Alesis DM10 X Kit Review
The Alesis DM10 X Kit is a mid-range electronic drum set by Alesis. It’s a six-piece kit with four cymbals. The Alesis DM10 X Kit features the widely popular DM10 drum module. This module has over 1000 different drum sounds and a host of special features such as a built-in sequencer.
The DM10 X Kit has some features that can be found on other Alesis drum sets. Each of the six drum heads are made from Mylar. This is an alternative to rubber and mesh heads. Mylar is strong and durable and has a plastic-like finish which is not unlike a regular acoustic drum head.
The Alesis DM10 X Kit is bigger than many entry-level and mid-range drum sets. It has one extra drum and one extra cymbal over most kits on the market. The typical electronic drum set comes with five drums and three cymbals. With the DM10 X Kit you get more musical options.
Who Should Buy the Alesis DM10 X Kit?
The DM10 X Kit is priced just above the entry-level market. This kit has components that make it suitable to experienced drummers and beginners alike. Like most electronic drum sets, the DM10 X Kit is quiet to play on and allows for silent practice by way of a headphone output. This kit can also be connected up to any regular band P.A. system for live performing too.
The heads on the DM10 X Kit are Mylar and, while they are robust and durable, they can have a tendency to produce a louder stick attack sound. This may or may not be an issue to consumers depending on where they plan on playing. In a normal household it will be possible to hear some slight noise from a kit like this one when it’s being played at full force. It’s nowhere near the levels produced from an acoustic drum set but may be worth noting if you plan on playing at all hours of the night in a busy household.
The DM10 X Kit also comes with a standalone bass drum tower. This allows you to easily hook up your own bass drum pedal for playing purposes. Bass drum towers of this design tend to produce a bit more noise than the beaterless variety of pedal, but they excel when it comes to playability and realism.
Gigging drummers will find enough sounds on the DM10 module to keep them busy for a long time. You can find a kit to suit a long list of song style and you can even customize your sounds. For beginners, the DM10 X is a solidly built drum kit which should last many years and will put up with a lot of abuse. It also has expandable options which allow you to add another pad or cymbal to the setup, should you outgrow the standard configuration.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
The DM10 X Kit sits upon a chrome-plated four-post rack. This rack is rugged and strong and built to withstand the rigors of transportation to and from rehearsal and gigs. The pads come with quick-release clamps which allow you to easily position each drum on the rack. This makes for a simple and tidy takedown when you need to move the kit.
The rack is designed in a way that facilitates the four toms comfortably. The default setup for the DM10 X Kit is to have the four toms mounted on the rack along with the cymbals and drum module. The chrome rack is quite impressive to look at and glistens under stage lighting.
On this kit the snare is not mounted to the rack. Seeing as it’s a bigger than average sized snare for a kit of this level, this drum comes with its own snare stand. It’s a 12-inch snare drum pad with a Mylar head and a chrome rim. Having a dedicated stand for the snare means that there is less movement when played at higher volumes. It also means that you can perfectly position the snare drum exactly where you want it, or even swap it out with an acoustic snare during live performances.
The two front toms are both 10-inch pads. They are of the same design as the snare, only slightly smaller in diameter. Alongside the two front toms there are two floor toms. These are both 12 inches in diameter and are positioned just under the second crash and ride cymbal stands. The snare and tom pads are each two-zoned so you can play the surface and the rim of each drum. This allows for extra triggering if you like to use different percussion or sampling in your playing.
You can simply assign a sample of your choice to the rim of the selected drum and trigger it with a drumstick. This can be tremendously useful if you like to play along with song loops or drum loops.
The rims on each drum are triple-flanged counterhoops, so playing on the drums feels much like playing on a regular acoustic drums. The combination of real hoops and Mylar drum heads makes for a pretty realistic playing experience.
When it comes to the bass drum, there is no need for multi-zones but it does have a neat option for double bass players. The ‘RealHead’ kick pad will work with most standard single or double bass drum pedals but you can also chain-link another trigger pad should you prefer. Simply run a connecting Alesis ‘Y-Cable’ out of the existing kick pad and you can attach another kick pad to your setup.
The hi-hat on the DM10 X Kit consists of a 12 inch cymbal pad and a connecting controller pedal. This pedal is free-floating so it can easily be position on the flooring and is lightweight to carry. The controller pedal connects to the DM10 drum module alongside the 12-inch hi-hat cymbal pad. Together, the two components work to simulate a real acoustic hi-hat. Alesis have developed this hi-hat so that it can produce up to 40 different sounds depending on how you play it. You can play from a completely closed position to fully open, with many positions in between. It’s also possible to play hi-hat ‘chick’ sounds and even heel splashes.
There are two 14-inch crashes with the DM10 X Kit and they sit upon boom cymbal stands. Positioning these crashes is easy to do as the boom stands allow you to place them pretty much anywhere that suits.
The ride is a 16-inch cymbal pad with three-zone triggering. This means you can play on the bell, the bow and the edge of the pad to create different sounds. The cymbals on the DM10 X Kit are on the whole a lot bigger than cymbals on many other kits in its price range. For comparison, with the Roland TD-11K you get a 5 inch hi-hat pad and two other 8 inch cymbal pads. The DM10 X Kit dwarves many competitors in this respect when it comes to cymbals.
There are over 1000 sounds on the DM10 drum module. These sounds range from the typical acoustic drum and cymbal samples to more unusual sounds. There are some nice basic kits built into the DM10 module which can function as passable acoustic kits for live playing.
The pads on the DM10 X Kit work well with the DM10’s sample assigning. As mentioned above, many of the hi-hats on-board the module have up to 40 different samples which can be triggered at any time for dynamic playing. The drum pads are equally impressive. The snare and toms have a nice range of dynamic expression and work with the rim triggering to provide more realism.
You can customize the sound triggering of the DM10 X Kit to your liking. This means you can set the response of each pad so that it best matches your playing style. Players who like to play hard might want to reduce the sensitivity settings. Conversely, players who tend to play lightly will want a more sensitive response. It’s important that you set the response to the optimum position so that it best reflects your playing style. Many drummers make the initial mistake of never adjusting these settings, and in turn never fully get the maximum playability out of such a drum set.
If you like electronic drum sounds you’ll find a lot to choose from on the DM10 module. There are kits which range from drum and bass to techno and EDM kits.
Watch this video to see the Alesis DM10 X in action:
The DM10 module can also connect to any home computer or laptop and will work with either Mac or PC. You can use the DM10 X Kit as a MIDI controller kit alongside any standard drum VST. There are numerous USB functions which allow you further control over the sounds on the module. You can import and export drum sounds and kits to and from your computer with ease.
There are effects built into the DM10 module that allow you to enhance the sound of any given drum kit. You can add various types of reverb which simulate different types of playing environments, such as an arena or a church. Also, for even more sound options, you can pitch the tuning of each drum or cymbal so as to create new custom sounds. Once you have finished editing your new sounds, simply store them to one of the empty drum kit presets.
The DM10 X Kit is a larger kit than both the Roland TD-11KV and the Yamaha DTX522K. Having the extra tom and extra cymbal pad will appeal to many drummers. In many standard electronic kits the manufacturer ships the set with only one crash. This can be limiting and means that should you want another crash you must either invest more money or assign a sample to one of the existing pad rims.
The free-floating hi-hat with the DM10 X Kit is good but it’s no substitute for a real hi-hat stand. Should you wish to upgrade, you can fork out for the Alesis ProX hi-hat which will mount to a real hi-hat stand. Bear in mind that this costs around $100 and you will have to supply the stand too.
Another minus point for the DM10 X Kit is the Mylar heads. While they are tough and durable, they are not as much fun to play on as mesh drum heads. There’s also a bit more noise produced from these heads than with mesh heads.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
The Roland TD-11KV usually sells for around the same price and is a worthy competitor to the DM10 X Kit. With the TD-11KV you get a five-piece drum set with three cymbal pads. Each drum pad is mesh, apart from the bass drum which is a rubber-type pad.
The benefit the TD-11KV has over the DM10 X Kit is that the mesh heads allow for better playability. You can produce cleaner stick bounces on mesh heads and in general they are less wearing on the limbs. They are much quieter than Mylar heads but with the downside being that they may be prone to tear under heavy duress.
The Bottom Line
The Alesis DM10 X Kit is a solid drum set with a lot going for it. It would be an ideal kit for a drummer who needs a quieter alternative to their acoustic setup. It’s priced above the entry-level electronic kit market but offers many impressive features.
The DM10 module is an impressive unit and has been designed to function as a handy live sequencer. Drummers who like to play with backing tracks or sample loops will find this feature extremely useful. All in all, a good kit for the money.