Over the years, Alesis has provided the drumming world with several beginner drum sets. Some of them have been excellent, others have been questionable. Many of them have been discontinued, but you can still find a few in music stores.
One of the popular kits that Alesis produced for several years was the DM6. We’re going to compare it to the modern popular Alesis kit, the Nitro.
Bottom Line Upfront: The Alesis Nitro is the current top-quality entry-level kit that Alesis makes. The only version of it that is still being produced is the Nitro Mesh. The DM6 was one of the brand’s older kits which has been discontinued.
The closest version of it to the Nitro was called the DM6 USB, which can still be found in a few music stores. It’s inferior to the Nitro Mesh in almost every area, except for the stability of its hardware.
Main Differences Between
- The Alesis Nitro Mesh has mesh pads, whereas the Alesis DM6 USB has rubber pads
- The Alesis Nitro Mesh is still in production, whereas the Alesis DM6 USB has been discontinued
- The Alesis Nitro Mesh has a flimsy lightweight frame, whereas the frame of the Alesis DM6 USB is quite sturdy
- The Alesis Nitro Mesh has 10-inch cymbal pads, whereas the Alesis DM6 USB has 12-inch cymbal pads
- The Alesis Nitro Mesh uses the Nitro drum module, whereas the DM6 USB uses the DM6 drum module
- The Alesis Nitro Mesh has 40 preset kits, whereas the Alesis DM6 USB has only 10 preset kits
Key Features of the Alesis Nitro
While Alesis sells a base version of this kit that has rubber pads, I’ve learned that it’s incredibly difficult to find. So, I’m going to be talking about the Alesis Nitro Mesh, which is the most popular and most commonly found version of the set.
Its most key feature is the set of tunable mesh pads that it has for the drums. These pads feel incredible, and you can adjust their tension to suit your rebound preferences. The pads are all 8” in size.
The Alesis Nitro drum module is one of the most extensive entry-level modules on the market, and you get a wide array of functions to use such as play-along tracks and metronome tools.
- One of the most popular beginner sets on the market
- Full set of tunable mesh heads
- 40 preset drum kit sounds
- Very affordable
- Excellent for beginner players
- The sample sounds aren’t very high quality
- The drum and cymbal pads don’t last incredibly long
Key Features of the Alesis DM6
The DM6 has 3 versions. The most popular one was the DM6 USB. That’s what you may still find in a few music stores, so that’s the one I’ll be using to compare to the Nitro.
It has a full set of rubber pads. The drum pads are all 8” while the cymbal pads are 12”. I particularly love the cymbal pads as you won’t find many cheap kits that have cymbals this large.
The DM6 drum module has 10 preset kits and 108 sounds to customize your own kits with. It’s a fairly simple module that is easy to use, and it has 40 music tracks to jam along with.
- Very affordable
- Simple drum module design stops anyone from being overwhelmed
- The rack that holds it together is incredibly sturdy
- The kit has been discontinued, so it’s difficult to find
- The drum pads are rubber instead of mesh
Alesis Nitro Vs Alesis DM6
The module on the Nitro Mesh is a lot more extensive than the one on the DM6 USB. You get a grand total of 40 preset drum kit sounds with the Nitro, which is an incredible amount. I love playing around with sounds and seeing how creative I can be with the different sets. Doing that isn’t as fun with the limited 10 sets that the DM6 offers.
The Nitro also has a rhythm coaching function whereas the DM6 only has a metronome. If you want to test your skills against a rhythm trainer, you’ll need to Nitro.
Lastly, the Nitro module has slots for two extra trigger inputs. This means that you can add extra drums or cymbals. The DM6 module doesn’t offer this.
The Nitro is the clear winner here. However, there’s a version of the DM6 called the DM6 Nitro. It’s the DM6 kit, but it has the Alesis Nitro module connected to it. You get all the benefits of the DM6 with the features of the Nitro. I still think the Alesis Nitro Mesh is better, though, especially due to the mesh pads.
Speaking of pads, the Alesis DM6 USB only has rubber pads. This shows its age as all the older entry-level electronic drum sets used to have rubber pads like this. As technology has progressed, tunable mesh pads have become more common in cheaper sets. Alesis thrives here as most of their newer budget sets have mesh pads.
Again, the Nitro Mesh is the clear winner. I don’t know anyone who prefers rubber pads over mesh ones. The mesh pads give you a more realistic feel when you’re drumming.
The hardware is the only aspect where I think the DM6 USB is the winner. The rack that holds it together is quite sturdy, and it can be raised high enough to accommodate drummers of varying heights.
The same can’t be said for the Nitro Mesh. It’s my biggest complaint about the kit. It’s quite flimsy, meaning it will come off second best if someone accidentally falls and bashes it over. It also can’t be raised higher than a certain point, making it the worst possible drum kit for tall people to play on.
If you’re a tall drummer, you’ll need to work out some way of elevating the kit higher. Otherwise, you’ll be playing down at the drums below you. This won’t be an issue for younger drummers who aren’t fully grown yet.
Both these kits used to be $300. That was their big selling point and honestly, it’s always been the big selling point of all Alesis drum sets. You get decent e-kits for affordable prices, making electronic drums more accessible to the drumming community.
However, inflation is a real thing, and the Alesis Nitro Mesh now costs well over $400. Since the DM6 USB has been continued, I can’t find an exact price. When buying that, you’ll just be looking for secondhand deals or buying it for whatever price a music store sells their remaining stock for.
The DM6 USB should be cheaper than the Nitro Mesh, though. If someone tries to sell you one for more than $350, I’d suggest steering clear of that sale.
Which to Choose
Unless you can get the DM6 USB for a price that is almost free, I’d highly suggest getting the Alesis Nitro Mesh. It’s superior in every way besides the hardware quality, and that quality will only be a problem for rougher drummers who don’t take proper care of their kit.
The one downfall of the Nitro Mesh is the height limitation. If you’re a tall drummer, I’d suggest getting something other than both of these kits.
Other Alternative Kits to Consider
Speaking of something else, the Alesis Surge would be my first suggestion for a better kit than the previous two. It only costs about $200 more than the Nitro, so I highly suggest waiting and saving for this if you can.
It has the same module as the Nitro, but the rack is a lot sturdier, and the toms all have dual-zone triggers compared to the single-zone toms of the Nitro. It’s going to feel a lot better to play, and it will last longer thanks to its higher durability. That’s what you’re paying $200 extra for.
- Upgraded hardware compared to the Alesis Nitro
- More durable than the previously mentioned kits
- Has dual-zone toms
- Sound quality of the samples is still quite average
Alesis DM10 MK II Pro
The DM10 MK II Pro is the most recent version of the Alesis DM series of electronic drum sets. It costs just under $1500, making it a huge jump in price from the kits we’ve looked at so far. However, I think it’s good to suggest as it demonstrates how far the DM series has progressed.
In fact, it’s one of my favorite kits from Alesis in the intermediate to pro category. It’s called the DM10 because it has 10 pieces in total – 6 drum pads and 4 cymbal pads. This is a huge setup that feels incredibly fun to play on.
The drums are a lot larger than the ones on the previous kits, and the cymbals are all dual-zoned. The only cymbal that isn’t is the ride, but that’s triple-zoned which is even better.
If you want to buy a professional electronic drum kit without spending crazy amounts of money, this is one of my top suggestions.
- Professional electronic drum set
- Large drum and cymbal pads
- A lot more affordable than similar kits from other brands
- Incredibly intuitive drum module
- Still relatively expensive compared to the previous kits
If I were to suggest a single electronic drum set that topples every other in the $1000 budget, it would be the Roland TD-07KV. It costs just over $1000, so be prepared for that. However, this kit is far superior to even the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro. It just doesn’t have as many drums, and the drum sizes are a bit smaller.
The sounds and features, on the other hand, are incredible. Roland makes some excellent electronic drum sets, and this one is one of their most affordable kits that offers almost everything you could possibly need.
You get a very realistic response from the pads when playing, allowing you to distinctly hear every possible dynamic.
The TD-07 drum module isn’t as extensive as the Nitro Mesh module that comes from a much cheaper kit. However, the higher-quality sounds more than make up for it.
- Incredible sound quality
- Very durable
- One of the more affordable Roland sets
- Pads are smaller than the pads on competitor Alesis kits
- More expensive than Alesis kits
Answer: No. The popular DM6 that was released all the way back in 2009 has now been discontinued. There are 3 versions of the set, and none of them are still being manufactured by Alesis.
The only places to find DM6 kits are in music stores that still have stock or buying them secondhand from people who have owned them prior to the purchase.
Answer: Acoustic drums don’t rely on technology for sound, making them cheaper to make and buy. They’re also what is used to perform gigs most of the time. So, acoustic drums are the main goal of what you want to play when you become a drummer. They also feel a lot better to play than electronic drums.
Answer: No. That title goes to Roland. Roland is the leading brand in the electronic drum world as they have the highest-quality kits, and they’re always pushing innovation with every new product. They were the company that invented the mesh pad, and most electronic brands followed in their footsteps.
While Roland is the best brand, they’re also the most expensive. If you want affordable drum kit options, Alesis is the brand to look out for.
Answer: It depends on which kit you get. The cheaper entry-level Alesis kits typically come with sticks and a throne, making them excellent beginner drum sets. Anything from the Alesis Nitro Mesh and up in their product line won’t come with a throne. The kits may come with sticks, depending on where you buy them from.
Remember that you either need a set of headphones or an amp to hear the electronic drums, and none of the kits come with those.
To summarize, the Alesis DM6 USB was a decent kit that isn’t being made anymore. As time has gone on, Alesis has made bigger and better products, with the Alesis Nitro Mesh being one of those. The Nitro Mesh is a better option in every way apart from the flimsy rack it sits on.
If you manage to find a DM6 kit, only get it if the price is a lot cheaper than a new Nitro Mesh. Otherwise, go with the Nitro. Or even better, save for something like the Alesis Surge or Roland TD-07KV.
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