Should I Buy a Sample Pad

fishstix94

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Hey everyone,

So I recently had to move for work. I'm now living in DC in a small apartment. Naturally, I can no longer play my kit in this setting.

I really don't want to hassle around with renting a practice space. So I started looking into sample pads. I just want something to keep the creative juices flowing, something that I can play in my apartment and something to potentially play out at smaller gigs.

I started looking into the Roland spd-sx and the alesis multi strike pad. I have NO experience with these sample pads. Do you think this is a worthwhile alternative to having a kid?

If so, which do you recommend? From what I have read, the roland is fairly old technology. I'd hate to drop $700 on one for roland to release something new shortly.

I have also heard horror stories regarding alesis's quality. Has anyone experienced the same?

Any advice would be appreciated! -Fish
 
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bpaluzzi

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The SPD-SX doesn't support a hi hat pedal. The Roland Octapad (SPD-30) is their model that allows for minikit playing, although it doesn't support sample import.

The Yamaha DTX Multi 12 is another possible contender -- it supports hi hat pedals and (very limited) sample import.
 

fishstix94

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The SPD-SX doesn't support a hi hat pedal. The Roland Octapad (SPD-30) is their model that allows for minikit playing, although it doesn't support sample import.

The Yamaha DTX Multi 12 is another possible contender -- it supports hi hat pedals and (very limited) sample import.
Good point. I dont see the hihat peddle being a deal breaker for me.
 

dtk

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The sample pad pro is the cheapest option...for a reason....less built in memory and perhaps lower quality.
That said I own one. it was a good entry into sampling and triggering and I have liked Alesis.

So less memory/horsepower means its slow to load sets...in some cases a minute and change.
Quality issues can lead to cross triggering (I've dropped mine at least 2x...and I have one pad that sometimes triggers another).

If i were in your shoes and I could swing it I'd get the yamaha over the pro because if you use it with your acoustic kit...live...its a better tool...but its 2x as expensive.

right now none of my bands are excited to have Edrums...so I'll use what I have...if one of them gets excited (or if i find another band)...I'll trade up.

PS-Alesis has a high end pad too...I think one guy on this forum has one and he loved it.
 

fishstix94

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Ahh I actually meant the alesis strike multi pad, which I assume is the higher end model that you're talking about.
 

Chopsnbops

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It’s going to be a tough sell for any band to let you in with just a multi pad, but for practice and for adding sounds to your acoustic kit those things are pretty cool. I’ve used the Yamaha before and it’s pretty cool honestly, but the hi hat pedal add on is really a must if you’re going to use it for practice because then it really does feel like a actual drum kit to some extent. Have you looked into any cheap small electric setups? You could get away with a lot with just a electronic bass drum, snare and hi hat. Price is a lot better and that would still prep you for gigs
 

fusseltier

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From what I know, the Alesis sample pad pro works and can be used as a drum set, but isn't as good quality as the Roland, so if you can swing it, get the Roland.
 

bpaluzzi

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The Alesis Strike is an interesting unit. It's not as advanced as the Yamaha unit in terms of DEEP midi functionality, and it's not QUITE as well suited to live track playback as the SPD-SX, but it's a nice middle ground that takes core features from both (and honestly, for all but the most "power-users", it hits most of the necessary functionality). Alesis has had some questionable reliability in the recent past, but they've got a deep history in making quality e-drums (the DM4 and DM5 rack-mount modules were right there with Yamaha / Roland in the early days). The Strike stuff (both the multipad and the full kit) has been very well received, and they're now approaching a few years old, without any noticeable complaints of reliability. I haven't owned / used one of them, so I can't go as deep as I can with the multipage units I have owned (SPD-6, SPD-8, SPD-S, SPD-SX, and DTX Multi 12), but I have played with one in a guitar center, and was really pleased with some of the design decisions they made.
 

fishstix94

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The Alesis Strike is an interesting unit. It's not as advanced as the Yamaha unit in terms of DEEP midi functionality, and it's not QUITE as well suited to live track playback as the SPD-SX, but it's a nice middle ground that takes core features from both (and honestly, for all but the most "power-users", it hits most of the necessary functionality). Alesis has had some questionable reliability in the recent past, but they've got a deep history in making quality e-drums (the DM4 and DM5 rack-mount modules were right there with Yamaha / Roland in the early days). The Strike stuff (both the multipad and the full kit) has been very well received, and they're now approaching a few years old, without any noticeable complaints of reliability. I haven't owned / used one of them, so I can't go as deep as I can with the multipage units I have owned (SPD-6, SPD-8, SPD-S, SPD-SX, and DTX Multi 12), but I have played with one in a guitar center, and was really pleased with some of the design decisions they made.
What are your overall thoughts on the spd-sx?
 

fishstix94

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It’s going to be a tough sell for any band to let you in with just a multi pad, but for practice and for adding sounds to your acoustic kit those things are pretty cool. I’ve used the Yamaha before and it’s pretty cool honestly, but the hi hat pedal add on is really a must if you’re going to use it for practice because then it really does feel like a actual drum kit to some extent. Have you looked into any cheap small electric setups? You could get away with a lot with just a electronic bass drum, snare and hi hat. Price is a lot better and that would still prep you for gigs
Yeah, I was mostly talking in an acoustic setting, but point taken
 

bpaluzzi

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What are your overall thoughts on the spd-sx?
I put together a fairly exhaustive review of the SPD-SX vs the DTX Multi 12 -- you can see it at:

In summary though, the SPD-SX is a really strong piece of gear for sample playback. The lack of hi hat pedal and some missing abilities (e.g., the ability to re-pitch a sample without having to re-sample and save -- if you want to use the same sample of an 808 on multiple kits at multiple pitches, you need to save each pitch as a separate file, you can't just non-destructively modify the pitch) mean that it's not as strong of a "mini-kit" than some of the other pads, and it doesn't have the do-anything "MIDI Swiss Army knife" nature of the DTX Multi 12, but for the vast majority of scenarios, it works great.

I've had both of those roughly the same amount of time, and when I'm using it on a gig, 90% of the time I'm taking the SPD-SX. When I'm messing around in the studio, 75% of the time it's with the DTX Multi 12 (using it to control synths, or as an Ableton control surface, or as a "drum-stick operable pedal board" for my effects unit).

If I absolutely had to choose one, I'd go with the DTX Multi 12, but that's just because I have some very specific use cases that only that unit can do. If I was just looking for a multipad to use with a band (especially if you're doing covers or album recreations), then I'd choose the SPD-SX.
 

fishstix94

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I put together a fairly exhaustive review of the SPD-SX vs the DTX Multi 12 -- you can see it at:

In summary though, the SPD-SX is a really strong piece of gear for sample playback. The lack of hi hat pedal and some missing abilities (e.g., the ability to re-pitch a sample without having to re-sample and save -- if you want to use the same sample of an 808 on multiple kits at multiple pitches, you need to save each pitch as a separate file, you can't just non-destructively modify the pitch) mean that it's not as strong of a "mini-kit" than some of the other pads, and it doesn't have the do-anything "MIDI Swiss Army knife" nature of the DTX Multi 12, but for the vast majority of scenarios, it works great.

I've had both of those roughly the same amount of time, and when I'm using it on a gig, 90% of the time I'm taking the SPD-SX. When I'm messing around in the studio, 75% of the time it's with the DTX Multi 12 (using it to control synths, or as an Ableton control surface, or as a "drum-stick operable pedal board" for my effects unit).

If I absolutely had to choose one, I'd go with the DTX Multi 12, but that's just because I have some very specific use cases that only that unit can do. If I was just looking for a multipad to use with a band (especially if you're doing covers or album recreations), then I'd choose the SPD-SX.
I've watched this twice, really good video. I really wasn't considering the Yamaha, but it does look nice.

I'm really deciding between the spdsx and the alesis strike multipad.. I want a mini kit vibe, but would the idea of getting to play with sampling.

What makes me nervous about the Roland is that it's 10 years old. I have the feeling that I'm going to drop $700 only to see them release a new model in a year.

What makes me nervous about the Alesis is the general reliability of their equipment.

It's a tough decision!
 

LRod1707

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I've watched this twice, really good video. I really wasn't considering the Yamaha, but it does look nice.

I'm really deciding between the spdsx and the alesis strike multipad.. I want a mini kit vibe, but would the idea of getting to play with sampling.

What makes me nervous about the Roland is that it's 10 years old. I have the feeling that I'm going to drop $700 only to see them release a new model in a year.

What makes me nervous about the Alesis is the general reliability of their equipment.

It's a tough decision!
So far from what I've read, the Alesis is excellent and has been super reliable. One of our members here "Danny Patterson" uses one even in live settings. (maybe he can chime in if he sees your thread). He gigs with it! And I recall him a while back saying that it's been great. Alesis upped their game with the Strike Multipad. The sounds are pretty amazing and it's got all the latest tech features + it's definitely built well. I wouldn't hesitate in getting one if I used a Sample pad more than what I do. I've got the Samplepad 4 hooked up to my acoustic kit and it's been flawless even though I've heard complaints about it. You can see in this picture (top left corner) how I have it mounted above my first rack toms:
IMG_20210114_200222.jpg
 

rculberson

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I’m an old dog learning new tricks with my recent SPD-SX acquisition. I’m in the pop world and could no longer ignore the fact that I need electronic sounds available in much of the music I’m playing. Got a great deal on a used one with a bunch of extras.

I’m probably only using about 10% of what this machine is capable of, but it really has added another dimension and an extra level of authenticity to my approach. The Roland is very intuitive and user friendly, that coming from a tech idiot. Bringing in outside sounds and blending them together has upped my creative game as well.

One of the best features for me has been adding a trigger to my bass drum and blending the mic’d sound of the acoustic drum with different bass drum sounds from the pad (both factory and imported). Thick and juicy!

B772FE88-3F2D-4F22-BABE-940170A8F0D2.jpeg
 

fishstix94

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I’m an old dog learning new tricks with my recent SPD-SX acquisition. I’m in the pop world and could no longer ignore the fact that I need electronic sounds available in much of the music I’m playing. Got a great deal on a used one with a bunch of extras.

I’m probably only using about 10% of what this machine is capable of, but it really has added another dimension and an extra level of authenticity to my approach. The Roland is very intuitive and user friendly, that coming from a tech idiot. Bringing in outside sounds and blending them together has upped my creative game as well.

One of the best features for me has been adding a trigger to my bass drum and blending the mic’d sound of the acoustic drum with different bass drum sounds from the pad (both factory and imported). Thick and juicy!

View attachment 491171
That is an awesome set up! Jealous!
 

fishstix94

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So far from what I've read, the Alesis is excellent and has been super reliable. One of our members here "Danny Patterson" uses one even in live settings. (maybe he can chime in if he sees your thread). He gigs with it! And I recall him a while back saying that it's been great. Alesis upped their game with the Strike Multipad. The sounds are pretty amazing and it's got all the latest tech features + it's definitely built well. I wouldn't hesitate in getting one if I used a Sample pad more than what I do. I've got the Samplepad 4 hooked up to my acoustic kit and it's been flawless even though I've heard complaints about it. You can see in this picture (top left corner) how I have it mounted above my first rack toms:
View attachment 491158
Another sweet set up. Good to hear that the alesis has been received well. I'm hoping to go to GC tonight to check both out.
 

bpaluzzi

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I've watched this twice, really good video. I really wasn't considering the Yamaha, but it does look nice.

I'm really deciding between the spdsx and the alesis strike multipad.. I want a mini kit vibe, but would the idea of getting to play with sampling.

What makes me nervous about the Roland is that it's 10 years old. I have the feeling that I'm going to drop $700 only to see them release a new model in a year.

What makes me nervous about the Alesis is the general reliability of their equipment.

It's a tough decision!
Thanks for the compliment on the video! It's been really well received. I need to get off my butt and do some more haha.

Honestly, even if they do produce a new model, it's going to be fairly incremental improvements on the SPD-SX. The SPD-S and SPD-SX are fundamentally the same product, and in fact some functionality was removed when they "upgraded" to the SPD-SX (expression pedal input, hi hat control / hi hat pedal support). I don't think the Roland line will ever be the MIDI workhorse (or some with as many ethnic and orchestral sounds) that the Yamaha is, because that's not it's target market or purpose. Because the products are so similar, there's not a MASSIVE price hit when the new one comes out -- I sold my SPD-S after the SPD-SX came out (I was moving to using only the Yamaha at the time), and didn't take too much of a hit on the price. Not a lot of people felt the need to upgrade immediately, so you didn't get that rush of supply into the used market. The fact that it had some removed functionality also helped it maintain value.

So yeah, in short: I wouldn't worry TOO much about a new Roland hitting the market.

The Alesis Strike gear has been around for a few years now, and the reviews have been pretty good so far. It doesn't have the decade+ on the market like the Roland stuff, but I'd say I'm feeling pretty okay about it. The previous generation Alesis stuff failed soon. Three months into their lifespan, there were already a ton of stories about failures.

So I wouldn't worry too much about the Alesis, from a durability standpoint. Find out which one has the features you like -- if you want heavy MIDI and lots of onboard sounds, go with the Yamaha. Proven performer with tons of features for live playback + loop control, go Roland. Newest feature set, more visual feedback (touch screen + programmable lights), best onboard looping, go with the Alesis.
 

Cauldronics

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The Yamaha DTX Multi 12 is another possible contender -- it supports hi hat pedals and (very limited) sample import.
The Yamaha DTX-12 is a real swiss army knife of drum pads/modules. When I looked through the manual I was amazed at what all it can do, but yes, the sample import could be better. If you connect it to a computer running samples, problem solved.

I really like the 4 or 5 levels of playability with what amounts to different levels of pad pressure. It can be set for heavy stick striking all the way down to finger tapping sensitivity, and everything in between.

There is a learning curve with the DTX but there's an app that makes it easy if you don't want to futz with the front panel too much.
 

Cauldronics

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One more thing to consider with the DTX-12 is the wealth of very good percussion sounds included. The kits are good overall (not great), but if you have a use for percussion, it's very good.
 

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Check out the Nord 3P as well - it's a synth pad, not a sample pad, but the sounds are amazing

 


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