PRO AUDIO
Taylor

Taylor
September 26, 2011

Alesis DM8 Pro Electronic Drum Kit Review


Because the kit is called Pro, we brought in a pro to show us what the latest Alesis electronic kit is all about. Alex Selph is a clinician, studio drummer, and touring performance drummer who plays in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. We were fortunate enough to have him come in and demo the Alesis DM8 Pro Kit and he gave us some insight into how this kit feels and performs. Here are some specs:

  • DM8 high-definition drum module with over 750 Dynamic Articulation sounds
  • RealHead 8″, 10″, and 12″ drum pads with tension-adjustable drumheads
  • 12″ dual-zone Snare, 8″, 10″, and 12″ Toms, and 8″ Kick, which works with single and double pedals (sold separately)
  • DMPad 12″, 14″, and 16″ multi-zone cymbal pads with natural motion
  • 16″ 3-zone Ride with choke, 14″ Crash with choke, 12″ Hi-Hat with RealHat continuous pedal
  • StageRack with four-post design, integrated cymbal booms, and wingbolt-adjustable clamps
  • StageRack comes with convertible boom/straight cymbal arms, mounted in the downtubes
  • Premium instrument library multi-sampled from real drums and cymbals
  • Play along with tracks and record yourself with the three-part sequencer
  • Mix input for practicing with external music players
  • USB-enabled for tracking and programming with virtually all music software

In addition to Alex’s personal review, I got a chance to play around with this kit as well and here are my impressions:

Drum Pads

Firstly the drums pads on this kit feel like a real drum kit which is great for the drummer who has been timid about buying an electronic kit based on feel. The cymbal pads feel like most cymbal pads out there but unless you spend several hundred dollars on cymbal pads that feel like real cymbals, having a rubberized surface to play on is really your best bet.

The kick, snare, and toms all sounded great especially on the basic drum presets. The toms have an extended decay with those nice warm overtones you come to expect from a real tom drum.

Cymbals

A lot people ask me if you can choke the cymbals on certain electronic drum kits and I can tell you that the choke ability on the Alesis DM8 Pro is incredibly responsive to the touch. The triple zone ride is a great feature for making your performance more true to life when compared to a real ride cymbal. So not only do you have control of the bell and the face of the ride, but you can also strike the side of the ride to get that wash sound that a small ride can provide. It almost feels like a crash/ride in the way it responds to the different velocities at which you strike the cymbal.

I thought the ride had a incredibly realistic sound. Really impressed with the this. The hi hat and crash cymbal did not have quite the same level of realism but then again I have yet to hear an electronic hi hat and crash cymbal that I liked.

The Brain

The brain on the Alesis DM8 Pro is full of different options for sounds. You can mix and match different sounds, change the pitch of each sound, and even choreograph a song to play along to. The ability to adjust the sensitivity of the velocity at which you strike should come as a sigh of relief to drummers who want that real drum feel. Heavy hitters might not need the same sensitivity as lighter hitters so being able to adjust that is a plus. The only limit with the brain on the DM8 Pro is your imagination.

In sequential order, here is a list of the drum kits Alex played during the demo:

-Trig Samp

- Fusion

-Latin Jazz

-Rocker Jam

-Trash Funk

-Jungle Verb

-Delhi World

Review

The kit comes with everything you need right out of the box with the exception of a drum throne and a kick pedal. I found this to be a little disappointing especially for the beginner who wants to have everything they need in one package. For intermediate to advanced drummers, this may not matter because you already own those things. In most cases drummers out there probably own several thrones and pedals, so not having an included pedal and throne may be exactly what you need.

I found the pads and cymbals to be very responsive to different types of stick hits. The ability to change the sensitivity of every pad is a great feature. It takes some experimenting to see where exactly you want the sensitivity but once you find that sweet spot you get a lot of the DM8 Pro.

The one thing I did find rather frustrating was the finickiness of the rack. While it is incredibly sturdy for a plastic rack, I had problems when moving the kit around. It began to collapse in on itself and I had to readjust all the rack pieces. The best way to fix this is make sure all of your lugs and knobs are tight and try to avoid mashing the kit together for storage. This is best way to be sure that your rack will have continued life and wont fall on top of you while you are playing.

No matter what level of skill you are at this is still a great kit for helping you get better. Perhaps you just need a simple click to go through rudiments, maybe you want to start recording mixes onto a DAW, or if your like me, you just want to plug in your iPod and rock out. No matter what your desire, the Alesis DM8 Pro can accommodate. Thanks again to Alex Selph for jamming on the kit for us. I’ll see all of you at your next gig.

SLAM!!

Transcript

We are back again, this is Taylor with uniquesquared.com and today we are checking out the Alesis DM8 Pro kit. I brought my good buddy Alex Selph to come and demo the kit. He’s going to play around with some of the features and I’m going to run you through some of the specs as we go through the demo so, take it away Alex. The Alesis DM8 is a five piece electronic drum kit with five cymbals. Right out of the box you will notice the combination metal and plastic construction of the rack which is fully adjustable to fit any style of play. We’re going to go over the drum pads, the symbols, and the module, as well as get some impressions from Alex about the Alesis DM8 Pro. First let’s talk about the module or brain on the Alesis DM8. If we start on the back you can see that we have our jack for powering the module, and Alesis also supplies you with a MIDI input for adding additional control surfaces. You also have a USB connection for communication with computer software for additional sounds or recording capabilities. You have a ¼ inch headphone and main output jacks. You also have an auxiliary input for hooking up things like an iPod so you can play along to music. The percussion one and two input jacks are for assigning your dual zone snare and your triple zone ride. You can also use these if you want to add more pads or symbols. The front of the module is going to give you all the controls you need to manipulate sounds, set up kits, and record your performances. You have over 100 kits with 750 different drum sounds to pick from. You can create your own kit or use the ones provided. With each of the pads you have tight control for sensitivity which is great for ghost notes versus heavy hits. Depending on your style of play, there is a sensitivity style just for you. In addition to sensitivity control you have control over the velocity curve so you can be super accurate with how the trigger responds to your hits. The tap tempo button is great for setting a metronome to a desired tempo with ease. The beats per minute is displayed nicely on the screen so you can reference the tempo at all times. The Alesis DM8 Pro allows you to do more than most drum modules. You have full control over the instrument sounds that accompany your drum performance. All the MIDI mappings are completely customizable to the pad that you want to send that sound to. You can even change the resonance note on any of the drums. The sequences are customizable as well, you can set the tempo, time signature, and link the loop. So even if you don’t have a band, you can have an accompaniment to your jam.
You had a chance to play around with this brain a little bit, but you only really scratched the surface. Tell me how important it is to have just a massive array and control over a module like this with an electronic drum kit.
Yeah I think it’s just about never ending, the amount of creativity that you could have with this. Reverbs, and pitches, and delays, and all the different sounds.
So as a learning tool how important is it to things like a metronome and a record feature to sort of use it as a home training tool?
Yeah for years I’ve been using an electronic drum kit to practice on, and as far as having a metronome, I mean it’s amazing to have. And also being able to play along with songs that are programmed into a drum brain like this, having the latin song, or the rock song, or the jazz song, or the funk song. It really helps.
Moving on from the brain let’s talk about the drum pads and triggers. Starting with the kick drum. The kick pad is a good size, which is great for players that use double kick pedals. The high hat pedal has a nice realistic feel with an arch spring for resistance. It stick to the carpet with great ease, and the pin at the edge of the pedal is adjustable to different levels of resistance. As for the drum pads, they have a true drum feel with the design of the skins. They also have a rubber rim to prevent the drums from getting scratched by hits. All of the heads are fully adjustable to the desired level of stick rebound. Alesis provides you with a drum key so you can tune it however you like. You get a 8, 10, and 12 inch tom, as well as a dual zone 12 inch snare which is great for rimshots or cross stick hits.
What do you think about the response of the drum pads?
They’re really real, I mean you can tighten each one of them. You know I think it’s really important to get a really good sensitivity out of these drums. Like with this snare, if I barely tap it you still get something out of it, like a ghost note. You can create a really good feeling beat out of that. The advantage is you can save six to ten hours of getting sounds on a snare. Tuning, the issue is not getting that buzz out of your snare. It’s literally just tuning up the drum through here so you’re instantly up or down and perfectly in pitch. And I’ve used some other electronic drums in plenty of sessions, and it’s that quick, you just plug in.
So let’s check out the cymbals. With this kit you get three cymbal pads. The pads are huge, a twelve inch high hat, a fourteen inch crash, and a fourteen inch, and a sixteen inch ride. The ride cymbal has three zones for playing, you can strike it on the surface, or the bell and bow of the cymbal. The crash cymbal has the ability to be choked for truly accurate cymbal feel. Let’s hear how the ride sounds. And here’s the crash being choked.
What do you think about the response of the bell and the bow on the ride cymbal?
Yeah it’s pretty dead on. I mean… versus… you get that washy feel, and choke. I think it’s really cool that they have these boom stands right here, so you can adjust your cymbal up here, put the right angle on it. With most companies you just get two straight stands and you have to work with that but here with this angle you can get a lot more options.
So there it is the Alesis DM8 Pro kit. I want to thank Alex for coming in today and demoing the kit. And to find out more information about this drum kit, check us out here at uniquesquared.com and check out our blog to find a huge write up about it as well as other pro audio and digital recording equipment. Check us out on facebook, twitter, and be sure to subscribe to our youtube page. This is Taylor, be you, be unique, at uniquesquared.com.

Comments

  1. Mika Flitzberg says:

    I’ve been thinking about getting an electronic kit but know nothing about them, now I do so I am going to buy one from you.

    1. ariff says:

      Thanks for the great comment Mika!

    2. Laurence says:

      I bought a DM10 pro and it arrived with no module mount for the brain. I contacted Alesis a month ago and they promised to send me a new one but it hasnt arrived yet. Even more frustrating is the brain is not working properly and has the latest firmware and is a complete piece of crap. I would not recommend this set to anyone or Alesis for that matter. The service sucks.

  2. Stevan Fung says:

    Wow! the PRO DM 8 0r DM 10 is super for Home OR performances….I’m a musician sessionist for Twenty
    years…I’m thinking of opening a session studio for the younger generations to learn how to play the elect guitars,bass,drums,keyboards,etc; the right way to become a good musicians…who can read and play by ears…firstly to ask whether the drum sound need how many amps to monitor out..ie the cymbals-one amp and the drums pads -one amp..so forth..please consider your expertise advice

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      Hey Steven. The DM8 only needs one monitor or amplifier for the entire kit to be heard. Good luck in your educational endeavors.

  3. Stevan Fung says:

    How much is this complete Kit DM8 w/o the drum Amplifier…and prices for extra accessories?
    I love it…sounds good!

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      It retails for $799.00 on our website What kinds of accessories are you looking for?

  4. [...] and techniques used by world class professional drummers. Online Drum Lessons and DVDs More DrumsWhether you are just starting out with the drums, or have more experience, there are a number of thi…good drum kit will usually bring you back down to reality in a big hurry. Although there are [...]

  5. Adee Nicholene says:

    Im so impress with this kit and been trying to find the best price from everywhere, mostly from the US. But i’ve notice that the module were made in Malaysia!! For real? I mean, Im from Malaysia! But I cannot find it here with local cheaper price. Do this drum kit or the module assemble in Malaysia and exported to US for sale?

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      Thanks for the comment Adee. Yes I believe you are correct about the assembly and export. We have a really great price on our website. Check it out.

  6. Pedro Vaz says:

    So Can I add more pads in a alexis dm8? If i can how many?

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      Yes you can! You can add up to two if you do not use all 3 zones on the ride.

  7. Paul says:

    i am very happy with this kit for practicing, although i can’t choke my cymbals!? do i need additional cables or some special setting?

  8. Manny says:

    hey thanks for the review.. i never had an e-drumset but i’m really interested in purchasing this DM8. i have one question.. since the drum heads are like the acoustic’s.. does they make a lot of sound when they are hit? and when connected to a stereo/amp does it interfear with the sound coming from the amp?.. thanks

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      The pads on the DM8 do make some sound when hit, but not enough to interfere with the sound when connected and playing through an amplifier.

  9. I purchased this kit from UniqueSquared after viewing the video and talking to one of their representatives. Just received it and set it up on Friday. I am very pleased with this kit and the great customer service from UniqueSquared. I paid a whole lot less by purchasing from UniqueSquared and making a lower price offer which was counter offered by just over $15.00 more than my offer. This is my new #1 music gear supplier for both my recording/production studio and personal gear needs. Thank you.
    Warren Wortham

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      Thanks Warren! Enjoy playing the kit.

  10. Dom says:

    Hey guys i just bought an alesis dm8 pro dum kit and i have a lot of issues with it cymbals won’t choke can’t seem to ajust the hi hat it’ either opened or closed no in between… please help!!!!

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      Hey Dom. Have you tried switching the inputs on the crash? Check the manual for proper input assignment or just plug and test the different inputs on the module. For your hi hat, there is a way to calibrate it. Check the manual for instructions on how to do it. There are also sensitivity and velocity settings that you might want to play around with depending on your playing style. If you need another manual to refer to you can find it here: http://www.alesis.com/dm8prokit

      Hope this helps.

  11. Stanley says:

    Hey, i’m thinking of buying this kit, but i’m concerned if its quit? For example if i will play it, does people in a close room will hear it?

    1. Taylor taylor says:

      Hey Stanley. The pads on the DM8 Pro are not completely silent. Depending on how close the room is to where you set up the kit, it has the potential to be audible.