Let’s talk about the new-ish Alesis Turbo Mesh. I’ve had this e kit on my radar for a few months now and figured it’s time to share my thoughts.
Alesis has a lot of entry-level options, and by far, the Turbo Mesh is the cheapest of the lot. There’s nothing that will blow you away, and pros will scoff at the sounds and limited features.
That said, for newer drummers (kids especially), the Turbo Mesh might be the perfect option.
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Alesis Turbo Mesh Review
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Excellent entry-level electronic kit for kids
Alesis Turbo Mesh
The Turbo Mesh is the most affordable electronic kit from Alesis — perfect for beginners looking to start playing.
The Turbo Mesh is one of many kits entry-level kits available on the market. It’s affordable and has quality parts, despite its cost.
If you visit Amazon, you may notice a few electronic kits around a similar price point. The problem? They’re all utter junk.
See what I mean…
Just have a look at the Pyle Pro. It looks horrendous.
And don’t even get me started on those tabletop electronic drum sets. Those are terrible.
But the Alesis Turbo Mesh stands out. It’s one of the only entry-level electronic kits that is high-quality and affordable. While I do have some criticisms, for the most part, it’s an excellent choice for new drummers.
What’s In The Box
The Turbo Mesh electronic drum kit includes seven-pieces and mesh drum heads. As I’ve stated in other articles, mesh heads are now the standard on electric sets.
The hardware frame is lightweight steel and folds easily for storage. The kit goes together with relative ease and doesn’t take up a lot of space in a room.
Cables, a power supply, drum key, and sticks come included with the Turbo Mesh.
The only additional accessory you’ll need to pick up is a drum throne. No matter which kit you pick, this will be a requirement (unless you use a chair from home — not recomended).
The snare and three tom pads are 8″ in diameter and are single zone (one sound per pad, e.g., no rim sounds).
All four pads have tunable tension rods, allowing adjustment of the head tightness. Mesh heads are often very bouncy, so bringing them down a bit can sometimes help feel more natural.
The Cymbal Pads
The included cymbal pads are all 10″ in size and are dual-zone, giving you both an edge and a bow sound. The cymbal pads aren’t impressive but do get the job done for a kit in this range.
To bring the cost down, the Turbo Mesh doesn’t include a kick tower. It instead contains an electronic foot pedal controller.
On the one hand, this is a plus, because you don’t need to buy a kick pedal.
The downside? The feel is way different than using a real kick drum pedal as we see on almost all electronic kits above this price point.
The hi-hat controller functions decently as a stand-less controller, similar to other Alesis kits like the Surge Mesh or Nitro Mesh. That said, it’s nowhere near the level of hi-hat controllers that utilize a stand.
The module of the Turbo Mesh couldn’t be more simple. There are just a few buttons with ten included preset kits. A total of 120 drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds fill the module.
Alesis provides 30 play-along backing tracks. Not only are they fun to play along with, but they also aid drummers’ creativity in writing parts.
For young drummers learning, Alesis provides three great learning tools with the module — a metronome, drum coach, and 40 free lessons from Melodics (read my review on Melodics here).
The metronome features different time signatures and tempos from 30-280 BPM. Use a metronome while you practice if you aren’t already. It helps your timing more than you know.
The Drum Coach feature has five drum exercises that help build your stamina, work your groove, and improve your timing.
Another benefit that’s standard on most modules today is the aux input. Using your phone, tablet, or laptop, you can easily jam along with your favorite songs from Spotify, or play along with lessons on YouTube.
For those into recording, the USB/MIDI jack on the back of the module lets you connect to your computer.
With the use of music software, it’s easy to record your performance and use VST Instruments. I suggest doing so, as the sounds included with the Turbo Mesh are not the greatest.
Let’s Talk About the Sounds
They’re not great, and honestly, I didn’t expect them to be the best. In my opinion, e kits often don’t have the best sounds.
For example, my kit, the Alesis Strike, doesn’t even have great sounds to my ears. That kit is 5x the price of the Turbo Mesh and has a much better module.
Emulating an acoustic kit with samples is no easy feat.
The ten included drum kits range from garage rock to jazz and world percussion. They work great for practicing, but in a gig setting, I doubt they will cut it.
The samples sound dull and lifeless to my ears. For practice, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.
I believe the pads feature three-step velocity sampling. Tapping the drum plays a softer sample, hitting with medium velocity plays a medium sample, and cracking the drum plays a loud sample.
It’s very apparent on the snare drum, and you can hear it by playing softly to loud.
While this feature is nice, the transition between the velocity ranges is very noticeable.
Similar to the pads, the cymbals also feature different samples for the varying velocities. If you hit the bow of the cymbal hard, a bell sample plays.
It’s not intuitive, but it is one way to get bell sounds out of a dual-zone cymbal pad. It’s not my favorite feature.
I’d almost opt for eliminating the bell sound at that point. I doubt there’s a way to program that, given the limited module functionality.
Getting Around the Sounds
Despite the sounds lacking, there is a way to make the kit sounds amazing — drum VST instruments.
Software sample libraries like Addictive Drums 2 and EZ Drummer improve the sound of the kit dramatically, but you’ll need to use a computer and buy the software.
I suggest learning how to use drum VSTs — I promise you’ll appreciate the quality difference overall.
The Turbo Mesh is an excellent and affordable e kit for beginning drummers. For kids asking for drums for the first time, you cannot go wrong.
An acoustic kit will always be loud and obnoxious to those in smaller homes, but the Turbo Mesh is perfect even in apartments.
If you want to go up a few steps, check out either the Surge Mesh or the Nitro Mesh from Alesis. There aren’t too many improvements, and for a first kit again, I’d start here.
What are your thoughts on the Alesis Turbo Mesh? Feel free to leave them down below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.
Images provided from Alesis.com.
Alesis Turbo Mesh Review