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.