This Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition Review will give you an overview of the new flagship in the Alesis electronic drum set range. There’s no mistaking that this is a new kit and is beautiful to look at.
You’ll notice the same red sparkle coated shells as the Strike Pro, but thanks to Alesis’ latest-generation white mesh heads, the kit has a completely different overall appearance. The white heads contrast beautifully with the red shells and black cymbal pads.
A lot of players find that playing an electronic drum kit is too different in feel or lacking in some way compared to an acoustic kit. However, Alesis has has designed the Strike Pro SE to feel as much like an acoustic kit as possible and straight away when you sit at the kit.
The full-sized 20” kick drum provides a familiar centrepiece for players more accustomed to acoustic drum sets. You will have no problem getting comfortable in front of the Strike Pro SE and feeling right at home.
Alesis claims to have improved the hardware from previous models, bringing players drum heads that play better than ever, new and improved thick rubber surfaces on the cymbal pads, offering quiet playing and realistic feel, alongside solid and reliable hardware. So, does this new equipment have what it takes to step up from the previous Strike Pro model?
Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition Review
The Strike Pro Special Edition uses the same high quality module as the Strike Pro, but with even more kits and samples. You now get 136 custom drum kits, 1800 individual instruments, and a whopping 45,000 sound samples.
If you’re looking for more, you can fully customise the onboard sounds and create your own kits with multi velocity layering capabilities using the Strike Software editor. Any changes you make will be sent via USB directly to the module’s SD card which can be up to 64GB (a 16GB card comes with the kit). You can also record samples from a smartphone or tablet with the onboard sampling function.
Looking at the front of the module, the 4.3” full colour LED display is large enough to give you a clear view of anything that’s happening while you’re playing or making adjustments. The module will display in real time whatever pads you are playing on a visual representation of the kit. You get 12 individual faders, so you can tweak the sound of your kit as you play if you find the levels aren’t quite to your liking.
On the rear of the module are separate inputs for each pad and eight outputs for flexible mixing and recording. There’s an aux input for if you want to connect a smartphone, or other music device for playing along to your own music. This doubles to serve as an input for using the module as a sampler. There are regular MIDI in and out jacks, and a USB midi jack which can be used to send and receive data with your DAW.
Sitting at the Strike Pro SE, you’re surrounded by four large cymbal pads. They are all finished with ‘hammer marks’ to give them the appearance of a hand-hammered acoustic cymbal. This adds to the realism of the cymbals and gives them a very nice look.
The bell area on each cymbal is large and is clearly defined with a smooth surface which contrasts with the hammered appearance of the rest of the cymbal so your bell shots can be right on target without missing a beat.
A new, thicker layer of rubber coats the cymbals which gives you improved response. You get better control and bounce from the pads and they are lower in volume than other electronic cymbal pads, so you won’t bother those around you too much.
The three 14” cymbal pads are dual zone, with choke function. The ride cymbal is visibly larger at 16” and is 3-zone so you get distinctive bow, edge, and bell sounds, as well as the choke function.
Alesis has completely changed the hi-hat design, which now uses a single pad system. The pad has a realistic range of movement, both with the hi-hat pedal, and in terms of movement when striking the pad.
This is achieved by mounting the hi-hat pad on top of a rubber pad which holds a large spring, allowing for a realistic range of motion as you play. There are two inputs, one on the hi-hat pad itself, and the other on a control unit which sits below the rubber pad on the stand. The kit doesn’t come with a hi-hat stand, so you’re free to choose the best option to suit your preferences.
All of the drum pads are made from premium quality hybrid birch wood and finished in Alesis’ eye catching red sparkle. The drums have tuning lugs which are attached directly to the shell, exactly like an acoustic drum.
They are fully tuneable which lets you dial in the exact feel that you want from each pad. The pads are all dual-zone and the large black rubber rims allow for easy rim shots which will support any sound you choose. The black hardware and gold tuning lugs add to the visual appeal of these pads.
You get a good range of sizes, the toms are 8, 10, 12, and 14 inch, and the snare is 14” which is the standard size for many acoustic snare drums and the kit includes a double braced chrome snare drum stand.
The new look white heads offer much more than just a fresh appearance. They use Alesis’ latest generation of mesh technology for a natural and easy to play surface which will allow you to lay into the drums effortlessly and at full speed. Alesis promises that the heads will work with you rather than against you and will be ‘your best ally.’
The largest and most impressive feature of the Strike Pro SE is the 20” bass drum. It has been designed to be sturdy and stable and has two spiked stabilising feet meaning it won’t slide or wobble around as you play.
The response from this drum feels very close to an acoustic bass drum. Like the other pads, the it is fully tuneable so you can get exactly the feel you need. It’s plenty big enough to accommodate double pedals. You’re free to pick your own pedal as the kit doesn’t come with one.
In this video, Nick D’Virgilio gives a good all-round demo of the kit’s sounds, upgrades, and capabilities:
Differences between the Strike Pro and Strike Pro Special Edition kits
If you’re familiar with the Strike Pro kit, or just want to see what has been changed, the following table highlights the main differences. There are quite a few differences between these two kits:
|Strike Pro||Strike Pro Special Edition|
|Rack||4-post rack with chrome finish||4-post rack with black finish|
|Kick Drum||14” kick drum||20” full sized acoustic style|
|Hi-hat||12” with two pads||14” with single pad|
|Module||110 kits and over 1600 multi-sampled instruments.
8GB SD card included
|136 kits and over 1800 multi-sampled instruments.
16GB SD card included
|Drum hardware||Chrome hardware||Black hardware with gold tuning lugs|
There are a number of other changes around the kit as well. The sturdy four posted drum rack now has a black finish which blends in nicely with the other black hardware. The cymbals now mount to the horizontal bars bar instead of inside the vertical posts, making them more stable and adjustable.
The snare drum triggering has been changed and the foam rods that contact the snare head use a thicker-looking foam, almost like a round pyramid which gets thicker lower down and the trigger plate in the centre of the drum is now made of metal.
This should help a lot with durability in the snare’s triggering. I’m unsure at this time whether the other pads have a similar improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of SD card is compatible with the Strike module?
The module comes with a 16GB SD card, but if you’d like some more storage, the module will support a card up to 64GB. Class 10 SDHC cards with a 40mb/s transfer rate work best.
Can I use the kit to trigger drum software on my computer?
Absolutely. The module has the capability to send MIDI data over USB to your PC or Mac without installing any drivers. You can save MIDI assignments per kit to quickly load your favourite configurations.
What is included in the box?
1x 4-post steel rack with black finish
1x Strike Performance Drum Module (includes 16GB SD card)
1x 20″ full sized acoustic style kick drum
1x 14″ dual-zone snare
1x 8” dual-zone tom
1x 10” dual-zone tom
1x 12” dual-zone tom
1x 14” dual-zone tom
14” dual-zone hi-hat (sits on user provided hi-hat stand)
16″ triple-zone ride cymbal pad w/ choke
3x 14″ dual-zone crash cymbal pads w/choke
1x User guide and assembly guide
1x Drum tuning key
1x Pair of drumsticks
1x Power supply
1x Safety and warranty manual
Individual input cables for each pad
The Strike Pro SE is a beautiful electronic drum kit which offers a lot for the money. The huge library of quality sounds and premade kits in the Strike Performance Drum Module give you all you need to create professional quality sounds and there’s plenty of room for customisation.
You can tune in the perfect response from the latest generation mesh drum heads and the 20” bass drum is as realistic as you will get short of an acoustic drum. The improved rubber material on the cymbals is quieter but plays better than before.
This kit will look at home in any practice studio or on stage, and it has the capability to provide a top-notch performance.
What are your thoughts on the kit? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.
Check out some of our other Alesis electronic drum kit reviews:
Images courtesy of Alesis