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.

Lookup Alesis HR-16 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


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
October 16, 2009 @ 12:37 am
I usually layer the drums (10" snare with wood snare, Kick with gated kick, cymbal over cymbal etc...) you add some 'verb and a bit of delay, it sounds great!
July 30, 2009 @ 2:27 pm
Another simple and logically designed piece of gear from Alesis. Though some of the sounds are thin and dated sounding they can easily be tweaked with reverb, delay, layering, and compression. If you would rather make music than learn how the drum machine works, these babies are for you.
May 8, 2009 @ 3:41 am
I clocked a zillion hours on my hr-16, along with the mmt. Both pretty hardy pieces of equipment. But the sounds were really thin, just not up to par with 'real' music recordings... You could use one to reproduce 80s style music, but you'd be hard pressed to ever produce percussion tracks that ... have meat to them. If you don't need 'meat', then you're fine.
February 20, 2009 @ 7:16 pm
Have modify (circuit bent) your HR-16 or Hr-16:B for you. It's amazing once modified. I love mine!
January 11, 2009 @ 3:51 pm
HR-16B and the Matching MMT-8 combo was the best writing tool I ever used in my beginning year in school back in 1989-1993. Some of my best innovative recordings were created during that time. Alesis was ahead of themselves with this combo. Simple, accurate and just all around cool. These were the tools that hepled me understand MIDI.
The drums were so cool and distinctive that with the little microverb, your drum tracks really sound studio pro. Also a great drummers tool
for timing, rhythm composing and soloing to. Find one and keep it.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.59 (296 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 - 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

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.