If all you wanted was a cool looking electronic drum set, then the Alesis Crimson kit (aka Alesis Crimson Mesh kit) would probably fit the bill. Just the name “Crimson” tells you a lot about what this set looks like.
But looks aren’t everything, as they say. So let me take you through the features and specs in this Crimson Mesh review. By the end of the article, you should be able to tell if this kit will do what you want it to or not.
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What Do I Get in a Crimson Mesh Set?
The Crimson set includes 5 drums. It has an 8 inch kick / bass, a 12 inch dual zone snare, two 8 inch dual zone toms, and a 10 inch floor tom.
As you can see, the sizes of these drum pads are a little unusual. You might expect the dual zone rack toms and floor tom to all increase in size from one to the next, but here the first two are the same – both 8 inch. Obviously that doesn’t make a difference as far as sound goes in an electronic drum kit.
The snare is significantly larger at 12 inches than any of the other drums, but it’s not as big as the one in the Strike Pro set.
Notice that the snare comes on its own snare stand. You are not limited for placement to available space on the 4-post rack. That’s a nice touch.
On the other hand, the kick drum is just 8 inches in diameter, which again makes no difference as to sound, but you might expect is to be at least as big as the snare. I guess Alesis wanted to save a little on the cost to make this kit more affordable for you.
As is implied by the name “Crimson Mesh”, all the drum pads are made of high quality mesh. The tension on mesh heads is apparently a little too bouncy for some. What is too bouncy for some may be just right for you though.
You get rubber rims for the snare and toms in this drum kit. These are an optional accessory that you can install or leave in the box. It depends on how you want the set to look and on your style of play. If you think you would hit the rims too often and damage your sticks, you might prefer to go without them.
The cymbals include a 12 inch hi-hat with a pedal, a 12 inch crash with choke capability, and a 14 inch ride with 3 zones (rim, bow, and bell).
It’s not specifically mentioned (as far as I could see) by Alesis, but according to one owner, the crash cymbal is dual zone (rim and bow).
The sound unit, where you plug in all the drums and cymbals, has inputs for two additional pieces. Even though they are marked tom and cymbal, you can assign anything you want to those jacks.
Another nice touch in the Crimson set is the inclusion of a pair of drumsticks. Not every kit in the market ships with them. Sometimes you have to purchase them separately. You may wish to do that anyway, but that’s not the point.
All Alesis electronic drum sets come with a cable snake and cable wrap strips for organizing all those wires coming to and from the drum pads, cymbals, and sound module. You don’t have to put together your own system of velcro or tape to keep everything nice and neat.
Other items you get are the sound unit itself (more on that below), a drum key for adjusting tension, the power supply, and various guides and manuals for putting the set together and using it properly.
What Is Included in the Sound Module?
Let me tell you up front that this is basically the same drum module that you get in both the Alesis Command and Alesis Forge kits. Yes, it says “Crimson” on the front, but it says “Command” and “Forge” on the others. It’s just a cosmetic label. Not that this is a bad thing. It’s just something to be aware of when comparing kits.
This module has 50 preset drum kits plus space for 20 more that you can setup on your own. Personally, if I can’t find a kit I like amongst the preset 50, I probably am being too picky. That said, there may be the rare instance when I need a certain combination of sounds that I have to put together myself. I doubt there would ever be 20 such cases though.
There are 600 sounds from which you can choose when assembling kits. If that isn’t enough, you can also load your own samples (sounds) via the USB port from a standard USB memory stick. For me, this would be an even rarer occurrence than creating a kit from the 600 original sounds. Still it’s nice to know the option is there.
You get 60 preset tracks that you can play along with to practice. There is also a metronome built in, which is fairly standard.
You can plug in your mobile device and play along with whatever tunes you like as well.
Other common ports on the module include ¼ inch outputs, a headphone jack, and MIDI output for connecting to other MIDI devices.
The module also lets you record up to 5 tracks internally. If you need more, you can get up to 99 tracks (a ridiculously high number for almost everyone) via the USB port and a memory stick.
Here is Tim Root from Alesis giving you a demo of the Crimson set.
What’s the Verdict on the Alesis Crimson Kit?
If you watched the video above from 65 Drums, you heard the reviewer say he wouldn’t use the Crimson for a live performance. Personally, I don’t see why not. It may depend on the venue, but this seems like a kit that has everything you should need for a live performance.
One owner had this to say about the kick drum.
“One thing to note is that Kick Mesh drums do not work well with the felt side of your kick beater. Over time the felt will rub off and leave a residue on your drum skin. It will also cause dust that can decrease the sensitivity of the sensor.”
I guess the solution to that is to see if you can use a different kick pedal. I’m sure Alesis uses a felt pedal to reduce the sound of the hit on the drum.
This is a good midrange electronic drum set that should satisfy many drummers. If you think it’s not for you, you might want to check out other Alesis offerings in this overview article.