Wondering if the Alesis Nitro Mesh E-kit is the drum set for you?
You've come to the right place!
In this YMI guide, you’ll learn:
- The key features of the Alesis Nitro kit
- How the kit is constructed
- How to tell if it’s the right kit for you
And much more!
The Overall Verdict
As your first entry into the world of electronic drums you can’t go far wrong with the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit.
It’s packed full of great features such as all mesh heads, advanced coaching functions, choke-able cymbals as well as USB connectivity...you’d be hard-pressed to find another kit offering so much for so little money.
It also comes with everything you need to get started, including drumsticks!
- Very affordable
- Fully mesh pads
- Packed with features
- USB/MIDI included
- Not the most durable
- Built-in sounds aren’t great
The most important part of any electronic drum kit is the drum module (also called sound module or brain).
The brain is the unit that all the individual drum and cymbals pads plug in to.
It houses all the pre-recorded (sampled) drum and percussion sounds, as well as being the hub for connecting to computers and other external devices.
The brain has that biggest impact on the overall playing experience of your electronic drum set.
Let’s have a look at some of the features of the Alesis Nitro Drum module:
- 40 preset drum kits with 385 individual samples
- 60 play-along tracks
- Built-in sequencer, metronome and performance recorder
- Aux Input for mp3/cd players and smartphones
- USB/MIDI connectivity
You’d be excused if you thought this list was from a kit double the price.
The features of this budget kit are incredible at this price point, and with the inclusion of many backing tracks and coaching functions it’s obviously been put together with the student drummer in mind.
The preset drum kits do a good job of covering most styles, with some fun electronic-based kits thrown in there for good measure.
The inclusion of 60 play-along tracks is great for testing out your newly learned skills to some music, however they are a little cheesy and dated.
The coaching functions really shine on this Nitro Drum Module.
The metronome has a groove check function that tells you if you’re ahead or behind the click (an essential skill for any drummer).
There’s also a setting that plays you a drum beat, which you then have to play back straight afterward. The kit then analyzes your performance and gives you an accuracy score between 0-100.
This is a great engaging way for new drummers to practice their drumming as well as their aural skills.
This kit has excellent connectivity options too, which are more in line with high-end drum kits rather than an entry-level model.
It has an Aux Input allowing you to plug in anything that has a headphone jack which is fantastic for jamming along to your favorite tunes with minimal fuss.
However what really shines for me is the inclusion of USB connectivity.
This allows you to plug the kit into your Pc or Mac to use with your favorite recording software (DAW).
It also means that you can replace the in-built kit sounds with a drum VST, which will suddenly make your drums sound like a $5000 Roland V-Drums Kit! This is an excellent feature at this price point.
Read More >> How Do You Play Electronic Drums?
The Nitro Mesh Kit is one of the very few (if only!) full mesh kits at this price range.
Mesh pads (which are included on the snare and tom pads) essentially use drum heads made of plastic mesh material instead of hard rubber.
This has the benefit of being more realistic and forgiving to play (like an acoustic drum set you can tune them using a drum key), as well as making the ambient noise of your sticks tapping the pads much quieter than rubber pads.
The mesh drum heads can also be replaced if they break or wear out, adding to the longevity of the kit itself.
The drum pads supplied with the Nitro Mesh Kit feel sturdy and solid. The mesh heads themselves don’t feel like the best quality but can be replaced relatively inexpensively so isn’t too much of a problem.
The pads themselves are only 8” in diameter, so once set up the kit can feel much tighter and compact than an acoustic drum kit.
However, the overall compact size makes it ideal for someone living in a small apartment that wants a quiet practice solution.
The inclusion of a dual-zone snare pad means that the rim can be used to trigger rimshots, which definitely helps provide a more realistic and satisfying feel to your grooves.
The kick drum pad is more of a solid rubber affair but does a good job of keeping excessive vibrations down whilst providing a fairly responsive bass drum experience.
(EXTRA: Kick pads are notaries for transmitting vibrations through the floor to your neighbors. Check out this easy DIY solution to help.)
At this level I also really like the cymbal pads on this kit.
They have a really nice forgiving playing surface and seem to respond very well to light touches.
Ok they don’t have multi zones like some ride cymbals on mid-range kits do, but the crash cymbal is choke-able which is a nice touch.
The 10” hi-hat pad that uses a sprung foot controller does the job well and can be quite expressive once you’ve tweaked the sensitivity settings a little.
The only gripe with the pads is the overall durability.
If you search the internet you’ll find quite a few instances of pad failure and broken components.
This may be a quality control issue as Alesis is trying to make this kit as affordable as possible. However any issues that customers seem to have had are resolved by Alesis in a quick and timely manner.
Read More >> What Are The Best Inexpensive Drum Sets?
I was actually very surprised by the hardware on the Nitro Mesh Kit. The aluminum rack feels sturdy and solid and has a great sleek black look to it, which matches the finish on the pad housings and cymbals.
It comes with cable tidy strips which keeps the mass of cables out the way and improves the look. The tom and snare mounts do feel a little plasticky and cheap however (which can be expected at this price-point) but they seem to do the job well and are easy to adjust.
The included kick pedal is very basic but does what it says on the tin. It will probably need replacing after extended use but is easily good enough to get going. (I would recommend the Tama HP200P as a fantastic upgrade for the bass drum pedal). The basic hi-hat pedal controller also feels good enough for the job and should withstand a good deal of abuse!
Overall I felt like I could really lay into these drums without fear of breaking something, or making various components shift around.
The different sounds that are included with this drum set are pretty functional at best...but at this price point you can’t really expect too much more.
The problem with cheaper electronic drum sets is that they use a lot fewer samples for each drum which affects the overall sound quality and realism of the kit.
For example, a top-end Roland V-kit may have over a hundred different pre-recorded velocity layers just for the snare drum.
This makes the instrument very dynamic and expressive as it’s able to playback different samples at each exact velocity.
The Alesis Nitro kits however probably only have three or four velocity layers per drum. This creates a much more robotic ‘machine-gun-like’ sound which can sometimes be pretty jarring on rolls and quick fills.
The more exotic electronic-based sounds are a good deal of fun however and are obviously borrowed from Alesis’ lines of drum sample pads.
For a beginner, student, or someone looking for a simple practice kit, the built-in kit sounds will do the job.
However with the use of the included USB port, you can easily connect this kit to drum VST software.
If you have a laptop you can get free drum VSTs that will suddenly transform your drums into a kit that sounds even better than the flagship Alesis Strike Kit!
For me this is the secret weapon of this kit, especially if you record music and need something cost-effective to input MIDI drum parts.
Read More >> What Are The best VST Drum Plugins?
The Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit is a real standout at this price-point.
With the inclusion of some great coaching functions, a wide range of built-in drum kits and play-along songs, as well as great connectivity...you can’t really ask for much more from an electronic kit.
The price does however mean some corners have been cut to give you so much functionality.
The design of the drum module is pretty dated, the mesh pads are a little cheap and the durability of some of the components isn’t the best.
But you can forgive this kit as it’s still the best fully mesh electronic drum kit at this price range by a big margin.
Easily comparable to similar Yamaha or Roland td kits, but at a much lower price.