The rack is pretty solid and is easy to fit together, though it would benefit from having larger feet for better balance during set up. One annoying thing about the prescribed set up is that there are no clamps for the cymbal stands; instead they have to be slotted into the legs of the rack. That’s all well and good for having two aerial crashes, but your splash/china and ride are going to be practically behind you.
Worse still, the cable length for the ride assumes you’re going to have it on the spot where the second aerial ride makes sense to go, and doesn’t quite comfortably reach to the fourth slot. Anyone buying a kit with “pro” in the name is going to be pretty particular about their cymbal placement, so not including extra rack clamps for more custom positioning is an odd choice. It’s easily overcome by buying a couple of clamps or just using a traditional stand, but it does seem a little miserly of Alesis.
What takes the longest in setup is calibrating everything. The Strike Pro is by no means a plug-and-play instrument. Depending on how hard or soft you play, you’ll need to change the sensitivity of practically everything to get it to trigger properly. You’ll also need to watch a lot of YouTube videos of people overcoming the known problems with the kit and join a Facebook group to crowdsource advice. Upgrading the firmware to 1.4 will help, but it won’t be perfect.
The hi-hats are notoriously finicky, and just following the included instructions will not give you the best results. It’ll probably take you more than a week of playing and tweaking to get the hi-hat “open” sound to trigger semi-consistently. I ended up having to change my hi-hat technique to make it more effective, which makes it harder to switch between the Strike Pro and acoustic kits, which is far from ideal. Even then I couldn’t trigger it the vast majority of the time. Playing songs like What’s Wrong by Pvris is just a series of the closing hi-hat “chink” sound without any of that joyous splashy open.
Some people online are getting away with it by just modding the “open” sound to the splash/china in the crash 3 spot, but that’s a pretty major adjustment that just isn’t good enough on a $4000 kit.
And that’s a real shame, because the sounds built in to the kit are excellent. They’re far richer and more real than anything found in the Roland modules, and there’s still enough room to add more custom sounds.
The only downside with the module is how unintuitive it all is if you want to do anything other than cycle through pre-set kits. A touchscreen would have gone a very long way to making it better. It also doesn’t have Bluetooth, or any of the built-in practice games like Roland, which some players will miss.
In the end, this is a budget- to mid-range kit, with a mid-range price tag and premium aspirations. The lack of Bluetooth and cymbal clamps would be forgiven if it could only work consistently. Given how great the sounds and feel are, it’s worth buying if you either never open the hi-hats, already have technique that suits it, or are willing to replace them with Roland hats. Otherwise, it’s better to look elsewhere.