Review: Alesis Strike MultiPad

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Review: Alesis Strike MultiPad

(Source: Alesis)
Words By Bridgette Baini

Electric Factory | Expect to pay: $1199

In this day and age, being a live drummer is a bit more complicated than it used to be. Within the electronic music scene, where beats are king, you might be asked to not only perform, but also cue backing tracks and even (God forbid) play a synth line. To be a drummer now, it’s important to be versatile, and create opportunities for yourself to perform with electronic acts and forward thinking bands looking for a consistent sound show to show.

At the heart of a modern drummer’s performance arsenal is some form of sample pad or music player. Used to play instrumentals for solo acts while you hit the 808 kick or to add sounds usually only recreatable in the quiet space of a recording studio without introducing feedback to your audience, they mark an important step in live performance evolution.

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With this said, Alesis has been no stranger to innovating the electronic drum experience. The Alesis Strike and Strike Pro electronic drum kits deliver an authentic drumming experience with incredible responsiveness and the exceptionally realistic replication of many well-loved acoustic drum sounds. 

Evolving further with the demands of the modern drummer, the Strike MultiPad is designed to allow you to sample, edit, loop and perform seamlessly. Even better, it can act as a sound-card with two inputs and outputs of USB and MIDI. 

The Strike MultiPad offers over 8,000 built-in sounds, 32GB of storage and the ability to record samples from any source; smartphone, mic, off the internet, via USB, and from virtually any other audio device. That’s right, you can even record vocals and room recordings into it. Its nine velocity-sensitive pads have customisable RGB lights that are easy to configure for optimum efficiency, and a distinguishing feature of this nifty new device is its gorgeous 4.3 inch colour screen that makes checking your system status or making edits a breeze.

Have you ever wanted to EQ your drum sound on stage? The Alesis Strike MultiPad boasts five built-in effects processors; three kit effects, one master effect, a compressor, and an equaliser. It offers exceptional effects control with its two customisable Alesis ‘A-LINK’ infinite rotary knobs which you can assign to dozens of effects and mixing controls allowing you to alter your parameters in real-time. 

It has easy audio routing with your choice to send the metronome, or any sound to separate outputs. Other cool features include the ability to load in samples and loops via USB drive, back up your kits and expand your interaction with the Multipad via external trigger and pedal inputs. These allow you to expand the Strike with up to three drum/cymbal triggers, a hi-hat pedal, and two dual foot controls (not included).

This percussion pad is overwhelmingly awesome. I appreciate not only the customisable colour coordination with 20 different colour variations, but also the several animation modes. This includes the ‘fill’ mode that creates motion on the light strip of the selected pad, indicating the progress of the sound playing! The screen gives a comprehensive but clear overview of your kit which really assists with editing on the go. Everything you need to know is displayed on that screen and it certainly eases the pressures of performance with its concise visual communication. 

For instance, in ‘perform’ mode, you can see information about your kit including the name, assigned sounds and the BPM of your session. On each of the files, you can assign a function such as loop or alternative play which is for when you want to hit a sample once, have it play on repeat, and then hit it again to have it stop. The panic function is particularly useful as it can be customised to turn off all playing sounds and effects with a single button press. For cases where this isn’t applicable, you can assign the key to function as a tap tempo. Really the options are seemingly endless and unbelievably easy to use.

The sampling function is out of control! You can upload or record directly into the device using digital or analogue audio sources, assign, crop and edit the file right there on the colour screen via the WAV editor. The flexibility doesn’t stop there though. While in looping mode, you can loop not only the pads and internal sounds, but also include external sources such as microphones. You can loop these sources for up to 16 bars in playback or overdub mode. The loop is then easily saveable with the simple press of a button. 

Another notable feature of this Multipad is that the external triggers and foot controls are all easily accessible via the perform button and can be viewed on the bottom right of the screen. You can expand your kit with the MultiPad, as it connects up to 5 external triggers, via drum pads or attached to acoustic drums and you have full access to trigger parameters and pad behaviour on that incredibly useful screen.

There’s no denying the Alesis Strike MultiPad is a cut above the rest, and really takes into account all the needs of the modern drummer. As its name suggests, it’s multi-functional which means it’s a space saver, and can be used for live, on-stage performance, practice, or studio recording. It’s hard to find a single fault with an exceptional product such as this. The sounds, the usability, the expandability, it’s all amazing and could fit seamlessly into any drummer’s setup.

For more on the Strike MultiPad check out Alesis and for local enquiries, hit up Electric Factory.