There are basically 3 Alesis drum sets under this banner. There is the Alesis Strike, The Alesis Strike Pro, and the Alesis Strike Pro SE or Special Edition. Why would Alesis put out 3 electronic drum sets with such similar names and cause so much confusion! Well, as the saying goes done is better than perfect, unfortunately for Alesis this strategy backfired in a big way.
The Alesis Strike Kit and the Alesis Strike Pro Kit were basically the same exact drum set. The main differences were the number of pads and cymbals. The Pro series has two extra crash cymbals and one extra floor tom. Other than that, they are basically the exact same set.
When you hear of quality issues and problems with Alesis drums there is a very good chance that it was from these initial sets. There were major issues with the hi hat controller, and the piezo trigger plates in the drum pads were prone to breaking. A hack to extend the life of the trigger plates was to apply some packing tape. I’m not joking. Here is a video showing how to do it.
All of these problems really gave Alesis a black eye. You will read about quality issues from Alesis electronic drums all over drum forums. Most of these problems relate to the hi hats and drum tiggers. In effort to fix the issues Alesis has released the Strike Pro SE. It has an all new hi hat, thicker trigger plates, and has corrected many of the issues from the other two versions. My recommendation is that for the extra $600 it is worth it to move up to the Alesis Strike Pro SE to avoid these quality issues.
Alesis Strike Pro Module
All three versions of the Strike Kits come with the same module. The Strike Module does a lot of things really well, but does have a few drawbacks. It has 110 kits to choose from with over 1,600 multi-sampled sounds. This part is really important because the multi-sampled sounds make it sound much more realistic.
Of the 110 drum kits to choose from, some are really bad. There are several though that are all the way on the other end of the spectrum. They are so good in fact that Justin from 65 Drums goes so far as to say they are some of the best sounding kits in the industry. That is saying quite a bit. I mean, that puts the sound up there with the top echelons of electronic drum sets.
As good as the sound is it does have higher latency than Roland so the response time will not be quite as good. There is still so much to like about this drum module though. It has a drag and drop interface that you can use to create your own layered sounds and create your own custom kits.
The module is visually appealing as well with a great 4.3” color display. It makes it a little more intuitive to move around in it than many of the other modules on the market.
You will also get an 8GB SD card that you can load your samples and sounds onto. It also provides USB and MIDI connections to allow you to connect to virtual instruments. It makes use of a 1/8 inch steel auxiliary input for connecting headphones in addition to two 1/4” main outs to connect to an external PA system and another 1/4” stereo out for headphones as well.
One major win is that there is no dreaded snake cable. Overall the main reason why avid drummers hate snake cables is due to the necessity to replace the entire snake cable if one of the inputs is bad. This adds cost and difficulty. For a home drummer though the snake cable could be seen as convenient though as it keeps everything in one nice bundle. The Alesis Strike module has individual inputs which eliminates the frustration fo the cable snake.
All Mesh Heads on the Strike Series
All of the drums come with mesh pads on the Strike Kits. The Strike and Strike Pro kits used black mesh heads. Beginning with the Strike Pro SE, Alesis switched to white mesh heads. Turns out most drummers prefer white drum heads to black. Who knew?
The Alesis Strike is an 8 piece set. It is comprised of a traditional 5 piece drum set with a bass, snare, two rack toms, and a floor tom. It also has a 12 inch moveable hi hat, a 14 inch dual zone crash cymbal with choke, and a triple zone 16 inch ride cymbal. The Strike Pro and the Special Edition version have 11 pieces. They have an extra floor tom, and two extra dual zone crash cymbals.
The major differences with the Strike Pro SE outside of the white mesh heads, are a bigger 20 inch bass kick drum, and an upgraded hi hat. The hi hat upgrade is really important. Remember the biggest quality issues with the Strike and Strike Pro had to do with the hi hat. The SE gets rid of the bottom of the hi hat and makes it larger. The changes to the hi hat immensely improve the quality of the set.
It should be noted that the Alesis Strike series drums use wood shells for the drums. This makes them larger and gives it the appearance of traditional drum set. Especially if you get the SE model with the 20 inch kick drum. Other than just being aesthetically pleasing, it is really helpful if you transition back and forth between an acoustic drum kit and an electronic drum set. They will feel more similar which helps reduce the transition time.
Another source of quality issues with the Strike and Strike Pro versions were with the trigger plates. Many players added tape the the trigger plate to help them last longer. The adhesive has also been known to wear off on the foam blocks which is also a source of failed triggers. As with the other quality issues Alesis has addressed these in the SE version.
Alesis Strike Pro Demo – How does it sound?
The Strike Pro feels good. As long as you get past the quality issues the Strike Pro feels good. Alesis really upgraded the cymbals. They are larger and feel better. It would be nice if the crash cymbals were triple zone, but all things considered they work well and having a 3 zone ride cymbal is huge. I like to work the bell on the ride so being able to do that makes me really happy on an electronic kit.
It is nice that the Strike uses a traditional hi hat stand. Albeit you must provide your own, but having a real stand lends to the feel of authenticity. Now, if you have either of the two earlier generations be prepared to spend a lot of time calibrating your hi hat. The hi hat has been the source of the most frustration with these kits. There are many reports that if you spend the time to calibrate the hi hat especially after the 1.4 upgrade to the drum module that you can get really good performance. It is time consuming and frustrating though. The SE series corrected these issues.
The pads are really big which is nice to play on. There is the quality concern, but overall the mesh heads feel good and they are responsive. Not quite the real thing, but they feel good.
- Drum Module is good
- Sounds are great in many of the kits
- Pad size is closer to the real thing
- quality concern
- only comes in red
- kick drum on the Strike and Strike Pro is a little small
Should You Buy It?
This really depends on what is most important to you. If you are looking for a quality practice kit that will last you for years, Roland is probably a better option. If sound quality and appearance is important, as well as having features to enable you to record quality tracks it is hard to top the Alesis Strike Pro SE. For the price point you aren’t going to find as many features with another kit.
Long term reliability is still a concern though. If I’m buying a practice kit for daily use I probably would not choose this one.