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Along with the Roland Octapad, the Alesis Performance Pad Pro is one of the only two units featured in our round-up that you can actually hit with drumsticks.
Featuring eight large trigger pads arranged in a 4x2 formation, the Performance Pad comes with a built-in library of 500 kit sounds that can be piped out to a PA system or recorder, and a stereo minijack input for hooking up an MP3 player to play along to.
Unusually, however, MIDI output is served up through a five-pin MIDI DIN socket - unlike all the other devices covered in these pages, there’s no USB connector for easy hookup to a Mac or PC DAW, so you’ll need to connect it via an external MIDI interface.
The Performance Pad Pro is built as sturdily as you’d expect for something that was designed to be hit with sticks, but unlike the Octapad, the pads aren’t raised much above the surface - as a result, the shiny black plastic edge trim can be quite vulnerable to marks and scuffs when your enthusiasm gets the better of your talent.
The velocity-sensitive pads aren’t quite as sensitive as we would like, with light taps from the sticks producing nothing but silence, and soft sounds only emerging at mid velocities. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to adjust the sensitivity of the pads beyond the three preset soft, medium and hard velocity curves, or eight fixed velocity levels.
All in all, then, the Performance Pad Pro is a decent enough choice if you want to really make some noise, but it’s far better suited for the stage than the studio.