Alesis Sample Pad 4 Review


PROS:

  • Custom sampling
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
  • Custom Sampling


CONS:

  • Less number of pads
  • The scroll arrows are minimalistic
  • Limited features



Are you an aspiring drummer who wants to start with a sample pad?

Or an advanced player who wants a compact sample pad while traveling?

If yes, Alesis Sample pad 4 can be a good option for you.

Alesis Sample pad 4 – a younger brother of the Alesis Sample pad Pro – has only four pads and is thus ideal for those wanting a compact setup.

You can use this sample pad in live gigs or a studio recording as a MIDI trigger in DAW’s

But how does it sound, or is it a good fit for you?

This review will help to clear your doubts to make an informed decision.

Alesis Sample Pad 4 Review: An Overview

Alesis Sample Pad 4 Review

The Alesis Sample pad 4, as you may have guessed – is a four-pad sample–triggering device that is curated for drummers.

Its size is smaller than a typical laptop. Its compact size allows it to fit into the tightest space (quite literally!).

Out of the four rubber pads, two are present as raised bars, and the other two are square.

The best part is the blue light underneath that guides you in a darker environment. This feature can come in handy at darker clubs.

Threaded points – at the base – offer to work as a mount. It also comes with a dual-trigger input jack, which allows you to connect additional pads or kick pedal.

Besides, Alesis Sample Pad 4 includes 10 preset kits that feature multiple sequences of 25 on-board samples. In addition, you can also load your own samples using the SDHC/SD card slot.

This sample pad has room for cards up to 32GB. However, with a capacity of 89 user kits and 512 samples per card , this shouldn’t be an issue.

You can also connect the pad to a PC or Mac with the USB 2 port that functions as a MIDI/USB output. Using it, you can transfer the samples via your desktop to the SD card. Once the samples are loaded, you retune it and treat it with the reverb effect.

Look

The Alesis Sample pad 4 comes with a metal casing and four rubber pads, as mentioned above.

The pads are made up of rubber and include dual-trigger inputs. The LED lights – underneath the pads – enhances the look and light up when you trigger them. The light also makes it look amazing while playing in the dark, which comes in really handy.

Features

The main features of the drumming Alesis sample pad are:

• Four programmable rubber pads that are illuminated: They have infinite sampling opportunities.

• SD/SDHC cards up to 32GB: They support up to 89 user kits and 512 samples to be stored.

• USB-MIDI output for use with DAW: Internal sampling is not required. For instance, you can use Ableton Live

• On-board FX: It allows you to add reverb to the sounds to make them sound huge.

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Sound

The sound quality is fair enough and is what you may typically expect from a sample pad.

You can trigger the sample pad 4 in different ways:

Mono mode: Triggering the pad will pause the existing samples and start it again.

Loop Mode: Triggering a pad will cause your samples to play continuously in a loop.

Poly Mode: You can play various samples at the same time. Triggering a pad will not pause the existing samples but layer another samples over it.

Temp mode: Triggering a pad several times will allow you to set the built-in metronome speed. While the clock starts, the metronome can be set to sticks, beep, claves, or cowbell.

The preset sound usually includes snares, kicks, and assorted percussions, such as congas, cowbells, shakers, claps, and wind chimes.

So, if you need cymbals or toms, you can use the SD card to import them by yourself.

The good news is that a huge library of both loops and hits are available on the Alesis website.

Also, here you can download for free the sample pack used in the following video, ready to be imported and used in Alesis Sample Pad 4.

We also loved the idea of introducing Cajon samples. With four pads with velocity switching, you can get a useful range of sounds.

For this, you just have to turn up with a laptop, DI into the PA, and get started. (It’s that simple!)

While the two velocity layers may not be a substitute for “big gun” drum kits, the velocity of the pads is sufficient for an amazing live performance.

So, you may have liked it if the Alesis sample pad 4 would have come with a software editor to configure the kits, but the menu system is really user friendly.

Overall, as an add-on to your existing drumming kit or a hand drum instrument, this Alesis sample pad 4 offers a pretty decent job that, too, without any complications and at an affordable price.

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Hands On

The first thought we had while trying was how solid it feels. The pads are strong and definitely gig-worthy.

On connecting the pad to the power, the fluorescent blue lights start that makes it look even more stunning. As mentioned before, the lights have a practical use too and offer a visual guide in dimly lit or darkened stage.

When you trigger the pad, the LEDs at the perimeter turn brighter and are useful for live performance and editing.

You can swap the kits by just one key press. You wouldn’t even have to wait for the samples to load during each change.

Although in-built samples are superb, triggering your curated sample is much for fun. For instance, you can change pitch to create extremely thick snare drums, and utilizing dual layering is an added advantage.

Furthermore, the pad control mode is also a great feature. You can use the controller to trigger a sample while stooping the previous one, stop/start the metronome, or playing a sample and sounding it over the previous.

Lastly, the loop facility is also an amazing feature that allows any sample to play continuously.

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Some More Hands on Experience

You can navigate the Alesis sample pad 4 using the four cursor buttons. If you press two buttons together, option and save dialogues can be opened. The option offers access to global settings, such as the response curve of the pad. This menu is also helpful in importing new sample sounds.

There are two-level controls for headphones and the main output.

You can play the pads using your hands or stick. However, if you trigger the pad with the flat of your hands, it is difficult not to hit the cursor button. Playing it with your fingertips is a much better option.

It is easy to use the menu button. The cursors up or down select the parameters for the previously hit pad or the kit. Using the left/right cursor in kit mode allows you to move through kits.

Selecting the parameter, you can adjust the sound that is assigned to the pad. Here you can set panning, pad level, trigger mode, tuning, reverb level, sensitivity, and mute group. Selecting another pad aid in regulating the specific parameter for that pad, providing an easy way to set sensitivity and levels without much trawling.

Besides, the pads are velocity sensitivity. So, you can allocate two sounds for each pad by velocity switching. However, you can do so by using samples on the optional Sd card.

It is possible to set a velocity range for every sample, and they can even overlap if you want them to.

One more great feature is “the mute groups” feature. It stops a sample playing in one pad when the other pad is triggered in the same group. This feature is especially important if you have synth pad chords on both the pads.

You can also use the mute group for closed and open hi-hat sounds where the closed hat stops the open one.

PROS:

  • Custom sampling
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
  • Custom Sampling

CONS:

  • Less number of pads
  • The scroll arrows are minimalistic
  • Limited features

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Should You Buy it?

Alesis Sample pad 4 is straightforward to use. So, it’s a great option for beginners and intermediate drummers who want to start with sample pads. It is also suitable for an advanced drummer who needs something compact while traveling.

If you are an amateur and planning to spread your horizon, this Alesis sample pad 4 can be an excellent option for you. It will help you to learn basics, and later you can use it as an added sample pad or a backup while playing.

It is sturdy enough to take it on the road. However, if you plan to tour constantly, it is better to invest in something that is high-end.

You can also check out our guide on the best electronic drum kit to buy a set to use with this pad.

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Final Thoughts

Alesis Sample Pad 4 is an entry-level buy for anyone who wants to try a sample pad. Its minimal nature and compact build make it a perfect choice for anyone who needs a simple yet effective piece of drumming pad hardware.

In case you don’t like the in-built sounds, you can load your own samples using an SD card. The best part is that it comes at an affordable price.

Happy Drumming!

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