Alesis Strike Pro Review: Does It Stand Up To The Competition?

The Strike Pro is the flagship electronic drum kit sold from Alesis.

It comes standard with eleven pieces and mesh heads — they make an excellent case for drummers who need a kit for both practice and the stage.

As we’ve mentioned before, Alesis has been dominating the electronic instrument market for the last few years.

They are making everything from drum kits to digital pianos.

With such an attractive price point when compared to the higher-end models from Roland, does the Strike Pro stand up to the competition?

I believe it does, but there are some negative aspects to having such a low cost.

Excellent alternative to Roland’s expensive kits.

Alesis Strike Pro Review
80

Our Overall Score

Kit: Strike Pro
Manufacturer: Alesis

Alesis Strike Pro

Alesis has managed to create an electronic drum set that is both affordable and high quality. You won’t see specs like this on any other kit within its price range.

The kit looks amazing and the shells are sized just like a regular acoustic drum set would be.

The Strike Pro kit recently made it into our roundup article on the best electronic drum sets. Let’s now dive deep on the kit on the good and bad.


Overview

Sitting Behind my Alesis Strike Kit
My Alesis Strike Kit

The Alesis Strike Pro is a professional electronic drum kit that comes with four tom pads, a snare pad, kick pad, four crash cymbals, and a hi-hat controller.

The pads are made from nylon mesh, which is the standard for most electronic kits these days.

Note: the kit mentioned in the article is the higher-end model of the Strike, though I own the regular Strike kit with one less pad and two less cymbals. The kits are virtually identical in every other regard.

Included also is the Strike module that has a sleek design with faders, an LCD screen, and buttons to control parameters. The module comes pre-loaded with over 1600 multi-sampled instruments.

By all means it’s a solid drum kit.

What’s in the box?

Alesis Strike Box
The box of the Alesis Strike.

The kit itself is fairly large, so you’ll need a bit of time set aside to set it up prior to playing.

The box the Strike comes in is very heavy, so if you have stairs, you may have to unpack the boxes outside and bring them in seperately.

Included in the box is as follows:

What’s in the box?

  • 14″ kick drum pad (1)
  • 14″ dual-zone snare drum pad (1)
  • 8″, 10″, 12″, 14″ dual-zone tom pads (4)
  • 16″ triple-zone ride cymbal pad (1)
  • 14″ dual-zone crash cymbal pads (2)
  • 12″ hi-hat cymbal pads (1)
  • Chrome rack (1)
  • Strike drum module (1)
  • Pair of drum sticks (1)
  • Cable snake and wraps (1)
  • Drum key (1)
  • Power supply (1)
  • Assembly guide (1)
Alesis Strike Boxes
The individual boxes.

One big downside to buying the Strike Pro is the fact that you have supply your own kick pedal and hi-hat stand. The pedal is no problem for me, but I think they should supply some sort of hi-hat stand honestly.

Differences between the eleven and eight-piece kits

The eight-piece kit is significantly cheaper than the eleven, but only comes with one crash cymbal and three toms. If you don’t need a gigantic setup, I highly suggest getting the regular Strike kit.

The smaller Strike kit is expandable to the Pro version if you decide to upgrade at a later date.

Features

Let’s get into some of the top features.

Alesis Strike Pro Specs and Features

  • Strike Performance drum module equipped with a 4.3″ full-color LCD screen
  • 110 kits and over 1,600 multi-sampled instruments
  • 8GB SD card
  • Dual-hoop pads with wooden shells
  • 4-Post chrome rack
  • Software editor
  • On-board sampling capability
  • USB/MIDI output for use with VST instruments

Traditional Drum Shell Sizes

Electronic drums often get a bad rap for being small and compact. A kit like the Alesis Nitro is so small that it can be tough to transition back to an acoustic kit.

The Strike Pro features regular shell sizes, meaning your acoustic kit and electronic kit should feel pretty similar in terms of ergonomics.

I’m a big fan of this, as I hated my Yamaha DTX drum kit in college. I found that the pads were too small and didn’t feel anything like a real drum set (not that they should).

It was nice for practicing, but if I had the choice all those years back to get the Strike kit, I would have.

The Look of the Shells

Alesis Strike Pro Shells
Alesis Strike Shells

The shells themselves are made from wood and feature a beautiful red sparkle finish. “Real” drum shells are only available normally on kits like V-Drums or ATV Artist standard drums.

The Feel of the Strike Pro

As stated before, the kit feels very similar to that of an acoustic drum kit. The size is a big factor, but the mesh heads also help.

I’ve commented on mesh drum pads before, stating that they can give a false sense of what a drum feels like, but I really do enjoy the sensation of playing mesh heads.

The response is excellent and is exactly the case with this kit.

Roland’s pads are on the extreme end (very responsive) of the spectrum and older rubber pads (firm) on the other.

Alesis manages to land right in the middle: not too bouncy and not too rigid. The head tensions are adjustable to your liking, as well!

Alesis Strike Pro Kick Pad
Strike Pro Kick Pad

I believe the only way you can ever get close to the same feel as an acoustic kit is to actually convert your acoustic kit into an electronic kit using triggers.

While this requires a DIY approach (or by buying a full-fledged converted drum set), it could pay off for the end result.

Justin from 65 Drums has an excellent video explaining how to convert your acoustic drum set to electronic.

I’m not ready for the full-on conversion, so I went with a regular e kit for now.

The drum pads

Including a 14″ dual-zone snare drum pad was a great idea from Alesis. I honestly hate electronic kits that have a small snare drum.

It’s not because I can’t play in the center of the drum, rather, I just love emulating the feeling of sitting at a real drum kit.

Alesis Tom Drum
10″ tom shell

All included drum pads are dual-zone, which allows you to play independent sounds from both the pad itself and the rim.

This adds another level of realism that many entry-level kits will lack.

Tunable pads

The drum pads on the Strike kit are tunable, giving you the option to increase or decrease the responsiveness of the mesh heads.

I love this feature. It once again brings out the realness factor when comparing back to an acoustic drum set.

Great “looking” electronic cymbals

Alesis Strike Ride Cymbal
Alesis Strike 16″ Triple-Zone Ride Cymbal Pad

Upon first glance, the cymbals provided have a neat “hammered” look, emulating traditionally hand-hammered cymbals. It’s a nice touch.

The larger-sized bell is also great for playing different accents throughout a piece of music. All cymbals also feature the ability to be choked.

My big issue with these cymbals is only one side has the piezo; your cymbal must face a certain way, with the Alesis logo furthest away.

This isn’t a huge deal since there are locking washers under the cymbals keeping them straight.

My issue lies in the crash. The cymbal seems to misfire often when I’m not perfectly within the zone of the piezo.

Triple-zone ride cymbal and dual-zone crashes

The Strike Pro includes a triple-zone ride cymbal, which is something usually reserved, again, for higher-end e kits.

You’re able to hit either the bell, bow, or edge of the cymbal.

All the other cymbals included are only dual-zone. Including all triple-zone cymbals would take this kit to the next level, but for now, I find the cymbals to be great.

The drum module of the Strike Pro

Alesis Strike Module
Alesis Strike Pro Module

The included module of the kit looks beautiful from a design standpoint. It’s got most of the bells and whistles that of the TD-50.

The drum module comes packed with 100 new drum kits and over 1,600 multi-sampled instruments.

Multi-sampled kits

Multi-sampled kits make electronic drums sounds more realistic.

For example, a lightly tapped snare might be from a collection of different samples than hitting the drum at full velocity.

This is what makes a kit sound realistic and not sound like a machine gun.

I’ve been a big critic of Alesis drum kits in the past when referring to multi-sampled drum kits. Their entry-level e kits don’t feature this type of technology and the sounds produced from those kits suffers.

Multi-Velocity Samples Explained Infographic

I don’t believe those kits really need multi-sample technology, though it would be nice.

The only way to work around it is to use virtual instruments, like GetGood Drums to get a multi-sampled velocity drum kit out of an entry-level kit.

Enough of my sidetracking, back to the Strike Pro.

4.3″ color display

Alesis Strike Module LCD Screen
The Alesis Module LCD Screen

The LCD display looks great and shows a nice visual representation of each kit you are on with information about the preset. It’s very responsive and think that it’s actually better looking than the TD-50’s display.

Roland seems to be sticking with the old if it’s not broke, don’t fix it mentality on their modules, but I love the visual design and look of the display.

Ins and outs

The drum module comes with an 8GB SD card which you can load new samples and sounds onto. The USB/MIDI connections are great if you have the desire to use virtual instruments as I mentioned with a DAW.

The pads are connected to the module via the provided snake cable with each end labeled with colors to each respective pad.

Alesis Strike Pro Module - Rear
Alesis Strike Pro Module – Rear

Alesis has also released the Strike Software Editor, which allows you to easily create new kits on your computer, rather than using the knobs on the module.

The sounds

For starters, you get 110 new drum kit presets made from 1,600 multi-sample instruments.

Out of all the kits available on the market, the Strike gets very close to accurately representing the dynamic range. Things like rolls and drags sound pretty good when compared to their entry-level siblings.

I’m pretty critical when it comes to the sound of mostly all electronic drum sets. In fact, I usually hate most of them. This is because I have recorded drums and also have used plenty of sample libraries when producing music.

Have a listen to some of the presets below taken from my module:

Birch Rock Preset Kit
Natural Maple Preset Kit
Pop Maple Preset Kit
Power Station Natural Preset Kit

There is no EQ, compression, or other effects added to these recordings. These samples are straight off of the module into my Apollo Twin interface. You can hear a little bit of the hi-hat misfiring on the first sample.

Most of the kick and tom samples are acceptable to my ears, but the snares and cymbals aren’t the greatest. I have created my own custom kit that I rather enjoy, based off of the Power Station Natural preset.

The FX engine could be better

One flaw I have found is the inability to add compression and EQ to individual drums or cymbals. In my case, I’d like to compress the cymbals a bit harder, but not the snare at the same time.

You can only apply these effects to the entire kit, as FX1 and FX2 have useless effects like flanger and wah-wah. Unless I am doing something wrong, I don’t believe it’s possible.

Modules don’t often have the best sounds anyway

I would much prefer using virtual drum libraries (VSTs) with electronic kits, as mentioned before. Using VSTs isn’t the most straightforward task by any means, so it is relieving when you can have an out-of-the-box solution for great drum sounds.

External VST instruments are NOT easy to use with the Strike module

The Strike Pro is rather tricky to use with VST drum libraries. While I eventually did get the mappings to line up correctly, there is no way for the software to differentiate between the open and closed hi-hat midi CC messages.

I have read many support threads on forums with many users dealing with the same problem.

What is the deal here, Alesis? Are we ever going to see a fix?

One of my primary reasons for purchasing the Strike kit was to have the ability to record drums in a quiet setting. It is absolutely frustrating trying to make this kit work properly.

Most drum modules don’t sound great to my ears, including the Strike and even the TD-50. That being said, these two modules are what I would consider acceptable. I promise I’m done being an audio snob.

Hear the kit in action below:


Pros of the Strike Pro

  • Affordable when compared to Roland drums
  • Incredible look and feel
  • Solid and sturdy chrome rack
  • Decent sounding module

Being that Pro is in the name, this kit is targeted at the professional-level consumer. If you’re a firsttime buyer and drummer, this most likely isn’t the kit for you.

I love the look and feel of the kit overall. It gives me all the features of a top-level electronic kit at a big fraction of the price. The solid chrome rack, which I haven’t mentioned yet, is also very durable and looks great.

The sound quality is subjective, being how snobby I am about it, but I’m able to look past this since it is an electronic kit after all.

Alesis has packed a lot of professional features into a kit that is just under $2,500.

Cons of the Strike Pro

  • Quality assurance problems with hi-hat and piezos
  • Limited effects engine
  • Not a dedicated audio interface
  • Expansion is somewhat limited

There are two giant issues with the Strike kit. The hi-hat controller reportedly has failed for many users. Symptoms of the problem include the pedal firing erratically, double triggering, not triggering at all, and other issues. The other issue being faulty piezo plates.

The hi-hat problems

The support forum linked above does list several strategies to fix the problem, but you shouldn’t have to rely on a DIY solution to a problem that should be completely fixed by now.

Alesis Strike Pro Hi-Hat
Alesis Strike Pro Hi-Hat

Upon setting up my kit, I had problems with the hi-hat instantly. The edge controller is very strange, often not responding to hits. Opening and closing the hi-hat often doesn’t work.

If they haven’t already, Alesis should send users of the faulty hi-hat a new controller pad that is fixed.

The 1.4 firmware update reportedly fixes many of the issues with the hi-hat but users (including myself) are still having to rig their controllers up with additional washers to fix the responsiveness problems.

The update improved my hi-hat triggering, but not by much. I managed to change some settings in the menu but haven’t completely alleviated the issue.

Faulty piezo plates

Update: since writing about the issues with the piezo plates and foam cylinders, I learned that I have a Generation 2 Strike kit, which supposedly fixes all of the issues below! I will update the article when and if I have problems!

Inside each drum pad lies a set of rubber cylinders that make contact with the mesh head and a plastic plate connected to the piezo. The adhesive used with these cylinders can come loose resulting in them falling over, causing poor triggering.

Alesis Snare Drum Internals
Internals of the Alesis Strike drum pads

The piezo plate is also known to crack after six months to a year of use. I am unsure if Alesis has fixed this issue in newer models of the Strike, but I’m taking extra precaution.

Experienced users of the Strike have begun using shipping tape to provide support to the plate and extend its life. Cut two pieces of tape in half and form a plus sign over the plate.

Alesis Pad DIY Fix
Place four pieces of tape in a plus shape to extend the life of your pads

I’m hoping I won’t have any issues, but I’ll be sure to update the article if and when I do.


Frequently asked questions

  • Can I upgrade to the Strike Pro from the regular kit? Yes. You can definitely upgrade from the regular model to the Pro with Alesis’s expansion kit.
  • Can I add more drum pads? Due to the fact that all the pads are dual-zone, technically it would be possible, though you would lose the dual-zone functionality.
  • Does the kit come with a hi-hat stand, kick pedal, or throne? No, you will need to supply your own hi-hat stand, throne, and kick pedal.
  • Are the mesh drum heads replaceable? Yes. You’ll need to reach out to Alesis’s parts team at parts@inmusicbrands.com. I suggest following the steps I’ve outlined to extend the duration of your kit.
  • Can I use a double kick pedal with the Strike? Yes, the kick drum pad is very large and can support a double kick pedal.

Alternatives to the Strike Pro

If the hi-hat issue’s got you worried, there’s a couple options we can suggest instead.

If you’re already looking at the Strike Pro line from Alesis, I don’t think it’s wise to move down the ladder to their other products; if you happen to be looking for something a bit more affordable, the DM10 MKII or the Surge Mesh may be an okay option if you’re cool with no dedicated hi-hat stand.

The Roland TD-30K also comes to mind, but it’s far more expensive than the Strike kit. Yamaha also makes the DTX562K at a similar price point to the Strike, but the module isn’t the greatest.

That being said, both of these kits also don’t have wooden shells and larger drum sizes.


The verdict

I have confidence that Alesis will continue to work on the quality control issues that the Strike Pro faces. If that problem is eliminated, this kit would score a near 100 rating.

I love the kit and the price point. I think it sounds moderately decent and definitely competes with Roland’s higher-end kits. I couldn’t recommend it more.

I don’t suggest you buy the kit if you’re a beginner. You need to decide for yourself if drums is going to be an obsession prior to dropping a lot on an electronic drum kit.

Alesis Strike Pro - Our Rating
  • Design
  • Features
  • User Interface
  • Value
4

Summary

Alesis has managed to create an electronic drum set that effectively competes with higher end kits from brands like Roland and Yamaha. While it does have it quirks, with a little configuration, the kit can perform at a very high level and give you an experience usually reserved for expensive electronic drums.


Over to you now. Do you have any experience with the Alesis Strike Pro? I’d love to hear from you down below in the comments. Thanks for reading. Bye for now.

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