There are many accessories in the drumming industry that many drummers don’t even know about. And here are some that you can only find in a studio setting.
And one such item is the Alesis Sample Pad Pro. In this review, I will be discussing some of the features that made me love this item.
What is a sample pad?
Before we go any further, let us understand what a sample pad means. Many may not have heard about such a device.
When using electronic drum kits, drummers often record their own sounds and add to the drum set. It is one way of increasing the list that may already exist in the kit.
You can use the drum set to do this by playing and recording directly. But that will mean you set up your gear fully. And that can be very difficult, especially when you don’t have much time.
In this case, you can use a sample pad to make things easy.
A SamplePad 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 read. And 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 very great, and the sample pad promises that great feeling. 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 sample pad.
Also, a sample pad offers the ability to mount any snare stand or rack with ease. Using these features, one can expand their setup much easier and conveniently.
Why is a SamplePad a great device?
First, a sample pad is exceptionally compact and portable. You can describe it as ‘small size fits all.’
This means it can fit anywhere. As such, it can be everything a drummer needs to incorporate sampled sounds into the 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, and they are good to go. It is small, self-contained, and easy to use.
The devices come with everything you need.
Secondly, and most importantly, the SamplePad gives you access to essential sounds. It comes carrying essential acoustic and electronic drum sounds as well as percussion. Hence, it is useful for both drummers and percussionists.
If you understand how essential sounds are in a drummer’s toolbox, then this device is something you don’t want to miss. There are ready-to-play sounds that perfectly complement any drumming needs.
You can connect the SamplePad to an amplifier. Also, it is 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, you can always do it.
It is an easy-to-use device. With such an interface, you can never worry about scrolling through endless categories of sounds. You just hit on the pad 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. The sample pad will save and recall anytime you want to play.
Which drum pad is the best?
There is a number of drum pads 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 Sample 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.
Alesis Sample 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 lest and right, which provides an additional vibe as when you hit a drum rim.
It comes with dials on the sides of the devices, 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 is 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 tag.
The pads have great sensitive. You can play with fair expression. Because it can be dialed-in and out of meaning, you can feel less synthetic sounding compared to lower-level devices.
I found the sensitivity to be a bit “double-edged.” But its range separates it from other devices and put it among the high-end pads.
Key features of the Alesis Sample Pad Pro
- 8-times velocity-sensitive trigger pads
- Easy menu navigation
- 200 percussive sounds
- Ten separate drum setups
- SD 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 drum 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 some softness 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 plus of this device is the SD sampling. It allows the user to sample different sounds for proper excellent playability.
- Versatility. A user is free to change the pads into a mini drum 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 drum set and load it here.
- Great appearance. I love the way this Sample 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?
This versatile device can be used for many needs.
- It can be a practice drum pad.
- You can use it as an addition to your drum set. This is mostly applicable in a hybrid drum setup.
- You can use to hold and loop your own custom samples internally
- Use it as MIDI controllers. This can connect you to other devices and DAWs.
- Extend it with additional pads to built a mini e-drum kit.
- Extremely easy-to-use device
- Extensive input/output options
- Versatile built-in sounds
- SD reader
- Some users have complained that it is slow in switching between kits
- Crosstalk issues.
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.
This device still holds ever features you will not find in most low-priced models. And hence, 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 Alesis Sample Pad pro?
The Alesis Sample Pro Pad 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 on the ID card.
Besides, the Pad 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 sample pads for beginners. I hope it helps you make a more informed decision.