Alesis is one of the most well-known names in electric drums and the company is looking to further enhance its reputation with the two new products sent to us. Let’s dive right in.
The Alesis Sample Rack is aesthetically very pleasing and the interface is logical, allowing you to spend more time playing and less time faffing about with manuals and instructions. In linking up some pads to the Sample Rack, I found the on-board drum sounds more than adequate with its 200 samples on 10 pre-set kits. If you want more, you can use its sampler capabilities through external input via USB. You can also use an SD card (up to 32GB) to store an additional 512 sounds and 89 custom kits. These sounds can further be edited in pitch, panning, and reverb for customised control.
The range of available samples and sounds makes the possibilities of creating your own sound infinite, on both electronic kits and hybrid kits. The Sample Rack also has fantastic port availability: the back of the Sample Rack boasts eight possible triggers, as well as room for a kick, hi-hat trigger and foot switch. It also contains a USB (as already mentioned), Midi in and out, and a stereo aux input with volume control.
Sample machines have been around for many years, and a lot of them were both difficult to use and very expensive – this module could not be more different. At an incredible £169.99, the Alesis Sample Rack is great value for money, especially in comparison to its rivals, and its simplicity makes it accessible to all levels of players.
The Alesis SamplePad Pro: In Detail
The new and upgraded Alesis SamplePad Pro is a tabletop or module mounted percussion unit that offers 10 kits and over 200 sounds to play. It has the facility to upload your own samples via an SD card (the SamplePad supports cards up to 32GB), enabling you to easily change the pre-set kits and create your own. There’s lots of scope for experimentation, too – it can hold up to 89 kits on a supported SD card. With a card inserted you can edit the kits further, using pitch, panning, and reverb for customised, technical control.
The backlit LCD panel and a blue LED illumination triggers when you hit each pad, making playing live on dark stages a lot easier. The pads (six main pads, plus two smaller ones at the top) are isolated with dual zones – you can add two additional drum pads and there are inputs for a kick drum and a hi-hat, turning it into a portable kit that would be perfect
for rehearsals or for drummers who have limited space.
The USB port offers connection to your computer and the standard 1/4” output allows you to hook up to any amplifier or headphones. You can connect to any device and play to your favourite songs.
Bands in all genres of music are increasingly using sample pads. At a remarkable price, drummers of all ages and capabilities can open up more options to enhance their sound with a product such as this. I had a great time playing on the SamplePad Pro and found that the buttons made changing the sounds and kits really simple but effective. All the effects and sounds are easy to use and the kit’s playability is excellent. In conclusion, it would be a great piece of kit for anyone wanting to dip their toes into playing both acoustic and electronic kits together, at a reasonable price.
Words: Victor Guillamon Images: Richard Ecclestone
Alesis Sample Rack £169.99
Alesis SamplePad Pro £199.99