Alesis HR-16

Alesis HR-16 Image

One of Alesis's first drum machines. With 49 sounds including 10 kicks, 7 snares and a complete ethnic set all of which are 16 bit samples this drum machine is a great bargain! Its partner in crime is the MMT-8 sequencer. But the HR-16 has its own sequencer with 100 patterns and 100 songs available. The drum tones can be tuned, have individual level controls for mixing, and there is 16 voice polyphony which means up to 16 drum tones can be used within a pattern. Patterns are programmed in either step or real-time. With external click inputs and Midi, the HR-16 is capable of integrating your older drum machines or sequencers with Midi systems! The drum sounds, however, are pretty cheesy.

Alesis HR-16B Image

Alesis HR-16B

The updated HR-16B model had lots of new sounds cool for enough techno and electronic music. And it still costs about the same price. It is possible that some HR-16's may have been modified to use the HR-16B's ROM chip to get those sounds. The HR-16 is gray and the HR-16B is black. Either one makes a handy little drum machine that's so cheap these days that it is more than worth adding to your studio - it just might come in handy one day. It is used by Orbital, The Grid, Autechre, Sub Dub and the Stereo MC's.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Alesis HR-16? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

40 Visitor comments
November 13, 2013 @ 2:38 pm
Check out David Haynes on (what I think is) an HR-16B
Rick L
October 2, 2013 @ 7:31 pm
I bought the HR16 when it first came out, and still have it. I absolutely love how easy it is to program and edit. The sounds are definitely limited quality-wise, especially the bass drum. But it was so easy to use, and was very similar to logic of my ESQ1 keyboard that I also still have (but is not currently in working condition). I haven't done much writing lately, but will still pull out the HR16 when I'm in the creative phase.
August 11, 2013 @ 3:02 am
This may seem silly, but the HR-16 has some of the best, mix-friendly hihats. If you want hihats that are clearly from a drum machine yet still sit well in a mix like live hihats do (not as upfront as most drum machine hihats naturally are), then the HR-16 is great. Some of the snares and extra percussion sounds (especially claps, snaps, and shakers) are really nice too, especially when tuned down (or, sometimes, up). The kicks are ok, but not really worth your time, except perhaps to layer with a bassier kick (sometimes I layer it with a subby 808-style kick from my MFB-503, which works).
June 23, 2013 @ 4:57 am
HR16 has nice programming (if you find the right key combination, it
displays credits for O/S author :) ). had both versions, but sold, bcs
the sounds weren't what i wanted at the time. the SR16 inherits
all the programming, but adds very useful play/record mode toggle,
which allows droppîng in/out of record mode without stopping,
something amazingly few drumboxes allow. am waiting for delivery
of a grey HR now, so we'll see if i like the sounds now..
April 29, 2013 @ 12:40 am
I remember putting these out on the demo floor at the music store I worked at. Compared to the Roland drum machines, they felt incredibly cheap and flimsy and didn't sound as nice. They also had that completely ugly late 80s styling that was starting to pop up everywhere. Yuck all around. I'd skip this. There's nothing here you can't do with a plug-in or a better quality new model drum machine.
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  • 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 - Samples of some Drum tones from the HR-16.

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

  • Specifications
  • Drum Sounds - 49: 10 bass drums, 7 snares, 5 toms, 2 open hihats, 1 closed hat, 3 cymbals, Hi/Low congas, 2 woodblocks, 2 maracas, 2 cowbells, claves, cabasa, shaker, agogo, triangle, tambourine, handclaps, finger snap, side stick
  • Samples - 16 bit samples
  • Patterns - 100
  • Songs - 100
  • Effects - None
  • Keyboard - 16 pads
  • Polyphony - 16 voices
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987/88
    HR-16B - 1989
  • Resources & Credits
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