Alesis has been providing innovative digital products to musicians for over 30 years.
The unbelievably affordable XTReverb in the 1980’s and the revolutionary Alesis ADAT digital tape recorder in 1991 were innovative products that disrupted the marketplace with attention-grabbing pricing.
Will Alesis be able to legitimately challenge the incumbent electronic drums suppliers with a respectable electronic drum kit option of their own for today’s modern drummer?
In this Alesis DM10 MKII review, we’ll examine two of Alesis’ latest offerings and show the key attributes that will help you decide if Alesis electronic drums are right for your needs.
Alesis DM10 MKII Review at One Glance
What’s the Difference between the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro and Studio?
One of the major objectives of both the Alesis Dm10 MKII Studio and Pro electronic drum kits is to provide drummers with an electronic kit suited for more than just practice. These kits are aimed at drummers who are in a recording studio or keeping time during a live performance. These kits are targeted specifically for working players.
So the Studio Kit includes:
- a 10” Snare
- two 8” rack toms
- one 10” floor tom
- 1 8” kick drum
- two 12” crash cymbals
- one 14” ride cymbal
- a 12” hi-hat and
- the DM10 MKII Studio sound module
- Plus: the entire kit is mounted on a premium four-post quick-lock chrome rack.
The Pro Kit, by contrast, includes:
- a 12” snare
- two 10” Rack toms
- 2 12” floor toms
- one 8”kick drum
- two 14” Crash cymbals
- one 16” ride cymbal
- a 12” hi-hat cymbals
- the DM10 MKII Pro sound Module
- the same premium four-post quick-lock chrome rack as with the Studio kit
- and: a fully adjustable snare stand
So essentially, the Alesis Pro features one more floor tom, a different module and a proper snare stand (instead of a pole) than the DM10 MKII Studio. To my mind, the most crucial difference is in the module, since more pads are mostly only nice to have and so is the snare stand.
But the module accounts for a whole lot of features that could make an important difference – depending on your purpose for the kit. So let’s look at those modules now…
(My final – very subjective – statement here: The visual impression of both the Alesis DM10 MKII Studio and Pro is great. A drummer sitting behind an Alesis kit with a bigger footprint and larger drums is more in keeping with the appearance of modern acoustic drum kits. Plus: it will impress your audience.)
The DM10 MKII’s Modules
The Studio and Pro Kits both come with a drum module that provides many useful and inspiring tools to help you become the best drummer you can be with sounds that you can immediately use in the studio or performing at a live gig. Specifically:
- The DM10 MKII Studio’s module comes loaded with 54 pre-set drum kits and 671 instrument sounds.
- The Pro’s Module packs even more capabilities into the unit with 80 pre-set drum kits, 100 play-along songs and 700 drum, cymbal and percussion sounds.
Through both those modules. you can adjust each individual sound contained in it in terms of – for example – reverb, pitch, muffling and many more aspects. This feature is critical for serious players who want to custom design their individual drum sounds or create the perfect drum sound mix.
- An ⅛” stereo as well as an USB auxiliary input that lets you plug in your own media player (smartphone, mp3 device etc.) and jam along to your own personal selection of tunes.
- You can connect the DM10 MKII to your computer via MIDI and trigger virtual instruments. This allows you to add any sounds you want from your sound library or the internet.
The Pads & Heads
Another aspect that people ask me lots about is: “How loud will the electronic kit be?” or “Can I practice with it in my house / apartment?”. So let’s tackle this…
Both the Pro and Studio versions of the Alesis DM10 MKII e-drum kit share dual-zone toms and snare drum pads fitted with black mesh heads that provide an exclusive and pleasing rebound when they are played.
The noise level of each is minimal and conducive to plenty of practice and rehearsal in just about any space, at any time without disturbing others. (Compare their “noise” to hitting the pages of an open book with a stick.)
The mesh heads can be adjusted with a supplied drum key to match the response that each drummer is looking for and this can be an important feature for most players.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the footprint of the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro and Studio?
Actually, there is no difference between the footprint of both kits, since the additional tom fits onto a pole of the same length. So both the DM10 MKII Studio and Pro have a footprint of about 6′ x 6′.
If I hit these drums harder or softer will the sound vary or stay the same?
The DM10 MKII Studio and Pro Kits have velocity sensitive pads so they will react differently in volume depending on how hard you hit the pads. This is critical for serious players who want electronic drums to emulate an acoustic kit as much as possible.
Do these kits come with bass drum pedals?
No. You need to use your own bass pedal that have a plastic or wooden beater. Felt beaters do not perform well on mesh heads and can damage the mesh on the bass drum pad.
Can you play with brushes on these kits?
Playing with brushes does not work and is not recommended. There is a brush setting that is available to provide a brush sound when playing with sticks.
There’s one drum kit on the market that’s comparable to the Alesis DM10 MKII in setup, quality and pricing – and that’s the Roland TD-11K. And here’s how I think the 2 measure up:
In terms of hardware, the Alesis DM10 MKII’s tom and snare sizes are smaller than with the Alesis Dm10 MKII Pro and Studio, plus there are fewer cymbals. This might be important to you if you play a musical style that requires large setups, such as Metal or Hard Rock.
Conversly, the Roland TD-11K’s footprint is smaller and Roland’s sound quality is widely considered to be the best in the industry. That doesn’t mean the Alesis DM10 MKII’s sounds are bad – on the contrary – but the Roland might satisfy you even more.
In terms of price: there is a version of the Roland-TD11 (the “K”) which has a mesh head only on the snare – which is a considerable difference to the Alesis DM10 MKII with mesh heads all around in both versions. Still, that version of the Roland-TD11 is cheaper than the Alesis DM10 MKII.
If however, you’re set on mesh heads all around, both kits are about the same in pricing.
Also, check out my electronic drum set comparison post for the best electronic drum kits on the market today.
My Final Opinion
Both, the Alesis DM10 MKII Studio and Pro look great with larger drum and cymbal sizes than the competition with a price point that is unmatched for what you receive.
Although the drum sounds that are pre-set in the DM10 MKII sound module may not rival Yamaha or Roland completely, this is becoming less of an issue with the availability VST (Virtual Studio Technology) drum sounds that you can hand pick at a fraction of the price of a sound module.
In terms of its appearance, the 4 legged frame and overall size of the Alesis DM10 MKII lend themselves to live performance: I have always felt that larger drum sizes and kit footprints in the electronic drum world look more professional on stage and therefore lend themselves to live performance better than smaller kits.
Finally, the topic of cymbal durability and performance has been voiced by other drummers, so I would purchase an extended warranty on the Alesis DM10 MKII. Alesis’ customer service seems to be fully engaged on the web, offering answers and support, so you seem to be able to count on them in case of any issue with the kit.
Did this Alesis DM10 MKII review leave any questions open? Do you have an experience with this kit to share?
Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you within 1 business day.