January 4, 2019
First off I want to say that I bought these when they came with a fifty-dollar gift card to Amazon, so they really only cost $300. It also included one set of sticks and a drum key. I am writing this for two purposes...to critique them from an entry level set perspective, and their ability to work with a double bass.
From the double bass perspective, this kit's base pad is sufficient for double bass. The pad is louder when hit closer to the center. As long as the beater hits someplace on the pad it will work. Mine has about an inch of play room on the side of each beater. If I center them, they work perfect. It's only when they stray to the side that they are a little less loud. The pedal I chose does not fit very good as far as where it connects to the pad stand. To center the beaters, I have to move the peddle as far to the right as possible. It's not real secure when I do it this way, and end up having to adjust/tighten it every 15 minutes of use, but this pad was not designed with double bass in mind. I am an engineer and I can just design a better piece to weld on that will be much better. Since I can do the drawing and give it to a friend that welds and is great at manufacturing parts, it's only going to cost me the price of a piece of metal. I would imagine if you paid someone to do it, it would not be an inexpensive kit anymore. I would just buy a larger pad stand,if I didn't have the ability to make one for free. That being said, there are other ways you could do it without welding...you could get some metal, drill holes, and bolt it to the existing pad stand. Also, there might be other pedals that would center easier than mine. I chose the TAMA HP200PTW Iron Cobra 200 Double Pedal, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B4XDWB6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and I am extremely happy with it. I had a DW pedal before, and it didn't come close to comparing with this one. I think the DW was a hundred dollars more than the Tama as well, but this was 15 years ago, and double pedals may have been more expensive then. The performance of the Tama is by far the best of any pedal I ever used, and there are other things you can add to the pedal to make it faster. The point of this before I go in too many directions, is the pad itself has plenty of room for two pedals to strike it in the "sweet spot", or close enough to the electronic trigger, to work perfectly. Finding a pedal that clamps on to the stand right might be a challenge; I don't know, this is the only pedal I tried with it.
My previous, and first electronic kit was a Roland brian with Hart Dynamics drums. They were the same price as the Roland drums, only I liked the way they played better, and they came with a lifetime warranty. I'm not sure how long ago, but they went out of business: so much for the lifetime warranty. I had the DW 3000 double bass pedal, which at the time cost about $300 (the cost of this entire kit), and now they cost $250...double bass is much more popular now than it was back then...my hypothesis why the pedal went down that much after 15 years. The point I am making here, is that I am comparing the Alesis kit to that kit...which was from 15 years ago when electronic drums were nowhere near as prevalent as they are now. I also had the same drum throne; I liked it so I got it again.
From the entry level perspective: here are the reasons I did not give the kit a 5. It doesn't come with a throne. Beginners might not think of that and be disappointed when it arrives and realize that they still need to order one. That can be a significant addition to the price of the kit. I found a throne I like for just under $60, Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne. It's comfortable, functional, and sturdy. I am a big man (about 300 lbs). This is my second one. I had the first one 15 years and it never had a problem, and like I said, I weigh a lot. I purchased both the throne and Tama pedal from Amazon, and I love them both. I copied and pasted the names on Amazon if you want to check them out. This kit does come with a single bass pedal by the way, so you don't have to buy a different pedal. Some other things you will need are: A way to hear the kit - either headphones (the input jack is 3.5 mm), an amp., or a stereo to plug into. I also got some over the ear headphones (OneOdio) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6ZJH96/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 that are amazing for $30. The other thing that is a must have from my perspective it a cable to attach your phone or mp3 player. You will need a 3.5mm to 3.5 mm cable to plug into the headphone jack of your phone or player...same size into the Alesis brain. Here is the one I got...I like long cords when playing drums...hate it when I move and a cord tugs on me. By the way, there is nothing bluetooth or wireless in this kit:. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KWR8OZ4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The headphones I put a link for, also have a cord close to 10 feet, and a bunch of different ways and sizes to hook up that come with the headphones. I put all this extra stuff because if you are new to electronic kits, you might not think of it and be dissapointed when you have to rush out to buy headphones to hear them or a cord so you can hook up your mp3 player and play along to YOUR music. The kit does have some built in songs you can play with.
OK, so for the kit's performance. The cymbols scare me as they don't appear real sturdy, but work fine so far. The ride cymbal makes the bell sound when you hit it hard. I like using the bell, so I am wondering how long they will last. They work and sound great now. The only other kit I owned was Roland with drums the same quality. The mesh heads seem great. I get good bounce and they play like an acoustic drum head. The rim around the drum heads it high, and they take some getting used to. An 8" drum isn't a very big target to start with, and if you put a high ring around it...a bit challenging to say the least. The rims do make for easy, good sounding rim shots. All the pads are responsive with no delay. The stand is easy to put together, but this is my second one, and my friend that helped me works with me as an engineer. I would guess we can figure stuff like this out at least as good as the average person. Their assembly instructions suck, and if I didn't understand how these go together already, it would have been really hard to put together. All the drum sounds I have heard so far sounded great.
Now, like I said earlier, my previous kit was a Roland brain, and drums I think were at least as good as Roland. Roland is the standard in electronic drums...just my opinion. I got that kit 15 years ago. I am sure all drum kits have evolved since then. Comparing the Roland kit from 15 years ago with this one, I would say the actual drum pads are very similar, and play almost exactly the same. The stand is just as sturdy. The cymbols seem about the same, but the Rolands didn't need to be hit as hard to get the bell sound. Through headphones, the Alesis kit sounds almost exactly the same as the Roland did. I haven't checked all the Alesis brain can do, but I think it probably does more than the Roland (15 years old) did. I am sure the new Roland brains do way more now. I think drums are like cars. The Roland is like a Bentley. Sure, it's a nice car, but not that nice...In my opinion, a big part of it's price tag is the name Bentley. So sure, maybe my new kit is like a Chevy, but it gets me where I need to go, it's inexpensive to maintain and repair, and honestly, I think it looks a lot cooler than a Bentley. I have played drums on and off for almost 50 years. I have been away from it for 3 years, so I just wanted to check out an inexpensive kit for S and Gs, and I am glad I did. I don't know how long it will last, but for now I am very impressed. I would highly recommend this kit.
I wonder if anyone will read all this...lol