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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40 Visitor comments
September 10, 2010 @ 11:55 am
Bought mine in 1989. I still have it now. I used to backup my pattern and song data on tape and loaded them by reversing the process. Layer the sounds and you have a thundering drum track. I learned more about beat programming on this machine than any other I used. Software sequencing was a breeze because of this.
July 29, 2010 @ 1:04 pm
I just got the HR-16 about an hour ago. 70USD from Ebay. I must say it's pretty worth the money. The drum sounds alone are not the best (although I think the same thing about the Roland TR-808, too), but I think with some effects pedals and resonant filters, this could be a live trance showd work horse. I really love the tunable pads. I set 13 of the pads to the "small wood block" sound and tuned them to a chromatic scale set up like a 1 octave piano keyboard, so now I have an interesting little melody sequencer and 3 pads for bass, snare/clap, and hi-hats, which are really the only drums I think i'll really need. This machine is definitely a fun toy that is easy to use. Everything you need to know to use this machine is written in the fold-up panel on top. I've only had it for an hour but I already understand how to copy patterns, erase patterns, edit the pads, etc.
May 5, 2010 @ 2:35 pm
I bought my HR-16B in 1989 and I still love it. You can get these super fat sounds by layering sounds on top of each other and detuning them, or make giant toms by tuning them way down or very electronic beats by bringing the pitch up. The resolution is a bit gritty by today's standards, but it's a compromise I'm willing to make. A very fun machine to dork around with on a rainy afternoon.
February 2, 2010 @ 7:35 pm
Just got this drum machine today for 30$ it sounds good
January 31, 2010 @ 12:35 am
I know were to get one for 30$ and it going to be awsome im going to try this out
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 3.6 (299 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
  • Resources & Credits
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