Many of you may be familiar with the Alesis Sample Pad, I have road-tested it before in the past and had a great deal of fun with it. Well, Alesis have now released the Sample Rack, essentially a rack mounted version of the Sample Pad, but without the pads. What you get in place of the four pads found on the Sample Pad is eight trigger inputs for use with any electronic drum kit or an acoustic kit fitted with drum triggers.
Alesis have designed the Sample Rack to be a system that can grow with your needs as a drummer. It comes with ten kits preloaded onto the unit, but allows for more to be loaded from the SD card slot on the front panel. This I find a little annoying, as so many other devices are moving towards USB stick options, having to keep SD cards for this purpose seems a little antiquated, but, you can at least dump samples via USB to the SD cards so a separate card reading device isn’t needed. From the USB connection, you can run the Sample Rack as a drum interface for your DAW.
RACK AND ROLL
As a studio tool, the Sample Rack will integrate nicely with most existing setups. I’m not entirely sold on the 1RU rack format for a live performance purpose though. It could be better used if housed in a more compact sized case that could be mounted to your drum hardware. It’s this rack case format that makes it a little cumbersome and limited in how it can be set up. Getting into the sounds, there isn’t any real limit to the unit. The included drum kits give you plenty of space to play around with as a starting point. With the ability to drag and drop samples via the USB connection, you can get pretty much any sound you want on your drum kit. The Sample Rack allows up to eight triggers to be connected with two pedal inputs for the Hats and Kick as well. At the same time, a pad controller can be run into the device via MIDI, so no kit is actually required to trigger the sounds, so in this respect it works just as strongly as not just studio tool, but as a live performance unit as well.
BY ROB GEE
Hits and Misses
Wide range of drum sounds
Separate control inputs for kick and hats pedal
Screen can be hard to read with all the information jammed into it
The choice of SD card over USB inputs means more mixed media
• 8 dual-zone 1/4” trigger inputs
• 1/4” Kick pedal input; selectable switch or trigger mode
• 1/4” Hi-Hat pedal input; selectable switch or variable mode
• 200+ built-in drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds
• 10 ready-to-play drum kits
• Add new sounds via SD Card (SD Card not included)
• Save up to 512 sounds and 89 kits per 32GB SD card
• LCD display and software utility for complete control
• 5-PIN MIDI DIN In and Out ports
• USB port for MIDI and to load samples to your SD card
• 1/4” stereo outputs (L, R)
• 1/4” headphone output with volume control
• 1/8” stereo aux input with level control
• 1/4” dual footswitch input for system function