Drums and Drummers come from a wide spectrum of people, but anyone who uses an electric kit has done so under a very simple premise- Mic-ing acoustic drums is not fun. But when it comes down to how you actually want to record your drums, a few options open up. This guide will help you navigate them.


Output Basics

You have two different types of outputs on every drum module we make- your main audio outputs and your USB output. These have very different functions and are going to determine how you proceed. Your USB output is only going to send the raw midi messages from your hits to your computer. That means information like what drum you hit as a note value, how hard you hit it, and how long you let the note ring. It does not include the sound itself or what that sound is specifically. Think of it like a remote control for your television- your remote does not change the channel internally, it sends a signal to trigger a channel change; if pointed at another television it may do nothing or provide the wrong function.

Meanwhile your main audio outputs are going to carry the actual samples that your accustomed to hearing when you play the actual kit. For all intents and purposes this is going to need to go through an Audio interface like an M-Track Solo or an Alto Truemix usb mixer before it can get into your computer.

Both connections have their positives and negatives and it's important to do your own research before you try one or the other- an interface will probably cost as much as a good drum plugin that is on sale; the real difference being that Midi notes can be edited and quantized for mistakes and mixing, whereas you get you get what you get from your audio output and you will need to do your mix of the drums before you begin recording.

In either scenario you're going to need a DAW.

Using your USB Port

To get started you'll only need to plug your kit directly into your computer via a USB cable. All of our devices are class compliant, so if you run into any connection issues please be sure to eliminate any hubs or connectors between the computer and your module.

From here we're going to want to assign midi control to your DAW, make a virtual instrument track and assign a drum plugin program for the kit to control. For more information on this please see your DAW's guides. Many plugins will have mappings preset for Alesis kits built into the program.

Please also note that every pad and zone on your kit is assigned a midi note that may need to be changed to trigger the right sample in the program you are attempting to use. Your user guide will have more information on changing the midi notes for your individual kits, but you may need to go to the program's manufacturer to find out what those midi notes are.

One last note: Alesis Hi-hat pedals have their controls all assigned to the same Midi note and trigger the states of the hi-hat based on CC value(Closed, Splash, etc.). Every drum program on the other hand will use a different midi note for those different hi-hat states. While your manual will have information on this, it's important to note that some of our beginner level kits like the Debut and the Turbo Mesh will not have the ability to remap the pedal. As such you may need to contact your plugin's manufacturer to see if their program allows for remapping those signals.

Using Your Audio Output

To get started you're going to need an Audio Interface if using a computer. Depending on the interface this may also require a driver, so please consult the manufacturer of the interface for more information. 

From here, we're going to want to assign the input of your DAW to the interface via a TRS cable, then open up an audio track and make sure your track is record armed. If the track is not record armed, you will not be able to get any kind of an audio monitoring from your DAW, and thus will be unable to hear what you're playing in context of the recording.

Please note at this point that if you are home recording, you're going to want to switch your headphones from the drum module over to your audio interface, as the audio interface will not be feeding signal back to your module. 

Now if you play along to a track through your aux input port on the module or bluetooth if applicable and are going to dub a drum track to it, both will be playing out of your main outputs as you play, and this can lead to a bit of a strange balance as the track records. 

For separation, you're going to have one extra step of connecting your media player to your computer, making another audio track in your DAW, then grabbing and dropping the audio recording from your media player directly onto this new audio track. This will allow you to mix the output against your drums separately to get a good balance.

Finally, use of a field recorder is also compatible with many of our kits. To accomplish this you'll want to connect Line In directly to the recorder via a single TRS.

Questions? Concerns? Feedback? If you are still having trouble, please use the New Support Ticket button at the top to contact our support team for further assistance.