Alesis Nitro Max review: Is this the new king of budget electronic drumkits?

Since my last review on the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit, which I still think is one of the best beginner budget electronic drum kits out there, there’s been a surge of low cost electronic drum kits in the market.

Alesis is probably feeling the heat as the Alesis Nitro Mesh was released in 2018 and is getting kinda old. In 2023, the company released an ‘upgraded’ version of the Alesis Nitro Mesh, the Alesis Nitro Max.

The new Nitro Max didn’t really catch my interest initially because it feels like a minor expansion of the popular Alesis Nitro Mesh kit that I have. But since playing with the new Nitro Max at my friend’s place last year, I think there are some features worth mentioning.

Here’s my quick review of the brand new Alesis Nitro Max. I hope it helps you make a better decision if you’re still on the fence on this electronic drum kit.

What is the Alesis Nitro Max?

Officially released on 3 October 2023, the Alesis Nitro Max kit is a brand new budget electronic drum kit that builds off the popular Nitro Mesh kit. Improvements have been made and some neat features have been thrown in.

The Alesis Nitro Max features a new drum module packed with redesigned sounds that are expanded by a premium BFD player library. The new electronic kit also comes with Bluetooth capability and a free trial to Drumeo and Melodics which is an excellent value add for beginners.

So, the question remains…

Is the Alesis Nitro Max worth it?

My honest opinion:

If you’re a beginner drummer or an aspiring drummer looking for an affordable brand new electronic drum kit, I think the Alesis Nitro Max offers great value.

However, if like me, you already own an electronic drum kit or the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit, then I don’t think you need to upgrade to the new Nitro Max. The new features are great and all, but it really doesn’t warrant an upgrade yet.

P.S. as of the latest update, the Alesis Nitro Mesh is no longer available for sale on Amazon, you might be able to find a new kit at your local store.

Pros and Cons of the Alesis Nitro Max

ProsCons
  • Value for moneyGood range of drum pads and cymbals for beginners + larger 10″ snare pad32 preset drum kits to choose from + customize up to 16 kits
  • Expandable sound library via BFD Player and USB/MIDI to connect with any other VST and DAW
  • Has Bluetooth function that allows you to stream play-along music.
  • Comes with free trials to Drumeo and Melodics & 50 build in training exercises, which are great for beginners
  • Has build in metronome and performance recording that’s also useful for beginners and aspiring drummers
  • Relatively silent for an electronic drum
  • Sound quality isn’t the bestKit tends to wobble while you’re jammingHi-hat open/close triggers may be wonky at times

What you get in the box:

  • Alesis Nitro Drum Module
  • 1 x 10″ Snare Drum Pad (Rubber pad, 2 zones)
  • 3 x 8″ Tom Drum Pads (Rubber pads, single zone)
  • 3 x 10″ Cymbal Pads (all single zone, crash cymbal has choke zone)
  • Hi-hat Pedal (open/close/half-open/splash)
  • Kick drum pad with Pedal (yes, you can use a double bass pedal with this!)
  • Drum key
  • Drum Sticks
  • Cables
  • Aluminum Rack

Additional Features

  • 32 pre-set drum kits with an additional 16 customizable drum kit slots
  • 60 Play-a-long drum music tracks
  • 441 percussion sounds
  • Metronome Function
  • Coaching Function with 50 training tracks (plus free trials to Drumeo and Melodics)
  • Sequencer
  • Performance Recording
  • Has USB/MIDI input and output
  • Has AUX input, Audio output (for recording/amplification) and Phones output (for monitoring/listening)

5 features that make the Alesis Nitro Max a great buy for beginners

1) New drum module with BFD player

The new Alesis Nitro Max drum module comes with brand new redesigned sound kits.

Right out of the box, the first sound kit already comes with a fuller, warmer sound as compared to the Nitro Mesh that I am used to.

There are 32 pre-set drumkits you can explore that lets you play almost any genre. If those are not enough, there are 441 build in percussion sounds and access to the BFD drum library which you can use to customize up to 16 new drum kits.

2) Bluetooth capability + a handy Device holder on top of the new drum module

Honestly, this is useful enough to warrant a mention.

The drum module now comes with Bluetooth capability. If you’re learning to play a song via YouTube, or just want to jam to a tune on Spotify or Apple Music, you can now connect your device and stream the music wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Very handy if you’d ever experience trying to figure out how to connect an external device in, just to jam along with your favorite music.

Do note that the Bluetooth only allows you to stream music in, it doesn’t allow you to connect to external Bluetooth speakers or headphones.

The added holder is also worth a mention because it shows that Alesis has been thinking about their users when designing the new Nitro Max drum module.

Whether you’re learning to drum on the kit or playing to a song, you’ll probably need to refer to music sheets. This holder makes it easy to place a phone, an iPad or even a hardbacked folder with your drum sheets. No need to find ways to paste drum sheets onto the drum module or use a separate music stand anymore!

3) Improved mesh drum heads design

A bigger 10″ snare drum head and redesigned toms that no longer come with useless rims, the Alesis Nitro Max provides a better drumming experience than its predecessor, the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit.

I could never understand why they gave us those toms with a high rim in the Nitro Mesh kit even when the tom heads were single zone.

The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit’s high (useless) rims on the tom heads required a bit of getting used to when playing on the kit previously. It could have lead to weird habits of overly raised arms or wrists when playing the toms.

The new tom heads on the Alesis Nitro Max kit now has the drum heads flushed against the rims which makes it way easier to hit.

This minor detail makes a great difference when playing on the kit. It was also the greatest difference I felt when I was goofing around on my friend’s brand new Nitro Max.

4) Access to premium BFD player virtual drum library

BFD player is a drum VST software known for its high quality sound tracks. The player also comes with mixing tools for those who are interested in recording music.

The Alesis Nitro Max includes access to the BFD player with additional expansion packs that will extend your repertoire of sounds on the kit.

Access is only available with brand new kits. If you’re buying the drum kit second-hand, access might already be redeemed by the previous owner.

However, BFD player now comes with a pretty nifty free version.

5) Comes with useful learning resources for beginners

The Alesis Nitro Max kit continues to target the beginners market and now comes with even more learning resources that are helpful for the aspiring drummer.

The kit comes with build-in practice tracks with coaching and scoring features designed to help you improve. It also comes with useful features like the metronome, drum mute and more. There are also 3 different learning modes built in:

  1. Beat: helps you improve your timing and learn basic patterns on the snare drum
  2. Rhythm: helps you develop coordination and timing across the entire kit
  3. Pattern: lets you practice playing with accompanying instruments

The system will record your practice and give you a score to help you keep track of your progress too! (there are options to skip the scoring process)

On top of these, Alesis has also included a 90-day free full subscription to Drumeo and a 30-day free subscription to Melodics Premium. Both of these are proven drumming learning resources that many hobbyist drummers rely on to learn and improve their skills.

Again, do keep in mind that these free trials are available if you’re buying a brand new kit. If you’re getting the Alesis Nitro Max off the second-hand, don’t expect to have these. That said, I think the built in learning resources are sufficient on their own.

3 Flaws of the Alesis Nitro Max electronic drums to consider

1) Poor Stability

The Nitro Max faces the same stability issue as the Alesis Nitro Mesh. Although the frame feels sturdy, you’ll notice the kit wobbly once you get into a groove. If you’re practicing basic rudiments on the snare drums, there shouldn’t be much wobbling.

However, if you’re covering a song and are going all in with the bass drum, you’ll find the kit wobbling along with the song.

Not much of a deal breaker for a budget electronic drum kit of this price range, but something you should take note of.

2) Single zone cymbal pads with no bell triggers

This shouldn’t make too much difference for a beginner.

However, if you’re of an intermediate level or need/want a bell or even rim trigger, this kit will be lacking.

An alternative would be to add the Nitro Max expansion kit which comes with an additional tom and cymbal, then map the bell or other funky sound track to the additional pads to create your own pre-set drum kit.

3) Hi-hat trigger can be frustrating

This isn’t a new issue, I’ve faced similar issues with my Nitro Mesh Kit. The hi-hat pedal doesn’t seem to trigger in the closed position intermittently. Some users have mentioned that this could be due to foot pressure or the way you’re pressing on the hi-hat pedal. I can’t seem to replicate the issue on my kit consistently. And since the issue doesn’t happen too frequently, I haven’t been bothered enough to try to fit it.

It seems this issue persists on the new Nitro Max kit. If you’re facing such issues, let me know if you have any solutions!

Should you buy the Alesis Nitro Max?

As mentioned above, I still think the Alesis Nitro Max kit is a great budget electronic drum kit, especially for beginners. Especially since the older Alesis Nitro Mesh may be phased out overtime. (If you’re still on the fence, you can read my comparison here: Alesis Nitro Max vs Nitro Mesh)

While there are other options in the budget electronic drum kit space, I think the Alesis Nitro Max continues to be a high value for money option.

You can read reviews from other drummers who have bought the Alesis Nitro Max on Amazon, look out for those who are reviewing the “2nd Generation” version of the kit.

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