“Should I go for the cheap Alesis Nitro or the trusted Yamaha DTX400k?”

That’s a fairly common question from drummers who are looking to get their first electronic drum set.

Here’s our comparison of these two popular electronic drum kits:

Alesis Nitro vs Yamaha DTX400k

 Alesis NitroYamaha DTX400K

Type of drum kitElectronic Drum KitElectronic Drum Kit
What You GetAlesis Nitro Drum Module
1 x 8″ Snare Drum Pad (Rubber pad, 2 zones)
3 x 8″ Tom Drum Pads (Rubber pads, 1 zone)
3 x 10″ Cymbal Pads (Rubber pads, 1 zone. Crash cymbal has choke zone)
Hi-hat Pedal (open/close/half-open/splash)
Kick drum pad with Pedal
Drum key
Drum Sticks
Yamaha DTX400 module
4 x 7” drum pads (Rubber pad, 1 zone)
3 x 10” Cymbal Pads (Rubber pad, 1 zone)
Hi-hat pedal (open/close/half-open)
Kick pedal
Additional Features40 pre-set drum kits
60 Play-a-long drum music tracks
385 percussion sounds
Metronome Function
Coaching Function
Has MIDI input and output
Has AUX input and output
10 pre-set drum kits
10 play-a-long songs
169 percussion sounds
Metronome
Coaching Function
Sound Quality
Noise LevelNoise of tapping against rubber pads.Noise of tapping against rubber pads.
DurabilityLess durableMore durable
Space requirementBetween 4ft x 3ft - 6ft x 4ftAbout 2.2ft x 3.7ft
InputsMIDI , AUXAUX
OutputsMIDI , AUXAUX
Price Range$$$$$$

 

tl;dr

Our Verdict:

[UPDATE] With the latest increase of Alesis Nitro’s price, you are better off getting the Yamaha DTX400k for a durable electronic drum kit that is relatively quieter, longer lasting with better sounding preset drum kits included.

 

Still seating on the fence?

Then let’s take a look into the details together!

Here’s our breakdown of the Alesis Nitro and Yamaha DTX400K.

We’ll cover their differences and similarities in the sections after the individual product analysis.

 

Quick introduction to the Alesis Nitro

The best value for money electronic drum kit for beginners who want the most hardware for the best price.

alesis nitro kit

With the Alesis Nitro, you get an electronic drum kit with 4 drums pads, 1 hi-hat, 2 cymbals and a bass drum kick pad with pedal.

This set up should be comfortable for drummers of any playing experience because you get a rather complete drum kit.

We have discussed about it’s features and functions in full details previously, you can read our analysis of the Alesis Nitro here.

Otherwise, we’ll cover the key features here:

Sound Quality

This is how some of the drum kits sound from the Alesis Nitro sound like:


Video from skip drummer

It features 40 preset drumkits, so you’ll probably be able to find something that suits you.

 

Playing feel

With electronic drums, you might feel as though you are hitting against rubber rather than playing on a drum kit.

New drummers may even feel frustrated if they are playing on a lousy e-drum kit that lags or responses too slowly.

Luckily with the Alesis Nitro, you don’t have to experience all that.

The Alesis Nitro provides pretty good rebound and rather accurate response.

Here’s a video that demonstrates that:


Video from Alesis Drums

 

Size

The videos above and in the next section should give you an idea of how big the kit is.

The frame of the Alesis Nitro allows you to adjust its height and width which means you can set it up for most drummers from children to adults.

With more drum and cymbal pads, you should be prepared to dedicate relatively more space to the Alesis Nitro.

Depending on how you set it up, you’ll need between 4ft x 3ft to 6ft x 4ft space to play the Alesis Nitro comfortably.

 

Noise Level

You should know that although an electronic drum kit is comparatively quieter than an acoustic drum set, there will still be sound or noise produced when your stick hits the rubber pads.

And this is how much ‘noise’ the Alesis Nitro can create:


Video from DRUM ON

It isn’t a full on drum rocking session which mean you probably won’t piss off your neighbors.

However, if you have neighbors who are sensitive to sound, they might still be affected by the noise from an electronic drum kit.

So…just be smart and don’t drum all out after 10pm.

 

Sidenote: Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit

Although the Alesis Nitro model that we’re comparing in this article features rubber pads, you can also choose to go with the Alesis Nitro Mesh Head kit.

It has the same features as the model that we’re talking about here, except that the electronic drum pads are mesh heads instead of rubber pads.

And oh, its slightly cheaper than the version with the rubber drum pads too.

You can read more details about the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit on Amazon by clicking here.

However, in our opinion, the mesh head kit is slightly noisier as compared to the rubber pads.

So, if noise is one of the reasons you’re getting an electronic drum kit, you might want to go for the rubber pad version instead.

Plus, the mesh drum heads tend to be less durable compared to rubber pads due to the way they are built to detect the impact of your stick hitting the heads.

 

Additional Features

Alesis probably has plans to take over the entire beginner electronic drum kit market with the Alesis Nitro.

It comes packed with so many features that most beginner e-drums wouldn’t have.

These include:

  • 40 preset drum kits
  • 385 sounds you can trigger
  • Velocity sensitivity
  • Dual zone snare drum pad
  • Choke-able Crash cymbal pad
  • Bass drum kick pad on top of the pedal
  • Coaching function
  • Metronome

With all these features, the Alesis Nitro is easily the best value for money electronic drum kit in the market today.

 

Quick introduction to the Yamaha DTX400K

A beginner drum kit that provides essential features with top quality hardware for a bargain.

 

yamaha dtx400k

Yamaha is a giant in the drums manufacturing industry.

With the Yamaha DTX400K, you get a skeletal drum kit that is perfect for drummers who want to fit a quiet drum kit into a small space.

You’ll get 4 drum pads, 3 cymbal pads, along with 2 pedals.

On top of that, you get 10 preset drum kits featuring drum sounds from some of the best Yamaha acoustic drum kits.

We’ve looked at the features, benefits and functions that come with this electronic drum kit previously, you can read our review of the Yamaha DTX400K here.

 

Sound Quality

Known and trusted for its acoustic drum kits, you can expect top notch drum sounds from the DTX400K’s drum module.

Here’s how the Yamaha DTX400K sounds like:


Video from session

 

Playing feel

With the Yamaha DTX400K, you get pretty good response and feedback from the pads.

However, with the lean design, you might need some time to get used to the placement of the pads if you have had experience with an acoustic drum kit.

One good news is that you can adjust the height of the kit suit your seating position.

The Yamaha DTX400K features pads with single zone triggers which means you will not be able to do edge shots on the drum pads or choke the cymbals.

Advanced drummers might find the kit a little lacking in this department.

However, beginner drummers will probably not require these features till much later.

 

Size

The Yamaha DTX400K takes up relatively lesser space with its smaller frame and leaner design.

You’ll need about 2.2ft x 3.7ft to fit this electronic drum kit.

If you are constrained by space, this drum kit will be an ideal choice.

This video by cranbournemusic should give you a rough idea of the DTX400K’s size:

If you are relatively tall or ‘big’, you might find this kit a little uncomfortable initially.

 

Noise level

The noise level of the Yamaha DTX400K is similar to that of most rubber pad electronic drum kits.

Expect some noise when you hit the rubber pads with your drum sticks.

Additional Features

Yamaha has gone with quality over quantity with the DTX400K.

It features the drum module used by the DTX400+ series of electronic drum kits.

On top of that, you also get:

  • 10 preset drum kits – you can edit or overwrite them to customise your sounds
  • 169 sounds you can trigger
  • Velocity sensitivity
  • iPad / iPhone connection
  • Coaching function
  • Metronome

 

Differences between Alesis Nitro and Yamaha DTX400K

Now, its time for the main reason you are here.

We’ll point out key differences between the Alesis Nitro and Yamaha DTX400K so that you can hopefully choose a suitable electronic drum kit for your needs.

After researching and hearing from fellow drummers, here are 4 key differences that we think you must know:

 

1 – Space Requirement

Due to the different designs of their main frame, you’ll notice that the Alesis Nitro will require more space than the Yamaha DTX400K.

The Alesis Nitro (~6ft x 4ft) would take up about 1.5x more space than the DTX400K (~2.2ft x 3.7ft).

If you have limited space in your apartment or studio, you might want to take note of this difference.

 

2 – Features

We’ve noted the difference in the features of both electronic drum kits in our comparison table above, you can click here to jump to it.

In a nutshell, the Alesis Nitro wins on the features front.

In fact, its range of features is the best among electronic drum kits in the similar price range.

You’ll basically be able to experience similar drumming techniques as that of an acoustic drum kit – you can practice edge shots and cymbal chokes (on selected pads).

This makes the Alesis Nitro a very good choice for beginners who like having as much functions as they can get.

 

3 – Sound Quality

With the Alesis Nitro, you can choose from 40 preset drum kits while you can only select from 10 preset kits on the Yamaha DTX400K.

However, we’d say that the Yamaha DTX400K wins on the sound quality department.

 

In the Yamaha DTX400K module, you’ll get sounds from some of Yamaha’s acoustic drum kits which are pretty good.

Here are some examples recorded by Yamaha:

Kit #1: Maple Custom Drum Kit

 

Kit #7: Jazz Drum Kit

You can sample the rest on Yamaha’s website.

 

Comparatively, Alesis Nitro doesn’t really release much information about the kits provided on its module.

Danny Hauger has sampled and shared all 40 drum kits on the Alesis Nitro, you can listen to them here:

To be honest, with so many preset drum kits to choose from, we’d think that most beginner drummers will get lost in the choices they have.

This paradox of choice will probably confuse new drummers more than help you.

 

4 – Price

The Alesis Nitro is about $100 cheaper than the Yamaha DTX400K.

With the Nitro’s range of features and hardware, there is little competition between these two electronic drum kits…if you are comparing them on price alone.

How we think you should decide:

If you want a versatile electronic drum set that lets you explore most of the functions that you can get on an acoustic drum kit, then go for the Alesis Nitro.

You’ll get what you pay for, so be prepared that it may not last as long as compared to the DTX400K.

There have been users who have had to replace their drum pads within a year of using the kit.

You can read user reviews for the Alesis Nitro here.

If you want an electronic drum kit that is durable and don’t need advanced features or triggers, then go for the Yamaha DTX400K.

If price is your key consideration, we have also compared the Alesis Nitro with the Alesis DM Lite electronic drum kit previously.

 

Similarities that Alesis Nitro and Yamaha DTX400K share

We’ve analysed their differences above.

For a more balanced comparison, we have listed their similarities too.

Here they are:

1 – Size

Both the Nitro and DTX400K’s frames allow for flexible adjustment of height and width.

You should be able to tweak the position of these e-drum kits to suit your seating height with ease.

2 – Noise Level

The rubber drum pads and cymbal pads of both drum kits are equally ‘noisy’.

Do manage your expectations of how ‘quiet’ these drum kits will be because there will definitely be sound from the impact of your drum sticks hitting the electronic pads.

And, the harder you hit, the louder it will be.

A good news is that both drum kits allow you to adjust your drum pad sensitivity, so you can still trigger the sounds without having to hit the drum pads with too much strength.

 

3 – Number of Pads

Appearances can be deceiving.

Although the Yamaha DTX400K looks smaller, it provides the same number of drum pads and cymbal pads as the Alesis Nitro.

In terms of the components (or drum pads), they are equally versatile.

The only difference is that the Alesis Nitro’s bass drum comes with a kick pad coupled with a pedal while the Yamaha DTX400K only comes with a bass drum pedal.

Some would argue that the kick pad provides additional feedback to the drummer, but we think it makes little difference on a budget electronic drum kit.

 

Conclusion

So, we’ve reached the end of our comparison!

Have you reached a conclusion as well?

In a nutshell, here’s what we think about Alesis Nitro vs Yamaha DTX400K.

Firstly, these two electronic drum kits are for different group of drummers.

The Alesis Nitro is perfect as a gift or for beginner drummers who just want the best value for money drum set that they can get.

As for the Yamaha DTX400K, it is suitable for newbies who are serious about developing their skills and want a drum set that can last even with consistent and regular practice.

 

On top of that, we think the they Yamaha DTX400K does provide better sound quality via its versatile range of preset drum kits.

This is an important feature to us because we believe that it can help a new drummer develop the right preference for drum sounds.

It also help the drummer to relate back to sounds from an acoustic drum kit, which helps the drummer to be able to get used to an acoustic drum kit with relative ease in the future.

 

Of course, don’t take our word for it. You can read what other users of the DTX400K say on Amazon.

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