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Trying to cut through the bias: Roland vs. Alesis reliability

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  • Trying to cut through the bias: Roland vs. Alesis reliability

    NOTE: I swear this post isn't a troll! I'm genuinely trying to decide between a Roland or an Alesis kit.

    I've spent hours (and hours, and hours) reading posts in forums before buying my first e-kit. Now here's the "landscape" as I see it now:

    1) Roland kits are the industry standard. They're expensive, but they are BOMBPROOF. (At least that's what people say.)
    2) Alesis kits are toys. Yes, they're half the price of comparable Roland kits, but they'll break after 2 weeks. (At least that's what people say.)


    So I have two questions for folks here (and yes, I've also been posting on the Alesis forums as well---like I said, I'm trying to find unbiased answers---but I may have to just "average" responses from both forums, LOL).

    QUESTION ONE: Are Roland kits truly 100% bombproof, reliable, and durable? Has nobody EVER had a Roland kit where something broke before it should have?

    QUESTION TWO: Are Alesis kits truly lame, crappy toys that break after two weeks?

    ----
    MY HYPOTHESES:

    First, everyone says "Roland kits are the standard." But it's REALLY hard to tell how much of this is due to the fact that Roland has been making e-kits FOREVER...and how much is due to them actually being 100% bombproof, reliable, and durable? Isn't it possible that Roland's reputation is based more on how long they've been around?

    Second, I *have* seen more reports online about Alesis kits breaking...but I've also seen LOTS of reports from happy Alesis owners who say their kits are 100% equal (or better) than comparable Roland kits for half the cost. So it seems possible that the main issue here is...

    QUALITY CONTROL.

    Isn't it possible that a **fully functioning** Alesis kit is every bit as good as a Roland kit---but that their QC just isn't as rigorous as Roland's? I have also heard repeatedly that the samples on the Alesis modules are superior than Roland's---partly because they are uncompressed.

    Unbiased responses are welcome! :-)

    Thanks very much,
    Scott

    PS - Please note I have not an ounce of bias in me. Really. I did actually own one Roland product: an HPD-15 Handsonic. I loved it, and it never failed.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum, SWriverstone.


    Your two questions are so rhethorical and biased, that an unbiased answering (with a proper explanation to go along with it) will be close to impossible.

    What you left out in your observations are at least two other contenders, namely YAMAHA and 2BOX!

    Yamaha made electronic drumsets nearly as long as Roland did - compare the PTX-8 (1988) to the DDR-30 (1987).
    And at the heart of 2box are the former developers/designers of Clavia, which raised to fame (starting in 1984) with their series of DDRUM modules!


    'Bombproof' in my book does hold true to a good rack-system, or solidly designed, non-plastic pads.
    But the best of hardware won't cut it as 'Bombproof', if the module's architecture isn't expandable of some sorts, and its sounds are outdated by three years time!



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

    http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

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    • #3

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      • #4
        Just an additional note: I wasn't aware of the 2Box Drumit Five kit---it looks fantastic! Sadly, it also looks almost impossible to get in the USA (at least not without paying a huge additional sum for shipping). I couldn't even find a price for that kit online (need to keep looking I guess...)

        EDIT: Okay, found some prices on eBay, and it's WAY beyond my budget. (And yes, I should have stated in my original post above that my budget is $900 tops---so I'm talking about lower-end kits.)

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not a fan of mantras. They're so one-dimensional...

          Roland's reputation was deserved (...if not without dispute) in the past, but I feel with the current competition in the field of all kinds of VSTs and sample-players, that reputation might start to show a crack or two.


          If Daniel's and Jerry's observations are anything close to a word that is to be taken for, the situation will be heavily resolved in the next few months - 2box and USA will finally be a story with a very happy end.



          ...I surely would be happy for all the guys in the US! It's about to be due time!


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

          http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

          Comment


          • #6
            With that budget, I would try consider a used but good roland kit. But if you are willing to wait, I would buy a 2 box module, new or used if you can find one. There was just one on 2 box forum, there for 900 US . They are not impossible to get, anymore,. Try Scott at i cymbalism music in Hawaii, or electronic drum center, I thinksk they offer free shipping and no sales tax in most areas, both members of the 2 box forum and a cheap acoustic kit with ddrum or ddt external triggers and mesh heads. 2 box offers the most real sounds you are going to find anywhere as of right now . But I understand that your budget is your budget! Good Luck!

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            • #7
              In your price range I would say a Roland TD-11K or a Yamaha DTX 522K would be worth looking at. Both are made well, sturdy by all accounts and with recent drum sounds.
              http://www.kraftmusic.com/roland-td-...ls-bundle.html
              http://www.kraftmusic.com/yamaha-dtx...ls-bundle.html
              Last edited by JmanWord; 02-02-14, 03:26 PM.
              I could tell you where to stick that piezo! ;)
              Stealthdrums.com Mega Kit: Pearl Mimic Pro ,2Box modules,drums and cymbals too many to count. VST quality sounds directly from the Mimic and custom sounds loaded into and played directly from the 2Box modules. Visit me anytime at: http://stealthdrums.com/

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              • #8
                I am biased. the one Alesis kit I had kept frying its brain until I traded it in. That said. I think it is an exaggeration to say that they are lame and cheap---they are a budget brand, and do not come up to Roland or Yamaha's standards, but they are quite alright for the price.
                TD9+6v with Diamond Electronic pads, and cowbell.
                ATH-50m headphones, VEX packs
                not to mention keyboards, guitars, basses, and cats

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                • #9
                  Thanks saku. Interesting---I've never heard of anyone having trouble with an Alesis module (just the pads). And---not directed at you saku---it seems that when everyone talks about "Roland standards," there never seems to be any hard facts to support this---it's just anecdotal. In my case, I guess I'll just have to take anecdotal evidence as the gospel---which is that Roland kits are the most reliable kits out there, period.

                  People say Yamaha kits are as good as Roland, but I feel pretty confident saying you will NOT find anywhere near as many advocates for Yamaha e-kits on the web. Everywhere you go, it's "RO-LAND, RO-LAND, RO-LAND." :-)

                  And while I know for certain there are many owners of Alesis e-kits who are 100% happy---and have never had an issue with their kits---I have to assume that if I spend $$$ on an Alesis kit there is (just guessing here) at least a 30-40% chance that something will go wrong with it prematurely.

                  It's kind of a bummer, because I don't have $1200 or more to spend on a Roland kit. The whole reason I've been looking at Alesis kits (and KAT kits) is because you can get the same size kit from either of them for $700 that you'd have to spend at least $1,200 on for an equivalent Roland (the TD-11).

                  And yes, I've been scouring eBay for used Roland kits...but what I've discovered is that there are very few of them! (Which I interpret as another sign of Roland's reliability.) It's very difficult, for example, to find a used TD-11 for $600-700. People sell the used ones for $900-1,000 (they appear to hold their resale value well!).

                  Scott

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                  • #10
                    server trouble.... double post.
                    DTX700, eDRUMin 4+10, A2E Dixon kit, Yamaha cymbals, FSR HH
                    Kit Pix http://vdrums.com/forum/album.php?albumid=613

                    My new venture, HiEnd Speakers. : voglosounds.com

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                    • #11
                      Maybe it's hard to find a very cheap used TD11 or TD15 out there because... ahemmmm... they are kinda new!

                      This discussion is going nowhere.
                      Who cares about how many percentage of threads you see on the internet!? That has nothing to do with reliability and playability. To each his own.

                      Instead of spending all this time trying to find some empirical data on what's available and its reliability, how about trying this approach:

                      Go out, and try some of those kits. That will be a thousand times better than reading some other comments from people you have never met.

                      Find what YOU like.... and you will be happy with your choice.... and work around its shortcoming the best you can.
                      DTX700, eDRUMin 4+10, A2E Dixon kit, Yamaha cymbals, FSR HH
                      Kit Pix http://vdrums.com/forum/album.php?albumid=613

                      My new venture, HiEnd Speakers. : voglosounds.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I played on an Alesis DM6, the kick died after a few months, replaced it with another one and no more troubles. I have owned other Alesis equipment and had no problems. We have seen bad TD-30 modules (rarely - maybe only once) on this forum. FYI, compression doesn't affect the quality of samples, it is the samples themselves that matter, and Roland kits aren't sampled, which is their biggest strength and lately, weakness.

                        Roland has had a few lemons, the CY-12R/C I think was a loser, there are DIY "fixes" for them on the net. But for the most part Roland's stuff works well and lasts forever with no maintenance required.

                        My current kit is heavily Alesis weighted. It was supposed to be a cheap starter micro-kit (and in the long run it likely will be), but is still going strong at this point, the control pad and sample pad have stood up to daily use for over a year now.

                        I like the idea of some of the new Alesis products too, the Sample Pad Pro is on my radar, and I am waiting to hear how the new hat plays and if it is Roland compatible.

                        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"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SWriverstone View Post
                          And while I know for certain there are many owners of Alesis e-kits who are 100% happy---and have never had an issue with their kits---I have to assume that if I spend $$$ on an Alesis kit there is (just guessing here) at least a 30-40% chance that something will go wrong with it prematurely.

                          You should ask around on the 'dmdrummer.com' -forums for reliability issues. I'm sure you'll find alot of happy owners there willing to educate you, and folks will have knowledge to precicely point you towards any reliabilty issues that may arise.This way you'll know, instead of just assuming!



                          People say Yamaha kits are as good as Roland, but I feel pretty confident saying you will NOT find anywhere near as many advocates for Yamaha e-kits on the web. Everywhere you go, it's "RO-LAND, RO-LAND, RO-LAND." :-)

                          Part of this has to do with the spread or 'ratio' of Yamaha-kits versus Roland-kits - from vending-places like the 'Banjo Centers' and other bigger chains, as other forumites have observed and reported. Another part (maybe this is just my very subjective feeling) may be that the 'official' Yamaha-forum 'dtxperience.com' appears a little 'dead'. Certainly not as 'lively' as our forum here, which is buzzing at times...

                          Again, mention this on the dmdrummer- of 2box-forums, and you may get a more 'diverse' point of view.


                          It's kind of a bummer, because I don't have $1200 or more to spend on a Roland kit. (...)
                          And yes, I've been scouring eBay for used Roland kits...but what I've discovered is that there are very few of them!

                          Keep scouring further! Don't give up yet!

                          Roland kits are a good used buy, as their second-hand prices in relation to their features put them in a nice, favorable position! As Perceval said, don't look for a used TD11/15, they are simply too new.

                          Instead, look for the TD-15's predecessor, the TD-9, in a kit-configuration, that features all-mesh pads! You are looking at about $1000 - $1500 in price, depending on the actual configuration and hardware/pedals included. But you gain a few features the newer modules don't posses, you will be in good company with lots of happy TD-9-owners, and will not have to worry much about reliability-issues!



                          My two cents.
                          Last edited by hairmetal-81; 02-03-14, 03:16 PM.


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

                          http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

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                          • #14
                            @perceval: I appreciate your comment to go try these kits; problem is there are ZERO kits available for me to demo within 200 miles from Alesis or KAT. Only Roland, Yamaha, and maybe the odd Simmons kit. (So trying an Alesis or KAT kit is pretty much impossible without buying a plane ticket.) And while you're right about finding something that feels right and good to me...that still tells me absolutely nothing about reliability. (It can feel fantastic, but if breaks after two weeks, it's worthless.)

                            @kurth83: THANK YOU. That's some of the first good info I've read about Roland gear (and Alesis).

                            @Everyone: I actually have spent a lot of time over at DMdrummer.com - lots of good info there (especially on modding Alesis kits). Not much information on the real-world reliability of the kits. Although just today, one of their most knowledgable posters (Hellfire) commented that the kick pad on Alesis kits is the most common thing that fails---replace that (with something like a StealthKick 2 or Roland KD-7) and problem solved. Also modding the pads to move the piezos farther down inside the shell improves reliability too (because you're not beating right on them as you do in factory configuration).

                            I've got plenty of time to research this stuff because I'm waiting for #%[email protected]# PayPal to give me my money from a recent eBay sale (grrr...). And again, actually trying kits would be fine if I didn't live in West Virginia! Sometimes we take advantage of whatever info we can find. (And my hope is that by sifting through piles of anecdotal information I eventually come across some well-written, accurate assessments.)

                            ---
                            On a different subject, I just realized today something that irritated me---and brought me right back to the reason I didn't look at Roland kits in the first place: I thought ALL the pads on the TD-11 kit were dual-zone...but no---Roland made the tom pads single zone. WHY??? (ALL pads on Alesis and KAT kits are dual zone.) This is a perfect example of how the Alesis kits offer far greater value for the money...

                            Scott

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SWriverstone View Post
                              On a different subject, I just realized today something that irritated me---and brought me right back to the reason I didn't look at Roland kits in the first place: I thought ALL the pads on the TD-11 kit were dual-zone...but no---Roland made the tom pads single zone. WHY??? (ALL pads on Alesis and KAT kits are dual zone.) This is a perfect example of how the Alesis kits offer far greater value for the money...

                              That's a misconception.
                              This may just comes down to configuration and the pads supplied - the TD-11's kit-components are targeted at the entry-level to begin with - as all mid-range/upper-end Roland modules (TD's 9/12/20 and 11/15/30) offer plenty of dual-zone inputs to make good use of!



                              HTH
                              Last edited by hairmetal-81; 02-03-14, 03:53 PM.


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

                              http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

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