Roland TD-1DMK vs Alesis Surge Mesh: Electronic Drum Kit Comparison

Roland and Alesis are two leaders in the world of electronic drum kits and two of the most frequently compared models are the TD-1DMK and the Surge Mesh. In this article, I’ll be comparing these two kits head-to-head to help you decide which is the right one for you.

Roland TD-1DMK vs Alesis Surge Mesh Overview

The Roland TD-1DMK is a more expensive electronic drum kit compared to the Alesis Surge Mesh. The Surge Mesh has larger tom and kick pads and more built-in kits and tracks compared to the TD-1DMK. Only the Surge Mesh has dual-zone toms and only the TD-1DMK has dual-zone cymbals.

Alesis Surge MeshRoland TD-1DMK
8” Tom Pads6” Tom Pads
Dual-Zone Toms (not cymbals)Dual-Zone Cymbals (not toms)
Mesh Kick PadRubber Kick Pad
40 Kit Sounds15 Kit Sounds
60 Built-In Tracks15 Built-In Tracks
Key feature differences between the Alesis Surge Mesh and Roland TD-1DMK

Check out the Amazon links below for current prices:

Alesis Surge Mesh

Roland TD-1DMK

Images link to Amazon

Drum Sizes

One notable advantage of the Alesis Surge Mesh over the Roland TD-1DMK is that it has larger tom pads. The Alesis Surge Mesh has 8″ tom pads whereas the Roland TD-1DMK only has 6″ tom pads which do feel a bit too small. Both kits have the same size cymbals (10″) and snare pad (8″).

WINNER: Alesis Surge Mesh

Quality and Feel

Although I think the Alesis is pretty well made and feels good to play on, I do think that Roland offers a step-up in terms of quality.

The mesh head pads and the frame feels more sturdy and higher quality. Some players complain that the Alesis feels a bit flimsy but I would certainly not say that it is poorly built.

Roland kits have a better reputation for reliability compared to Alesis kits, although you will get a warranty if you buy a brand new kit from either manufacturer.

Alesis kits come with a 12 month warranty whereas Roland kits come with a 24 month warranty, but please check the warranty when you make your purchase for up to date information.


Drum Head and Cymbal Zones

One disadvantage of an electronic drum kit over an acoustic one is that most of the heads/ cymbals only produce one type of sound no matter where they are hit.

However, both Alesis and Roland have tried to combat this issue on these electronic kits by including dual-zones meaning that the sound will change according to which zone the pad is hit in.

The difference between the kits is that different drums/ cymbals have single and dual zones. Check out the table below for a breakdown.

Part of the KitAlesis Surge MeshRoland TD-1DMK
Snare Drum PadDual-ZoneDual-Zone
Tom PadsDual-ZoneSingle-Zone

As you can see, both kits have a dual-zone snare pad, the difference is between the tom pads and cymbals. The Roland has dual-zone cymbals unlike the Alesis, whereas the Alesis has dual-zone toms unlike the Roland.

In my opinion it’s better to have dual-zone cymbals than toms as I feel that this offers more functionality to the drum kit overall.


Alesis Surge Mesh

Roland TD-1DMK

Images link to Amazon

Kick Pad and Pedal

The Roland TD-1DMK has a rubber oval-shaped kick drum pad which means it looks, sounds feels slightly different to the Alesis Surge kick drum pad which has a drum tower with mesh pad.

The Roland kick pad takes up less space but with it being made from rubber, makes more noise compared to the Alesis which sounds quieter (better if you have very close neighbours!).

Also be mindful that some Roland TD-1DMK packages do not actually come with the kick pedal included so make sure you check that it comes with that bundle if you do not plan on purchasing one separately.

Fortunately, both kick pads are compatible with a double bass pedal.

WINNER: Alesis Surge Mesh

Drum Module Features

The Alesis Surge Mesh drum module does have some more functionality compared to the Roland TD-DMK. Please see the table below for more information regarding the specs.

WINNER: Alesis Surge Mesh

Drum Module FeatureAlesis Surge MeshRoland TD-1DMK
Drum Kits4015
Built-In Tacks6015
Performance RecorderYesYes
Coaching ModeYesYes
CD InputYesNo
MP3 InputYesYes
USB/ MIDI ConnectionYesYes
Stereo Line OutputYesYes
Headphone OutputYesYes

Sound Quality

Tone is a personal taste and you’ll find drummers who prefer the Alesis Surge over the Roland TD-1DMK and vice-versa. However, the majority does tend to swing in the way of Roland when it comes to sound quality.

Check out these YouTube demos to hear the two kits in action.

Alesis Surge Mesh

Roland TD-1DMK

Price Comparison

In the USA, the Roland TD-1DMK costs approximately $700, whereas the Surge Mesh kit costs approximately $600. In the UK, the Roland TD-1DMK costs roughly £560 on average whereas the Surge Mesh kit costs only around £490.

Used TD-1DMK kits in “great” or “excellent” condition typically cost around $600 whereas second-hand Surge Mesh kits in this condition usually cost roughly $450.

WINNER: Alesis Surge Mesh

Which Drum Kit Should You Buy?

When considering the price difference between these two kits I feel like the Alesis Surge is the best option for most beginner drummers looking for their first electronic kit.

I prefer the larger tom pads on the Surge and it also comes with a better kick pad and more drum module features.

However, there are some players who will really want dual-zone cymbals and prefer the feel and build-quality of the Roland.

Revisit the specs above and see which ones are the most important to you. Also try and have a go on both kits in your local store if you can because this is the best way to know you’re making the right decision.

Check out the Amazon links below for current prices:

Still not sure which kit to go for? Check out my comparison between the Alesis Surge Mesh and Nitro Mesh.


I’m here to share with you my passion for drumming, as well as some tips and tricks for choosing and making the most out of your drum kit and accessories. Whilst I play primarily on electronic drum kits, I love all things drumming and hope to share this with as many people as possible!

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