Alesis Surge vs. Roland TD-1DMK – Which one is best?

Alesis Surge vs. Roland TD-1DMK both are fantastic electronic drum sets. Both kits come with mesh heads for an ultra-quiet drumming experience. Moreover, they have excellent sound quality, playability, and durability.

The Roland TD 1DMK is more of a beginner kit, while the Alesis Surge Mesh kit comes with everything you need to become a pro drummer.

Breaking it down

Alesis Surge vs. Roland TD-1DMK

Comparing the two electronic drum kits will help you choose the most appropriate for your needs. We will base our comparison on the factors below:

  • Sounds
  • Feel and Playability
  • Included Hardware
  • Training Functions
  • Connectivity


Electronic drum kits differ in the number of built-in kits, sounds and play-along songs they feature. Basic drum modules have fewer sounds than advanced ones. This feature is a great necessity for beginners as they get a chance to explore the different options.

A variety of sounds also comes in handy for pro drummers who play different genres or would like to customize their kits. As we compare the sounds of Alesis Surge Mesh and Roland TD 1DMK, you will be able to decide on which one best suits your needs.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

The Alesis Surge Mesh module features 385 premium drum, cymbal and percussion sounds. It also has 40 easy-to tweak classic kits (24 drum kits and 16 custom kits) and 60 play-along tracks.

These features make the kit suitable for pro drummers who perform in bands or on stage. They are also good for beginners who aspire to advance their drumming skills/ career to professional drumming.

The drum and cymbal buttons on the sound module have a layout of a conventional kit. As such, creating kits and assigning sounds is easy and quick. Moreover, the module features a backlit LCD screen which makes navigation a breeze.

Roland TD-1DMK

The Roland TD-1DMK is an ideal e-kit for beginners. It comes with 15 preset drum kits, 256 notes of polyphony and 15 play-along songs. The kits cover the essential sonic parts, and the sounds are easy to load up and dial in.

Winner: When it comes to sound-varieties, we recommend Alesis Surge Mesh Kit.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit
Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

Feel and Playability 

Whether you are buying your first drum set or doing an upgrade, feel and playability are key factors to consider. Surprisingly, electronic kits differ in sound quality based on the brand, material of cymbals & pads.

An ideal electronic drum kit sounds almost like a real acoustic kit. One major reason why most drummers buy electronic drums is that they are convenient for home practice. As such, a good kit should have ultra-quiet pads to enhance quiet practice during the day or at night.

In our comparison, we shall see which kit sounds better than the other and why.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

This kit comes with three 8-inch dual-zone mesh tom pads and a 10-inch dual-zone mesh snare. It also features 10-inch crash, hi-hat and ride cymbals, as well as an 8-inch mesh kick pad tower with a pedal.

The dual-zone drum pads feature tightly-woven, tunable mesh heads. As a result, the pads have a great feel, natural response and unmatched playability. The tunable heads allow you to customize your playing response by customizing rebound and sensitivity.

They are far much quieter than traditional drum pads. The cymbals, too, provide an unlimited range of playing expression.

Roland TD-1DMK

It has an 8-inch mesh dual-trigger snare and three 6-inch mesh toms. It also has a 10″ hi-hat and 10″ dual-trigger crash and ride cymbals. The mesh heads are tunable and ultra-quiet for home practice.

Winner: Alesis Surge Mesh kit

Included Hardware

Is your kit ready to play out of the box, or do you need to buy other hardware components separately? Buying an all-inclusive kit saves time and money. Let’s see what comes along with each of our two kits.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

This kit comes with everything you need to start playing. It features a pair of drum sticks, cable snake, drum key, kick & hi-hat pedals and power supply.

Roland TD-1DMK

The Roland TD-1DMK electronic kit does not come with a kick pedal, kick pad tower and drum sticks. You will need to buy these items separately.

Winner: Alesis Surge Mesh kit

Training Functions

Every drummer needs a platform through which they can grow from one level of drumming to another.

As such, having an electronic kit that has training functions is an absolute necessity for beginners and intermediate drummers. Let’s see what Alesis Surge Mesh and Roland TD-1DMK have to offer.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

Besides the 60 play-along songs, the Alesis Surge Mesh kit comes with 60 free lessons from Melodics and an onboard metronome.

Roland TD-1DMK

In addition to the 15 play-along songs, the TD-1DMK module features an onboard metronome and ten coach functions. The metronome helps you develop good timing skills, a fundamental element of drumming.

The coaching functions have a game-like experience which makes every session fun and engaging. You can also download the Melodics app and access free drum lessons.

Winner: Roland TD-1DMK

Roland TD-1DMK
Roland TD-1DMK


A standard electronic drum kit should feature connectivity ports for headphones and music. A more advanced kit also offers USB-MIDI connectivity.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

The kit has an onboard sequencer for recording and aux input for music player or phone connectivity. It also features USB-MIDI inputs and outputs.

Roland TD-1DMK

The kit features an aux music input, an onboard recording function and USB connectivity.

Winner: Alesis Surge Mesh

Final Recount

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit
  • Premium natural feel and response
  • 60 free drum lessons from Melodics
  • Great quality and price
  • An array of sounds
  • Connectivity features
  • Small drum pads as compared to an acoustic kit.
  • Some customers complain of poor customer service.
4/5 StarsRead Review
Roland TD-1DMK
  • Excellent coaching functions
  • Great for beginners
  • Lacks a kick pedal
  • Limited sound options
1/5 StarsRead Review

Final Verdict

From our review, we conclude that the winner is Alesis Surge Mesh Kit. The drum kit has a variety of sound options and connectivity features. Its drum pads and cymbals have a natural feel, response and playability.

Besides a drum throne and headphones, the kit comes with everything you need to play like a professional.