rrrabuyvsvsveytfazersurdwarubawvev0% Interest for 24 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
June 2017 Giveaway

Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine Reviews

4.5 stars based on 20 customer reviews
Questions about the Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine?

Questions about the Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    The SR-16 takes an "old-fashioned" drum machine approach, but with cutting-edge new features. Plus, it has a versatility that was unimaginable in electronic percussion a few years ago!

  • from central PA March 2, 2017Music Background:
    semi-pro 150+ annually

    ez and faithful

    I too have been using this for live duo performances with my guitar and a bass player. We do plenty of shows a year and I just keep adding new songs all the time to our repertoire and I'm always able to find a preset that works. I stop/start with a foot control..and it's always consistant, it doesn't over play, always on time and best of all, I don't have to pay it. I intend to but another one if and when this one craps out.

  • from Key West, FL September 5, 2016Music Background:
    Retired Semi Pro Player

    Great Drum Machine & OUTSTANDING Customer Service

    The Alesis SR-16 is a great drum machine easy to use comes set up and ready to use right out of the box. I play keyboards, sax, accordion and steel drums. Worked for many years in the Philadelphia/New Jersey markets. Had one of these units years ago liked it then not let down now. Shoot out to Sam for his OUTSTANDING customer service and fast FREE shipping! I'll be back!

  • from Vandalia, Illinois August 19, 2016

    Old Faithful

    I perform solo and have used the Alesis SR-16 since 1995 with no problems. I use the Yamaha FC5 fs with it to stop and start it. For ease of use and true drum sounds it's perfect! In fact I've just ordered another one so I'll always have one. It's a crucial part of my act, and I have put in many hours searching for the right beats for my songs. I play guitar and sing along with the Alesis. I use a small Peavey bass amp and also run it stereo into a Peavey Pa system. While it's true that there are some beats not available to fit certain songs I stick with songs that it will do, and it will do most. I have become a pro at picking out the best beats from using it. I wouldn't want to be without it. I bought the first one from a friend and it's still going strong. I felt that if for some reason it wouldn't be available anymore I'd be real sorry. I'm sure the 18 is great, but I'm used to this one. I have my acoustic rig upastairs and my electic setup in my living room. Anyway, it makes me happy! I don't like having to move stuff any more than I have to. Long story short, I'm making sure I'll always have one and will gig with the new one. Have fun and remember, everything in moderation!

  • from San Diego CA April 5, 2016

    SR 16

    Completely satisfied with the drum machine, and the prompt delivery. I also appreciate the way you guys stay in touch throughout the delivery process. Outstanding! Expect more business from me

  • from January 28, 2016

    Wish they would come out with an SR20

    I have the SR18 and its just perfect. I hope Alesis decides to make an SR20. I would buy it.

  • from USA April 18, 2015Music Background:

    Alesis SR-16

    The SR-16 Drum Machine what can’t I say about this fine-tuned instrument The Alesis SR16 is among one of the most basic drum machines youll find. This drum machine went into product in the early 1990s and nothing has changed since its initial release. There are 50 preset patterns and 233 different drum sounds. Running out of memory can be an issue with the SR16 because there are only 50 user presets.

    Like most of these older drum machines, the main purpose of this beat maker is to simply replace a drummer in a live performance situation. The SR16 has two inputs for foot pedals, so you can have hands-free control over starting and stopping your drum loops as well as adding fills when you desire if you want more than take a look at the Beat Thang this is highly adaptable however its more suitable in my opinion for a Disk Jockey and not a musician.
    You heard first from the HITMAN

  • from Milky Way Galaxy April 17, 2015Music Background:
    Hobbyist (Write and record Gospel Music)

    Simple but effective

    Excellent product, and excellent price. This thing just gets the job done, and there are some great tutorials on you tube that will have you up and running in no time! This is my new favorite gadget, (that will probably last for about a week), and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this beast, you need one! Thanks again to Nate Edwards, and Sweetwater, always helpful, and great selection and prices!:)

  • from Florida March 19, 2015Music Background:
    Singer/Songwriter, Recording Artist, Performer

    WOW this is a great product

    I was seriously surprised at : A) how easy this machine is to use and, B.) the quality of the drum sounds. You can tell that these are REAL drum sounds and not computerized beats. I am blown away by how inexpensive this machine is for the quality and ease that it offers. Alesis really is an awesome company. Would definitely recommend

  • from Port Washington Wi. USA December 3, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician Recording Engineer and Composer

    Great replacement!!

    The SR-16 remains the best rhythm machine on the market! One of the features is it quantizes the beat when in compose mode and the reproduction of drums and cymbals are very authentic fantastic machine!

  • from Glenpool, OK January 27, 2012Music Background:
    life-long hobbyist

    Alesis SR-16: you know when you've found the best!

    A simple, yet thorough ccombination of fx and options that is beyond
    expectation in this affordable price range!

    The 60+ page reference manual alone is a strong indication of the abilities of this instrument. Your imagination and creativity (or lack thereof) is the main limitation of this really cool machine.

  • from oakland December 28, 2010Music Background:

    Still Rocking

    I bought this machine in 94 and still use it . I have made several records with it . I bought the SR 18 and tried it because it was the new update but I found the snares suck.. and it is harder to use than the SR-16 - I sending the new SR-18 back today and buying a new SR-16 (the scriptonmy pads are worn. 16 years and this think still kicks ass.

  • from Richmond, VA April 7, 2007

    Great drum machine - great value

    This is a simple, easy-to-use and power drum machine. Large selection of quality sounds, ability to select individual drums, etc. and save as a custom kit. Easy to save patterns and songs.

    Best part is the touch sensitive pads combined with the ability to slow down the recording of a pattern. You can really do some cool, realistic stuff.

  • from Utah May 19, 2017

    I Had To Get Another One.

    I bought my first SR 16 several years ago when I was writing a lot of songs. I was amazed at how easy it was to use, and the wide selection of patterns to choose from. It was just what needed to record drum parts for my song demo discs at the time. The ability to use a couple of foot switches to start and stop the machine and change parts is not only useful in recording, but also in live performances as well. Another musician and I still play together in small programs where we often don't have room for a drum set, the SR 16 gives us the ability to have drum accompanyments anywhere we play, even when we're in cramped quarters or playing places like rest homes where some people might consider a drum set to be offensive. Unfortunately, I let a friend borrow it and I never got it back. (I guess someone must have appreciated the features as much as I did). After "losing" my first one, a friend of mine wrote a song and asked if I could put some music to it. Right away I thought about the Alesis SR 16 and realized that I HAD TO get another one.

  • from Idaho March 3, 2016

    Easy to use, authentic sound

    The sales crew at Sweetwater didn't steer me wrong. They answered all my questions and I purchased this drum machine. It has loads of beats (except 3/4 time, doesn't do that but you can program it in, just takes a little more time), easy to use and adjust. The sound is authentic, not canned, tinny. Well worth the money.

  • from warren R.I. U.S.A. July 1, 2013Music Background:
    hobbyist- and then some.

    Alesis SR-16

    I think it is a great drum machine. you can't beat the 149.99 price tag. It is user friendly and it sounds great. Great drum sounds and you can use it all kinds of ways and it won't ever let you down. I have my SR-16 for over 4 years and it still sounds great or better yet, like brand new. If you need a small but excellent drum machine this is the one to get.

  • from Dallas November 20, 2016

    Rock solid classic

    There is a reason why this has been around for several decades. It is not because it can produce classic junky dinks, donks and hisses like the Japanese junk of the day, but because it produces realistic drums. (The only thing old and corny are the hand claps, but that doesn't mean you have to put this into your kit.

    Create your kit, decide how many sections you want in your song, tap to create the section and overdub as much as you want, repeat for each section, then create fills and turnarounds. String them together as a song. If you want to expand a part for an impromptu music solo, connect the footswitch and repeat a section. You can also arrange the pan and so-on. It is very easy.

    Frankly, the only shortcoming is with the user. A great drum performance requires a great drummer. To really make this unit sing, you need to listen to a lot of music and hear what the drummer is doing, then program it in hit by hit. You should also match the drummer to the kind of music you want to make. People like Lars Ulrich, Mitch Mitchell, Phil Collins and Alex Van Halen are all great, but you have to match the style to the music.

    I had an original Alesis HR-16 and, to increase voices, I added a HR-16B. I produced a ton of sessions on that pair, including some big sessions for film soundtracks. They sounded great. The SR-16 replaced the pair of them. The earlier versions had larger pad areas, which I preferred, but the SR-16 is a better unit overall. Besides, by that time, I had begun to to all my sequencing externally and was able to use the SR-16 as a sound module. It was at that point that I transitioned away.

    For anyone who needs to put together some serious drum tracks and they have put in enough listening time to be able to put together a realistic rhythms, this is a great tool to have, plus it plays well with other systems and is compact and portable.

  • from Scarborough, ON Canada June 7, 2011Music Background:
    Former Pro Musician, Engineer, Composer

    Biggest Bang For The Buck

    I was already familiar with Alesis products I had the HR-16, MMT 8 and a synth back in the 1980's. I had high expectations when I purchased the SR-16 and though it has not yet been put to task it has been tested. Once again Alesis has not disappointed the sounds produced by the SR-16 rival many other 24 bit machines. And at 1/2 the cost in most cases. This Drum Machine I very highly recommend if you have not heard it yet drop into Sweetwater for a demo. Their sales staff are fabulous and would be happy to show you all that this little 16 bit Drum Machine can do. You'll be very happy you checked it out because for the price there isn't much that this little monster can not accomplish. Also this is my second SR-16 bought at Sweetwater a friend dropped by and I fired up the first SR-16 I had at the time. He also could not believe his ears and ease of programming and offered twice what I paid to get it here. I sold it to him for $300.00 and immediately bought another from Sweetwater. I'm a Sweetwater client for almost 2-years now their location well is as mine miles apart but dealing with Sweetwater or if just a question the answer comes as quickly as picking up the phone or sending off an email to my Sales Professional. In my humble opinion Sweetwater is the store that all should be modeled after. Half of your search is already complete if you decide to purchase from Sweetwater. They do not carry product simply because competitors do the equipment at Sweetwater has been put through its paces tested thoroughly for two reasons. Sweetwater wants to know the limits of the top quality gear they sell and in doing so removes any concerns that we the buyers might have. My only wish is that they'd consider opening a store in Ontario. Good-job.

  • from Seattle, WA USA April 9, 2007Music Background:
    Hobbyist and experimental gear collector

    Legend in its own time...

    I am a guitar player/bass player with my roots deep in punk flavored metal/hardcore. I am most fond of experimenting with pedals, processors and gear for the sheer sake of pushing them to limits to see what kind of unintended noise they can make. In that spirit, I randomly decided to buy the SR-16, I have read countless favorable reviews and personally have had positive experiences with Alesis gear (their Microverb4). It costs less than many popular guitar effects boxes yet does a whole lot more than most one trick pony machines. The sales guy in the pro audio dept. of the large chain where I bought it was helpful and told me the SR-16 was basically the same machine it was 10 or 12 years ago, except now it had a headphone jack, I like that, and so do my cats. I am new to experimenting with electronic beats and keys and synths and such. I bought the SR-16 based on its rep as a feature empty workhorse with a large fanbase. All I really wanted was the ability to put fast, synthetic sounding beats behind raw junky sounding guitar. It will do that, but it does much more. If you want tech specs, search the web there are plenty. All I know is that the SR-16 is way easy to learn and use, even for a meathead like me who can only turn distortion box knobs and step on things. Some of the sounds and beats are somewhat dated, as I hear they've not updated them over the product's history. Some sounds are reminiscent of demos on old Casio keyboard trainers for kids, awash in poppy reverb and smacking of basement produced dance parties. That's part of the charm of the SR-16, there are more feature laden machines out there, but none that deliver classic basic sounds on a budget. This is the white work van of drum machines, it does not promise the future, butaffirms that oftentimes basic is best. I trust Alesis too, after owning the Microverb IV for 8 or so years. It's never had a proper home in a rack, it's been stepped on, fallen from amps and stage setups and been loaned to careless musicians, yet almost a decade later it works EXACTLY as it did when new. The SR-16 is plastic and rubber but I believe it's manufactured with Alesis' subtle reputation in mind. I keep mine in the box when not using it but it gets used and I tend to punch the velocity sensitive keys to their limit. As this is the digital emulation of a collection of objects meant to be hit violently with sticks, it had better hold up to some abuse!! I have read accounts of spilled beer, water, rain and errant crowd members all doing their best to ruin someone's SR-16 to no avail. This standard seems to take a beating and deliver classic basic beats and kits. I still have not explored mine or pushed it as far as I want to, but rest assured it will continue to get use, even if I'm just making noise through headphones to try to blast through a night of insomnia.

  • from vangeloni@mac.com July 8, 2006Music Background:

    Dependable little box

    My Alesis SR-16 was originally purchased when it was first introduced back in the early 90's. I have had no problems whatsoever with this unit and it continues to serve me well. The User Interface is simple and straight forward, with a great selection of drum kits given the low price. A dependable unit that is easy to program and use. Recommended highly for this price range.

  • from McKinney, TX USA April 11, 2008Music Background:
    Post Production Audio/Video Composer

    The True Warhorse of the Digital Age

    While it may not have the same rep as the old classic Analog boxes, this drum machine will likely forever hold the record of being the longest drum machine in production-period. I remember using this in my first band back in the early 90s and digging its crisp sounds and rock and roll feel. After using it on tons of tracks and hearing it in demo after demo, this piece truly stands the test of time and is a great value. If you need something just for a quick rhythm while you put together a track, you can get it from this little beast and not lose any inspiration while you boot your OS. Great piece that will likely be popular for years to come.


  • Paul Baker

    Being a guitar player and having a home studio is a lot of fun. When it comes to adding drum parts to my recordings, there are a lot of choices available. Software plug-ins have their place, but nothing beats the "feel" of having a piece of "hardware" to get your hands on! Enter the Alesis SR-16. Simply put, this is an easy to use product. Many options are available to use, but you can also keep things "moving" in your recording process by using the variety of drumkits, styles, and A/B fills. If you want to "tweak" things, you can. I found it very easy to use which increased my creative "drive". If you are looking for inexpensive and easy way to lay down some beats, this is it!

Questions about the Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine?

Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.

Type your question below or call us at (800) 222-4700

Thank You!

Thank you for your request. A Sweetwater Sales Engineer will get back to you shortly. You can also call us toll free at (800) 222-4700, Mon-Thu 9-9, Fri 9-8, and Sat 9-7 Eastern.

Enter the Giveaway