Alesis has its eyes on the drum market with two new products:

The Trigger iO is a trigger-to-MIDI percussion interface for drum triggers. It will go head to head with Roland’s TMC-6. There’s no predicting how good this will be until we see it, but from a marketing standpoint, it looks like a smart direction: whereas Roland modestly markets its MIDI trigger interface as a way of expanding a set of Roland V-Drum electronic drums, Alesis looks like it’s going after everyone. The package even includes the “lite” edition of the excellent BFD drum set from fxpansion. There’s an optional drum stand mount and lots of customization for presets, trigger settings and assignments, and so on. If the quality is there, the feature set looks great for performing digital drummers.

In the category of “things you hit,” Alesis has the ControlPad, a compact MIDI percussion pad. Note that you can really hit these with sticks, as opposed to the finger-trigger pads like M-Audio’s Trigger Finger. Again, Alesis’ strategy seems to be to remake Roland products so they’re less ugly, as Roland has an entire line of similar products. (Sorry, Roland, but you do have to admit, they are kind of ugly.) Other than offering a different color, though, I’ll be curious to see if Alesis can really diferentiate themselves here.

Updated from comments: these pieces have “was that a misprint?” low prices. US$199 for ControlPad and US$149 for Trigger iO (though you’ll of course need triggers to go with the latter). The low prices could definitely make these devices a player.

  • continuous

    Any idea as to how much the ControlPad will retail for? Looks good! Great site by the way.

  • Damon

    Its about time (pardon the pun)! All the Roland pads are way expensive, and the 2 drum play pad things they do have start at like 400 and go up to 7 or 800 bucks! A basic midi drum trigger for under $200 would be more than welcome.

  • Bobo

    From the video @ the sonic state site:

    ControlPad will retail for about $199

    TriggerIO will retail for about $149

    I wonder about the choice to go with usb 1.1 on the TriggerIO. Any thoughts?

  • Hooooray!

    Been waiting for one of these for an age.. As damon said above the Roland offerings *start* at about 250UK and have built in sounds or samplers that I have no need for..

    The only problem I can see is that they are released in about 3-4 months time and I want to get one now! 🙂

  • You have the right U.S. MAP prices (street)for these products.

    Control Pad is scheduled for U.S. arrival in September and the Trigger I/O is October

  • I'm a big fan of trigger devices.

    I own an akai s900 with the trigger card as well as a Alesis DMpro that never worked and currently use a Roland TMC-6 that has it's moody days.

    This Alesis would eliminate the need for hardware and it would have the ability to control soft synths? I think that's what i'm understanding.

  • Corey Williams

    I have been waiting for something like the Trigger iO for years! I guess I could have used a midi interface (for my PC) with a TMC-6 but I want more than 6 inputs. Like Regend, I have an s900 but am trying to find the ask-90 (trigger card) with no luck. I absolutely cannot wait for the release of this product. I think I will use it with Battery from Native Instruments.

  • 2chords

    The trigger IO looks pretty cool, but I have some questions. Would there be any need to have one of these if you have a drum module like a DM5? It seems like you could just run midi out into the computer. Will you be able to use this with any sequencing program?

  • JBV

    I agree with Corey, I've been wanting something simple like this for a while too. Plug & play, portable and inexpensive(so I don't freak if I lose it/break it.) Thanks for the update on this, already ordered one.

  • BobbyC

    Jim, if you are still here… Can you please tell us if the USB 1.1 interface is going to cause an issue with triggering latency?

  • Iain

    MIDI is transmitted at 31.25 kilobits per second, which is not a lot if you are using continuous controllers, multi channels and chords etc…. USB 1.1 runs at 12 mega bits per second, and while no real standard exists for MIDI on USB 1.1, unlike ieee1394 Firewire, it is plenty fast for sending loads of MIDI data, without compromising bandwidth. Especially if only sending drum trigger info, which doesn't use much bandwidth, as you are limited to two sticks and two feet, and usually a hi hat pedal is the only continuous controller. The speed of USB also has a positive effect on the latency, although it is not electrically isolated between devices, unlike MIDI cables.

  • Is there any chance Alesis might one day offer an expanded version of the Control Pad, something suitable for vibraphone/marimba players like me? Presently, midi controllers resembling mallet percussion instruments start with Alternate Mode's Mallet Kat ($2239US). It has 37 pads and IMHO a lot of unnecessary features. A simple, inexpensive pad-based midi controller set out like a mallet instrument would be welcome indeed.

  • I'd wanna know if is possible to trigger Roland's DR-808 using an Alesis drum control pad and wich pad stand could fit to the Alesis pad.

  • Mark Henke

    Trying to Find out the Dims of the unit and or the Individual PAD? It is not listed on the Alesis Website or the Distributor! Also whether It comes with a stand or where to buy the add-ons to it i.e the Kick Contoller or Hat Controller etc.

    Also I hate when they list products but they are not available yet (at least not in Canada). I guess we don't count or make music here!!!

  • Frog

    I have been playing around with the Control Pad, using it to trigger Reason devices. It works great with Redrum and the NN 19, but I am having problems triggering the NN-XT and Dr. Rex. Has anyone tried this thing, and had success with these two devices? Solution? The Control Pad is worth the money. I dig it. I'm a person tired of repetitive beats, and lame fills. This works great with triggering my keyboard, and using the Redrum and the NN 19 in Reason.

  • launchpad

    Frog- I had a similar problem with triggering soft synths.I found that the note gate(the time beyween a note on and a note off) is so short it confuses a lot of non drum software.My solution was to run the CP's midi signal through a midi proccessor(midipipe on a mac) and add a 100ms to the note length before you get to your main program.Works great now. I called Alesis and made them aware of the problem.I don't know if all have this problem or just some.

  • Samson's Beard

    I've got the CONTROL PAD.

    It pretty much does what it says…..


    The bass-drum "foot-switch" only transmits at a fixed velocity of 64.

    The hi-hat foot-switch doesn't actually do much at all. It triggers for sure (whatever note you want at 64), but doesn't let you alternate the main hi-hat pad between OPEN and CLOSED hi-hat.

  • Regarding Samson's Beard's last comment.

    It's true what you say about the bass drum 'foot-switch' – though you could always use one of the trigger inputs with a bass pedal and pad and that would sought that out.

    Hi-Hat: what you say about the hi-hat input is not true. We use the control pad in the studio hooked up to a full working version of BFD and a hi-hat pedal connected to the hi-hat input. When we play the hi-hat on the controller the opens and closes it – no problem. However, you have to do reasign the pad note number to play the hi-hat on note 34 (NOT 42). In BFD, this is the default note number for the opening/closing hi-hat.

    Hope this is a help to anyone.

  • qeethead


  • Aladdin Maarouf

    what is the name of drums pad number 2

  • Aladdin Maarouf

    what is the name of drums pad number 2