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
October 5, 2011 @ 10:20 am
SR 16: good : midi in +thru together , 4 outs, foot switches well organised;
small,good for gig
50 user patterns A+B, plus 100 songs is enough ;)

bad: trigger-pads not impressive , lack of Backlight screen!!
too many snares and kicks, on the other side lack of ethnic+elec/tecno samples..programming is better from another midi device (keyboard, comp, or Ry machine) greetings from Serbia
August 24, 2011 @ 6:01 pm
I guess Godflesh used a HR-16 until they got a SR-16 in '93 like Evan said
Early Pitchshifter albums have a SR-16 on them as well IIRC because they wanted that Godflesh sound. Funny that you can find SR-16s in music schools all over the world (just like the Yamaha DX7) but in the right hands these are monster tools
August 19, 2011 @ 6:46 pm
marcus - on my SR-16, I have main and auxiliary out and can configure a drum hit to be on one out the other, I don't know if yours is a different version or what :S
May 9, 2011 @ 10:21 am
Now that you can pick up almost any drum machine on Ebay for the same money, you may as well look out for a Yamaha RY30 which was the best on the market in 1991 and still is! It has a sound, feel and specification that musicians appreciate. You can be very creative and also put in a real performance with it, plus you can expand it with cards full of samples and there are plenty of connection sockets.
May 9, 2011 @ 10:21 am
I have used this machine many times since it was first released in a vain attempt to see what all the fuss was about, but alas I cannot. The problem for me is that the sounds have no depth and are very hard or clicky; the acoustic sounds are not that natural...far too exaggerated and processed sounding. The pads are too small and shiny for any half decent real-time drum work and despite the large number of on-board samples, most of them sound too similar.
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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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