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Alesis SR-18 Reviews

4.0 stars based on 13 customer reviews
Questions about the Alesis SR-18?

Questions about the Alesis SR-18?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    For years the Alesis SR16 drum machine has been all over records everywhere. It just has this signature sound and an easy-to-use sequencer. The new SR18 has all of that and more, just look at all of the new features listed above. I love the new screen on this. You can actually see it now! If you love your SR16, pick up the SR18, you will add new sounds and breathe new life into your recordings.

  • Customer
    from April 18, 2015Music Background:
    Guitarist/Vocalist in Trio Covering All Styles

    Impressively Designed For Live Performance

    I have been working with the SR18 for 2 years now and own two of them. The more I use it the more I am impressed with the design of this unit. It took a little time to get familiar with the programming functions but once mastered it is a breeze to work with. I am most impressed with is the A & B and associated Fill pattern concept. Once I figured out the ground rules, which the manual does a very good job of describing providing you read it carefully, I have found ways of utilizing them to maximize the available memory - not sure the designers anticipated some of the things I have been able to do utilizing the FILL patterns but if they did then I'm even more impressed with the thought that went into this design. In live performance the START STOP and FILL functions are excellent and even in SONG mode you can extend your performance to suit the situation so you are not bound by your original programming - pretty cool !! The copy function allows for movement to and from all of the A&B & FILL patterns and the tempo program change within patterns in SONG mode allows for the addition of even more expression in your live performances. It is impressive sonically and the availability of four assignable outputs allows for even greater control over the final FOH sound and if desired isolation of your count in.
    I could go on but I will just wrap up by saying if you are considering adding electronic drums to your solo act or group this is, in my opinion, a unit you should seriously consider.

  • Larry Weddington
    from Dallas January 6, 2014Music Background:
    Pro musician/ recording (private studio)/ song writing

    More than drums

    I was overwhelmed at first, how to record with songs that change tempos, or types of beats, like Def Leppard does. The sounds are outstanding, the percussion add-ons are as well. I usually mute the bas due to octave changes but will use to begin a key in writing.
    I LOVE IT! Even though I own Tama set, and DW set. Usine Meine cymbals for TAMA, and combonation of Zildjan and Paiste for DW set.

  • len shryock
    from canton ohio January 11, 2012Music Background:
    Rec.eng.pro musician.luthier.inst.builder.

    The SR-18 is a great machine.

    I am still learning things it will do.

  • Anthony Jennings
    from Covington, KY USA October 22, 2011Music Background:
    Semi-Pro Musician, Engineer, Producer

    One of the best!!

    I own two SR-18's,two SR-16's and one SR-16 eqivalent Performance Pad. The sounds in the SR 16 have served me well for years but I was able to get my hands on the 18 right after having programmed nearly an albums worth of drums on the 16 (and after already having recorded the 16). In other words I was in a position do a proper A/B and see the clear difference between the units. First I had no serious intention of replacing the drums as the sounds on the 16 did the trick-that is until I heard the kicks. The kicks seemed to be more contemporary and modern having a somewaht lower focus. I think they were recorded into the machine using some of the more modern kick mics (like the Audix-D6) Then I noticed the cymbals. On the 16 you could simply change cymbal pitches to vary the hi, mid and low crashes-and this worked for me previously. The cymbals have more variety and sound more "real" to me. They seemed more 3D than the 16's comparatively 2D sound. What was the final nail in the coffin for the 16's parts being replaced were the 18's toms. They were fuller,meatier, more gutteral than the 16's. Though I had no intention of using the bass patches (as I am a bassist), through just messing around I did write a bass part for another song that will now be included on the current project. So the bass sounds are good. Another reviewer mentioned about the main and aux sounds leaking into each other. I did not find this to be the case. In fact the channel leaking or "cross talk" was significantly better on the 18 than the 16. My suspicion is that he probably had the reverb on and that is waht he was hearing. As for programming hardness/easiness that is always a subjective issue. Having logged literally thousands of hours on the 16 (had them since they came out). I did wish the programming was similar so I could work fast but no, it is not the same.....BUT!...ther are some improvements for example lets say you wanted to step edit a part you coulddn't play with fingers (say a complex fill) and you wanted to change quantization in the middle of the pattern on the 16 you'd go back to the beginning of the part with each change on the 18 you can change and stay right where you are. This was a godsend as some of my patterns were quite long and the fills sometimes needed the quantization high or off-to sound more human (waiting through every quant tic took forever! Now you can set the quant low scroll to where you want to be then change the quant back higher ,COOL!! Overall the 18 is WAY better however I did still use two of the 16's snares and the random wet hi hat. The verdict? If you hadn't heard the 18 then the 16 is a great machine and I would use it with no complaints (in fact since I'm faster on the 16 I STILL program with it ) but having heard the 18 it is now my go to unit. I use the 16 to drive the 18 via MIDI. One reviewer mentioned it's difficult programming. Look, every tool since the invention of fire has a learning curve. More features means more learning. You can't expect to fly the Space Shuttle after have gotten you driver's liscence without LEARNING! If you can't get anything out of the 18 (or the 16 for that matter) programming wise (or sonically) then I don't think any other drum machine is going to make a difference. I didn't even mention the effects-I mean Alesis MAKES multieffectors so you know what you're getting.The EQ/compression presets are dramatic enough that to me they expand the 500 sounds into sonically even MORE sounds! I Will probably get one more SR-18 for my next project!

  • Rik Neal
    from Jacksonville Fl. July 18, 2011Music Background:
    1rst. Band at 14-On the road at 17,The Rest Is History!!

    All I'm Saying

    I am a Guitar Player 4 about 35 some yrs. The SR-16 Has kept me ALIVE more than one time!! I have wrote more song's on that damm machine , ZAPPA would be proud!! I for 1 That can not wait to get this "LIL" Baby into the Studio!! The 16 was the BEST Drummer I ever had!! NEVER Late-No Drug's-A Meter 2 kill for,And the KOOLIST Thang about that Dude is,He ALWAY'S Wanted 2 Play EVERY SONG That I Did!! NOW-That'z a Hard Drummer 2 Find!! Oh Ya ,NO EGO

  • TinMaN
    from USA January 25, 2016

    Sr18 Took A while..Operator Error :)

    All but the Bass I love it. It took a bit to figure the presets to user to song and think the instructions can be explained easier for dimwits like me,... Yeah, I said it. but doing well now and I love it. just need to stay patient and stay on it. Got fed up with Boss Roland and cards that failed along with their machines. Wont buy ther crap anymore.

  • Mike R
    from Connecticut January 4, 2010Music Background:
    bass player

    SR-16 is great too

    I am a bass player and I absolutely love my SR-16. I am anxious to try out the new SR-18 too. I only use the preset patterns because I still haven't figured out how to program the thing. Its not easy - actually its frustrating. The preset patterns do most of waht I need though. I just wish the SR-16 had a few more presets - a bo diddly beat and a walz pattern.

  • Rob A
    from Toronto Canada November 3, 2008Music Background:
    part time pro musicain

    This thing rocks!

    As I dug deeper into the unit I found the area's that had stumped me during my first session with it and I must conclude that this unit is very cool. I was able to set up patterns in no time and once I dug into the manual I was erasing and redoing things with ease. Lots of different styles are covered and infact too many good ones that I had a difficult time figuring out which ones to delete in the user bank in order to open more memory. There are about 25 free ones but that wouldn't last long for someone creative and this thing put me in the zone so at that point you either dump to your computer or you erase user presets I really like the bass sounds and in particular some of the synth bass sounds really rock. It's fairly intuitive once you delve into it which I really didn't do before I started thinking there were areas of annoyance. Not much here to dislike. For anyone, like myself, who likes to jam on their own or needs accompaniment for your idea's, I'm thinking this unit won't let you down. These are software times but I'm atill a hardware guy and this thing is quite inspiring and these drum sounds are really nice to my ears. I did find on one occasion that it acted a bit quirky and wouldn't allow me to record a bass line so I shut it off and turned it back on and returned to my user preset and all was fine. Perhaps I did something as the bass part was flashing and somehow I couldn't figure out how to change that. Overall it's very good and I give this unit a solid 8.5 out of 10. Nice job Alesis!

  • William Dennis
    from Newport, RI USA October 29, 2013Music Background:
    Rocking sense 1961

    Let there be drums.

    At first I was disappointed. Once I found out how to turn off the Bass. I could fit the beats to my music. I like being able to speed up or slow down the beats without changing the pitch. This makes the machine more creative and there is no end to what I can learn from it. My drummer friends don't like it. ( job security ). The 5 th star comes after I learn to use it more.

  • Garry Myers
    from Dallas, Oregon May 10, 2008Music Background:
    A little bit of everything!

    20 years later and still no Software Editor!

    The drums in 24-Bit sound great. The method in how you are required to build patterns and songs hasn't changed. One thing that I wish would have changed or that some programming guru would provide is a software editor/ patter/ song creator. Why not? Don't tell me "But it's so easy on the SR-18 / SR-16!" Software always makes things easier! You would think Alesis after waiting 20 years to follow up the SR-16 they would have gone just a little bit further and provided some PC/MAC editior...this is the 21st century right?

    Don't get me wrong, the presets are great. But and editor would have made this piece of gear over the top!
    Come on Alesis hire a software engineer and do us all a favor!

  • DJ R.T.L.™
    from Rock Island, IL May 8, 2008Music Background:
    DJ, Musician, Songwriter, Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer

    Good Drum Machine

    Within a few hours taking the SR-18 out of the box I had already programmed my own original song without even reading the users manual. The on board sounds are truly amazing and very high quality. The ease of use is great. You can go back and edit every step and beat of a pattern or song while it's stopped, or add/erase sounds in real time while looping. The Effects, EQ and Compression sound great. Tons of memory, great customization options for drum sets and tweaking and tuning individual sounds. Quantization and Swing settings for rolls are fantastic features.
    I have thus far only found two sizable flaws with this machine. One, the velocity is useless! You have to practically hit one of the pads with a hammer to hear a noticeable difference in volume from slightly pressing it, no matter which setting you have the velocity on. You can go back and change the volumes of each step manually, but it'd be much nicer to be able to have a more capable velocity control for live use. The second problem is that the main and aux outputs leak into each other. So if you want to send the drum and percussion layers to the separate outputs for simultaneous recording purposes, you're going to get some low level spill that will muddy up your track. But this can be worked around by recording one layer at a time.
    Overall I am impressed with this machine, you can't beat it for the price. I would definitely recommend this product. You just have to hear it for yourself!

  • Daniel mason
    from January 27, 2017

    Alesis sr18

    Alesis SR18 is an awesome machine except for 2 problems...I've had to replace power source cord twice in 2 yrs. Also it drains break batteries very quickly. .....

  • Disgruntled with Engineers
    from Ft Wayne Indiana November 18, 2014Music Background:
    Song writer and Recording Hobbyist

    Too Much Stuff, Too Little Thought

    Okay, let me start by saying I have no problem with the drum sounds or the sequencing or the creation of users defined patterns or songs. No problems. Well done, and intuitive. Picked that stuff fairly quickly.

    The problem is the BASS. Most (if not all, I haven't checked out all the factory presets yet) of the preset patterns have a bass line already in them. And you can't delete or turn down the bass. I didn't want a bass machine or a rhythm section machine. I wanted a drum machine. I AM A BASS PLAYER for crying out loud! I was so dissappointed in this aspect of the unit. I saw that if you copy the presets into the user defined areas, you can then turn the bass off or down. Really? Why not just have a function to turn the bass off/down and leave it in the preset area, Alesis??? This is another classic example of engineers over doing it. There are so many beeps and dings and apps and extra gizmos on everything you buy today from cars to greeting cards because some overpaid and undersupervised engineer thought it would be "cool". Don't give me what YOU want to because YOU think it's cool. Give me what I want. Give me what I need. An item has been engineered to perfection when the engineer can think of nothing else to TAKE AWAY, not when they can no longer think of something else to ADD.

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