Alesis SR-16

Alesis SR-16 Image

For serious programmers and those who want to use it as a sound module, the SR-16 provides comprehensive MIDI programming and MIDI implementation. In addition to more than 200 drum and rhythm samples (both in dry form or with reverb), a Dynamic Articulation feature enables a drum's tone to change, depending on how hard it's hit. Comes with fifty preset rhythm patterns (played in by top studio drummers), each with an A and B variation, plus A and B fill, for a total of four different rhythms in each pattern. Of course, you can create and save your own customized patterns and songs. Also includes four outputs, twelve velocity-sensitive pads, 16-voice polyphony, sample/DAC bit resolution 16/18, sound stacking, step editing and a 20-255BPM tempo range.

No doubt the SR-16 is a powerful drum machine, but ultimately it also sounds like a drum machine. If you need some drums to accompany your keyboard or guitar playing, for example, the SR-16 has been the go-to drum machine for many years. But all those bumper stickers about drum machines having no soul just might be directed at the SR-16. It may be a great tool for musicians but in the studio its sound just can't beat the real deal - or loops and more modern drum & percussion instruments and software. It has been used by Autechre and Vangelis.

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25 Visitor comments
February 21, 2010 @ 6:19 pm only drum machine and whilst it has great features the sounds themselves are a little uninspiring and mindnumbingly acoustic, the few electronic sounds are barely enough to put a kit together, however it makes a very good midi drum module and once i have finished circuit bending it it's true sonic potential may very well be realised!
January 29, 2010 @ 5:44 pm
I use this thing for hip hop, it sounds mad nice when you record thru analog FX onto tape.
July 30, 2009 @ 9:39 pm
this is fun to jam out patterns and maybe a little else if you get creative with it. a lot of reviews say it's cheesy that a lot of sounds have reverb on them, but I think it's kind of cool because there are dry versions of the same sounds, so you can switch between them in a pattern. also there are 2 groups you can assign pads to so they gate each other and that helps tighten up the massive 80s reverb. compared to the older hr-16 I thought it was odd that you can't play fills except while you're recording. also you can't pitch the sounds very far (-4 to +3). but there are 2 sets of outputs and you can circuit bend if you want to get more into the sounds.
July 7, 2009 @ 3:03 pm
I've had my SR-16 since the early 90's. Sound wise, This thing is nice for rock oriented music. For techno, house, and dance music, maybe not so much. There's not a lot of analog drum sounds in it. That said, the sounds it does have are really decent.
It IS a bit of a bear to program manually, but if you use a computer sequencer, or patch builder, it's not much of a problem.
The SR-16 is fairly sturdy. The only issue that I'm having with it now is that the volume pot needs cleaning and some of the drum pads are kind of getting extra sensative for some reason. But considering that I've had this thing for more than 10 years, that's a pretty good run for a little drum machine that I've carried around with me everywhere.
Walter Slavik
November 6, 2008 @ 5:25 am
I bought my SR-16 in 1991, as a replacement for a Roland TR-505; I had it for 17 years, and I didn’t find it very inspiring, actually I found it totally frustrating; I preferred the Roland for rhythmic patterns.
But the SR-16 sounds were light years ahead of the Roland, the frustration totally disappeared when I sold the SR-16, bought ADDICTIVE DRUMS software, and also bought an Alesis SR-18.
If I ever want SR-16 sounds there are some in the SR-18!
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 3.08 (199 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 - Hear the on-board Demo track.

    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 voice
  • Drum Sounds - Sounds: 233; Kits: 50 user, 50 preset
  • Patterns - 400 (200 user, 200 preset) with 12,000 note capacity
  • Songs - 100
  • Effects - Panning & Dynamic Articulation (modulates tone). Some samples have reverb & ambience in them.
  • Keyboard - 12 velocity sensitive Pads (w/Dynamic Articulation)
  • Control - MIDI (Change Kits, Sync: MIDI Clock/Song Position Pointer).
    Foot-switch Jacks/Functions: 2; start/stop, count/A/B/fill
  • Date Produced - 1990-2003
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Alesis Online

    Additional info by John Hilfing.

    Reviewed November 2007.

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