Every drummer runs into a certain problem at least once, if not a lot more, in their life. Drums are loud, and although it’s nearly impossible to believe, some people just don’t seem to appreciate the sound of a drummer practicing. This is one of the main reasons why many drummers turn to electronic drums.
With e-drums, you can plug in headphones and keep your percussive genius to yourself. On top of that, electronic drum kits are way more versatile than acoustic kits. They come loaded with so many different voices and sounds that they’re like dozens of kits in one.
In this Alesis Command Mesh Kit Review, I’ll be looking at all the benefits and the drawbacks of this specific mid-range electronic drum kit. Who knows – it might be the perfect choice for you? Let’s find out…
Alesis Electronic Drums
Before we get into the specifics of the Command Kit, there are a few things to be said about Alesis. Alesis is an American electronic instrument company based in Rhode Island. That said, their products are all manufactured in China.
Their range of amps, mixers, drum machines, and now electronic drums are therefore well-designed but very affordable. They now produce 11 different e-drum kits with the Command in the middle of their price range.
Alesis Command Mesh Kit – Overview
First and foremost, the Command Mesh Kit is a mesh head drum kit. Mesh heads provide a good response and realistic feel, comparable to acoustic drum heads. They’re also dead quiet.
So, when you’re bashing away at a mesh kit with your headphones on, it only sounds like you’re sweeping the floor to people in the next room. As a result, it ranks as one of the quietest electronic drum kits around.
What you get in the kit…
The Command Kit is a 5-piece kit based on a tube-steel rack system. This includes a 10” snare pad, three 8” tom pads, and an 8” vertical kick drum pad. It comes with a kick pedal and a hi-hat pedal to control those pads as well.
Also, it gives you a 10” hi-hat pad and two 10” cymbal pads to represent a crash and a ride. In short, it’s a typical 5-piece drum kit set-up, and the only thing missing is a throne.
Great value for the money…
The Command Mesh Kit has a mid-range price of about $800, though you can sometimes find it on a special deal. This makes it affordable enough to compete with most high-quality beginning acoustic drum kits.
So, while it may be a substantial investment, we should consider this a great high-end beginner electronic drum kit, rather than a professional performance or recording drum set.
A marvelous module…
The brain of any electronic drum kit is its module, and without it, you’re just swatting mesh. The kit comes with the Command Drum Module and all of the cables you need to connect to it.
This module gives you 671 pre-programmed drum, percussion, and pitched sounds (aka voices). These are organized into 54 preset kits, and you have another 20 slots to save your user-programmed kits, for a total of 74 kits. That’s a lot of kits!
There are also two extra ports in the module which allow you to expand this kit. You can add another floor tom to make it a 6-piece, and also another cymbal pad for another ride or crash. Of course, these expansion pads and cables are sold separately.
So that’s the Command Mesh kit at a glance. Now let’s get into some of the top features of this electronic drum kit…
Top Features of the Alesis Command Mesh Kit
From the pads themselves to the brain of this drum kit, there are a lot of features to consider. There’s even too much to talk about in just a single review. So, let’s focus on the features that make this kit stand out from the rest.
All parts of the Command Kit, except for the kick tower and hi-hat pedal, are mounted on the rack. This is a 4-post chromed steel rack that is lightweight but durable enough to deal with normal playing. It might not fare as well on the road, since the steel can still dent fairly easily.
Each element, whether it be a drum or cymbal pad, is held to the rack with non-slip clamps. These hold very well and are also fairly flexible in position. The cymbal stands are all boom arms, which means that you can move them around easily and get the perfect position for your style of playing.
Convenient in many ways…
I especially appreciate the mobility of the snare and hi-hat pads, which allows for an open-handed positioning. And, of course, you can set the entire kit up right-handed or left-handed.
There’s one other cool feature. While the kit takes up about 3 x 4 feet of floor space when set up, you can fold up the rack and pack it away easily. This is an excellent feature for apartment dwellers and others dealing with limited space. Therefore, it’s also one of the easiest electronic drum kits to set up and take down.
The mesh heads here are very responsive and feel a heck of a lot like regular acoustic heads. Plus, all of the drum pads have dual-zone triggers. This means that if you strike the head, you get a different sound than when you hit the rim. You can also program these in the user kits to get way more sounds out of each kit.
The cymbal pads aren’t dual-zone, but you can choke both the crash and ride with your hand. The cymbals are not as realistic in feel as the drums, partially because of the small diameters and relatively light weight of these pads. Likewise, the hi-hat doesn’t feel like a pair of real cymbals but is still easy enough to get used to.
Something else to get used to…
The pedals here aren’t the best you’re going to find on an electronic kit. You get a fairly standard kick pedal here, and it’s fine. But most drummers will probably swap it out eventually for something more refined.
The hi-hat pedal leaves a fair bit to be desired. It doesn’t have the same feel as a real hi-hat pedal. Sure, it works fine, but this will take a lot of getting used to for someone coming from an acoustic kit.
And one more little thing…
I do have a concern about the responsiveness of the triggers. These mesh heads have a lot of bounce in them, and this means you’re in danger of getting some bounce back to contact your sticks or kick beater.
This can confuse the triggers and lead to higher velocity readings than you were intending, meaning more volume. This is one of the main reasons I recommend this as a practice or beginner kit, but not for recording.
I’m quite impressed with the sounds that come with this kit. As I said earlier, you get 671 voices (what a weird number) here. These include standard and quite life-like rock, jazz, and fusion kit sounds.
But, you also get a range of percussion sounds, tones, and electronic weirdness. I think you get a great mix here, and all of the sounds are tweakable, too. It’s fair to call this one of the best sounding beginner electronic drum kits you can buy.
On top of that, you can import your own sounds to save into the user kits. All you need is to get .wav files onto a USB stick and plug it in, then assign your samples to different slots in a user kit. This way, you can use the kit itself to trigger all sorts of samples or just load up the ultimate drum sounds.
Module and Programmability
The Command Drum Module is a sleek-looking brain that’s easy to use with a medium-sized display, buttons, and a toggle wheel. The wheel allows you to quickly flip through the different pre-programmed or user-programmed sets saved on it. You can also use the buttons to scroll through menus.
As I mentioned above, you can use a USB to input your .wav files into the programmable user kits. This is pretty easy to do just by calling up each pad in the kit and assigning a sound to it. Furthermore, for most pads, you need to assign two sounds if they are dual-zoned, and that gives you even more creative range.
Each sound can be manipulated for both tone and volume. So, once again, you can customize your kits the way you want them and come up with something special that no one else will have.
What else is contained in this module?
You get 60 practice songs that you can play along with to practice your chops. You get a metronome click track that you can play along to as well to keep you bang on the rhythm. Also, you get an on-board sequencer here. This allows you to lay down your drum tracks once you have them perfected.
Then, you can use the sequencer to edit them or, better yet, export them to a DAW (digital audio workstation). The module uses MIDI-via-USB connections so you can run your tracks right out to your desktop DAW.
Also, you can use these connections to trigger other MIDI instruments, like samplers and keyboards. This thing is the whole kit and caboodle!
Alesis Command Mesh Kit Review – Pros and Cons
- Lots of great-sounding voices (671) and 72 kits to play around with.
- The 20 user kits are fully programmable, and you can input your own .wav samples for even more sounds.
- Fully adjustable and realistic-feeling drum pads.
- The whole kit can be folded up if there’s a premium on space.
- Cymbals are a bit light and don’t feel much like real cymbals.
- Mesh pads have a lot of wiggle in them, which can lead to unwanted loud triggering and deflections.
- A drum throne is missing to make this a complete kit.
- Kick and hi-hat pedals aren’t that good.
Is Percussion Your Passion?
If so, we have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Electronic Drum Sets, the Best Jazz Drum Sets, the Best Portable Drum Kits, the Best Beginner Drum Set, the Best Electronic Drum Sets for Kids, the Best Snare Drums, the Best Bass Drum Pedals, and the Best Electronic Drum Amps you can buy in 2023.
Also, for dedicated reviews of some of the best e-drums out there, have a look at our detailed Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit Review, our Alesis DM10 MKII Review, our Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Review, our Yamaha DTX562K Electronic Drum Set Review, and our Roland TD-25KV Electronic Drum Set Review.
Alesis Command Mesh Kit Review – Summary
After looking carefully at this mid-range kit from Alesis, I have to admit that it’s really worth the $800 price tag. You get a pretty solid kit that you can also add to.
The drum module here comes packed with voices and kits, plus you can import more with just a USB drive. The pre-programmed voices sound realistic and are quite diverse. Plus, you can still manipulate them if you need to.
In short, I think this is a versatile electronic drum kit that has a lot of flexibility and functionality. It may not be made with the best hardware or electronics in the world, but at this price point, you’re going to be hard-pressed to do better.
Until next time, may the beat go on.