Alesis Strike Pro Kit Review
The Strike Pro is Alesis’ flagship electronic kit, and since its unveiling at NAMM 2017, has turned heads in the drum world. The Alesis Strike Pro Kit is the largest electronic drum set available today and can support up to 12 different pads and cymbals. It retails at up to half the price of competitors such as Roland’s TD-30 and TD-50 series and Yamaha’s DTX920K, which is a welcome relief. With the Strike Pro, Alesis have fired a warning shot to other electronic drum manufacturers and made it clear that we’ve been paying too much for electronic kits up until now.
Who Should Buy the Alesis Strike Pro Kit?
The Strike Pro is a top-end drum set without the bane of a top-end price. Its competitive pricing means the Strike Pro is accessible to almost anyone who is willing to make a firm investment in their drumming.
This drum kit works perfectly well for beginners as well as experienced professionals. The fully mesh setup means that it’s ultra-quiet and ideally suited to home practice. The pads and cymbals are some of the quietest out there. The bigger drum sizes make for a superior realism that is lacking with smaller drum sizes such as those on the Yamaha DTX920K.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
First impressions of the Strike Pro are usually awe-inspired among drummers. It looks stunning and anybody would expect a kit like this to far exceed its pricing. The all mesh-drums have dual-hoop wooden shells and come in a number of pristine sparkle finishes that considerably add to the overall impressive look.
The tom sizes are 8, 10, 12 and 14 inches in diameter. This sizing better represents a real acoustic drum setup and is fun to play on. The 8 inch tom, however, might not be to every drummer’s liking as it can take a lot more accuracy to strike the drum where you want.
Each tom can be played either on the drum surface or on the rim. This means you can easily assign separate samples to the rim for added musical options. Some ideas here would be percussion sounds such as tambourine, cowbell, woodblock or clave.
The snare is a 14-inch super-sensitive mesh drum which sits upon its own snare stand. The response of this snare is extremely impressive and it can handle open and closed rolls at a canter. You can play on the snare’s rims as well, and also this means that the snare will respond to rim shots. Rim clicks are also possible with this drum pad, and so it feels just as if you are playing on a regular 14-inch snare drum.
All hardware is included with the Strike Pro package, including a drum rack, cymbal stands, snare stand, hi-hat stand and an Alesis bass drum pedal. Make sure the package that you are looking at has all these features. Sometimes you might come across an exceptional price offer in an online store only to find out later that the Strike Pro does not include all the above accessories.
There is no shortage of cymbals with the Strike Pro as it ships with a ride, a hi-hat and three crash cymbals. The hi-hat is a 12-inch cymbal pad which sits on the Alesis hi-hat stand by way of a clutch. The three crash cymbals are 14 inches each and the ride cymbal is a 16 -nch. This is slightly smaller than the largest electronic ride cymbal currently produced by Roland (they have an 18 inch model).
Alesis initially unveiled the Strike Pro with shiny cymbal pads but they seem to have withdrawn this finishing. We can only speculate as to why. Perhaps the cymbal sheen was prone to coming off with repeated use. Nobody wants their drumsticks to end up covered in a black, shiny coating as this can transfer to other drums and cymbals.
The pads and cymbals are super-responsive and comfortable to play on. They feel secure and there is little vibration and no movement upon the new Alesis four-post chrome rack. This rack is simple in configuration but extra durable in build. It can be set up and taken down in minutes and there is plenty of space on each pole to support a number of pads or cymbals, depending on your preferred configuration.
The sounds on the Strike Performance module are pretty good but not the best out there. It has 200 drum kits with well over 1000 sounds. There are actually around 14,000 samples on the Strike Performance module if you include all the different layers of drum samples.
In comparison to both the Roland TD-30 and TD-50 module, the Strike Performance is not quite as impressive sounding. That said, the sounds on board are a lot better than were available with the earlier Alesis DM10 module.
The Strike Performance module seems to struggle particularly with cymbal sounds. There isn’t the same nuance and expression that you would expect with a flagship top-end electronic drum kit. This may or may not be down to the fact that many cymbal samples are by nature longer and so they take up more space on the module’s memory.
With all this in mind, you are still getting an 11-piece drum set (5 cymbals, 6 drums) for around the price of a Roland TD-50 drum module on its own. Pricing like this makes it hard to argue with Alesis’ choices, and what they’ve accomplished with the Strike Pro will certainly send shock waves throughout the electronic drum world.
Take a listen to some of the sounds that the Strike Performance module can produce:
The Strike Performance module comes with a few features that make it a very useful piece of the kit. On the face of the module there is a large 4.3 inch color screen which makes navigating the Strike Performance a pleasure to do. Other electronic drum manufacturers will certainly take note here as this new screen will prove a popular addition to any module. The equivalent screens on both the flagship Roland and Yamaha modules pale in comparison to that of the Alesis here.
On the back of the Strike Performance module you have all the relevant connectivity ports. There are 8 individual outs which you can use to send your kit sounds to an engineer either live or in the studio. Along with these individual outs there is a main stereo out for monitors and P.A. systems, and a stereo headphone out for quiet playing.
You can connect the Strike Performance to any Mac or PC using USB and it will work with any standard DAW. Alesis also have created their own Strike Software Editor. This program allows you full control over the sounds on the Alesis Strike Performance module. You can load in samples and even sample your own sounds.
The SD card slot allows you to import and export sounds easily while the Strike Performance is fully MIDI compatible too. This means you can hook the Strike Pro up to your favorite drum VST instruments and play along in real time for even more custom kit sounds.
On the side of each drum there is a dial which allows you to control the trigger sensitivity. This is a very useful feature and means you can adjust the drums easily for different players and particularly useful if you are planning on giving drum lessons with the Strike Pro.
There are a number of plusses to the Alesis Strike Pro drum set. The pads are great and bigger than anything else available at this range. The 14 inch snare drum in particular is a pleasure to play on and the cymbals are extremely quiet.
The kit looks super-realistic and it comes in a few color choices too. The wooden drum shells and dual-hoops make it feel like you are playing on a real acoustic drum set.
Alesis have made huge leaps over their earlier DM10 module. The individual outputs make it easy to send individual drums to a sound desk for live gigs. You also have faders on the front of the Strike Performance module that allow you to adjust volumes on the fly.
The sounds on the Alesis Strike Pro’s module are not as good as the top-end Roland kits, such as the DT-30 and TD-50 series. In particular, the cymbal sounds are not top-notch and can sound a bit clunky and unsubtle when it comes to dynamics.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
There are a few kits in the Strike Pro’s price range that you might be interested in. First up, there is the Yamaha DTX720K . This kit is a lot smaller than the Alesis Strike Pro and comes with five drums and three cymbals. The sounds on the DTX700 module give the Alesis a run for their money.
The Roland TD-25K or TD-25KV are two kits that sell for a price not far from that of a Strike Pro. Both kits are five-piece mesh drum kits, although the more expensive TD-25KV comes with an extra crash cymbal and better pads. The TD-25 module has many of the features that come with the Strike Performance module but you will lose out on the number of pads.
The Bottom Line
The Alesis Strike Pro was hotly anticipated when the first images of the kit emerged. By the looks of things, Alesis had made huge leaps in the progress of electronic drums. And in fairness, they didn’t disappoint. This kit is extremely good value and is affordable to a large chunk of the electronic drum consumer market.
The drum sizes are realistic and the pads are better than anything as yet offered by Alesis to date. Having tom sizes from 8 to 14 inches makes it feel like you are on a real drum kit. The mesh heads are super-sensitive and can easily be adjusted to suit your playing style.
With the Strike Pro, Alesis offer 6 drums and 5 cymbals, which is ahead of other kits in its price range. The three crash cymbals can be assigned to any sample sound of your choosing so you can configure the kit to play any style of music easily.
The Strike Performance module has some neat features that will come in handy over the months and years. You can alter and modify existing kits in order to store your own selection of custom drum sounds. You can also import to the Strike Performance module using SD card or using the Strike Software Editor program. Importing your own sample sounds is an invaluable tool and not available on every kit at this level. The Roland TD-30 doesn’t have this option for example.
The Strike Pro is great value and will force the electronic drum industry to offer better value to consumers. There’s no doubt that this kit will be extremely popular among experienced drummers and beginners alike. Being able to purchase an electronic kit of such quality and magnitude has to date been impossible at an affordable price, unless you were to go looking for a second hand bargain. With the Strike Pro, many can now afford to experience premium electronic drums without the premium price tag.