Alesis D4

Alesis D4 Image

The D4 was an affordable and fully professional Drum and Percussion sound module. It featured 500 drums sounds, sampled at 48kHz and stored on an internal ROM chip. The sounds cover the whole gamut, from great acoustic drum types to electronic drum sounds. Orchestral and ethnic percussion sounds and various percussive effects are also available. There are 21 programmable drum kits as well. And the D4 has full 16-channel MIDI implementation.

Alesis D4 Image

The D4 has 12 trigger inputs allowing drummers to trigger its sounds from acoustic or MIDI pads. Engineers and musicians can also trigger drum sounds from the D4 using the trigger inputs and any external sound sources from tape or other studio gear. A hi-hat pedal jack allows use of a footswitch to create more realistic hi-hat effects. There are also 4 independent outputs for either 4 mono outs or 2 stereo outs. The D4's only limitation, is editing. Drum sounds can only have their tuning, panning and respective volumes edited. However, drums can be assigned to special groups so that special drum characteristics can be created such as closed hihats cutting off open hihat sounds, etc. The D4 has been used by ATB.

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6 Visitor comments
D Djordjevic=Deian Mountbatten
January 19, 2013 @ 9:06 am
I bought my D-4 in 1990 to replace old Roland TR303,TR808 and an R-8 rackunit which were almost unusable since Phil Collins used them in "In The Air Tonight" and Warren Cann in "Hiroshima Mon Amour": And the D-4 drum samples are great,still sound brilliant with lots of punch when properly sound engineered and compressed,much fatter and clearer than the Japanese which are good for discjockeys and similar sound freaks.
Regards,Sir Dejan Djordjevic,Basement Flat Rear,
189SandgateRd,Folkestone,Kent,CT20 2HJ,UK
January 6, 2013 @ 3:08 pm
Also used by fledgeling SoCal bands Kevorkian Death Cycle, BOL, Gracious Shades and Hate Dept. This module was highly coveted in the early 90s - well loved for its punchy sounds (previously unavailable in such a large quantity and professional package) and it's invaluable use as a trigger brain for live shows. Just got one again from Ebay - unmistakable sounds!
June 13, 2012 @ 3:17 pm
a great piece of kit i use it on the bass drums and i use it in all my bands and with a good drum trigger will get a great sound the midi is ace as well i use it with cubase with no problems i got mine for 30 pounds in England
Tony Spielmacher
February 8, 2010 @ 4:24 pm
I bought this module rather unthinkingly, not fully realizing that every ROM synth has drum sets comparable to that of the D4. On top of that soft synths are on the rise with plenty of drum kits and drum programming features. But I have come to appreciate this working horse despite all these developments. First of all you don’t want to have the polyphony of your favorite hard board eaten up by a drum track, so a dedicated drum module is still a viable concept . Used within your sequencer it offers you great control over your drum track(s), it could mean tweaking every note you played on your keyboard to establish a ‘natural’ sounding drum line (as opposed to those out-of-the-box drum loops that are really not your own or are hard to control). You can copy an existing preset bank to a user bank and use this bank to build your ideal drum kit. Every midi key within range you can configure to your liking eliminating all those silly drum sounds you will never use.
Tony Spielmacher
February 8, 2010 @ 4:20 pm
Having the possibility to route notes to the AUX outputs (aside from panning them in the horizontal domain, loudness and some other attributes) you can attach your favorite effect processor to that AUX output and lead the outcome to your mixer or input. So just when you think these drum sounds are trite and overused you realize you can get great and instant results with (let’s say) standard guitar distortion stomp boxes and other effects. This is a great way to revitalize this module that has been used by thousands and thousands of bands and producers in the past. Needless to say you could also lead those sounds into your main synths for further processing if they have an input facility (e.g. Access Virus, Roland JP-8080 etc.). Having 12 triggers you could also hook this module up to drum pads sending MIDI to your sequencer the cool way! A used D4 can quite often be purchased for less than, or around $100 or Euro 100.
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User Rating

Rated 3.12 (222 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - The on-board demo of the D4, submitted by Matze.

    Manual - Alesis have made manuals and program charts for many of their products available on-line, for free download as .PDF files!

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 16 voices
  • Drum Sounds - 500 (99 kicks, 99 snares, 55 cymbals, 92 toms, 75 percussion sounds, and 80 effects)
  • LFO - None
  • Filter - None
  • VCA - None
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 21 programmable drum kits
  • Control - MIDI (16 channels) and 12 Trigger inputs and Hi-Hat pedal input
  • Date Produced - 1991
  • Resources & Credits
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