When you are quite sure that learning to play drums isn’t going to be just a flash in the pan or when you know that your beginning drummer, whether it’s you or someone else in your family, is going to practice for more than a couple of weeks, you might want to consider a beginner’s drum set that has a few more features than most.
That’s when you want to give the Alesis Nitro electronic drum set more than a passing glance.
Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
If you already know that the Alesis Nitro is the set you want, click here to go to Amazon right away to check the latest pricing and discounts.
If you need more information before making your decision, read on. You can click a link in the table below to go directly to that section.
What Sets the Alesis Nitro above Other Beginner Drum Sets?
There are several features that the Nitro, which replaces the Alesis DM6 and apparently uses the DM7X sound module, has to attract your attention.
First, as I hinted at just above, the brains of the unit seem to be the same as the one used in the Alesis DM7X. If you look closely at the module, you should be able to find DM7X stamped into it on the back.
This is a good thing as the DM7X is a wonderful set. Alesis’ choosing to reimplement this module in a less expensive set gives the Nitro the quality of a module normally only found in a set 2 to 3 times the cost.
This video touts the Nitro as a “new” set. Note that it was recorded in December of 2015.
See another video below for hearing the actual sound of this Alesis kit.
Inside the brain you get 40 modern and classic drum kits that use an amazing 385 drum and cymbal sounds. While you might not really need or use that many at the beginning, it’s good to know that they are there for later. You will get to play around with more sounds than are found in any other drum set in this price range.
You can play along with any of the 60 tracks included. You might find that some of them are too complex at first, but there are easier ones to start with. As you get better, you can progress to the more complicated tracks.
There is also a sequencer and a performance recorder inside. While these too are a little more advanced features, you can still have fun with them while you are just getting started. A sequencer is like a multi-track recorder.
There is a stereo input labeled CD/MP3 which is an auxiliary port that allows you to play along with your favorite songs on your CD or MP3 player.
The upgraded snare and cymbals are probably the best features of the Nitro.
The snare is dual zone. This means that there are two areas on the pad that give you different sounds when struck. With this feature, you can play rim shots.
All 3 cymbals – hi-hat, crash, and ride – are chokeable. Just like cymbals in an acoustic drum set, after you strike one with your drumstick, you can grab it with your fingers to stop the sound. This can be especially useful at the end of a song that needs to come to a close quickly.
Watch this video from Alesis that highlights the feel and dynamics of this set.
How Many Drums and Cymbals Are in the Alesis Nitro?
You may see the Nitro advertised as an 8-piece kit. This is somewhat misleading.
A drum set is normally promoted using the number of drums, not cymbals, in the kit. The Nitro has the normal 5 drums and 3 cymbals that most beginner drum set use. So when you make comparisons, you must compare the Nitro to other 5-piece sets.
You can arrange most of the drum and cymbal pads however you like on the set’s aluminum frame. There isn’t much room to move the upper toms, but you probably wouldn’t want to anyway.
Depending on how far apart you spread the left and right sections of the rack, your set will take up an area of about 5 feet by 3 feet to 6 feet by 4 feet. Compared to other 5-piece sets, the Nitro is rather large, but it is also one of the sturdiest.
When you compare the Nitro to the DM7X, you find that the latter has two additional pads (another crash cymbal and another tom). That’s just part of what makes that set more expensive. I only mention this to remind you that you’re getting the same controller in the Nitro.
That’s at least partly why the module has two expansion sockets and corresponding buttons for tom number 4 and crash number 2.
Speaking of the buttons atop the module, you might have noticed from pictures that they are arranged much like the actual drum set itself. (See above.) This makes it easier for you to press the right button at the right time when assigning sounds and creating your own drum kits – both of which are more advanced features.
What Else Do You Get in the Nitro Sound Module?
The backlit, LCD module has a USB MIDI connector that you can use with your computer and other mobile devices. If you have music software on your computer, this is where you would connect it to your Nitro drum set.
There are also straight (non-USB) MIDI In and MIDI Out jacks. You could use these to connect a drum machine, another sound module, or any other audio gear that supports MIDI (as most modern equipment does). Why you might want to add any of these things is a little outside the scope of this article.
You get stereo out ports to connect to a PA system, an amplifier, or an external recorder. You will need to hook up at least an amplifier if you want to hear yourself play. The only other way is to use headphones for which there is a separate headphone jack. Playing with headphones should allow you to practice with minimal disturbance to anyone else in the house.
Keep in mind that, even if you only use the headphones, the pads still make some noise by themselves. It’s a fact of physics, so you will want to consider that when deciding where in your home you want to keep your Nitro set.
What Do Current Owners Think of the Alesis Nitro?
The general consensus among those who already own and have played the Alesis Nitro is that it is a great starter set for the money.
It’s not really an awesome set. For a truly awesome set you’ll have to pay a lot more. As always, you get what you pay for, but with the Nitro you do get just a little more than you do with some other beginner sets.
If this drum set isn’t what you’re looking for, check out this article that discusses several others that you might be interested in. I think you’ll find one that suits your needs among them.
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