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Microphone Month 5

Alesis Control Pad Reviews

3.5 stars based on 15 customer reviews
  • Greg
    from Denver, Co. March 29, 2013Music Background:
    Studio Hermit


    I use this to get the personal touch in the drum tracks on my songs and wouldn't be able to get the work done without. I also eyeballed this unit for 5yrs before I went ahead with the purchase. Highly recommend this unit for anyone who needs to interface with drums.

  • Joe S.
    from Milwakee, WI USA March 13, 2008Music Background:

    Better than I thought it would be.

    +Rebounds like a dampened drum
    +Zero Latency
    +Looks Cool
    +Expandable by 4 inputs
    +USB Powered
    +I feel more attached to FL studio.

    -Rubber pad is unlike the slippery surface of a real set.
    -Hitting plastic will activate the pad nearest where you strike.

    Other Notes:
    Someone else mentioned that the output is delayed. READ THE MANUAL! It recommends ASIO4ALL and unplugging other USB device like external drives to lower latency. I've got like 15 USB devices on my pc, and running with a true ASIO soundcard .: Zero Latency.

  • Nick Borgosz
    from Buffalo, NY June 20, 2007Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, drummer, guitarist, bassist


    Great product, very easy to use, and has every feature someone could want. I'm using it to trigger sequences and add electronic drums to back live drums. It does this job perfectly. I can't imagine anyone who knows that this product does not liking it. If you already have a laptop or some thing else that provides the sounds you want to trigger...any other product would just be stupid. Easy programming of midi notes, sensetivity, 4 velecity curves, option to external pads/footswitches...just amazing for the money.

  • Kurt
    from San Jose, CA January 28, 2013Music Background:

    Better than expected

    Wanted to make a mini-kit out of it, used a TD-9 as the sound module and plugged the pedals into the TD-9 (not the Control Pad).

    The bad, mostly fixable:
    - hit two pads together, sometimes one won't sound, lower sensitivity helps, less but not gone. All multi-pads I have tried (Alesis, Yamaha, Simmons, Roland) had this problem except the Rolands (SPD-30 and SX). Adding an external snare pad works around the problem.
    - double stroke rolls were terrible until I discovered velocity curve 3 (LOUD), great for toms, makes your DS rolls sound great. You lose some low-end expressiveness though, ok for toms, but not quite enough for delicate snare work IMHO.
    - MIDI in has no soft thru, only goes up the to computer, MIDI merger needed for more pads.
    - I see some slight delay triggering a TD-9, will live with it, not sure if it is the
    pad or the TD-9.
    - pad sensitivity settings are global, not per kit.
    - pads are loud acoustically, we have very low stage volumes, it is on the edge of being too loud. Same is true of all the Alesis pads, performance pad, sample pad.

    - Dynamic range is full range MIDI 1-127, sensitivity control is excellent.
    It took me a while to tune it, I ended up with low sensitivty (6 out of 20) for cymbal edges (makes swells sound swell). The loud velocity curve 3 for toms, and higher sensitivity for hat and cymbal bows and bells. Once I tuned it I could do delicate expressive work on the cymbals and DS rolls on the toms. Unexpected in something so cheap.
    - bounce is ok, less than a mesh head, pads are a bit hard, but playable for rolls which is what counts.
    - any pad can be assigned to any MIDI channel or note, performance pad locks you in for example.
    - having all the pads close together took a few days to retrain muscle memory. Once I did I could play on it just fine. It got to be a bit addictive acually, having toms so close together made fast multi-tom patterns easier.

    Since I was trying for kit replacement I used these pad mappings:
    C-B-B-R - Crash, ride bell, ride bow, ride edge.
    H-T-T-T - Hi-Hat, Tom1, Tom2, Tom3.
    And I added a snare pad down low in front.

    Had it about 2 months, so don't know about longevity yet.

  • Scott
    from Irving, TX March 31, 2007Music Background:
    Drummer, Recording Engineer Student

    Finally!!! And it wroks very well too.

    well, its nothing fancy. You hook it up to your computer, open up a percussion instrument, hit the pads with sticks and it makes the sounds come out of your computer. Its that simple! Really!!! You don't even have to put in a installation CD. The pads have a good feel to them, a lot better then "finger pads". Editing kits is easy, and customizing the pads to suite your playing style is easy as well. Great product and at a good affordable price.

  • Rick
    from Clarkston, MI USA November 23, 2011Music Background:

    Performed As Expected

    I had a gig in a club with hardly any space allocated for the band. I decided to buy this product and connect it to my Alesis SR-16. I used an acoustic hi hat. I assigned sounds to the pads and plugged in an old trigger which I duct taped to the beater of my kick pedal and made a surface for the beater to hit. I gave the output of the SR-16 to the pa-no personal monitor. You would probably want a monitor under your control, but everyone understood this was a low volume gig so it was ok. We started out so quiet that the beater hitting the homemade pad was as audible as the rest of the band. As we got louder things blended better. I did not use the "kit" function of the control pad. I instead created a few different sets on the SR-16 and selected them as needed. Anyway, the guitarist/keyboardist and the bass player both liked it. The singer told me she didn't care for it that much. 2 out of 3 ain't bad, as the saying goes. For myself, having to move my own gear, it's hard to argue against it. One trip in/out with a fraction of the weight. Tear down in half the time or less. For what I'm giving up (the sensory experience of an acoustic set) I'm getting a great deal of convenience and many different sounds available (limited only by what you connect it to) with little to no difference as far as what the drummer needs to give the band. Based on this first and only gig so far, I give it a thumbs up.

  • Mark
    from Wellington, New Zealand March 24, 2009Music Background:

    Much better than the SPD-S

    I've been using the Control Pad for two years, alongside a Roland SPD-S. I've had constant issues with the SPD-S, I've been through three of them. Also, the Alesis Control Pad lets you program a patch where each pad puts out midi datat on a different midi channel. The SPS-S doesn't let you do this, instead it makes you set a global midi channel, ot just for the patch but for the entire unit. Kind of useless. Another thing that sets the Alesis Control Pad ahead of the Roland SPD-S is that the Alesis pad is really easy to fix. I've had a wires come loose from the piezo contacts in both units. The Alesis unit is set out in such a way that makes it easy to resolder, but the SPD-S is full of PCB boards and is impossible to fix yourself. So if you're looking for a midi controller, the Pad Control is the best choice imo

  • Planet JT
    from south bend, in, the states February 2, 2009Music Background:
    midi compozer, sound shaper

    they still make SIMPLE things?

    I just got the pad, plugged it in, hooked it to the midi patchbay and flew thru setting it up to see wit all there was. this is sumthing that people who have a familiar with midi dont even need the manual really to work it. it comes with BFD lite but I prolly wont use that just yet since I'm still into hardware rather than todays software driven midi'ers so thats a plus for those who will use it more for computer midi. I havent had a chance to actually work with it yet other than tapping on it with my fingertips when I was tryin things out but for those who are wearing out their fingers with smaller pad controllers this shud be a nice change. let stix do the pounding for a while! I'm anxious to reli try it out but cant at the moment but just with the ease of parameter programming duz it for me! todays smaller pad controllers may do more, but I want to make music, not have to have a manual at hands reach all the time to figure it out! (then the manual to figure out the software) I do use software so I'm not against it, but todays stuff has so much extra "junk" people dont reli need it all. so anyway, if u want a simple controller thats not gonna cost a LOT go with this. (keep in mind I havent reli put it to use yet tho!)

  • Scott Aitken
    from Jupiter, fl USA September 13, 2013Music Background:
    Recording engineer

    Only one issue for me

    I think this unit is great minus one thing, not every time but sometimes when I hit the kick and crash together the kick trigger won't sound. This gets on my nerves, but for the price you really can't beat all the positives this unit gives.

  • Richie Bittner
    from Upstate NY September 15, 2011Music Background:
    musician recordist.

    this pad works well

    Nice and simple, it makes programing drum parts to MIDI much easier and far more natural than tapping on pads with my fingers. The pads respond nicely to stick, but the dynamics leave something to be desired. You can get a decently hard hit to trigger, but softer hits do not reliably translate and the dynamic articulation is weak. But for the price paid it works wonders over keyboard input or little pads on drum machines.
    I am now going to look into the Rolland or Yamaha units, although 3 times the cost, if they can handle the softer hits and give me the dynamics I'm after, I'll be a happy camper. But to get started, I love this thing.

  • Mango Black
    from Los Angeles,CA February 10, 2008Music Background:

    Not bad for the money

    Pretty good for the money. However the pads aren't quite sensitive enough for my style of playing. Even when set to the most sensitive velocity and threshold settings the CP will miss some of my light double bounces between hard snare hits. I have to play much harder than I normally would on a real drum. I owned a drumkat before and it was much better in terms of feel i.e. the springy rubber pads and sensitivity. Of course it was much more expensive.

    Also for thoses of you like me planning on using this with virtuals, be prepared to deal with the delay issue. Even when set to a low buffer setting, you will first hear the hit when stick meets hard plastic, then a few milliseconds latter the actual VI. This is SO much more noticeable then when playing from a keyboard trigger. Probably because of the two percussive attacks that you hear. It took me a while to wrap my head around it and adjust my playing.

    To sum it up: If your on a budget this will do nicely. If you can pay more you will get more.

  • Logan
    from June 13, 2007Music Background:
    Sound Engineer

    Was so excited to get it

    The hardware itself is good quality I suppose (the plastic case though makes you alert all the time to avoid sccidental hits). Unit is very lite in weight which is nice thing when you have to carry it around. The pad sensitivity is extremly low even having settings all pads on max (20), which makes you hit really hard those pads in order to trigger them on high velisity. Also it requires to hit the pad in exact center to get the most out of it. I just got one and more time I spend with it the more I think to return it and go after SPD-S (even more in price, but it looks like it does nake as much effort to operate it).

  • Ron
    from Chattanooga, TN May 1, 2007Music Background:
    Hobbyist Musician - Drums and Percussion

    It is good for the money

    The Alesis Control Pad is a good midi drum controller for the money a good value. The pads are a little harder but it still a little senstive than the Roland SPD-20 and drumkats. I was disppointed with some of the features in the Control Pad. Personal I would save for spend the extra money for the Roland SPD series or drumkat. I wasn't happy with mine so I ended up purchasing a Roland SPD-S.

  • Nathan Lee
    from Houston, TX August 29, 2010Music Background:
    Drummer, Recording Engineer.

    Save your money for something else.

    I was really stoked to get this pad in and test it out with Battery 3 via Ableton live. I plugged in the unit and played it for a bit, The pads are pretty hard and just get harder with more use. The responsiveness is ok, but dont expect to play rolls or ghost notes on this thing. Even with the sensitivity level turned up and the velocity level turned midway it still doesnt do the job. I have the Roland KD-8 kick pad that I used as a bass drum pad. It will only work in the external trigger output, and NOT the kick or high hat output. The kick and high hat outputs are meant for the button triggers, and not actual pad triggers. To top it off, when you have an external trigger plugged in (KD-8) and you hit one of the pads on the controlpad the exact same time as the external trigger it cancels out the external trigger signal and only plays the signal you play on the controlpad! So dont expect to create a playable mini drumkit with this pad. So far two of my pads have gone out within a year(top left, and the second inside pad on the bottom right). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR A BETTER PRODUCT....YOU WILL RUN INTO PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE WITH THIS PAD.

    If you have not bought anything from SWEETWATER before you should because they are a great company with amazing service and knowledge. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for ALESIS.

  • Tony
    from Texas August 2, 2010Music Background:
    musician, recording engineer

    Misses The Mark

    The idea here is great, but the extremely cheap and inaccurate pads miss hits all the time. It still beats inputting midi drums with a mouse, but don't expect a lot. Honestly, using any keyboard with decent touch sensitivity or saving up for a Roland kit is a better bet.

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