Read our detailed hands-on review of Alesis Surge Mesh to know why this drum kit is great to start playing electronic drums without having to worry about disturbing your neighbors or roommates.
Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Review at a Glance
This Alesis Surge 8-piece electronic drum kit designed for maximum convenience, connectivity, and playability for drummers of all levels. It comes with complete mesh pads, a sturdy rack, and larger pad sizes that are guaranteed to provide a playing environment close to an acoustic kit setup. It has a wide variety of built-in drum, percussion, and cymbal sounds, designed to fit several music genres and styles.
It has great compatibility with MIDI devices and seamless compatibility with Computer DAWs, allowing you to explore and improve your music production skills. For such an affordable price, beginners and professionals consider the Alesis Surge Mesh kit as one of the best picks for electronic drum sets.
While comparing it to higher-end e-kits, the sound quality is not as good as we expected but still, you will get a decent sound library to play with. The training features are good for both beginner and more experienced drummers.
If you are looking for an electronic kit that can motivate you to start on the drums, the Alesis Surge Mesh kit is for you. It is recommended for beginners and novices due to its user-friendly interface, realistic response, and versatile features that can hone your skills in drumming and unleash your potential in music making/production.
For its price, you can enjoy a wide variety of built-in sounds and drum kits, without making your neighbors and roommates complain. While this electronic drum kit has few limitations further discussed below, the Surge kit still ranks as one of the best electronic kits tested and recommended by several drummers worldwide.
What’s in the Box?
Upon buying the Alesis Surge Mesh kit, you’ll get the following items packaged and delivered carefully:
- Alesis Surge Sound Module with full LCD screen
- 3 pieces of 8-inch dual-zone tom pads
- 8-inch mesh tower kick-pad
- A single dual-zone 10-inch Snare mesh pad
- A 3-piece cymbal set, containing a 10-inch Hi-hat, ride, and crash
- 4-post Chrome Rack
- Connection cables such as cable snake, cable wrap strips, and power supply
- Contrary to other electronic kits, you’ll also get a kick pad pedal, and a hi-hat pedal
- Additional components such as drum key and drumsticks
- Finally, important handbooks such as the assembly guide, module user guide, and safety and warranty manual
The Alesis Surge Mesh Kit would not have succeeded without good reason. In addition to a competitive sound module, this kit also offers great features, options, and connectivity with other devices, which you cannot find in other electronic kits at the same price.
The mesh pads provide excellent rebound and stick control, allowing you to feel a response comparable to higher-end kits.
If you are considering buying this electronic kit, you might want to pay attention in the next few sections and see for yourself whether this kit would be worth your investment.
All multiple-zone mesh drum heads
Alesis is known as one of the leading companies setting the standards for high-end electronic mesh pads. The quality and excellent craftsmanship of the mesh drum heads simulate a nice bounce for your strokes, providing a great response for you to develop your rudiments and stick control.
You will find mesh heads only in expensive kits such from Roland. Why?
Because mesh heads are much better than normal rubber pads you see in cheap kits.
The snare and the tom pads utilize dual-zone sensing technologies, allowing for a more immersive and dynamic drumming experience. In contrast with other electronic kits at the same price, the Surge kit provides a Snare pad with higher sensitivity and dynamic range.
The Cymbal pads are capable of progressive sound response and can also be choked like real acoustic cymbals.
Surge Sound Module
The Surge Drum Module provides a user-friendly interface with a backlit LCD screen, making navigation and sound adjustment effortless. The buttons are arranged in a layout resembling the position of a full electronic drum set, making kit customization and sound triggering more efficient.
With 385 sounds including drum, percussion, and cymbal, you’ll have a wide range of drum voices that you can assign in any of your pads. The 24 drum presets provide ready-made kits that you can use any time for almost any music genre.
If none of these kits reach your standards, you can always customize your own kit and save 16 personalized setups right in your sound module. Aside from these, the Surge Sound Module is loaded with great built-in features essential to improve your drumming and musicality. You can also plug your phone into the drum module for play along tracks.
The onboard metronome, sequencer, 60 play-along songs, and learning features are proven to be effective and helpful for several customers who had little to no prior drumming experience.
Advanced Features and Connectivity
Aside from the learning features, training functions, and diverse kits/sounds, you can also record your performance for quicker and more effective self-evaluation/assessment. Before you record your performance, you can always adjust the tempo or volume of the play-along songs/tracks for more effective and productive practice.
Once you get comfortable with the track, you can start recording your performance by clicking the sound module’s record button. After recording, you can listen to your recorded performance by clicking the Play/Practice button.
You can connect and jam along with your mobile devices, tablet, or MP3 players by connecting them to your sound module’s Aux-input. You can also go solo to further reduce the kit’s volume by connecting the sound module to any of your headphones for a private drumming experience.
In case you are wondering, the sound module is also compatible with any MIDI devices such as drum machines, or synthesizers, by connecting the module’s classic MIDI In and Out. Furthermore, the Stereo out connection allows you to connect the sound module to other Recording consoles, PA systems, or drum amp compatible with electronic kits.
Finally, interfacing with your computer’s DAW or virtual instrument software is also supported by the Kit’s sound module, expanding the possibilities that you can do with this kit.
Like most electronic kits, the rack already comes partially assembled. Set up the rack on a carpeted surface to prevent unnecessary movement/vibration of the rack and the mesh tower kick pad. You can easily attach the pads on the given clamps and rods and follow the instructions on the Assembly guide to verify your steps.
Fasten the cymbal arms, and make sure that you are comfortable with the positioning angle of the arms before you mount and tighten the cymbals using the wing nuts. Set up the kick drum pad and attach the given kick pedal. Remember that you should put the plastic side of the beater on the kick drum pad to avoid damage to the kick’s mesh head.
Once you have fully connected the triggers of each pad on the sound module, you are good to go.
Alesis Surge vs Alesis Nitro Mesh kit
Both products are considered as Alesis’ bestselling products since their release less than 3 years ago. While they have striking similarities, there are minor differences that distinguish them apart.
One of their most obvious differences is their drum rack system.
The Alesis Surge Mesh kit has a 4-post Chrome rack, whereas the Alesis Nitro has a 4-post Aluminum Rack. While both Chrome and Aluminum offer high resistance to corrosion and are both lightweight, the Chrome rack looks more professional and stable than the Aluminum rack.
Moreover, the Alesis Surge kit has a larger kick drum pedal, and a snare pad two inches larger than that of the Nitro Mesh kit. The larger kick pedal provides a more solid playing experience, making heel-toe and other double bass techniques easier to perform.
The larger snare pad from the Surge kit provides a greater feel and wider dynamic range, dependent on the positioning of your stroke.
Other than the mentioned differences above, both kits are almost the same. Both kits offer the same module, built-in features, and recording compatibilities.
The Nitro mesh kit might be more popular than the Surge Mesh kit due to its lower price, but if you want a more professional looking rack, together with bigger Snare pad and kick pedal, the Alesis Surge Mesh kit is a better option than the Nitro Mesh kit.
Alternatives to Alesis Surge Mesh
If you are looking for an alternative electronic drum set instead of the Alesis Surge Mesh kit, we have several recommendations that might suit your preferences.
In case you are more of a Roland fan, you might want to consider the Roland TD-1DMK. This drum kit is slightly more expensive than the Surge Mesh Kit, offering the same number of drum and cymbal pads, made of dual-zone mesh heads.
It provides a realistic drum pad response and hi-hat feel that you can easily adjust in the sound module to further match your desire. However, compared to the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit, the TD-1DMK offers fewer built-in sounds, drum kits, presets, and play-along songs.
If you’re interested, be sure to read my in-depth review of my Alesis Strike.
So this is our detailed Alesis Surge Mesh review. You can also check the customer reviews here. With its expansive sound module, immersive features, practice, and recording functions, you get more than what you paid for. This drum kit’s massive connectivity and compatibility allow you to make use of external devices that can help you achieve your drumming goals. The pads provide a great response and the rack is stable enough to keep each pad in place while you play.
While the sound module is limited compared to higher-end electronic drum kits, the Alesis Surge Mesh kit is no doubt one of the best kits that you can buy for around $500. It is perfect for almost all drummers of all levels, from amateur/intermediate drummers to starting professionals.