Have you heard of the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit? If you have, then you know that it has hit the market as one of the cheapest products of its category the market has ever seen.
Most people equate price to quality, and the low price might put off some prospective buyers seeking quality over quantity, but don’t dismiss it just yet. At least not until you’ve read this review. We know you have lots of questions pertaining to what this Electronic Mesh Head has to offer; lucky for you, we’ve got lots of answers too.
In this article, we are going to turn the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit inside out by reviewing each component and provide you with an accurate description of the ‘feel’ of this excellent electronic mesh head.
What makes the Surge Mesh Kit so awesome?
Alesis have somehow changed the game by making an item that was once considered an expensive toy for professionals and making it affordable for everybody. Most entry-level kits come with rubber drum heads, which are a big turn off as they don’t offer a professional feel and can be quite tiring to the wrist.
The Alesis Surge Mesh Kit makes everything much more convenient with its drumheads that are made to resemble acoustic kits closely. Not only are the drum heads made of mesh, but they are also tunable, thus providing a more natural overall feel.
Who is it made for?
The Alesis Surge Mesh Kit is made for intermediate and beginner players. If it is your first time using an electronic drum set, no need to worry. It comes with a practice mode. The practice module offers two practice modes.
- Non-scoring system
- Scoring System
To practice in this mode, press Play/Practice. The initials ‘PRA’ will appear on display. After a countdown, a rhythm, beat, or pattern will repeat so you can practice it.
The scoring system enables you to not only practice but also test your skills. To start, press Start/Stop. After a countdown, EXM will appear on display. The rhythm, beat, or pattern will play only once, and you have to play the drums in the same pattern. In the end, you receive a score based on your accuracy.
Note: When practicing, to play along with the music patterns, you must do in learning mode. If the LED light under the song/pattern button is not lit, press and hold Page/select until it is lit.
What’s in the box?
Rip the box open and here’s what you’ll find:
- Three 8-inch dual-zone tom pads
- 10-inch dual-zone snare drum pad
- Three 10-inch cymbals; a hi-hat, a bang cymbal, and a ride
- An auxiliary unit for playing together with an mp3 player or smart device
- A surge drum unit that entails 40 kits and up to 60 play-along songs
- Four-piece chrome rack
- Drum sticks
- Cable Snake
- Velcro cable wraps
- Power supply
- Drum key
- Assembly guide
- Module user guide
- Warranty and safety manual
Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Features
The Alesis Surge Mesh kit comes with five drum pads, which are all made of mesh. All drums are dual-trigger, hence both their head and rim are playable.
- Dual-trigger hence both sides are playable
- Made of mesh for a more natural feel
- Although the mesh provides a more natural feel, it is still not as good as an acoustic drum
The Surge Mesh snare produces a great sound that is similar to that of an acoustic drum. The downside, however, is that at times, when playing, it starts making the rim sound. When you attempt to change it, they become linked and produce the same sound when struck.
This issue can, however, be overcome by following this procedure:
- Hold the button while powering on the module to reset it
- Go to the Utility settings for the RIM and set the sensitivity lower and threshold lower
- Plug one of the Tom pads to the snare and check whether the snare and the rim continue to produce the same sound. If they still do, contact the Alesis customer support team.
- Produces impressively natural sound
- At times, the snare and rim get linked and produce the same sound. This can, however, be solved by following the procedure above.
The Kit’s Toms has a pretty cool design that almost resembles that of an acoustic drum set. The sound they produce is also pretty natural. Like the snare, they come with a double trigger, thus making playing them more enjoyable.
The hi-hat in the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit is shaped and sized in a manner that resembles that of an acoustic drum hi-hat. It also produces a natural sound.
On the downside, some users report that sometimes it produces the sound of a closed hi-hat. However, when they press the hi-hat button on the monitor, it works correctly.
The issue with the hi-hat can be resolved by adjusting the volume on the particular pad. To do this:
- Choose the pad whose settings you want to adjust and hit it
- Press voice, then Page/Select until VOL appears on the display
- Use the buttons to change the value
Save your settings by:
- Press save
- Use The buttons to select the slot you want to save it to
- Press save again
The cymbals on this kit look really nice. They are three in number and have a diameter of 10 inches. When you consider their size in comparison to those of an acoustic drum, they are too small.
Another downside is that unlike the snare and toms, they only come with a single trigger; hence you can only achieve head playing with these cymbals.
They can’t be all bad, right? Yes. This ride and crash are chokable, which adds on to the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit’s appeal.
- Look really good
- The ride and crash are chokable
- They are very small in size
- They have a single trigger
The sound module on the Alesis Mesh Surge Kit is similar to the one in the nitro model. However, this one comes with new improvements to accommodate the upgraded kit.
The module has an LCD screen display that measures six centimeters making it pretty easy to navigate. The page navigation system is also easy to follow; hence, you can move across the voice, song, training, and kit menus swiftly and efficiently.
At the bottom of the module, there are rubber buttons that correspond to different parts of the kit. The buttons have pretty easy navigation; hence will not cause you any headaches when using them. Another upside is that they light up when you strike each pad, which makes them look cool.
With this sound module, it is easy to tweak your settings and switch between instruments. It also comes with 40 kits, which break down into further 24 presets and 16 user kits. This module also comes with 385 unique sounds, from electronic, drum, percussion and even sound effects (e.g., Dj scratches).
In the module, you will also get 60 in-built play-along songs to help you practice and better your skills.
Connectivity is also made easier by the jacks and inputs. The module features; a mini-jack headphone out, aux in with right and left quarter-inch master outs, and even MIDI in/out and USB connections. The kit itself connects with a 5-pin cable loom that comes included in the kit.
The module also comes with additional inputs for a fourth Tom and an extra cymbal.
Hands on: What is it like to use it?
Getting used to the module does not take long because the layout is pretty straight forward. On the downside, the sounds and kits are numbered rather than named, so you might find it hard to use it until you memorize them. The kit performs well out of the box with no need to fiddle around with the settings like threshold and sensitivity.
After a little balancing here and there( which mostly involves tuning the cymbals), the sound balance of the kit sounds good, and the feel of the mesh threads completes each note.
The hi-hat pad had a little too much, movement but that was improved with the addition of an extra felt to hold it in a more secure position.
The dual-zone pads provide you with an extra element of performance by enabling you to assign percussion and effects.
The kit comes with some addictive phrases and groves that make practicing on this kit very fun at any tempo. You should also note that when scrolling through the tracklist, the kit selection changes automatically with it.
The dynamic expression is limited, but playability is pretty good for a beginner or intermediate drummer. The response of the Hi-hat peddle is basic. It also comes with a half-open option that does not sound very natural. Also, hitting the peddle too much produces some unwanted triggering.
Another impressive feature of this drum is its wealth of learning features. For example, the metronome keeps track of your time, not to mention the various practice tools mentioned earlier in the article.
With everything, except a throne, included, the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit is a pretty impressive drum kit.
Pros and cons of an Alesis Surge Mesh Kit
- Great sound quality
- Comes with a mesh
- Feels similar to an acoustic drum, plus, you can adjust the tension of the mesh threads to your liking
- Comes with everything you need to play, all in one box
- The mesh threads are incredibly quiet; hence you can practice as hard as you want without disturbing those around you.
The major flaw with this drum set is its kick peddle. Its toe stop comes about 2 inches from the top of the deck; hence if you have big feet, you’ll find it difficult to rest your foot entirely on the deck.
Other than that, at such a great price, there’s not much to complain about.
Over the years, Alesis has become a significant player in the electronic drums market by delivering high-quality products at great prices. The Surge is no exception as it hit the market as the cheapest mesh electronic drum.
The Surge also comes as a major improvement to the previous Nitro model. If you had a chance to use it, then you will definitely love this one.
With so many incredible features and pocket-friendliness, the Surge is an ideal choice for any beginner or mid-level drummer.