Alesis DM10 X Mesh Kit Review
The Alesis DM10 X Mesh Kit is yet another electronic drum set in Alesis’ sizable DM10 series. The Alesis DM10 X Mesh Kit is, as the name suggests, an upgraded version of the original DM10 X Kit. The original kit was created to fill a gap in the market for drummers who were fans of the DM10 module but wanted bigger drum sizes.
And so this iteration of the DM10 X Kit comes with the same drum module and bigger pads, along with state-of-the-art mesh head triggering. Many of Alesis’ drum sets were instead built with Mylar drum heads. Mylar is a tough and durable material and functions well to simulate the feel and response of a real drum head. The major downside to Mylar is that it is not as quiet as mesh when it comes to playing or practicing.
One of the main appeals of purchasing an electronic drum set is that you know it will be considerably lower in volume than an acoustic kit. It makes sense to get the quietest electronic kit you can get, especially if you plan on playing in a busy household or an apartment block.
The DM10 X Mesh Kit has fully tensionable drum heads so you can tune your drums like you would a real acoustic set. Most players like to have some variety between snare and toms with the former having a higher tension and more rebound. This is a major plus when it comes to the bass drum too. Jazz players typically go for a highly tuned batter head, while rock drummers tend to prefer a softer and more deadening response from their bass drum.
The mesh triggering allows for a more expressive playing experience and gets more out of the Alesis DM10 drum module. You can play on each drum head surface and also on the rim. The end result is that the level of realism is much higher with this mesh version than the earlier DM10 X Kit.
Who Should Buy the Alesis DM10 X Mesh Kit?
Alesis have aimed this kit at established acoustic drum set players who need an electronic alternative. There are many high-end features with this kit that you wouldn’t always associate with a beginner kit. Along with the mesh heads, there are plenty of connectivity options which allow you to hook the DM10 X Mesh Kit up to your home recording computer setup.
This drum set is also upgradeable, so if you should grow out of certain components, such as the hi-hat controller pedal, you can make an upgrade here.
While the DM10 X Mesh Kit is priced above what’s considered an entry level electronic drum kit, it functions just as well for beginner players as it does for experienced players. There are plenty of features on the DM10 module that a drummer starting out can grow into over the years as they progress in their drumming.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
The DM10 X Mesh Kit has the same configuration as the original DM10 X Kit by Alesis. It’s a six-piece drum set with four cymbal pads. The sizes of this drum set were purposely designed to be bigger to satisfy certain consumer demands. Looking at the kit we have two 10-inch rack toms, two 12-inch floor toms and a 12-inch snare.
The 12-inch snare on the DM10 X Mesh Kit is bigger than many pads in this price range. For this reason Alesis have opted to supply a snare stand to sit this pad upon. There are two main advantages to using a snare on a stand over a rack mounted pad. First, the snare can take more abuse as the stand offers a more stable base. There is less movement from the drum, meaning you can comfortably play at higher volumes. And second, the addition of a stand means that the snare drum can easily be positioned to suit all styles of player. It’s flexible and can easily be swapped in or out with a real acoustic drum during a live performance.
Each drum is dual-zoned so you can play on the rims and the drum head for more realistic playability. The snare and toms work remarkably well with the DM10 drum module to produce an authentic sound. There is way more sensitivity and expression available with these mesh heads over the earlier DM10 X Kit’s Mylar equivalents. Each zone can be assigned to separate samples so you have full control over your musical setup. The rims of each drum pad can alternatively be used to trigger auxiliary percussion samples such as a wood block or effects cymbals.
The mesh heads are one of the main selling points of this drum kit and Alesis have done a fine job here. The tightly woven mesh makes for a very playable and quiet experience with a decent stick bounce. There is a noticeable reduction in noise from all drum pads when contrasted with Mylar, including on the bass drum.
The bass drum is an 8-inch pad with a fully tensionable drumhead. This pad is big enough to support any single or double pedal. It handles a double pedal quite well and feels sturdy to play on. The bass drum tower is ideally suited to a drum mat or a carpet so it can grip effectively, without unwanted slippage. The pad is remarkably quiet and absorbs the beater head nicely.
Once again Alesis have opted to ship the DM10 X Mesh Kit with a freestanding hi-hat pedal controller. This pedal is low on noise but also low on realism, as is typical of pedals of this nature. The controller pedal functions to allow you play the 12-inch hi-hat pad in a number of ‘positions’. You can play open, closed and in semi-open positions. It also has the ability to produce hi-hat ‘chick’ sounds and hi-hat splashes with the foot.
If you’re not a fan of freestanding hi-hat controller pedals, then you’ll be pleased to know that an upgrade is available. With a little further investment you can upgrade this hi-hat to an Alesis Pro X hi-hat. The Pro X is a far superior hi-hat that can be mounted to any ordinary hi-hat stand. There are two cymbals with the Pro X so it works in the same manner as an acoustic hi-hat with a hi-hat clutch. If your budget is up to it, this is an extremely beneficial upgrade. It can usually be purchased for in or around $100 so in the grand scheme of things it’s not a major expenditure and one that will pay for itself in playability for many drummers.
The cymbals on the DM10 X Mesh Kit are bigger in size than on most entry-level to mid-range kits. You get two 14-inch crashes along with a 16-inch ride cymbal and a 12-inch hi-hat. Each cymbal is chokable so you can instantly mute the sound with your hand. The ride is the stand out of the four cymbals as it is a three-zone pad. This allows you to produce different sounds when you play on the bell, the bow and the edge of the pad, which is more in line with a real cymbal.
Each tom and cymbal pad sits upon the Alesis XRack. This drum rack is a heavy-duty chrome-plated rack built with style and durability in mind. The design of this rack makes it more akin to a regular acoustic drum set rack and it’s strong enough to function as one. There is little movement from each pad when struck and each component is easily positioned.
The cymbals are mounted on stands that protrude from connecting poles on the XRack. There are full boom arms with each stand for the two crashes and the ride cymbal. The hi-hat is not on a boom arm but can be angled easily into any conventional position over the snare drum.
When it comes to sounds, this kit comes with over 1000 of them. This is the same DM10 drum module that comes with other Alesis drum sets such as the DM10 Studio Kit.
The sound triggering is far superior to the DM6 module, as each instrument is layered with more samples. In a lot of entry-level drum sets, the dynamics of each drum sound is dependent on the velocity at which you strike the pad. With cheaper modules the triggering works by simply adjusting the volume of one sample to represent the power of the stroke.
With the DM module there are layers of different samples for each drum. This means the end result is a more convincing and realistic drum sound. The snare sounds authentic when lightly tapping on the pad. At higher volumes you can hear how the triggering uses a multitude of samples for each dynamic range.
Navigating the DM10 module is fairly easy to get the hang of. There are faders on the left of the module face which can be used to alter the volume levels of each pad. On the right side of the module are controls for accessing the DM10’s built-in backing tracks and demo songs.
The scroll wheel on the DM10 module lets you navigate through kits, drums, cymbals and effects. Fine-tuning your selection is easy to do. You can change the pitch of each drum individually. Likewise, you can alter the levels of each drum and pan them left, right or central for a stereo mix.
The DM10 module has a collection of suitable effects, such as reverb, which you can use to further customize your sound. When you have finished making amendments to your kit selection, you can then store it in one of the empty preset slots.
On the rear of the module are inputs and outputs along with other connection ports. You can monitor your sound with headphones or connect to a powered monitor or P.A. system. There’s also a USB port for connecting up to a laptop or PC.
The DM10 X Mesh Kit is compatible with any modern DAW such as Pro Tools, Logic or Ableton. MIDI functionality lets you use the DM10 X Mesh Kit as a controller instrument. Simply plug into your DAW using the USB and you’ll be able to control virtual Instruments such as EZ Drummer and BFD.
The Alesis DM10 drum module features what Alesis call ‘Dynamic Articulation’. This means the module works with the super-sensitive mesh heads to produce a more expressive kit sound. On the side of each drum is a control knob which can be used to control the trigger response individually. This is way more convenient than in other modules that require you to scroll about menu options using dials and buttons.
The knobs are useful for setting up the DM10 X Mesh Kit to suit your playing style. If you are a hard hitter, then turn down the sensitivity. Conversely, if you tend to play lightly you might want to turn up the sensitivity. These settings are extremely important to the playability of the DM10 X Mesh Kit. It’s recommended that this should be one of the first things you do once set up.
To see a full rundown of the Alesis DM10 X Mesh Kit, check out this video:
The DM10 X Mesh Kit comes with bigger drum and cymbal pads than most other kits in this price range. This is a major plus and will appeal to many drummers. The 12-inch snare is one of the most comfortable and responsive in the mid-range category. The mesh heads are the crowning glory of this drum set.
This kit also comes with good hardware in the XRack and includes a separate snare stand.
The DM10 module has over 1000 sounds and 75 playalong songs. You can also record your own playing with the module which is a handy feature.
The hi-hat with this kit is a weak point. If you like a stand-mounted hi-hat instead, you will have to pay more for the Pro X Hi-hat upgrade.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
The Roland TD-11KV is a good competitor to the DM10 X Mesh Kit. It’s just a little more expensive than the DM10 X Mesh Kit and comes with mesh toms and a mesh snare. There are fewer pads and cymbals but the TD-11KV has an impressive catalog of drum sample sounds.
The Bottom Line
This is a great kit for the money. It comes with the hugely popular DM10 drum module which is chock full of useful features. Plus, there are not many manufacturers offering fully mesh setups (including the bass drum) for its price.