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I intended this article to be a review of the Alesis DM6 Nitro kit. However, during my research, I discovered that Alesis also has a kit called the DM6 USB (which was formerly called the DM6 kit) and a kit called simply the Nitro.
This confusing set of names begged for a comparison of the three sets, so that’s really what this article will be – a look at the DM6 Nitro, the DM6 USB, and the Nitro.
We’ll see by the end of the article which one is the most recommended.
If you just want to check Amazon for the pricing and availability of each of these Alesis kits, you can click a link in the list below.
If you want to skip right to a specific section of this review, you can click a link in the box below. Otherwise, just keep reading from top to bottom.
How Do the DM6 Nitro, USB, and Nitro Compare?
I think the best thing to do here is to show you a table that compares what you get in each of these three kits, so that’s what you’ll see immediately below.
|DM6 Nitro||DM6 USB||Nitro|
|Snare drum||DMPad 8 inch dual zone||DMPad 8 inch dual zone||8 inch dual zone|
|Tom 1||DMPad 8 inch single||DMPad 8 inch single||8 inch single|
|Tom 2||DMPad 8 inch single||DMPad 8 inch single||8 inch single|
|Tom 3||DMPad 8 inch single||DMPad 8 inch single||8 inch single|
|Hi-hat||DMPad 12 inch with pedal||DMPad 12 inch with pedal||10 inch with pedal|
|Crash cymbal||DMPad 12 inch||DMPad 12 inch||10 inch with choke|
|Ride cymbal||DMPad 12 inch||DMPad 12 inch||10 inch|
|Kick drum||DMPad stand with pedal||DMPad stand with pedal||Stand with pedal|
As you can see, these sets are very similar. In fact, the pieces of the DM6 Nitro and the DM6 USB are exactly the same.
The Nitro pads are not specifically called DMPad versions, but they should be very similar. (They are not mesh.) The only other difference is in the size of the cymbals and that the crash cymbal is chokeable.
The sound module, which is the “brains” of the entire unit is the same for both the DM6 Nitro and the plain Nitro set. (More on this item later.)
The DM6 USB uses a different sound module with fewer sounds and features. Even though the apparent claim to fame of this kit would seem to be its USB connectivity, the Nitro sound module also has a USB port. So the DM6 USB kit isn’t all that special in this regard.
What Are the Features of the Nitro Sound Module?
The Nitro sound module is used in the DM6 Nitro and the basic Nitro kits.
This module has 40 preset kits made from 385 sounds. There are 60 play along tracks for practice time, as well as the standard metronome.
You get a sequencer and performance recorder for saving those awesome beats and fills you create.
In addition to the built-in songs, you can connect to an external sound source via the CD / MP3 auxiliary input jack and play along with the tunes of your choice.
Other external connectors include the USB / MIDI port to link you up with other instruments and computer software. Of course there are stereo line outputs for speakers and a headphone jack for the times you need to play without disturbing others.
What Are the Features of the DM6 Sound Module?
The DM6 sound module is the one used in the DM6 USB kit.
This module has fewer pre-programmed features than the Nitro module. There are just 15 drum kits and 108 sounds inside.
As the name suggests, this sound module has a USB (MIDI) port. I think that, at the time this set was first produced, having USB capabilities was a major step forward. Since that time, most other kits, like the Nitro, have been given similar features.
All of these kits have the usual Alesis cable snake and cord wraps, power supply, assembly instructions, and user guide.
What’s the Verdict on the Alesis DM6 and USB Kits?
There are hundred of reviews of these sets online. There are relatively few (at Amazon) for the DM6 Nitro because it hasn’t always been available there.
Many more people have bought the Alesis USB kit, but far too many of those owners have been dissatisfied with their purchase.
It seems that the Alesis Nitro (not the DM6 edition) is the most popular and has an overwhelming number of positive reviews.
All of these kits are relatively easy on the pocketbook. Especially with the USB kit, it looks like you get what you pay for. However, the Nitro set apparently exceeds these expectations.
You can read comments like, “For the price, you can’t go wrong.”
Another user gushes (maybe a little too much) over the Nitro like this.
“It should also be noted that since I received my Nitro kit, I’ve tried my brother-in-laws more expensive Roland kit (around $500) and this Alesis is superior in every way.“
This article started out as a DM6 Nitro review, but I’m going to end it instead by suggesting you look more seriously at the Nitro kit. It has better user reviews and far fewer quality complaints. (There will always be a few.)
Watch this Alesis demo by Texas Tim.
Finally, here are several minutes of drumming on the Nitro from someone at Kraft Music.
Note that, if you are really rambunctious with this kit, it will move around a bit.
You can read about other Alesis kits in this article, if you think these are not what you are looking for.