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Alesis ControlPad vs. PerformancePad Pro vs. neither

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  • Alesis ControlPad vs. PerformancePad Pro vs. neither

    Hey all,

    I was perusing Craigslist and found a used ControlPad and PerformancePad Pro for sale. Let me start by saying that I don't NEED these things -- I'm only interested because they can be had cheap and could be a fun addition to my kit. Also, I would be simply using one of these for percussion sounds, to supplement my TD9 kit (NOT to replace any of it or to act as a standalone instrument). Also, the price difference is small enough between these units that it's a wash. I'm looking for some help to make sure I have my facts straight and to see if either of these things is worth it. Here are my impressions so far:

    ControlPad USB-MIDI
    1. Simpler? Since this doesn't attempt to be more than a set of triggers with a midi interface, it looks like it might be easier to work with that the PPP, which tries to be a lot more.
    2. More expandable. This one has 2 external trigger inputs (are they dual zone?) whereas the PPP does not. Also, this one has both MIDI in AND out, which I'm assuming would allow me to daisy-chain additional MIDI devices (e.g. a Trigger I/O) in the future? The documention was ambiguous on this.

    1. This unit doesn't generate any internal sounds itself, so it would force me to go the MIDI route, so it's not guaranteed smooth sailing.
    2. Looks like this unit is discontinued. Does that mean it's older technology?

    PerformancePad Pro
    pros: Internal sound generation, recording, looping, etc. While I don't know that I need all these things, I'm open to discovering how I might incorporate these.
    cons: Less expandable (only midi out; no external triggers), more complex ('cause of all the recording stuff, etc)

    I'm assuming that the pad/MIDI settings on the PPP are as adjustable as on the CP. It more or less looks that way from the doc.

    At this price point, I'm not expecting miracles or that these unit would be as good as the Roland. But if either of these were to just turn into a source of frustration I'd rather put the money toward another CY14 or a mesh pad. Like I said, I don't NEED these things -- they'd just be for adding some additional fun to my kit.

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance for your advice!
    TD30 | PD-128S, PD-128, (2) PD-108, PD-120 | KD-120 | (2) CY15R, (2) CY14C, CY13R, CY12C, VH11 | MDS-25 rack | DW3000 double bass pedal | DW3000 HH stand | roc-n-soc nitro throne | Audio Technica ATH-M40x

  • #2
    A midi-pad is a midi-pad, not much to improve there on the hardware-side ...mostly just some software-side fancyness: bells, whistles, drummachine grooves, chord triggering (not new by any means) progressive patterns, midi-echoes, auto-roll functions...

    I wouldn't bet too much on the internal sound generator of the PPP - your TD-9 will probably be better at that, even if it's just the percussion-set. The CP will be very 'basic' in operating stuff, sufficent for add-ons, percussions and such. On neither pad you will be able to change the MIDI channel output assignment! It is fixed on MIDI-channel 1, this might be problematic triggering the TD's percussion set (on channel 11, I believe).

    If you look for a professional multi-pad, a DrumKat might be a good alternative to consider.

    For more info on all kinds of multipads, check out the November 2012 issue of 'Digital Drummer' magazine, page 13.


    "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"



    • #3
      Control pad is far superior as a MIDI controller, but not quite as good as you would hope for:

      Performance pad locks you into where you put the hat, so it lacks flexibility there and I crossed it
      off for that reason.

      Control Pad:
      - trigger inputs are single zone piezo inputs, I have tried both nano pads and dauz pads with complete success.
      - MIDI in is useless, only works through the USB port to a computer host, so no daisy chain.
      This is easily remedied by the cheap MIDI merger products out there (I own one for this very reason).
      - MIDI out works, bt will not power the afore mentioned merger reliably, it needs an external power supply.

      I own two control pads and they play exactly the same, no variation between them, I like the interchangeability this gives.
      I bought two because I was anticipating the product being discontinued. Roland takes some blame for this IMHO,
      no MIDI in on their newer lower end modules.

      They are so cheap as to be disposable, which I really like. It has nice control over dynamic range,
      the curves are very basic but were enough for me (given my willingness to compromise a bit so I could
      have a compact setup).

      If you have never played on rubber my only advice is turn up the sensitivity and hit gently to avoid wrist fatigue.
      Mini-kit: TD-9 + Alesis Control Pad + Alesis Sample Pad + PDX-6 snare
      Micro-kit: Handsonic HPD-20 + an old pair of hands.
      Speakers: QSC-K10 "thumper", DBR-10 "little thumper"


      • #4
        I have had one of each. The quality was noticeably lower than, for example, a Roland SPD-20. Yes I have had one of those also, and a Yamaha DTX-Multi12. Actually the DrumKAT is the only small one-piece that you will probably not grow to hate. Try a DrumKAT DK10 and your MIDI-in module of choice.
        __________________________________________________ _____
        Always seeking a compact one-piece solution to electronic drumming.


        • #5
          I forgot to mention a big drawback of most multi-pads, I have played several Alesis ones, the Multi-12, and the Roland SPD-30 (and the SX). All but the Roland's (they are the best in this regard) suffer from what I call Crosstalk Cancellation, or more simply, when you strike two pads at the same time, sometimes only one of them will sound.

          I got around this by having a separate snare pad direct connected into my module.

          I was able to easily duplicate this effect on all the pads but the Rolands, which triggered perfectly every time. I am not ready to drop $700 to update my Control Pad to an SPD-30 yet, but since it is discontinued, the Roland is the only game in town now. For me it is comforting to know somebody still makes a decent 8-pad, even if it is heavy and pricey compared to what have now. At least I have a path going forward if my CPs break.

          The Rolands also had the best feel for a rubber multipad IMHO. Their commitment to making first class products shows all across their product line also IMHO.
          Mini-kit: TD-9 + Alesis Control Pad + Alesis Sample Pad + PDX-6 snare
          Micro-kit: Handsonic HPD-20 + an old pair of hands.
          Speakers: QSC-K10 "thumper", DBR-10 "little thumper"


          • #6
            grog actually did a very comprehensive comparison article on the these plus most of the others on the market in digitalDrummer.
            8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting


            • #7
              Thanks all -- this is really helpful!
              TD30 | PD-128S, PD-128, (2) PD-108, PD-120 | KD-120 | (2) CY15R, (2) CY14C, CY13R, CY12C, VH11 | MDS-25 rack | DW3000 double bass pedal | DW3000 HH stand | roc-n-soc nitro throne | Audio Technica ATH-M40x