For so long the words ‘Electric Drum Kit’ equalled something expensive – especially if you wanted anything of decent quality. The cheaper brands, marketed for the beginner/intermediate player, were usually just terrible excuses for what was clearly not a real instrument. Enter Alesis with the new Crimson.
Alesis have been working on the ‘electric drum kit for beginner/ intermediate’ solution for some time now, and even the successful flagship DM10 has been a revelation at its price point. However, even that kit can be over some drummer’s budget and so, the new Crimson Mesh kit is aimed to be a mid-range unit, with an attractive price that in my opinion, creams the competition in its class.
WHAT DO I GET?
You get a 5-piece kit as standard - all black mesh. There’s an 8” Kick pad, which is wide enough to accommodate a single or double pedal, two 8” dual-zone rack toms and a 10” dual zone floor tom. The real kicker is the larger 12” snare drum – also dual-zone but free standing on the snare stand that comes with the kit as standard. You also get a 12” dual-zone crash, three-zone 14” ride and 12” hi-hat with separate pedal. The whole lot is mounted on a killer metal rack system that is really sturdy. So finally, there’s a real sense of quality with the hardware on this kit. It really makes you rest easy - no wobbling whist playing.
The module contains 600 sounds, 50 preset kits and 20 additional ‘user’ kits that allow for your own combinations. There’s midi in and out, stereo/mono outputs as well as Auxiliary input (for iPods etc) and a headphone jack. Other handy features include a metronome and real-time recording that allows for 5 tracks on the internal memory but up to 99 tracks via the use of USB memory stick. Worth noting, with regards to the USB stick input, is the ability to actually load your own samples onto the module and then assign them to whatever trigger/pad you want on your own user kit. Seriously? That is awesome for this type of kit. The sounds onboard are pretty cool on their own but if you’re keen on triggering something else, even loops, you can. Win.
DOES SHE HANDLE WELL?
The Crimson kit I tried had the tunable mesh heads to allow for personalisation of how you want the drums to feel. This is a great feature, usually reserved for the more top end electric kits. Interestingly, the rims were metal just like an acoustic kit. Now, usually you get rubber rims but I have to say, I loved the metal rims. The snare drum actually felt real to me. Why? Simply because of the fact that when I lay into a snare, I usually rim shot (rim and skin at the same time) and this made this Alesis feel exactly the same as a normal snare for me. Seriously, this made all the difference. I’ve seen pics of the Crimson with rubber rims too though. The on-board sounds aren’t life changing but are really ne for many applications. That said, you can have other sounds too so it’s still a win.
The toms and kick all felt primo as well. The only thing not in their favour is the fact that they’re rather small, but this is a small niggle and for most players, the smaller size means less foot print for the room they’re in and with the ability to tune the heads down, they can be made to ‘feel’ larger if necessary. The cymbals were the only thing that hinted to the mid range nature of this kit. They feel ne but are still rubber and feel the least realistic. However, this isn’t really a big deal as they respond well and do exactly what you’d hope of them. The bell on the ride is easily triggered and they crash well. The crash is chokeable too, which is nice. Within the module you can adjust the pads further by altering sensitivity, rim sensitivity, head to rim adjustment (the crosstalk reduction between head and rim), threshold, Xtalk (reduces pads triggering from other vibrations) and velocity curve to name a few.
Overall, the new Crimson is very impressive. There’s the usability of the mesh heads and the larger snare and mesh kick pad are also real winners for me. Add the quality rack/hardware and the extra features such as external sample triggering and I reckon the Crimson is going to be an absolute cracker. Would I have one? Totally.
Hits and Misses
Great quality and feel overall
Advanced features for this price point
Oversized free standing snare drum
Cymbals realistically not as cool as the drums
Not much else