Author Topic: Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics  (Read 10780 times)

Offline soad1789

Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics
« on: February 29, 2012, 12:24:14 PM »
Hi guys, I'm new to the forums, but after lurking for a while and doing some research I pulled the trigger on a DM8 Pro kit, and received it yesterday. In the interest of saving bandwidth, I'll embed only the most relevant pics that pertain to my review in this thread, but if you'd like to see all the pics, check them out here.

To get a feel for where I'm coming from, I'd consider myself a guitar player first, though I played snare drum throughout school and always wanted a set. I've played quite a few acoustic sets, and eventually bought my first electric set a couple years ago-- a Hart Prodigy (pics). This set came with a Roland TD3 and overall it did the job, but having played a few Roland sets at Guitar Center, I always knew what I was missing. The sounds on the TD3 were pretty disappointing, and the construction and quality of the Hart rack, drum, and cymbal pads was honestly pretty terrible. Lots of crosstalk, missed notes, the cheap rack would move/ hitting it would trigger pads, etc.

After giving the kit to a friend who had his nice acoustic set stolen, I got the bug... I just needed to have a nice kit. After Alesis released the DM10 I got really excited, and by the time I had enough cash for a set the DM8 Pro kit came out and seemed like the perfect fit for my budget. Trigger pulled!

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Here's the kit as it came via FedEx from zZounds, which I have to give serious props to-- it was shipped from NJ and received on the same day! zZounds also honored a price match from a competitor, giving me an excellent deal on the kit!



Everything came nicely packed in separate boxes. The box at the top right contained the kick drum mount and pad, pre-assembled. For some reason it was unlabelled  ???. I love how they labelled the empty boxes though!  :P



Here you can see the rack pieces, packed neatly in the bottom of the large box underneath the smaller boxes.

The rack is much nicer than the rack that came with the Prodigy, to the point where it's not even a fair comparison. This rack is metal and noticeably strong. The feet are plastic but seem sturdy enough, same with the clamps. I'd warn against over-tightening the screws on the rack, though. It seems quite possible to break a clamp by tightening it too much.



The setup guide for the rack and pads was a little vague, though the pictures came in handy. The individual pieces of the rack are not labelled in their plastic bags, though in the setup guide they are. To make it easy, find the two rack pieces with multiple clamps and feet. The one with four clamps will be the one to the left (marked in the guide as 'A' IIRC), with the extra clamp to mount the snare pad. Also be sure that the cymbal adjustment screws are facing out, or in whatever orientation you think you'd prefer. Easier to adjust it now rather than later  ;).



Here's what's inside the box marked 'Accessories'. Clockwise from top - Included sticks, L-rods for snare & tom pads, cable snake, rim silencers, and finally a bag containing a setup guide for the rack and kit pieces, a TRS cable (for use with the 3-zone ride), and cable clamps to affix the cables to the rack.



When assembling the rack, you may notice that there's a curved design inside the brackets to make sure you insert the crossbars in the correct orientation (as well as increase stability). Smart design!



Here's the rack fully assembled. Man, this thing's stable!

Some notes about the rack assembly:

1. For some reason I couldn't figure out that the boom cymbal stands had the boom arms packed inside the main tube, and that confused me for a minute. I could just be retarded, but I figured I'd make a note in case anyone else was confused by that  :D

2. The way the rack clamps for the drum pads were oriented confused me when it came time to insert the L-rods. note that the clamps should have their opening in a horizontal position so that the L rod's metal end will stand straight up (again, probably totally obvious, but I figured I'd mention it anyway)

3. Though this rack is really durable and quite nice for an electric kit, I would definitely consider moving up to a rack like the one included with the DM10X if you plan on moving this a lot or gigging with it. Assembly was quick and easy, initial setup taking around an hour, but it would be a lot smoother with nicer clamps IMO.



And here it is, fully assembled and ready to play!

After playing around with this kit and the DM8 module, it's clear that this BLOWS away the Prodigy kit I used to have. The DM8 module's sounds are really, REALLY nice, much better than I was expecting TBH, and on-par with the nicer Roland modules I've seen (though I haven't gotten a chance to really dig into a fancier Roland module yet). The actual module has the rack mount built in, and when I took it out of the box I was a little shocked at just how LIGHT it is! Caught me off guard haha. The cable snake is a great idea, unlike the separate TRS cable setup that was on the TD3, though I'm worried about what to do if any of the cables gets damaged. There's a lot of sounds in the DM8, the sequences are awesome, note chase and editing instruments is a breeze and quite intuitive, and the flexibility of this unit really just blows me away.

The pads are definitely a little hard on the hands, making me excited to convert this to mesh. The Realheads aren't as bad as some people make them out to be IMO, in terms of feel and sound, but if you're coming from a mid-range Roland kit you will absolutely be disappointed with the feel of these pads with the stock mylar heads.


One mistake I made when connecting everything was with the ride, which I've heard of other people doing this too-- using the included 'Connection Guide', I plugged the extra TRS cable into the ride. It appears that the guide is wrong though, as my bell would trigger edge hits and vice-versa. Easy enough, I switched out the cables and everything's working fine! I'm really happy with the quality of the cymbal pads too, the anti-rotation pieces are awesome and work perfectly, and the isolation between cymbal zones is top-notch! The choking of these cymbals is different than say a SURGE cymbal, you REALLY gotta grab the edge to choke, though it's pretty easy to do once you get used to it.


The unit functioned nearly perfectly from the second I turned the module on. The only adjustments I needed to make with my rack setup the way it is were 1. turning up the Xtalk on tom2 as it was occasionally triggering the hihat and 2. turning up the sensitivity and turning down the retrigger on tom1.


The rim silencers looked like they'd be a pain to actually put on, but as it turns out they pop on super easily and are pretty secure. I've yet to use the cable clamps to clean the cable mess up, but I also plan on adding a few cymbals.


A couple of questions I have that I'd love to hear some input on if anyone could help:

1. Any idea where I could purchase more of the anti-rotation pieces that come with the boom stands, Alesis or otherwise? I purchased another 12" crash off ebay and I'd like to be able to ensure it won't be spinning around on me.

2. Will any old rack clamp work with this rack? I'm not sure if there is a standardized rack diameter out there or not. I see some decent deals on Amazon for Gibraltar rack clamps and I'd gladly buy those if I can be sure they'll work OK.

Any ol' rack clamp will do - the 1" rack is as standard as it gets.

3. Are both the 12" pads included with this kit dual-zone? I'm assuming they must be because they were packed together and there was no indication of which was intended to be the snare, so unless I got lucky there's an unused trigger in tom3 as well.

Quote
All the pads included with the DM8 Pro, besides the kick pad, are indeed dual-zone. The module only supports dual-zone on the snare and auxiliary inputs, however.

4. The rim on the snare is really iffy, only seems to work well in certain areas of the pad... I'll play around with it but if anyone has any advice I'd be grateful.

5. The crash cymbal is a dual-zone, but has a 'null' plug in the other input... so they just decided not to include another TRS cable for dual-zone crash capability? Seems kinda funky.

If you have an extra TS (or TRS) cable, you can get an extra output from the crash bell area.



So that's my review of the DM8 Pro kit so far, overall I'm very happy with it and I would easily recommend it for the price. The feel of the drum pads is the only thing that stands out as not-on-par with a comparable Roland set, but I'll see if the mesh conversion changes that.


Note that I plan to convert the heads to mesh using the 682Drums conversion kit when it arrives (I hear it will ship tomorrow). I will post the results of that here if you're interested.

Thanks for reading!  ;D
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 03:36:27 PM by soad1789 »

Offline Trondster

Re: Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 12:33:03 PM »
Any ol' rack clamp will do - the 1" rack is as standard as it gets.
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Offline soad1789

Re: Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 01:40:11 PM »
Thanks Trondster. Post updated  :D

Offline Trondster

Re: Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 02:44:42 PM »
I'd guess that all the pads are dual zone - you can easily open the bracket and see how many wires there are.

As for the dual-zone crash: Here is from the quick start guide:
Quote
Connect the 1/4" plug (X) to the crash cymbal bell output ("10"). Alternatively, you can use a standard 1/4" TS cable (sold separately) to connect this output to the module's "10 PERC2" input, allowing you to use the crash cymbal's bell to trigger additional sounds in the module. See the module's manual for more information.

That is - if you have an extra TS (or TRS) cable, you can get an extra output from the crash bell area. Or - if the other pads in deed are dual zone, you can use some Y splitters to connect two triggers to the Perc2 slot - the crash bell and/or a tom rim or two...

If the toms are not dual zone, you can make them, with a cheap piezo sensor, some wire, glue and a soldering iron - just follow Hellfires video. :)
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 02:46:29 PM by Trondster »
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Greg

  • Guest
Re: Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 07:18:25 PM »
I own a dm8pro with 3 more cymbals and an extra pad. I can assure you anytime you buy an Alesis cymbal (Black, rubber pad) it will include the cymbal stand mount which will prevent it from spinning. If you need another option, try Aquarian cymbal springs. I bought a couple when I was adding cymbals as I also wondered about the spinning problem. I never had to use them but they will easily hold a e-cymbal or acoustic cymbal in a fixed position.

Greg

Offline jontheartguy

Re: Just Received my DM8 Pro Kit! Full Review w/ Pics
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 02:28:04 PM »
all of your unpacking and setting up remind me of my own experience. Your opinions on the sound files do as well; when I heard the Alesis ad for the DM8 on Youtube, I thought to myself, "even if there's only like 12 sets on that module, it's better than what I heard from the TD-4". As it turns out, there's many, many more, and I have yet to find something that couldn't ultimately be worked around via MIDI connection or just lived with.

as per your rim hits, mine sort of shaped up after I put the rubber thing on it. I don't use the rim much as I'm still in baby-drummer SMASH SMASH mode.

all things considered, I think this set is a real gem. Surprisingly high-quality and usable. I think ALesis made a price point mistake, TBH, and after I get my $100 rebate....well, it'll put the monetary outlay in the range of an off-brand acoustic kit of the same size.

These Alesis products are what e-drumming needed. I was afraid is was going to forever be either a hyper-expensive quality kit or a slightly bigger Rock Band setup.
DM8 pro!