There are many accessories in the drumming industry drummers don’t even know about. Some you can only find in a studio setting.One such item is the Alesis SamplePad Pro.
In this review, I will be discussing some of the features that made me love this drum set.
Before we go any further, let us understand what a sample pad is because some beginners may not know about this device.
When using electronic drum kits, drummers often record their own sounds and add them to the drum pad. It is one way of increasing the sound options available in the kit.
You can record these sounds directly to the drum kit. But that will mean you will have to fully set up your gear. This can be difficult and time-consuming.
In this case, you can use a sampler to make things easier.
A Sample Pad is a portable four-pad device that lets drummers access a wide range of sounds. First, it comes with 25 percussions, and e-drum sounds. Then you can load as many sounds as you like using an SD card. With this device, you have limitless access to all types of sounds.
The pads feel great, which is crucial for good electronic drums. A drummer can add an external trigger input to activate a trigger. And if that is not good enough, one can switch pedals with ease using a sampler.
Also, they offer the ability to mount any snare stand or rack with ease. Using these features, one can expand their setup to be more convenient.
Why is a SamplePad a great device?
First, They are exceptionally compact and portable.
This means it can fit it anywhere. As such, it can be everything a drummer needs to incorporate sampled sounds into their setups.
Think of it as adding another drum to your arrangement. You can, for instance, connect it to a classic snare, or link to any strand/ rack.
In a studio environment, one can simply place the SamplePad on a tabletop. It is small, self-contained, and easy to use.
The devices come with everything you need.
Secondly, the SamplePad gives you access to essential sounds. It comes carrying acoustic and electronic sounds as well as percussion. So it’s useful for both drummers and percussionists.
If you understand how necessary essential sounds are in a drummer’s toolbox, then this device is something you don’t want to miss.
You can connect the SamplePad to an amplifier. Also, it has a nice solution for PA or recording with standard dual ¼-inch outputs. And if you want to use it with your monitor or headphones, there’s an option for that too.
It is an easy-to-use device. With such an interface, you never need to worry about scrolling through endless categories of sounds. You strike where you wish to change, dial to the sound, and you are good to go.
And if there is a mix of sounds you want in a group, just assign them to a kit.
Which drum pad is the best?
There are a number of options on the market today. But I will focus on the Alesis SamplePro here before looking at alternatives.
About the Alesis Sample Pad Pro
The Alesis SamplePad Pro came into the market as a highly anticipated upgrade from the brand’s standard surface Sample Pads. This original pad has a few limitations on its four pads that the Pro model has resolved.
The Alesis SamplePad Pro features a minimalist blue LED that creates a beautiful layout. It has been arranged in two rows of three large pads. There are also two smaller pads mounted on the left and right, which provides an additional vibe when you hit a rim.
It comes with dials on the sides, which ensures their safety. Also, the extra pads and storage space make it a better and cheaper alternative to Rolands and Yamahas’ market dominance.
The menu comes with easy navigation. However, many experienced drummers say they would prefer a few more buttons.
It’s built pretty fair. Although I like what I see in the Roland pad more, I still find this built a great inspiration, especially for such a low price.
The pads have great sensitivity. You can play with fair expression. Because it can be dialed-in and out of meaning, you can feel less synthetic sounds compared to lower-level devices.
I found the sensitivity to be a bit “double-edged.” But the range makes up for it.
Key Features of the Alesis Sample Pad Pro
- 8-times velocity-sensitive trigger pads
- Easy menu navigation
- 200 percussive sounds
- 10 separate drum setups
- SD card readers and free 16GB Memory card
- Extra kick pedal and hi-hat pedal input
- MIDI IN and Out, AUX, stereo, headphone, and jack
Overview of the features
The Pro pad comes with eight pads. As mentioned above, these include six on the main pad and others on each top corner.
- Sensitivity. The Alesis Sample Pad pro is sensitive to velocity. This means it can detect softer hits during a performance.
- Built in-drum kits and sounds. You get a wide range of acoustic, electronic, and world music with these pads. This allows the player to choose any genre they love and create beautiful sounds.
- SD card sampling. One of the big pluses of this device is the SD card sampling.
- Versatility. A user is free to change the pads into a mini kit. You can make it a kick, a hi-hat controller, and two extra pads. This means you have access to limitless possibilities. You can record live hits from an acoustic set and load it here.
- Great appearance. I love the way this pad is built. Every pad carries LCDs that light when you hit. Anyone can fall in love with its looks.
How can you use the Alesis Sample Pad Pro?
There are many ways to go about using this kit:
- It can be a device for practicing.
- You can use it as an addition to your current set. This is mostly applicable in a hybrid setup.
- You can use to hold and loop your own custom samples internally
- Use it as MIDI controllers. This can connect to other devices and DAWs.
- Extend it with additional pads to build a mini e-drum kit.
- Extremely easy-to-use
- Extensive input/output options
- Versatile built-in sounds
- SD card reader, which can hold over 20 kits
- Beautiful blue LED display on the pads
- Some users have complained that it is slow in switching between kits
- Crosstalk issues.
- The pads are a little too sensitive
Who should buy the Alesis Sample Pad Pro?
One of the significant issues with the Alesis Sample Pad Pro is the crosstalk. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend it for a professional drummer.
But for a beginner and those seeking production services, it is an excellent choice. I discovered it does not produce the authentic sounds I have seen in some hybrid drum sets.
Also, you can buy this device if you are a bit tight on the budget. In such a case, maybe you are not planning to switch to a premium kit.
This device still holds features you will not find in most low-priced models. And therefore, it is quite competitive.
Several other drum pads work like or better than the Alesis Sample Pad Pro. Consider the Roland OCTAPAD SPD-30, for instance. It is my favorite because it can be used for bigger shows. Besides, its extensibility allows for a connection of up to five external sources. Only that is it more expensive.
The Yamaha DTX Multi-12 is another wonderful choice. It has ultra-sensitive pads that make drumming easier and fun. The biggest downside is its low memory of only 64MB.
Another high-end sample pad on the market is the Alesis Strike Multipad. It is an upgrade of the SamplePad Pro; hence, it has all the features you can expect from a great drum pad.
How do you load samples on the Alesis Sample Pad pro?
The Alesis SamplePad Pro comes with the capability of loading custom samples. You can do this using a USB drive or SD card.
For instance, you can record an acoustic performance and then upload it to the pad. Use your phone or computer for the recording and save it by putting the SD card in the card slot.
Besides, the Alesis SamplePad Pro comes with a user manual. There are instructions on how to load samples, including formats and bitrates required.
On the market with so many electronic drum pads, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. The Alesis SamplePad Pro reviewed in this article is among the best low-priced kits for beginners. The SamplePad Pro isn’t the best set of pads on the market, but they don’t seem to disappoint. I hope it helps you make a more informed decision.