Since being founded in 1984, Alesis has served the needs of semi-professional and professional musicians seeking high-quality digital audio equipment at budget-conscious prices. Some of the company’s most notable early products are the HR-16 and SR-16 drum machines, ADAT digital recorders, and DM series electronic kits.
In late 2017, Alesis released the Strike Pro, which is its most professional-quality drumkit to date. We were sent the six-piece setup, which features 8″, 10″, 12″, and 14″ wood-shell/mesh-head tom pads, a 14″ snare, a 14″ bass drum, 12″ hi-hats, three 14″ crashes, and a 16″ triple-zone ride. A sturdy chrome rack, a double-braced snare stand, and all the necessary cables are also included.
The high-powered Strike module comes with 118 preset kits and 1,760 multi-sampled instruments and has a crystal-clear 4.3″ color LCD screen, physical faders for each pad, and a large scrolling wheel to facilitate quick and easy editing. MIDI and USB connections allow the module to interface with computers and other electronic instruments, and there are eight individual audio outputs that can be routed to separate channels on a mixer or audio interface for multi-track recording.
For players looking to import their own samples, loops, and backing tracks, Alesis created the intuitive Strike Software Editor, which allows you to drag and drop WAV files from your computer to whichever pad you’d like. (The Strike module comes with an 8GB SD card for storing custom kits.) The software also has editing parameters for reverb and other effects, as well as volume, pan, decay, pitch, and EQ filters. You can assign up to two instruments to each pad, and those instruments (which can be composed of multiple individual samples) can be assigned to trigger at all velocities or only when you strike the pad within a predetermined dynamic range.
If you have your own library of multi-sample instruments you’d like to import into the Strike module, the Strike Software Editor has a great feature called Auto-Map that determines the volume of each sample within a large group and then turns them into a multi-layered, dynamically responsive instrument.
While I preferred the speed and ease of editing kits within the Strike Software Editor, the module also allows for onboard sampling. This can be ideal for recording samples or loops from a smartphone or tablet when away from your computer. The large LCD screen displays the waveform of the recorded sample clearly, so it’s easy to trim the audio to the desired length and then assign to a pad.
In addition to the impressively powerful, flexible, and intuitive software and module, which is loaded with tons of useful and musical electronic and acoustic samples, the pads and rack included with the Strike Pro kit are also top-notch. The 8″–14″ wood-shelled toms were easy to lock into a comfortable position on the sturdy chrome rack, and the large 14″ snare and bass drum did a great job of withstanding a barrage of kicks and rimshots without slipping, dipping, or sliding out of place. The mesh heads and rubber hoops on the drums had a soft, realistic feel with excellent dynamic response and minimal impact sound. The mesh heads can be tuned to adjust the rebound, and each drum pad features a sensitivity knob to help you match the response of the triggers to your playing style.
The 12″ hi-hats triggered open and closed sounds accurately, and they felt pretty close to their acoustic counterparts, thanks to the moveable top pad. The three-zone ride cymbal pad also had convincingly realistic response, and the crashes had a soft enough feel to absorb the impact of hard accents without transferring shock back into the sticks.
My only gripe with the Strike Pro kit is that it’s only currently available in red sparkle finish, but I assume additional finishes will be released soon. Overall, Alesis has made a giant leap forward with the Strike Pro drumkit. Not only does it have the realistic feel, response, and durability required by today’s professional e-drummers, but it also allows for endless customization via uploading and editing your own samples, loops, or tracks to the super-powerful Performance Drum Module. The module also comes stocked with tons of great-sounding kits that you can put to use right away in the studio or on the gig. For me, that’s a win-win-win! The six-piece setup we reviewed sells for $2,299.