’s made from a type of plastic that makes it less robust as many other racks. There may be some concern here if you are a very heavy hitter on the drums. This rack might not be as durable as many metal counterparts.
The cymbals with the DM10 Studio Kit are low-noise DMPads by Alesis. True to their name, these cymbals perform well under duress. There is little noise and the response means you can adequately play intricate ride and hi-hat patterns.
There are four cymbals in total with the DM10 Studio Kit. You get a hi-hat, a chokable crash, a crash that is not chokable, and a ride cymbal. The ride cymbal is triple-zoned, meaning you can produce different sounds by playing on the bell, the bow and the edge of the cymbal pad. It can also be choke-muted by using your hand to grip the pad.
The DMPad hi-hat and RealHat pedal controller work together to give that real hi-hat foot control. There is a variable amount of position control with this pedal to create sounds from an open hi-hat to fully closed and many in between. You can also play hi-hat ‘chick’ sounds as well as heel splashes with the RealHat controller pedal.
Alesis have made a few improvements to the DM10 module, which puts it ahead of the DM6 in most areas. The sounds with the DM10 are created from some of the best drum and cymbal manufactured today.
The way the DM10 responds to each drum stroke is far superior to the that of the DM6. In one instance of a hi-hat, there may be up to 40 different samples available to play. This attention to detail means that you can get many more sounds from each drum and cymbal depending on how you play it.
The results are noticeable. The snare sounds far more realistic than that of either the DM Lite or the DM6 USB Kit. There is less ‘machine gunning’, which is a term that refers to the unnaturally repeated triggering of the same drum samples when playing. There is far more subtlety in the toms and bass drum too.
Alesis have worked with top drum brands and the best cymbal makers from all over the world to amass this collection. There is also a vast array of electronic sounds which have been sampled from famous drum machines over the years. Along with electronic and acoustic drum set sounds, there is a catalog of percussion and melodic sounds for even more variety.
On top of the wide selection of drum kits you can further customize your sound by adding the built-in sound effects on the DM10 module. For example, adding reverbs to onboard sounds allows you to alter the sound of the environment. This works particularly well if you find that the drums are sounding too ‘dry’ for your liking and you want a bigger sound.
To hear the DM10 Studio Kit in action, click this video link:
The DM module has a lot of connectivity, which makes it perfect for the studio or home recording. You can plug your MP3 player, iPod or laptop through the stereo input. Also you have a USB to PC or Mac connection that allows you to update your drum soundbanks. Simply edit your own custom kit recordings or download fresh sound packs, before installing them onto the DM10 module. This feature lets you keep your kit sounds constantly up to date and is not always included in electronic drum sets of this range.
The DM10 module has full MIDI functionality so you can use the DM10 Studio Kit as a controller set. This means that the whole kit, including pads and cymbals, can be used to control virtual instruments such as EZ Drummer or BFD.
On the back of the module there are 12 trigger inputs meaning that there is room for two additional pads. Expanding the DM10 Studio Kit could mean an extra cymbal or drum pad, whichever you feel that you need most. Also on the back there is a set of stereo outs for plugging into a P.A. or powered monitor. Headphones can be used with the DM10 drum module for silent practicing.
The response of the Mylar heads with the rubber rims make for a very playable experience. The triggers are better than in lower-end Alesis Kits and the result is a more convincing drum sound.
TThe cons with a kit like this will vary from player to player. The Mylar heads produce a bit more noise than standard mesh heads so this may be a factor in your situation. If you’re playing in a house where the walls are quite thin, there’s a chance that the noise spill may be unwanted.
It would have been nice for Alesis to take a page out of Yamaha’s book and provide a real hi-hat pad as opposed to the inferior hi-hat controller pedal. You can get a real stand-mountable hi-hat with the Yamaha DTX562K, but it retails for around 50% more. Unfortunately Alesis don’t offer this option with any of their kits outside of their flagship models, the Strike Kit and the Strike Pro Kit.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
Other kits of this caliber are the Roland TD-11K or the Yamaha DTX522K. Both kits come with rubber pads and a mesh snare. They have fewer pads than the DM10 Studio Kit but similar levels of connectivity. Both kits work well as MIDI controllers with modern DAWs such as Cubase and Ableton, and both kits have a wide selection of drum sample sounds.
If you like the response of mesh drums and want more of it, then you can upgrade both the Yamaha and the Roland. The Roland TD-11KV is effectively the same as the TD-11K but with mesh heads on the toms. The Yamaha DTX562K goes one better than Roland here. It’s has the same five-piece configuration with three cymbals, mesh toms and snare, along with a stand-mountable hi-hat pad.
The addition of this hi-hat pad ads another layer of realism and comfort to the playing experience. It functions just like a regular hi-hat and is mounted to the stand with a hi-hat clutch. Yamaha also have included the hi-hat stand in the deal.
The Bottom Line
The Alesis DM10 Studio Kit is a decent standard drum set that will be popular with many. The DM10 module is a big improvement over the DM6 and offers many convenient features such as sample importing and DAW compatibility.
This electronic drum kit has a few other features that make it desirable. The bass drum pedal is not of the beaterless variety, which is typical of entry-level kits. It can also be used to support a double bass drum pedal, which is important to many drummers.
The DM10 Studio Kit is a bigger kit than many of its competitors. It’s a six-piece drum set with four cymbals. That’s an extra cymbal and tom pad than both the Roland TD-11 series and the Yamaha DTX502 series have. The addition of these extra pads could amount to a couple of hundred dollars so bear this in mind when you make your decision.