Alesis SR-16

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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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Demos & Media

Audio Clip 1 Hear the on-board Demo track.
ManualAlesis have made manuals and program charts for many of their products available on-line, for free download as .PDF files!


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


Images from Alesis Online

Additional info by John Hilfing.

Reviewed November 2007.