Alesis Strata Prime Drum Kit Hero

The Alesis Strata Prime kit has been out for more than a few days now and many of the early reviewers have dropped their videos and reviews. Let’s take a look and see what people are saying about this kit after trying it out.

Checking Out The Reviews

I’m not lucky enough to get gear sent to me by Alesis for reviewing purposes, so I’ve been checking out the other drum kit reviewers to see what they think about this one. After watching more than a few videos and checking out online feedback, I’m starting to see some trends in terms of what people do and don’t like about this kit.

Some of the better, honest reviews I’ve found so far that have some unique things they point out are the reviews from 65 Drums, Nick Cesarz and Drum Center of Portsmouth. There’s plenty of other reviews out there but those stood out to me as informative and honest.

Alesis Strata Prime Drum Kit Full

The Good

There’s plenty of good about the Strata Prime and the good seems to outweigh the bad so far, so that’s a good thing for this new kit. Let’s take a look at some of the good things that are being said about this one.

Good Playing Experience & Value

This kit seems to be a very good value in terms of the playing experience for the price. While there are some things that drummers aren’t liking about it, it sounds like it’s a very fun kit to play and it provides a good drumming experience for the price. The sizes of the pads feel very similar to a typical acoustic kit, things can be spread out with the large rack, and it generally feels similar to playing an acoustic drum kit in many ways.

Heavy Duty Pads

The pads around the kit are apparently very well built and don’t feel lightweight or cheap. This is a good thing for a drum kit at this price point, and even though it’s not a full acoustic design kit it sounds like everything is fairly heavy duty.

Good Response from the Pads

It sounds like the pads all respond well to dynamic play and the cymbals are sensitive enough that you can easily get the sound you want out of them during play. All the cymbals around the kit are triple zone 360 pads which is great in terms of more natural sound generation and feel during play.

The Modernized Drum Module

The module is a trend-setter and will probably force other companies to up their game in the module department, especially for the more expensive kits out there. It looks like the module feels more like a combination of a computer and a tablet, with a touchscreen interface to make features easily accessible and intuitive to use. The module has tons of storage space and basically has a version of the BFD drum VST built in, which are more examples of something new for the electronic drum industry.

To me, the drum module looks more like something I’d see from my Akai MPC as opposed to an electronic drum kit, and that’s a good thing for the electronic drum industry in terms of pushing things forward.

Excellent Drum Library

The drum library that is included with the kit sounds like it has lots of usable acoustic sounding drum kits, which is what most drummers want from a drum module. This might prevent some drummers from seeking out a drum VST if they like the built-in sounds. From the demos I’ve heard, I personally really like the sounds in the module.

You can create your own drum sounds as well either by importing sounds into the module or stacking sounds into a single new drum sound. It looks like your own created sounds can then be saved into the library and used however you want to from there.

Lots of Microphone and Mixing Options

Another thing that’s jumped out to me in videos and demos I’ve watched is how much flexibility you are given in terms of tweaking the overall sound of the kits. You can edit the mix of the microphones, which included room mics, overhead mics and the individual mics on the drums. There are bus groups for effects. There are also lots of options for tweaking individual drum sounds. One of the options that looked neat is the ability to adjust the attack of drum sounds, which can help them cut through the mix better when playing along with music.

Alesis Strata Prime Drum Module Angle

The Bad

There’s a few bad things I picked up on as well, but none of them really seem like deal breakers when considering the overall value and playability of the kit.

No Traditional Cross Sticking Capabilities

It sounds like you can’t play a cross stick by laying one end of the stick on the drum head. You can play a cross stick by keeping both ends of the stick on the rims. Or you can also just hit the rims. This isn’t the worst thing, but something to keep in mind if natural cross sticking technique is a priority.

The Hi-Hat is Kind of Floppy

65 Drums mentioned how the hi-hat was a little floppy and doesn’t feel stiff when completely closed like a hi-hat normally would. I noticed this when watching a bunch of the other reviews that yeah, the hi-hat does look a little floppy in all the demos. None of the other reviews really called it out as an issue though.

The Rack And Clamps Aren’t Quite Pro Level

Drum Center of Portsmouth mentioned that the rack and clamps don’t quite feel on par with pro level racks or the types of racks you’d find on other kits in the same or higher price range. They balanced it out though by saying the playability of the kit and the drum module at the price level kind of makes up for it though.

Laggy Module

While the drum module looks and feels great to most, there are some issues with lag and long loading times. There were examples of scrolling through lists of sounds and kits, and the screen was a little laggy when doing so. It looks like it also can take up to a half minute in some cases to fully load a drum kit, and if the kit isn’t fully loaded the sounds that are still waiting to load simply won’t play when you strike the pad. Something to consider if you want to use this kit to play live or need quick sound transitions.

Less Direct Outs Than The Strike Pro

Another thing that’s been pointed out in more than one place is that the Prime module actually has less direct outs than the Strike Pro module. People are surprised by this since the Prime module looks like a big upgrade in so many other ways.

Alesis Strata Prime Drum Module Back

The Controversial

There are some things about this kit that seem to have people divided on whether they like it not. Let’s take a quick look at some of those points.

Not Fully Acoustic Design

Some people seem disappointed that the drum shells for the snare and toms aren’t fully acoustic design. Others seem to like the smaller profile of the pads. The disappointment seems to simply come from the fact that there are competing kits in the same price range that have more of an acoustic design to the shells, and that the bass drum looks fully acoustic so why not the rest of the pads?

Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all. I actually prefer my electronic kits to have smaller profile pads so that they are easier to transport or store, and thinner pads on the Strata Prime fit that preference.

The BFD Drum Library

While I really like the drum sounds I’ve heard in all the demos, there are some people out there that haven’t liked what they’ve heard from the module and still say they’d prefer to use a VST. Arguments both ways are fine, whether people like the sound of a drum library or not is usually a highly subjective area and can change from one person to the next.

No Bluetooth Audio Yet

There is a currently a lack of Bluetooth audio in the module, even though it’s apparently being added to a future version at some point. This has some people disappointed if they like to go wireless when playing along with music on their phones. However there still are inputs that you can use for auxiliary inputs, so it’s not like there’s no option for playing along with music at this time.

Alesis Quality and Support

Many people are still skeptical about whether this drum kit and it’s components will hold up over time, especially with Alesis reputation for issues with some other kits and support in the past. This is a fair thing to be skeptical of and Alesis has made their own bed in this area. Many people who sound interested in this kit want to hold off for a while to see if any consistent quality issues pop up before making an investment on this one.

Alesis Strata Prime Tom Pads

To Sum It Up

It sounds like the Strata Prime is a very fun kit to play and it provides a very fun drumming experience for it’s price. The drum module is a huge step forward for the industry in general and will likely have other edrum companies making changes to keep up. There’s some minor technical issues that we touched on, but nothing that ruins the experience.

The Strata Prime’s strengths appear to be the capabilities of the module and the playability of the pads. Those strengths combine for a fun drumming experience. The quality of the rack and supporting hardware is where some of the concessions seem to be found, and is what is likely keeping the price from reaching too high.

Personally, if I was to go for this one, it looks like the type of kit I’d buy to keep at my studio. It just looks too big for my apartment with the limited space I have. I’m more of a fan compact kits for the apartment drumming game. But for those that have more room at home the Strata Prime could be a great option to replace an acoustic kit for people that need to be a little more quiet.

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