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Summer NAMM 2009: Alesis DM10 (Video)

Electronic drum kit
Alesis are relative newcomers to the electronic drum kit market, but they’re quickly making up ground on their competitors. The DM10 is their new flagship electronic kit, and it has some fairly impressive features. We’ll get to those in a moment, for now, let’s run through the basics:

The DM10 comes with five drum pads for kick, snare and three toms, plus 12-, 13- and 16-inch Surge triggers (real brass ‘cymbals’ with sensors that trigger the brain) for hi-hat, crash and ride. The drum and cymbal pads are all dual-zone, and the drum pads have real heads that can be tightened to alter the amount of bounce encountered when the stick strikes the surface.

At a quick glance, the brain looks to be fairly standard: it’s got a bank of faders for setting the relative levels of the pads’ audio output, and an LCD screen accompanied by an array of buttons for accessing on-board features. But take a look at the back panel, and you’ll see a USB port. This is for interfacing with a computer from which you can load sound sets on to the device.

Alesis are opening this feature to third-party developers, so there’s the potential for virtual drummer software makers, such as FXpansion or Toontrack, to create customised sound sets for the DM10 in a proprietary format. This means, essentially, you could load up a BFD drum kit from your computer on to the DM10 brain and go to a gig without having to rely on a computer to play out the samples.

Of course, the DM10 does have its own sample-based sound sets on board, and it uses Alesis’ Dynamic Articulation technology to increase the playing realism, using multiple velocity layers on each pad and cymbal. It's expected to cost in the region of $1500.

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