The Nitro Max is the most popular budget kit from Alesis at the moment and there’s plenty to like about it, even though it has some drawbacks. After playing one of these for a while, here’s the five things I like about it the most.

Alesis Nitro Max Drum Module Closeup

#1 – The Nitro Max Drum Module

The thing that stands out the me the most about this kit is the Nitro Max drum module. It one of the best sound modules I’ve used from a $400 drum kit. Alesis managed to add just enough features to keep it interesting for those that like to just play and for those that like to tweak and edit kits. The sound library is from BFD, which is now owned by inMusic, who owns Alesis. So it’s no surprise to see the integration of BFD’s sounds into the Alesis modules.

The Nitro Max module also makes it easy to edit kits and add effects to the drum sounds, which is something that not all cheap, budget level kits offer. So that can make this kit appealing to drummers who want to be able to get into more of the sound design options that electronic kits have to offer without spending a lot of money.


Alesis Nitro Max Snare Drum Angle

#2 – The Snare Drum Pad

Previous versions of the Nitro kit had just an 8 inch snare drum pad, but now Alesis has increased the size of the pad to 10 inches for the Nitro Max. I think this was a nice move since many other budget kits are starting to include 10 inch snare pads. In addition to the size increase, the pad plays pretty nicely and responds to dynamic play pretty well considering the price level of the kit. It has a little bit of a hot spot in the center but it’s nothing that really sours the playing experience. And I also like doing rim shots on this pad as well.

Alesis Nitro Max Tom Side

#3 – The Low Profile Tom Pad Rims

One thing I’ve hated about some of the super cheap kits I’ve tried is that the smaller, single zone tom pads can feel like tiny hit targets, especially if they have deep rims. This was an issue I had with kits such as the original Alesis Nitro and the Simmons SD350. The rims on the toms just felt like they were getting in the way at times.

This isn’t the case with the Nitro Max toms, and I like this change in design direction. The rims are pretty shallow and it makes the smaller pads feel bigger and easy to strike while playing. This is what most budget kits should do if they have single zone toms, since you don’t play on the rims and they don’t generate any sounds anyways.

Iron Cobra Double Pedal with Nitro Max Kick Tower from Above

#4 – The Kick Tower Worked With My Double Pedal

Some of the smaller kick pads on budget kits turn out to be too small for double pedal use, but the tower on the Nitro Max was just big enough to fit my Iron Cobra double pedal. I had to be careful to center the beaters over the toe clamp, and I also had to make sure the beaters were about as close together as I could position them, but it worked. When used with a double pedal the pad responds quite well and I didn’t really have any triggering issues or anything. So as long as you have a double pedal that can center up like the Iron Cobra can, you should be able to play double bass on this little kit.

#4 – The Extra Freebies

I usually don’t think too much about free trials and stuff that gets packaged with electronic drum kits, but in this case I think Alesis includes some pretty neat extras that actually feel like they’re adding value.

There is a free version of the BFD player that you can install on your computer, which is a nice thing to have if you want to experiment with VST’s and computer connections. There is a 90 day trial of Drumeo which I actually thought was pretty great after trying it out. 90 days on Drumeo can give you a nice boost in terms of lessons and insight from other drummers, not a bad value at all to get that for free. There is also a 30 day trial of Melodics, which is also nice, but not as sweet of a deal as the other two in my opinion. Overall, though, these are some nice freebies to include, especially for people that are newer to drumming.

These are the top things that stood out to me with the Alesis Nitro Max. I certainly have some issues with the kit as well, and I’ll cover those in another article. Check out our full hands-on review of the Nitro Max for more details.