Alesis makes a lot of digital audio products and has a pretty good reputation as a market leader.
Today we will take a look at their Surge Mesh electronic drum kit. A step up from their Nitro Mesh model, it is a considerable upgrade in both design and cost.
But is it worth the extra money? We get to the bottom of it in this article.
At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts
Anyone familiar with instrument brand names knows who Alesis is. They make a wide range of digital audio products that help musicians bring their dreams to life. This is one of their entry-level e-kits that promises realistic sounds, feel, and response time, emulating how you would play on an acoustic kit.
We think that Alesis, for the most part, has nailed it with this model. It has a strong frame with excellent quality pads and adjustable locking points, making it ideal for all styles of the drummer – from light jazz players to hard-hitting metal ones.
The flexibility it affords you through the drum brain is also the main feature, as you can use it to brush up on your chops, play along with songs on your phone, or record demo tracks with your band.
With a quiet mesh and silicone design, we believe anyone that needs to keep the noise levels suppressed would have a great time jamming on this kit.
What’s In The Box?
This is an eye-catching kit that uses a high-quality and durable chrome frame for increased longevity over the years. Locking all parts into place securely, it easily stands up to the demands of multiple drumming styles.
A standard 8-piece configuration gives you the following: a 10-inch snare, an 8-inch kick pad with beater, three 8 inch toms (2 racks, 1 floor), and three 10 inch cymbals: hi-hats (with trigger pedal), one crash, and one ride. It’s mesh designed heads work with the pad sizes to provide not only excellent response time that rivals acoustic kits but also a similar feel due to realistic striking. The snare and toms all have dual-zone capability, while the cymbals can be choked for precision techniques.
The high-quality frame allows for perfect placement of all components, with mounting points easily accessible. All pads have angle adjustments as well, allowing you to configure the entire kit to your liking. As the floor pedals are unattached to the frame, you can place them wherever feels best to avoid premature foot fatigue.
The included drum module gives you a lot of choice in kit selection, with over 24 to choose from. You also have the ability to create 16 custom kits of your own, allowing you to tweak things however you see fit, as it has over 385 sounds pre-programmed into the brain. With 60 play-along songs and a built-in metronome, you can brush up on your skills at any time to speed your progress.
The module’s flexibility means you can use it with headphones, run the kit to an external amplifier, or connect your MP3 player to it so you can jam with your favorite songs. The connectivity of your phone/tablet is especially powerful, as you can download practice apps like Alesis Melodics, which is free when you register the product.
If you play in a band and want to work on some demos, there is a USB/MIDI port to wire the kit to your computer for one-cable recording. Additionally, the Surge kit can be collapsed and folded up for easy storage when it is not in use, and Alesis includes sticks, a drum key, all cables, and the power supply for you to start drumming immediately.
How Does It Stand Out?
If It Feels Good Doing It
Feel is everything when it comes to drumming, and response time plays an important factor in how well (or poorly) your performance can be. Alesis does a good job of replicating the feel of an acoustic kit, which isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve on electronic kits. The pad heads are made with a dense, high-quality mesh that not only helps muffle the sound of stick strikes but also provides a realistic feel for them to bounce off. This emulation of acoustic mylar heads response time makes it easy to drum on this with precision. In addition, the kit sounds great! All of the presets present excellent quality sounds, so you will never feel like you are drumming on a cheap toy.
Constructed With Care
As this is the step-up model from the Nitro kit, the Surge Mesh Kit is built with a chrome frame and larger pad sizes for a better overall construction and increased durability. The larger pad sizes lend to a more familiar feel, as most e-kits have smaller pads and can feel a bit foreign when you drum on them. The larger snare and bass drum pads also mean minimal noise output, as there is more mesh to cushion the blows they take.
The hardware that attaches all pieces to the frame is also of considerable quality, making for perfect placement to suit your style. Pads and cymbals can be placed virtually anywhere on the frame, and the angle adjustments help you dial them in before locking them down.
Sometimes drum kits can be a pain when you have minimal space to use, and your kit is taking up most of it. Alesis solves this problem with a fully collapsible kit that folds up easily to give you your space back without breaking down the entire kit. This makes it easy to store the set in room corners, closets, or even under the bed. The portability also lends to you taking it to a friend’s house, as you can throw it in the backseat or trunk of your car with relative ease.
What is the difference between the Surge Mesh and the Nitro Mesh kits?
The main differences are in the construction of these two models. While they both use mesh heads for a quieter performance, the Surge Mesh has a bigger kick drum pad, and a 10-inch snare, compared to the Nitro’s 8-inch snare. The large surface diameters help to suppress noise, as there is more cushion for the sticks and beater to be absorbed into. Additionally, the rack for the Surge is made of premium chrome, for a more durable frame than the Nitro, which uses lightweight aluminum.
Are the cymbals dual-zone?
They are not. You can pretty much hit them for a full sound, or choke them. That’s all.
Can I add-on to this kit?
Yes! Alesis includes two spare inputs that can be used for an additional cymbal or tom if you feel like building a Neil Peart-Esque army of drums.
Can I use my double-bass pedal with this kit?
The kick drum pad is 8 inches in diameter, so it should have enough room and work fine if you want to rig up double beaters.
Our Final Thoughts
Aside from the throne not being included, this is an excellent kit for those that are looking for something of considerable quality, but still in the entry-level range.
With both realistic sounds and a realistic feel, you will thoroughly enjoy your time playing this kit. It is crafted with care from head to toe and gives you excellent flexibility to use as a practice tool, rehearsal set, or recording kit.
If this electronic drum set is not what you were looking for, check out our Best Best Electronic Drum Set post.