Author Topic: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!  (Read 1181 times)

Offline VandalX

Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« on: December 24, 2017, 12:30:13 PM »
Hi everyone. I finally took the plunge on an e-drum kit. It was a LONG, complicated journey to get me to this point. I've been a hobby acoustic player since the mid-70s, and making the transition to e-drums has been a unique experience in confusion, excitement and maddening research. I nearly got a Hart Dynamics kit in the mid-2000s, but I just couldn't make it happen. Fast forward to the present. Pouring over all the reviews, forums, videos and official sites, I ended up with more questions than answers as to what was best for my budget and possible future needs. Sure, with $5k to spend, I probably would have gone with a Roland TD-30/50...whatever, but that wasn't possible. So All the mid-$1000k range kits became my target.This is my story.

Alesis does have a big name. They also have a confusing mid-range line in the DM10 series. This caught me up for quite awhile. Remaindered back stock, ebay auctions and a total mess of YouTube videos further clouded my research until I began separating the various DM10 kits and piecing together threads of similarities/differences. In the end it came down to either the DM10 MKII Pro (I wanted the extra pieces and snare stand) or possibly moving to the slightly more spendy Strike (not the pro). Then it became a game of searching for price. I ended up with the DM10 MKII Pro at a good price with no shipping costs (Amazon Prime). Despite all the various warnings about durability (across the Alesis line) and some funkiness with the module sounds, I finally jumped.

Let's be clear: at this price point, this is a fantastic bargain. I wanted larger, non-rubberized heads. I wanted something that could expand and utilize a VST. I wanted as much as possible for the money. As a first time e-drummer I couldn't be happier. My expectations weren't that I'd be getting the absolute best kit in existence; I just wanted to play and explore with room to grow as I progressed. This kit seems to fit the bill.

Setup. The box was large and slightly unwieldy but very well packed and protected. On opening, everything was labeled and easily unboxed. Setting up the rack was easy, and after fiddling with the clamp orientation I got them all lined up in a natural flow for my playing style. I might still adjust how they sit on the rack to make my hits more accurate and with a quicker reach. The clamps seem to have enough axes (X,Y,Z) to make most adjustments possible. A ball joint would be even cooler, but this is what we have!

Module. Within 30 minutes of opening the box, I had the module connected, kit assembled and headphones on. I just went through the presets one at a time to see what was included with the unit. For a first timer, I found the kits to be wide-ranging and easily edited. The interface is rational and clear. I have yet to read the instructions on programming/customization, so I just fiddled with controls as I played a User kit. I didn't save the settings as I just wanted to play with what the EDIT button does and how to make things happen with the triggers, heads and module. I can see where the programmed kits would get to be limiting, but I fully expect to be using a VST (Slate, Addictive or similar) at some point in the future as I progress. Right now, this is all I need.

Perhaps I'm lucky, but I've not had any crosstalk or mistriggered hits. Well, except for the hi hat. That seems to be a sticking point across Alesis, as are the cymbal sounds and bell trigger (on ride). Since I haven't really gone to town on the kit, those things haven't become a big issue, but I can see how they would eventually. I will be replacing the hi hat and cymbals with others once I reach a skill threshold where it becomes a problem/irritation. But frankly, out of the box, this is a non-issue for me. I do see new cymbals in my future.

Head tension: I played for a few hours with the factory tension. Comfortable. But I found that I wanted the snare and bass drum adjusted. The snare I'm used to is very tight and bouncy, so I tightened the snare head on the Alesis to match as close as possible. As for the bass drum, I loosened it due to machine gunning (double hits/bouncing). It's a Tama Iron Cobra double pedal, and I'm still adjusting the spring, beater length and head tension until I get the right feel. This is all personal preference, but almost any feel is achievable. Word of advice: use Evans bass drum patch and/or a non-felt beater. They do mention this in the instructions. The felt apparently degrades the mesh heads quickly. Like velcro. Just a word of warning. I put on an Evans patch and they take the hits from my beaters without affecting the triggering. I tend to bury my beater, and this new feel will take a little getting used to.

A note on making this YOUR kit. Some people seem to be a bit annoyed about how much set up is required to get the sound you want from the Alesis. It's not going to sound like the drums you used to play right out of the box. I don't have experience with owning other brands, just acoustic drums, but here's where I feel like Alesis has a slight edge (especially at the price point): you can tweak and fiddle with all the adjustments to get where you want to be. It takes some doing, but I'm having fun exploring the unknowns. And there are a lot of them. Alesis has done an admirable job of releasing kits in a variety of price points, and their top of the line unit (Strike Pro) might give the other expensive manufacturers some helpful competition. Where Alesis has failed is product differentiation on their mid-level kits, and a rather obtuse approach to getting information about specific models and how they compare/differ. The DM line is a perfect example of number/model confusion. It's like an HP printer. SO many to chose from it just gets maddening at times. To reiterate: At this price point, I don't expect some magical kit that knows exactly how I want it to sound. It takes some work to get there.

That's where these forums come in handy. This community seems like a fantastic resource for troubleshooting the issues that Alesis isn't officially addressing. I look forward to learning about what's possible, and sharing my own adventure as I go along. I've attached a picture of the setup after unboxing and my initial day of playing. Don't mind the cable mess...not velcroing (with the included straps) until I'm sure I like all the positioning.
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline Freightshaker

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2017, 07:25:56 PM »
Welcome!  I also will have a new MK II Pro kit come Thursday.  I'll be upgrading from a Nitro and, as you did, I decided on the Pro.  It had come down to either the MK II Pro or the new Crimson II kit.  Hopefully I made the right choice...
Simple does not equal easy.

Offline VandalX

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2017, 08:16:21 PM »
Well, based on several weeks of bashing my head against all the reviews for the Crimson II and the (scant) reviews of the MkII, my personal opinion is that you- we- made the right decision. The Crimson is less expensive in most cases, but it lacks a floor tom. And only 8 inch upper toms. I paid $150 more for the MkII Pro. I can't compare the module, but in the long run it will be less important for me, as I'll be running a VST to get the sound I want. Or I'll upgrade the module (2Box). But right now (two days in) I am loving it. Solid (I hit hard, but find I don't really need to), and the little things like missed triggers on the hi hat/ride bell are seldom and make me focus on my stick control. Something I've been really sloppy with using acoustics. Just really having fun getting back into drumming. Playing along with the silly sequenced tracks is hilarious, as I play genres that I'd NEVER seek out on my own (samba?). But it's a good way to sample what it all can do.

I hope your kit treats you well and that you enjoy it and have fun. That's what it's all about!
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline Freightshaker

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 10:00:59 AM »
UPS dropped off my kit last night so I spent a few hours setting up and exploring a little.  It's definitely a different experience from the Nitro set and I can already tell I'm going to enjoy this much more.  Things seem easier and more like an acoustical set.  I'm a trucker, so I'll be heading back out onto the road on the 2nd but I'll have the weekend, wife allowing... :) to play around with the kit.
Simple does not equal easy.

Offline VandalX

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 11:06:51 AM »
Congrats! I had a pretty easy time setting it up and have spent the past week just playing with settings and tweaking the kit positioning. In the end, I have more options for ergonomics than with a standard acoustic.

I've already set my sights on using a VST (Addictive or SSD4) in the future, but right now I'm just enjoying my first e-drum. It has given me more drive to practice, so that's a good thing. I set up a "User Kit" (replacing the User Kit #1 slot on the module) and tweaked/added the instruments, sounds and effects to my liking. There are a couple of nice samples to drop in that are from the Blue Jay kit that older DM10 modules could access. As far as I can tell, the complete Blue Jay kit isn't available for us MKII people. But I did find a snare and a ride. Odd thing with the ride: keep your foot off the hi hat pedal when playing the Blue Jay ride! It cross triggers a ride crash! I have no other cross talk triggering issues, despite my ham fisted bashing at the various pads, but this one is an odd quirk. I just stay aware when I'm playing that particular kit. Sometimes it gives me a good effect, but mostly I just want a clean ride and bell so I keep my foot off the hi hat. Not a big deal.

Today I'll be setting up the kit in my home studio where I'll integrate it with the other instruments and recording options. I've bought a cheap Fostex four track (cassette) that has four individual outs for each track, and I'll be transferring all my old multitrack analog tapes to the digital multitracker. Then I can play along with these crappy old tunes I created 30 years ago. Fun stuff.

Don't get too frustrated if you run into any issues down the line. The DM10 MKII Pro is an outlier, and it's kinda hard to find any relevant info on our particular model/module and kit dynamics. Alesis apparently sold a massive amount of other DM10 models and this one is the latest and utilizes a different module from the others, as well as the Studio MKII (which seems to be identical to the Crimson II module). So it's worthwhile to keep that in mind when looking at fixes and tips. My opinion, however, is that this kit will do everything the older kits did and much more once you customize to your liking. It seems like the older DM10 would allow layering for individual voices, and that would be a great addition to the MKII Pro module. I'm still not sure it's impossible, I just haven't figured out where to do this if it's available. If not, the are other options (like a VST) or eventually adding a second module that allows this (an older DM 10, 2Box, or even the Yamaha DTX502- which allows module control with an iPad, bypassing the crappy little LCD windows that plague all e-drum modules).

Anyway, have fun and let me know how you are enjoying the new kit! We MKII Pro peeps need to stick together.
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline Dartanbeck

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2018, 11:46:10 AM »
Hi VandalX, and congrats! What a great story!
So glad you're liking your new kit.

I have to say, though... even though you have little pads stuck to the bass head, you might still be asking for the blues if you keep using those felt beaters. Melted right through mine.

The other side still feels great for playing and doesn't melt the mesh the way felt does.

For me, the mesh heads have been pretty much indestructible for me. When I switched to my DM10X (from acoustic) almost a year ago, I decided to also start playing with lighter sticks to try and keep the kit in better shape for long years. From playing acoustics, I've seen how pounding on things with wood can make things fall apart in time! LOL

Well I'm still using those lighter sticks and, though the rubber rim rings are showing their wear, the mesh heads are still like new. The bass was a different story. I played a couple gigs with my felt beaters and noticed that my new bass pad was breaking down. I immediately switched to solid plastic beaters and it stopped getting worse, but I still replaced the head since I had already worn through one layer of mesh.

Just thought I'd mention that. Felt seems to be the Kryptonite of mesh heads!
Alesis DM10X Mesh

Offline VandalX

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 09:50:50 AM »
Thanks for the input. I had to return my original kit, as the triggers were starting to fail. Luckily Amazon Prime doesn't make it hard to get a replacement. Upon packaging my old set (just a month or so old), I noticed the bass pad mesh was looser, despite my Evans patches. So yeah, I'll be using a non-felt beater form now on. I may try out the KAT "tennis ball" beater, though it does have a fiber surface that might be an issue. Either way, I will still use a stick on patch for longevity. I need to try out a new system for keeping the double hits (unwanted) from triggering.

Anyway today is all setup and tinkering with my recently unboxed replacement kit. First thing is reloading my customized kits!
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline Dartanbeck

Re: Greetings from Oregon and a new DM 10 MKII Pro owner!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2018, 04:18:12 PM »
For the double hits on the kick, maybe try increasing the Threshold for that trigger a little. I still have to be aware on my DM10X Mesh kit to try not to double hit at times... it's a whole new instrument that needs practice... but the threshold setting helps them from occurring all too often:
Higher numbers require a harder hit to trigger the sound

There are other settings that we can mess with too, in an attempt to get the feel we need, like Curve, Sensitivity, etc.,

I keep messing with mine in small increments. There's always a gig around the corner so I have to be careful not to mess things up too much, so I do some subtle changes that seem to help, then save and try that one for size for a while. Sometimes I even make small adjustments between sets at gigs, if I'm feeling the need.

The tension of the head also makes a difference, but when I had mine a little too loose, it felt like I was going to break something, so I tightened it back up a touch.

I am using one of those Pintech stick-on pads on mine and I like it, but I wish it was a little bigger for my double pedal. Maybe I'll get two and cut a little flat spot on each and put them side-by-side to make a double pedal pad. I do like how quiet it is, as it's made for use with mesh heads.

Cheers, and congrats again on the whole new kit thing!!! :)
Alesis DM10X Mesh