Alesis Nitro Max vs Nitro Mesh

After dominating the beginner electronic drum kit space for years, the Alesis Nitro Mesh was starting to look like it needed a revamp. Alesis released the Nitro Max in late 2023, building on the well-loved features of the Nitro Mesh kit. So, Alesis Nitro Max vs Nitro Mesh, which suits you better?

If you’re on the fence and not sure if the Alesis Nitro Max or Alesis Nitro Mesh is for you, this article was written for you.

P.S. I’ve shared my thoughts on the new Nitro MAX kit here.

Here’s are the key differences:

What is the difference between Nitro Max and Nitro Mesh?

Alesis Nitro MaxAlesis Nitro Mesh
Bluetooth CapabilitiesYesNo
Snare Drum Size10”8”
Tom Drum Pads“Rimless” design that makes it easier to playsame design as Snare Drum Pad with high rim
HolderDrum Module is designed with a holder that lets you place your phone or tablet with ease.No holder available
Sound LibraryRevamped sound library contains premium sounds from the BFD Drum Library + *Access to a premium drum sample library on BFD player
*not applicable if you’re buying second hand!Original sound library
Pre-set Drum Kits32 pre-set drum kits
(32 pre-set+ 16 custom slots)40 pre-set drum kits
(24 pre-sets + 16 custom slots)
Percussion Sounds441 percussion sounds385 percussion sounds
MIDIUSB-B/MIDI connection
Folks looking to use the Alesis Nitro Max with Rock Bank on PS5 or other consoles may need to get an adapter.A set of MIDI In and Out available that allows use with External sound module and/or MIDI Keyboard.
Additional tools for beginnersFree Trials to Drumeo (90 days) and Melodics Premium (30 days).
not applicable if you’re buying second hand!Nil

Alesis Nitro Max is likely designed for modern musicians, this probably led to the following design decisions.

1. Bluetooth capability

Musicians and drummers have access to a greater library of mobile apps that complement their playing. The Bluetooth capability on the new Alesis Nitro Max drum module allows you to stream music directly from your phone or tablet, so that you can play along to any tune easily.

With this in mind, Alesis has also added a device holder on the new drum module as a convenient spot to place your phone or tablet. If you’re using physical music sheets, you can also place them on the holder using a clipboard.

Books don’t do as well on the holder as it doesn’t allow for easy flipping of pages.

2. Removal of MIDI output

The original Alesis Nitro Mesh came with MIDI output that lets you send MIDI signals to DAWs directly which was useful for musicians. This is now being replaced by a USB/MIDI connection instead.

You can now record your drum outputs via the USB/MIDI connection on your favorite DAW with the new Alesis Nitro Max. Alternatively, you can also record what you hear from the Alesis Nitro Max sound library via your mixer using the 1/4” TRS Audio Output.

Note for Rock Band players

Another popular use for the MIDI output on the Alesis Nitro Mesh was to map the MIDI output to the popular Rock Band game. Warning If you’re thinking of getting the new Alesis Nitro Max to play Rock Band, you will need to explore adapters. According to some users, the Roll Limitless adapters may work with the Nitro Max.

Gaming aside, if you’re a musician who wants to record your drum tracks, you’ll love this.

3. Enhanced Sound Library

Alesis’ parent company, InMusic Brands acquired BFD back in 2020. BFD is known for its high quality drum library and software instrument. So there’s no surprise that the new Alesis Nitro Max sound library has been revamped and now features drum samples from the BFD library.

Compared to the original sound library on the Alesis Nitro Mesh, the Alesis Nitro Max’s default sound kit comes with fuller, warmer and more realistic sounds.

The new Alesis Nitro Max drum module comes pre-loaded with 441 percussion sounds and 32 pre-set drum kits (+16 custom slots) while the Alesis Nitro Max drum module is pre-loaded 385 percussion sounds with 40 pre-set drum kits (24 pre sets + 16 custom slots).

4. Even more drum samples with BFD player

If you purchase a brand new Nitro Max, you also get access to the premium BFP player virtual drum library with the Dark Mahogany expansion pack included. Although that doesn’t sound like much, don’t forget that the BFP Player alone comes with 5GB of high quality drum samples (with 14 drum pre-sets) that you can use for free too!

The BFD player works with most DAWs, so that should give you a good range of drum samples to play with.

5. Useful beginner tools

The Alesis Nitro Max retains the coaching function, built-in play-along tracks and performance recorder that will score your playing to help you improve your drumming as you practice.

On top of that, the Nitro Max also comes with Free Trials to Drumeo (90 days) and Melodics Premium (30 days) which are excellent tools to help the aspiring drummer kickstart their journey and pick up some drumming basics.

6. New “Rim-less” Tom drum pad design

As mentioned in my Alesis Nitro Max review, Alesis has probably heard some of our complains. The previously redundant tall rim on the tom pads are now replaced with ‘rim-less’ tom pads on the Alesis Nitro Max. This makes it easier to play.

The snare drum of the Alesis Nitro Max is also larger at 10”, compared to the 8” snare on the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit. The size difference should be significant for beginners.

Similarities between the Alesis Nitro Max and Nitro Mesh

We’ve covered the key differences above. Now, let’s take a look at the similarities.

i) Small Footprint

Both Alesis Nitro Mesh and the new Alesis Nitro Max are compact drum kits with smaller footprints compared to a regular full sized, 5 piece drum kit. The Alesis Nitro Max is slightly smaller than the Nitro Mesh. Here’s a quick comparison:

Type of Drum KitFloor Space Required (ft)(Width x Breadth)Floor Space Required (inches)Floor Space Required (cm)
Full Size (5 piece) Drum Kit5 ft x 4 ft60″ x 48″153 cm x 122 cm
Alesis Nitro Max*3 ft x 1.75ft36.2” x 21”91.9 cm x 53.3cm
Alesis Nitro Mesh*3 ft x 1.75ft38” x 21”96.5 cm x 53.3cm
*Dimensions for Nitro Max and Nitro Mesh do not include space for drum throne.

Both kits are easy to assemble, if you ever need help, there are also plenty of videos on YouTube that’ll help you through the process. Plus, both kits can be easily folded and tucked away if you need to be flexible with your use of space.

2. Good for aspiring drummers (and electronic musicians)

Both the Alesis Nitro Mesh and Nitro Max kits come with almost everything you need in the box, including a pair of drum sticks. This means you can start drumming anytime, once you’ve assembled the kit!

Plus, the new Alesis Nitro Max also comes with free trials to some of the best learning tools for new drummers.

3. Not of the best build quality

Honestly, for their price point, both drum kits offer great value. But they face the same issue on build quality. Both kits can feel flimsy especially once the kits start swaying when you play.

That said, my Alesis Nitro Mesh kit has been around for over 5 years and still works great, so durability shouldn’t be an issue.

Alesis Nitro Max vs Nitro Mesh: Which is for you?

As mentioned in my review of the Nitro Max, if you’re looking for a new budget electronic drum kit, the Nitro Max would be a great choice. But if like me, you already using the Nitro Mesh, there’s no reason to ‘upgrade’ at the moment.

At the point of writing, both the Alesis Nitro Max and Alesis Nitro Mesh are available on Amazon, the former is sometimes referred to as Generation 2. You may find a good deal if you’re looking for second hand Nitro Mesh kits too.

But if you’re looking for an electronic drum kit that can be used with the Rock Band game as well, you may want to consider the Alesis Nitro Mesh instead.

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