Alesis Strike Pro Review
When you first look at the Alesis strike Pro, you may think that it’s actually an acoustic travel set. It was definitely designed to look like one. It is impressively large for an electric drum kit, and it looks pretty stylish compared to some other common electric drum kits. So what is the Alesis strike Pro? Right now, the strike Pro is the flagship kit from Alesis, and it was clearly designed to compete in style substance and cost with the flagship drum kits from giants like Roland.
The first striking feature of the Strike Pro is the price. It costs almost half as much as competing flagship electric drum kits. The second thing you’ll notice is how striking it looks; the strike pro has wood shells and meshed heads. It looks amazing, and can sound like an acoustic set.
Regardless of the looks and the price, the real question would be how it plays. Alesis strike Pro vs Roland flagships; how do they compare? What does it come with? How is the sound module? Is it worth the price? Does it compete? Should you get it? And most importantly, how does it sound?
What is in the Box?
Before you take the Alesis strike Pro out of the box and start to get excited, you have to prepare yourself mentally first. This is not a plug and play kit. It will take around two hours to set up the kit. Although it is a fairly straightforward process to get it up and running, it is exhausting. All you will need is a drum key and a screw driver. To setup the kit will not be an easy task though!
The standard 11 piece kit comes with the following hardware.
- A 14 inch Dual-Zone Snare drum pad
- An 8 inch, 12 inch, and 14 inch dual-zone tom pads (With Alesis Crimson wood shells)
- A 14 inch lick drum pad
- 16 inch triple zone ride cymbal
- Three 14 inch dual zone crash cymbals with choke
- One 12 inch hi-hat cymbal
- A GB SD card for internal storage
- The sound module
- Chrome rack
- The kit does NOT come with a kick pedal or hi-hat stand
The chrome rack itself is a clamp style mount. While the rack is very reliable you need to make sure you put it all together tightly and well enough or you may end up with some toms sort of sinking slightly when a decent amount of force is applied to them.
As for the rest of the kit, the meshed heads are nice and the quality of the equipment is high. The Shattered glass red wood shell around the toms is an added stylish bonus, and the kit itself is sturdy enough. There used to be some issues with the hi-hat when the kit was first released (A topic I will return to later) but these issues have been fixed in a firmware update. The kit is well designed when it comes to distribution. The sound module is in an easily accessible position and simple enough to use, which brings me to the next topic.
The sound module and included sounds.
The sound module on the Alesis strike Pro (called the Strike Module by Alesis) looks very professional, true to the name of the kit. All settings can be switched via physical buttons on the module and are directly and easily accessible. The settings are all displayed on a high quality four and a half inch LCD monitor. The sound of each pad is easily customised. If you want to increase the reverb on the cymbals to have that nice acoustic cymbal sound, you can easily do that with the module.
Want to sample remix and make your own drum kits? It’s a simple enough process. On the topic of kits, the Alesis strike Pro comes with 110 built in kits from a variety of diverse kit sounds. Generally you will find the kind of sound you want by experimenting with the high quality kits stored on the Alesis strike Pro. The kit has an almost unlimited potential when it comes to making your own unique kit sounds.
The Alesis strike Pro comes with around 1600 different sounds. The number of different kits you could make with these sounds is astronomically high. The sound module has more uses than just an incredibly high sound count. The drum sounds that are available out of the box are multi-sampled for the highest possible quality. Not only that, but the properties of each head is fine tuneable to adjust as you please. What’s more is that there is the ability to load an external SD card or use samples over a MIDI connection. This is a standard affair among electric drum kits now and nothing to be excited about, but mixed with the excellent built in sound library of the Alesis strike Pro it can let you pull off sounds you would not have thought of before.
Although don’t expect to just casually be able to use the sound module to its full potential immediately. This is not a plug and play kit, as we’ve mentioned before. To use the Strike Pro to its full potential you will first want to acquaint yourself with the tutorials that come with it. The module in particularly is not super straight forward to use when tuning the heads to your exact needs, creating new kits, and importing samples. So some sitting down and learning to use it is going to be necessary if you want to reach its full potential. However, you can do very well with just the built in kits.
There is one issue though with the module. It takes a surprising amount of time to switch between kits. While some sounds change almost immediately, it can take up to twenty seconds on some changes for the kits to fully change.
Playability and Recording:
The strike Pro feels very natural to play. It is set up, like all high end electronic drums, to play and be setup like an acoustic drum kit. The Strike pro has the added benefit of actually looking like an acoustic drum kit. Although this hardly impacts the playability of the kit, it may make it more inviting to play.
The mesh heads are comfortable to play. The most important aspect in regards to the playability of the kit is that the heads each come with a lug, much like on an acoustic kit. The lugs allow you to customise the feel of playing on each head, so that you can set it up to react how you like to your playing. This is such an added bonus on a drum kit like this since it can easily allow you transfer from playing an acoustic kit you may be used to, to a kit like this.
Playing live: When it comes to electronic drums, playing live is going to rely on more than just the quality of your kit, and more on the quality of your setup. The Alesis strike Pro can easily interface with any sound setup, and the quality of the sound module will really come to life when it comes to a situation like this. One thing that you shouldn’t count on in your gig though, is to be able to switch kits on the fly. This is not the kind of scenario that the Strike Pro is for.
Recording with the strike pro is pretty convenient. The ability to record over USB or MIDI is really useful and makes recording much cheaper than recording for an acoustic set. For the most part it’s a pretty good idea to record with the sounds included with the Strike Pro Sound module, as they are pretty high quality. To be honest, the Alesis strike Pro is a true studio kit, it does live up to the name with good equipment the strike pro is capable of truly professional recording quality.
Issues with the Strike Pro
You can probably tell from this review so far that we love the strike pro. Although for the sake of fairness there are many issues that we have not experienced with our kit that many other users seem to suffer from pretty consistently. Initially when the Strike Pro was released there were some pretty major issues with the Hi-Hat in particular. It would not function well, especially when used consecutively or after long periods of time. This, however, was fixed in a firmware update.
The issues unfortunately, do not stop here. While gear eventually breaks, especially drum kits that may take more damage than your average guitar, many users have complained about the lifespan of the strike pro.
If you Google the name of any product you’ll come up with results of people complaining about failures and breakages with it. No kit is fool proof or indestructible. If we look at user experiences with the strike pro though, there seems to be more failures in parts than usual for a drum kit of this level. This may be one explanation for why it is so much cheaper than other flagship electric drum kits.
So if you are interested in buying the Alesis strike Pro, we would recommend getting it with a good warrantee, in case your kit experiences any failures. The Alesis strike problems do not seem to affect all or even the majority of strike pro kits. We recommend doing some research on the topic of these issues before making your final decisions on whether or not you will buy it.
- The price is almost half that of similar flagship electronic drum kits
- The sound library is extraordinary both in size and in quality
- The drum kit looks and feels like an acoustic drum kit and is very stylish on stage
- The sound module allows you to really set up the sound of each head the way you want exactly
- The unique lug on each head lets you tune the feel of the heads
- Good when it comes to recording
- One of the best kits for setting up your own kit sounds
- The Alesis mesh heads feel realistic and are really nice to play on
- The kit only comes in one look
- It does not come with either a bass drum or Hi-Hat pedal, while this is a minor pet peeve it’s still a shame.
- Occasionally you will experience some dipping with the frame if you go hard on the toms.
- It takes some serious time an effort to set up the kit, both to put it together and to learn how to use the sound module.
- The kit seems to fail more often than similar flagship kits while this isn’t a guaranteed failure try to make sure that you have a warrantee.
So is the Alesis strike Pro for you? We have a hard time thinking of someone who should answer no to that question. Unless you are just starting out and are looking out for a starting kit. Or are very loyal to another brand or if you’re extremely attached to a feature on some other flagship kit that the Strike Pro doesn’t have, then it should be a pretty strong contender for your next kit. As long as you are prepared to go through the setup process, this really is one of the finest kits on the market now, and not to mention is at a killer price for its quality.
The Strike Pro really is the kind of kit that you draws you to it and makes you want to play when you look at it. As long as you are interested in getting a high quality electronic drum kit then it really isn’t a bad choice. Although you may need to contend with the occasional technical failure here or there, it is still a solid, choice especially at its price range. It really does match up well against other flagship electric drum kits like the offering from Roland.