Alesis Crimson Kit Review


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My name is Brennan Galley and I was the Canadian Technical Sales Manager for inMusic Canada. I toured Canada coast to coast to show musicians how to use innovative instruments, DJ and Music production equipment.  One of the companies I represented was Alesis.

These videos I shoot are intended to be a follow up to anyone I met.  My goal is to help musicians use the gear they purchase to the fullest of its capacity.

Today I’m here to talk about the Alesis Crimson Drum Kit, which is a mesh head electronic drum kit with thumb drive saving and loading integration.

The Alesis Crimson Kit offers modern and classic Alesis Drum sounds with mesh heads throughout.  Each drum shell has a knob that increases or decreases the sensitivity of the piezo sensors inside.  This makes the Alesis Crimson kit perfect for live performance situations.

Setting Up The Drum Rack

I’ve set up quite a few of these kits. The set up takes time.  It’s good to set aside some time so that you don’t need to rush through the process.  I find every time I rush through the set up, I make silly mistakes and ultimately spend more time on the process.  It’s easier than Ikea assembly but still needs to be thought out. Take a look at the setup guide that comes with and lay out the parts for the kit before assembly.

After you have the frame assembled and the drum pieces mounted.  Slightly loosen the screws and bolts on the frame and make a good general straightening.  I find that it makes it easier to have a friend help out, but is still obtainable to do on your own.

Rubber Beater / Mesh Kick Drum

The Alesis Crimson kit comes with mesh skins on all of the drums.  This gives the heads the same snap that you would come to expect from an acoustic kit.  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.  Whether you buy the Alesis Crimson kit or any other mesh drum from any other company pay mind to this.

Formatting USB Thumb Drives

A pretty great feature on the Alesis Crimson Kit is that it has a USB thumb drive port.  You can do a few things with it.  You can load your own samples onto individual pads, you can load your own music onto the thumb drive and play along with it.  You can also save your customized drum kits onto the thumb drive.  Before you can do any of these cool features you need to format the thumb drive.  The thumb drive needs to be formatted Fat 32.  But you also need to run the formatting feature inside the Alesis Crimson kit drum brain.  This will set up the appropriate files on the thumb drive so that you know where to drop files when connected to a computer.  This video will show you step by step how to go through this process.

Loading Custom Samples

Now that you have the thumb drive formatted it time to start loading your own samples onto the pads.  The file formats for loading your own content onto the Alesis Crimson Kit is – WAV file – 16 bit and 48k or lower for sample rate. – MP3 files – 320 kbps or lower with a sample rate of 48 kHz or lower.  By being able to load your own sounds onto the kit you can customize the sounds however you like.  The sample that I used in this demo are from the Royalty Free Samples that NASA uploads to soundcloud.  But you can use whatever you like.

Playing USB Sourced Music

Not only can you assign samples onto the individual pads but you can also load full length songs onto a USB thumb stick and play them back through the brain while jamming over it.  All of the file formats are the same here as they are with sample loading, though you can load larger file sizes this way.  This video shows you how to set it up step by step.

Mesh Skin Response

The Crimson kit comes with mesh heads across all of the drums.  The mesh heads feel great and allow the drum brain to accurately voice hits extremely well.  Being able to perform on an electronic kit and have it feel like an acoustic kit is key for players who are making the transition.  The mesh heads are also not as loud as the rubber heads that you usually find on kits in this price range.  Sound restrictions are why most people move to electric kits.  The Crimson kit delivers this.

For the money spent the Crimson kit is killer.  The frame design is brand new and the clamps are solid on all of the drums.  The mesh skins are sensitive enough to voice drum rolls accurately but they’re tough enough to take a beating.