There are a lot of reasons why a drummer would turn to an electronic drum set. It could be sound – your family or your neighbors just can’t handle your incessant thumping for one more minute! Or it could be the variety of sounds.
Electronic drums let you change the sounds of each trigger pad, allowing you a great range of sounds that let you play in a multitude of styles. They’re also lightweight and relatively easier to maintain than regular drums.
If you’re looking for an electronic drum kit that won’t break the bank, you could do a lot worse than an Alesis kit. In my in-depth Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh kit review, I’ll fully explore the kit so that you can figure out if it’s the perfect option for you.
A Bit About Alesis
Alesis was founded in 1980 at the forefront of the electronic music era. They jumped into the field with affordable processors like the 16-bit Midiverb, popular drum machines like the HR-16 and best-selling SR-16, and Multi-track recorders like the ADAT Multi-Channel Digital Tape Recorder.
The company launched its drum line in the mid-2000s. And have been building full kits and individual drum modules ever since. In comparison to heavy hitters in the industry like Roland, Alesis drum kits start at very affordable prices. Of course, they also get into the upper reaches of electronic drum prices and quality.
The Nitro Mesh Kit – Overview
So let’s have a look at this Nitro Mesh kit. What’s it comprised of? First, I’ll go through the hardware with you; then, we can take a look at the software powering this kit and its other features.
This kit replicates what a 5-piece acoustic drum kit looks and feels like. Except for the kick drum pedal and attached pad, the rest of the drum pads are fixed to a 2-angle, 4-post rack. This rack is made of lightweight but durable aluminum. It also folds up easily. Therefore you can quickly move this kit out of the way when you need extra space, or else transport it to a gig.
You’ve got the kick pedal, as mentioned, plus the vertical bass drum pad to which you can also connect a double bass pedal if your thrashing style calls for it. Next up is an 8-inch dual-zone snare pad which gives you different tones based on playing center or near the rim. The other three pieces are 8-inch toms, wrapping up the five piece drum kit.
For cymbals, you’ve got a 10-inch hi-hat cymbal as well as a floor pedal to control it virtually. This hi-hat is a single pad – it doesn’t open and close like a regular pair of hats. So everything depends on the pedal and the set’s brain. More on that later.
You have two more 10-inch cymbal pads that are programmed as a crash, and a ride in most of the pre-programmed drum sets built into the system. The crash cymbal has a “choke” function which allows you to choke off the wash when you grab it in your hand.
All three of the cymbal pads are made of stiff, solid rubber-coated plastic that gives you a decent amount of bounce without being too exaggerated.
Why is it called the Nitro Mesh kit?
Aside from the rubber-based bass drum pad, the four remaining drum heads are made from a strong and super durable mesh. This mesh is tightly drawn across solid rims that have adjustable lug nuts. Only here, they’re not for tuning so much as tensioning the heads to your liking.
Overall, this is a small, lightweight kit that gives you all the playability of a full-sized drum set. Furthermore, it is one of the most durable electronic drum kits on the market.
Brain and Software
Each of the eight pads on the Nitro Mesh kit is connected by wire to the kit’s brain, also known as the drum module. Here, we’re talking about the Alesis Nitro Drum Module. Besides the feel and responsiveness of the drum pads, this is the most important part of any electronic drum set.
So what can it do?
Inside this drum module are 40 preset drum kits ranging from everything from hard rock to jazz, to downright weird. The kits are composed of 385 individual voices that you can individually modify for volume, pitch, pan, and reverb. Also, you can create your own kits by modifying these sounds and mixing and matching sounds, and assigning them to different pads.
You can save a limited number of edited kits for later use, so you don’t have to re-program the drums every time. Although, you do have to remember where you saved your edits, which is all just by a user number. I recommend naming your kits based on the songs or even the bands you use them for and then writing these down on your phone somewhere.
You’ve got an on-board click track that you can turn on and off, and of course, a tempo control. These are great features for practicing. You can slow down tricky parts to nail them, then push the tempo higher and higher to get things mastered. As a result, this is one of the best electronic drum kits for practicing at home.
That’s not all
The kit also comes with 60 play-along tracks that you can also adjust the tempos of. These tracks give you a wide variety of styles to practice, and all the beats are recorded on them as well. So with those beats, you can listen and play along. Once you’ve got them down, you can turn the drums off and lay down your own drum track to the song.
There are a few things about the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit that I consider its top features. These are the things that make it stand out from the competition. And give it a uniqueness that makes it a worthwhile purchase. Likewise, it’s possibly one of the best budget electronic drum kits you can buy.
Easy to Use
First, the module interface is really easy to use. It has a big LED screen and rubberized buttons that are easy even for the ham-fisted among us to punch properly.
You can even disconnect the module from the entire drum kit and play it using the trigger pads right on the interface. So basically, you get an electronic drum kit plus a portable drum machine, both for the price of one.
Next, the editability of the voices is robust enough to make a lot of room for creativity. Some of the kits admittedly come pre-programmed in ways that may actually sound awful, especially through different sound systems. Luckily you can change all that by adjusting the pitch, pan, reverb, and volume for each voice.
You can also edit the sounds for each pad. So you’re not stuck with only snare sounds for the snare pad or only crashes for the crash pad. If you want a kit with a lot more drum sounds, you can assign such sounds to the cymbal pads or vice versa.
The hi-hat is made up of five different sounds. You have open, half-open, closed, foot-tap, and foot-splash. You can get really precise. Adjusting both the voices and the volumes of each of these sounds to make something an acoustic kit could never produce.
It would be great if you could also import your own sounds. But on an inexpensive kit like this, that’s probably asking way too much. That being said, it’s one of the most versatile electronic drum kits you can buy.
This kit gives you a lot of choices for connecting to it. Of course, you get the standard headphone out 1/8” jack. So you can listen to yourself play and save your family from madness. But for gigging, there’s, of course, a stereo out ¼” jack to run into an amp or mixing board.
You also get a USB connector to get onto your computer and make powerful use of your DAW. And if you want to link up to other MIDI devices, you’ve got MIDI-in and MIDI-out.
Samples and Recordings
The Nitro Drum Module allows you to record your own performances. So you can play them back and practice with them, or else listen for areas to improve.
But even more than that, you can make your own samples. After which, you can edit and mix with the onboard sequencer. In this way, you can program beats and loops. Even blending these into a track while at the same time playing a different kit of drum sounds to accompany yourself.
Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit Review – Pros and Cons
As with every product, this one comes with its positives and negatives. Take them into account when making your personal purchasing choices.
- Great “life-like” feel and responsivity from the mesh heads.
- Highly editable sounds and drum kits.
- Powerful drum module for recording, sequencing, and saving pre-programmed sounds.
- The lightweight kit is easy to store and transport.
- The price is right – this is a versatile kit for under $500.
- Outside sounds cannot be inputted into the module.
- Pad positioning is limited due to the rack mounting system.
- The kick pedal beater needs frequent adjustment (or just a whole new pedal).
- Connection cords should be longer to allow for a greater range of positioning of drum pads.
Need Some Great Drums or Drum Accessories?
We can help you find what you want. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Portable Drum Kits, the Best Cheap Beginner Electronic Drum Sets Under $500, the Best Jazz Drum Sets, the Best Electronic Drum Amps, the Best Drum Thrones, the Best Snare Drums, and the Best Drumsticks you can buy in 2021.
You may also enjoy our detailed Sabian XS20 Cymbals Review, our Ludwig LC178X0 Drum Set Review, our Yamaha DTX562K Electronic Drum Set Review, our Roland TD-25KV Electronic Drum Set Review, and our Roland Octapad SPD-30 Review for more awesome items currently on the market.
Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit Review – Final Thoughts
What’s the final assessment of this electronic drum kit? It plays comfortably, and both feels and responds like an acoustic kit. It could have more range for setting up to make it comfortable for everyone, especially bigger drummers. The mesh heads are great for playing on and are not fatiguing at all.
With the wide range of sounds and pre-programmed kits, you can play on this set for hours. At the same time, you can edit the kits easily and extensively to bring your own flavor to the sound mix. In short, this is an affordable and versatile kit perfect for beginners and intermediate players alike.
Until next time, let your music play.