Re: Electronic drum recommendations
I have also heard bad things about the quality control of the Alesis drums.
I think when you are buying electronic drums, you have to consider two things (and most new buyers skip the second one). The first is obviously playability - does it have the pads/set-up/size/feel that you find you can play comfortably on. Some people love the Roland mesh, some people love the Yamaha silicone, some like the rubber pads, some like some of these other third-party custom e-drum makers. So if you can, get into a Guitar Center or other place where they have some of these set up side-by-side and see what feels right for you.
Second, however, is the brain that powers the kit. You can get the fanciest looking kit of the bunch (and admittedly, that Alesis LOOKS nice), but if the brain that powers it is throwing off cheesy cymbals and machine-gun-sounding fast snare, what is the point? This is one reason you will hear so many people recommend Roland and Yamaha - their e-drum "brains" (aka modules) are much more powerful, dynamic, and realistic sounding. I've heard some of these low-end, inexpensive kit, and they sound like when you put a $40 Casio keyboard on the drum setting and start pressing the keys. Number and size of the pads is important, but I would rather have a Roland with their lowest end pads then some larger sweet heads that you hit and they trigger an outdated, digital sound.