Two of the Best in the Business
Alesis and Roland are two of the most auspicious brands as far as musical instruments are concerned. Between the two of them, these brands have produced some of the most popular electronic drum set kits and sample pads in the market has ever seen. Two of those sample pads are Alesis Strike Multipad and Roland SPD SX1500, which will both be the focus of our discussion today.
We are going to look at both these kits in detail and find out what sets them apart from the competition. We are also going to see how they compare to one another and find out which one is better than the other (if one is indeed better than the other). Additionally, we want to determine who would be best served by which kit and why you should consider adding either one to your musical instruments collection.
For a very long time now, there has only been one main sampling pad that most professional drummers have been using up on stage: The Roland SPD SX1500. It is well-built, comes with a ton of features, works very well, and offers the users a whole lot of options as far as supplied sounds are concerned.
The fact that it came from Roland, one of the most trusted brand names in the industry, only made it even more popular. That, however, might be about to change as a rival brand name, Alesis, brings their Alesis Strike Multipad into play.
The Alesis Strike Multipad is equally just as well-built, serves up a ton of features, and comes with the added advantage of having the latest technology and supreme sound.
Let's take an in-depth look at both sampling pads and try to determine which one is superior.
Alesis Strike Multipad Review
It's safe to say that before the Alesis Strike Multipad came around, the previous drum pad (Alesis SamplePad Pro) was somewhat inferior to the high ranking Roland SPD SX1500. In this installment, Alesis went into the backrooms and did their homework. They have returned with a far better sampling pad that is perfectly suited for beginner drummers and professionals alike.
The very first thing you will notice about the Alesis Strike Multipad is how cool it looks, which is a huge aesthetic factor for drummers who go live on stage. Apart from how cool it looks, the Alesis Strike Multipad packs a mean punch and will completely blow you away with all it has to offer.
What Does the Alesis Strike Multipad Bring to the Table?
- 9 velocity-sensitive pads that have customizable RGB lights
- 5 built-in effects processors
- 8,000+ pre-loaded samples
- 32GB internal storage
- The capability to record your samples from pretty much any source
- A reliable onboard looping software
- Built-in audio interface
- It's also expandable, meaning you can add on an additional 3 drum triggers, two dual foot controls, and a hi-hat pedal
Key Features of the Alesis Strike Multipad
- Lights: Apart from the "cool factor," the 9 LED indicators found in the Alesis Strike Multipad give you much needed visual feedback when playing. This is something its predecessor didn't have yet desperately needed. These lights function well with loop and can show you the entire progress of whichever loop that is running.
- Display: It has a 4.3" color display that is not only clear but big enough to give you a great deal of information while allowing you to easily navigate the menu.
- Storage: With 32GB of internal storage, the Strike Multipad allows you to carry a host of samples with you whenever you go out to a gig. In addition to that, it comes with about 8,000+ samples pre-loaded for you to try out. This samples are both percussive and pitched. If for some strange reason you use up the entire 32GB provided by the company, you can simply add an external SD card.
- Sampling and sounds functions: With over 8,000 pre-loaded samples, you are definitely going to find some good ones in there somewhere, but you can always add your own samples via USB or computer.
- The looping function: The multipad offers you an amazing looping function that allows you to record your own performance and overdub it up to sixteen measures. Apart from just looping the samples that come with the multipad, you can plug in your audio input such as keyboard, guitar, microphone, and mixer.
- Inputs: You have 5 trigger inputs (2 dual-zone and 1 mono), an auxiliary output, MIDI in/out, 2-foot control inputs, hi-hat input and a few others that simply make this multipad a joy to use.
Pros and Cons of the Alesis Strike Pro Kit
- It's easy to use
- Comes with a lot of internal space (32GB)
- Has a display screen that makes it very easy to manipulate and manage
- Comes with a great deal of input options
- Produces excellent sound
- Good for both beginners and professionals
- It's a little pricey
While it might be a little pricey for a few people, the Alesis Strike Multipad is well worth the investment. If you have been looking for something that is not only easy to use but offers you a great deal of samples and mixing options, then this is the sampling pad for you.
Roland SPD SX1500 Review
Without a doubt, this is one of the best sampling pads in the market. It was actually THE best for a very long time and is still the sampling pad many turn to when they want something that has been tried, tested and found to be true. There are very many reasons why the Roland SPD SX1500 has such as illustrious standing within the music society.
What Does the Roland SPD SX1500 Bring to the Table?
- 4GB internal storage
- 9 velocity-sensitive rubber pads
- 2 external dual-trigger inputs
- Individual pad dynamic indicators
- Built-in audio interface
- Expanded USB functionality
- Large LCD
Key Features of the Roland SPD SX1500
Beautifully constructed pads: One of the main reasons why this product has been number one for so long is because it feels fantastic to play. The pads are not only beautifully designed but also aesthetically separated by the backlight. They are, however, closely packed together which doesn't make them that ergonomic which means you will need a bit of practice to get used to using them. However, once you pick it up, they are very nice to the touch and feel.
Useful inputs and outputs: This sampling pad has two analog inputs, two sub outputs, two analog outputs, a headphone input, USB MIDI, MIDI in and out, 2 1/4″ TRS trigger inputs that allow for additional pads to be brought on and a 1/4″ footswitch input.
Pre-programmed kits: While the SPD SX1500 comes with a few pre-programmed kits, the real advantage and potential of the sampling pad shows in its customization capabilities. Today, 4GB internal memory isn't that much when compared to other sampling pads such as the Alesis Strike Multipad.
However, when you really think about it, 4GB of space is enough considering these samples are often stored in formats that don't really take up that much space. But if you feel as though 4GB just isn't enough, the SPD SX1500 allows you to easily load your own samples via USB. You can also stream an MP3 player or use your PC to manage samples using the native software.
Additional features: You can easily install two dual-zone trigger inputs externally (kick pads, snare pad, and so on). When dealing with single-zone pads, you can connect up to 4 using extenders.
Built-in Effects: The sampling pad comes with built-in effects that go a long way in helping you get the kind of sound that you want. You have options such as an EQ filter, delay, loop, and so many others that let you have as much fun as you want with the sound.
LCD Screen: It comes with an LCD screen that effectively gives you the menu you need to operate the sampling pad. This menu is not only easy to read, but the LCD backlight makes it highly convenient especially in a dark arena.
Pros and Cons of the Roland SPD SX1500
- It's very well built
- It allows for custom sampling
- It has very responsive pads
- It has a solid menu and control system
- It's tried and tested in the industry and found to be true
- It's a little expensive
- It has relatively limited pad inputs for external pads
- The internal storage space might be small for some users
If you are looking for something that has not only stood the test of time but is also quite capable of delivering excellent sounds, then the Roland SPD SX1500 is the sampling pad for you.
What Separates the Alexis Strike from the Roland SPD SX1500?
One of the biggest difference between these two mammoth industry players is the fact that the Alesis Strike Multipad comes with a whopping 32GB internal memory while the Roland SPD SX1500 only gives you 4GB. That makes a huge difference as far as convenience is concerned.
While these two sampling pads are very close in comparison, the truth is that the Alesis Strike Multipad is much newer and features the latest technology. In the same breath, the Roland SPD SX1500 is more reliable. It comes down to the internal space. If that matters to you, then the Alesis option wins out. If not, Roland remains a powerhouse in the industry.