Author Topic: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure  (Read 950 times)

Offline VandalX

DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« on: March 09, 2018, 01:48:23 PM »
Well, two days in to my replacement kit (after returning the first one after a month and a half due to failing triggers on all 12" pads) and the snare pad trigger is failing. Well, failed. Rim shot still triggers, but the center trigger is almost totally unresponsive. The clear plastic ring that connects all the foam pads shows signs of breakage- the thin "bridge" tab that connects to the center. I will once again state that I don't play all that hard. These drums are completely unreliable and not to be trusted for anything other than light playing. Maybe not even that...a hard stare might break something.

This is my last go-round with this kit. Perhaps with Alesis as a whole. Even though I bought it via Amazon Prime, repacking and returning this beast is a pain in the ass. I just want to play a new product for something longer than a month or two (let alone just a couple of days). I know how to fix it (an with more robust components), but I shouldn't have to do this so quickly and with so few hours of usage. This is an Alesis fail of the highest magnitude. And their customer service is totally unresponsive. Luckily, Amazon just sends me what I want and has me ship it back for free. This one will be going back as well.

I do NOT recommend this kit to anyone. It's fun at first, and the feel is right, for me anyway. But the build quality sucks and it turns out that these drums aren't made to be hit by anything harder than a box of tissues.

I don't know if the Strike drums are any more robust, as that's the only direction I would move to before signing off the Alesis brandwagon and going with something more robust.

What a disappointment.
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 VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 09:24:09 PM »
Addendum>>>

Okay, after some down time to think things over, I have decided on three options.

1- Return this unit and upgrade my kit to a Strike. I will be losing one tom and two cymbals. Well, one cymbal if I do a one-to-one comparison to the MKII Pro. So it's a net loss, but perhaps the build quality is better and will hold up to someone hitting their product with sticks. You know, like a drumset. I will also be paying $400 more to do this. Can anyone out there vouch for the Strike quality, playability and features? I did do a pre-purchase comparison, but that was before I owned an Alesis product. Now I'm reticent to "upgrade" if all I'm getting is some sparkly red flake shells and fewer pads. Perhaps the module is quite a bit better? That's less important to me considering I was moving to a VST in the near future.

2- Now that I know how these trigger fail, I know how to fix them. I have attached a picture of the weak point in these units, and since this is now the fourth 12" pad that has failed in this manner, I am going to assume that they all will at some point. But, I'm good at small electronics work, and can easily replace the flimsy thin wire and "solder" glue that attaches the wires to the trigger. The black wire is mounted to the center of the trigger, and the red goes on the outer edge. I have stripped the tip of the red wire, and it works when I touch it to the trigger. I just have to secure it in position, and use a larger gauged wire.

So I can repair and replace these items as they fail, as they most certainly will. This Achilles' heel (Alesis' Heel?) seems to be the first point of failure, and I don't see other physical mechanisms that will have a similarly premature breakdown. That won't help me if the module or circuit boards that the triggers are wired into begin to freak out, but at least the trigger fix is relatively easy.

Question is: I have owned this new kit for less than a week. Despite the graciousness of Amazon to send me new ones every time this happens, it's a tremendous waste of my time, resources and really, should I give Alesis my continued loyalty for a substandard product? The rational side of me says, "return it and move on." However, I really have enjoyed this kit, and the features and pads/cymbals aren't found on models in the same price range. I admit I love having larger toms and mesh heads. Without ramping up to the Strike or even further to the 2Box Drumit or Yamaha DTX700 series, I am relegated to smaller drums and probably silicone or rubber pads. Not sure how the Yamaha pads feel, but I have heard good things. It's the drum size that gets me.

And that takes me to number 3- Return them for a refund, and look to other manufacturers for my e-drums. KAT KT4, Yamaha DTX562, Roland TD11 KV,  or maybe the Nfuzd Nspire (hybrid pads with apparently a pretty cool module, and I have an acoustic kit to mount them on). These hover around the $1200-1500 range. Or if I decided to give Alesis another shot, going with the base level Strike, as I can't afford the larger Pro version. In fact, I am guessing that "Pro" doesn't actually mean "Professional" in the Alesis dictionary. Prolapse, prostate, and provolone come to mind first.

I know I'm just ranting, but anyone with some advice would be appreciated. I want to love these things, and the short time I've played them has been enjoyable and did everything I expected them to...except last for more than a few days/weeks.

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 rhysT

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 11:54:43 PM »
FYI, the trigger wiring on my original DM10 Mesh pads has been reliable (so far) prob'ly due to the head piezo being mounted under the plastic resonator and with the wires retained by the support foam (refer to attached pics).

Maybe "Pro" on your DM10 MkII module/kit implies it's 'problematic' and likely to encourage more interest in the Strike kits!  8)
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 08:38:51 AM by rhysT »

Offline VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 12:15:20 AM »
That's a key difference: the piezo mounted BENEATH the plastic resonator. On mine, it's out in the open. I've already found new transducers online just in case I decide to keep this kit and go Mad Max on the thing. If I go the repair route, I will be redesigning some things.

Thanks for the input! "Problematic" wins the day.
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: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 01:57:02 PM »
Just started to have a tom go out on me this morning.  I haven't opened it up yet, but it sounds like the same problem: tom only registers a hit with the velocity turned way up and then not consistently.  I'm moderately able to do electronic repairs so I'll give it a shot.
Simple does not equal easy.

Offline VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2018, 02:13:03 PM »
Yes, it sounds like a similar issue. The wires they use are absolute crap. Brittle. I noticed that the red one had come off completely, and the black one has a crack in it just behind the glue. I can see where the leads were soldered, then glued in place for extra stability. Unfortunately this isn't the issue of the solder coming loose. It's the wires breaking. So I'm considering replacing them at the velocity knob circuit board where they connect. That is, if I decide not to return the whole thing once again. I haven't yet made that determination.

However, today I installed EZ Drummer and Reaper. I'm using a borrowed Macbook pro (with plenty of RAM and processing power). Holy crap this is fun! So much better sound and dynamics. I still really like the feel of the actual mesh kit, and now the cymbals even sound and react better. What a difference.

So I now have some decisions to make. Keep the new kit with failing wires and replace them as they go out, or just return it and move on.
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: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 04:50:55 PM »
This is the first issue I've had since getting the kit in December.  I'll crack it open and see what's going on.
Simple does not equal easy.

Offline Dartanbeck

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2018, 07:30:49 PM »
Yeah... being a brand new kit like that... what a bummer! Tough call.

The drummer that I replaced (he moved out of state) in one of my bands had an older Yamaha DTX kit and he kept a healthy stock of transducers, some solder, flux, wire, and a soldering iron in a toolbox that he always kept with his kit. He claimed that this would plague ANY e-drum.

So that part of me always says (to myself, mainly) that, to play e-drums requires that we learn to fix/replace transducers and/or the problems that might come along with that, like replacing wire and such.

I haven't had to replace any yet, but at least one of my toms is not very dynamic. It feels right but it's either full-on loud or nothing at all. I was thinking of making my first order of a whole pile of transducers and get my emergency toolkit put together.

Seeing rhysT's pictures (I have that same type of pad) compared to yours is crazy to me. Is that a time/cost saving bugger-up on Alesis (or Medeli?) since they're likely cranking out a lot more mesh pads now? Kind of a real bummer.

But like you, VandalX, I really like these pads. So, although this sounds like a bummer point since I'm thinking of adding a new mesh kit to mine, at the price-point these things are selling at, I think I'll still try and go through with it - and just repair them right away when they fail, since I do really like the rest of the design.
Alesis DM10X Mesh

Offline VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2018, 03:10:02 PM »
And the saga continues....

So I look around my house for something unrelated to the drums. I see a box that I hadn't seen before and opened it up. Two brand new 12" mesh pads. I was traveling for the past month, and the person house sitting failed to mention this other, smaller box (the new kit was hard to miss). They were sent in addition to the new kit to replace my faulty DM10 MKII Pro. So now I have two extra pads and one newly malfunctioning unit. I have decided to keep this kit and start bolstering the parts that are prone to failure. Yes, it's a pain in the ass. You shouldn't have to put new tires on a brand new car, but I'm not altogether positive I will solve anything by moving to another set or brand. Yes, build quality is better on Roland and Yamaha, but not for the money. I have to weigh the hassle of returning everything (again) and starting my search from scratch. Plus, I'm limited in funds, so moving to a higher-end system just isn't in the cards right now. If Amazon keeps sending me replacement toms when they break, I'll have plenty of carcasses to pull from. Plus, I will be rewiring all the crappy factory wires and will keep a stock of GOEDRUM transducer/triggers.

I will be documenting my progress and techniques for anyone who might have the same issues, or are wondering if they will come up in the future. Spoiler alert: they probably will, but are fixable.

Onward through the fog...
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: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2018, 03:29:35 PM »
Cracked mine open this morning and spent maybe 10 mins cleaning and resoldering.  Must admit I felt pretty stupid when I opened everything up and discovered each drum has a volume control, although I don't hear much of a difference when I use it.

Upon discovering the shells are removable, I might get my airbrush going and paint my shells and cymbals.  Candy apple red for the shells would be cool.
Simple does not equal easy.

Offline VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2018, 03:52:28 PM »
Yeah, the volume switch is what Alesis calls a velocity control. Sure, why not!

As for the shells, Joanne's Fabric has sheets of adhesive vinyl that might be cool to add. Tons of colors- sparkly and otherwise. It would be an easy and non-permanent way to add some customization to the kit. Now that I'm keeping this set, I will be pimping it out to my liking. I'll feel better about having to fix everything (new) that breaks if it's customized.

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 Chaser

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2018, 05:44:04 PM »
Yeah, the volume switch is what Alesis calls a velocity control. Sure, why not!

The knob will determine the sensitivity focus across the pad.

DM10
The new Alesis mesh drum heads includes an added physical knob to adjust the sensitivity of the piezo pickups inside of the head.
The knob adjust how much the module will respond to the inner vs. outer pickups inside of the head.

Depending on the current velocity curve setting for your trigger on the module,the sensitivity adjustment knob will affect the head differently.
If it seems like the sensitivity adjustment knob is not affecting the mesh head,
try setting the velocity curve for the mesh pad to a different setting, such as Linear in the module. 

STRIKE
Turning the knob clockwise will make the pad more sensitive in the center and less sensitive around the edges.
Turning the knob counter-clockwise will make the pad more sensitive around the edges.
There is an indent in the center to set the knob to default.
The sensitivity setting in the module will still adjust the sensitivity for the pad overall.

http://www.alesis.com/kb/article/2332#knob

Offline VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2018, 07:38:43 PM »
It wouldn't surprise me at all the Alesis had different knobs for each one of their models. If indeed the knob is supposed to balance outer and inner zones (on the DM10 MKII), then that's a feature that is subtle at best. As far as I can discern, it's merely a volume control. The PCB even says "volume," but surely the heavy lifting is done by the module, so perhaps that's where velocity sensitivity is controlled. In any case, on my particular model, the DM10 MKII Pro (which is a rare hybrid between the original DM10 and a Corvair) it merely controls volume. At least to my ears. I turn it all the way up and adjust those functions in the trigger control section of the module.
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 rhysT

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2018, 05:31:48 PM »
The InMusic patent (@ p26) provides more info about adjusting a mesh pad's 'sweet spot zone' with the knob:

US 9,424,827 B2 - ELECTRONIC PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT WITH ENHANCED PLAYING AREA
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 05:42:39 PM by rhysT »

Offline VandalX

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2018, 06:52:16 PM »
Thanks for the patent document. That is an incredibly useful thing for me right now. I'm going all "Frankenstein" on one of my dead 12" toms, and this will help immensely.
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 Purpledc

Re: DM10 MKII Pro...part two: The Failure
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2018, 08:30:00 PM »
I own the strike kit.  And I owned the DM10MKII briefly.  Before I get into it, let me just say I LOVE the strike.  I really really love my kit and I believe in it and cant wait to see what happens with it.   But I would be a flat out liar if I said that it was a reliable instrument for a musician.   They are the drumset from the island of misfit instruments.   Just as a brief overview of your possible issues.

1. Broken trigger plate mostly on the snare.  ( Doesn't happen to everyone but they send out new pads very fast and the old ones are very easy to repair or mod to your delight)

2. Jacked up hi hat.  (many fixes to get it 90% there but even with all the fixes the hi hat did, does and always will suck). 

3.  The cymbals in general suck ( I have many reasons.  Bottom line, its a flawed design and I WiLL be replacing them over time)

4. It has some corrupted samples that can actually lock your module (gotta turn it off and on again) as they have no samples in the library to support the sounds so the module has no idea what to do.   I know of 4 kicks that are 100% jacked up and if you layer them on top of themselves you will experience a lot of issues. 

Even with those issues above the capabilities of this kit and what it can do and how it responds to your playing is absolutely awesome.  And the lack of any machine gunning and top quality sounds as well as its very intuitive features I just cant say enough good things.   As a DIY guy and a problem solver at heart this is a playground for me and I cant get enough of it.  I spend no less than 5 hours a day with the thing and its been 4 months.   But if you are a gigging musician and have to rely on your kit to make money or tour I would wait until all wrinkles are ironed and pressed.  But If you don't mind about the same amount of BS as your DM10 MK2 or more then I feel its an epic item to own.   And that is the thing.  Many people don't even know what this thing can do.  And if they did they may not return it even if they did have problems.  That's really where they failed.  Most owners don't even know how to use many of its best features.    But if you are frustrated now, the only saving grace of the strike in your case would be the kit is so damn awesome that your problems will seem worth it.