Alesis SR 16 Review – Buy or Not?

Drum machines are vital tools for, drummers, producers and musicians. It is priceless for any drummer or producer to invest in the right machine. This Alesis SR review is born out of the fact that it is one of the best brands around.

If you want quality, you need to research about the available drum machines in the market and analyze your requirements.

Also, it is essential to consider a giant, well-known brand.Alesis is among the oldest brands in the market. Their product, Alesis SR 16, has been in the market for about thirty years.

For various good reasons, this electronic drum pad has been one of the best-selling machines. So, if you want a quality and simple drum machine, it is worth considering.

This review will help to understand the predominant features of this drum pad. It will also help you to know why this might just be the right drum pad for you.


Alesis SR 16 – Best for Beginners


Things we liked

It is trendy in the market
It offers a decent quality sound
It is lightweight and has a compact size
It is simple to use, very intuitive
It is an excellent sounds and patterns bank

Things we didn’t like

It is ideal for basic functions only
It has limited MIDI Options
It has no backlight
It is not good enough for studio work

Despite this simplicity Alesis drum machine being easy to use, it comes other great features. It has an excellent electronic percussion. Its sound quality is quite good as well.

Besides, this SR-16 drum machine is a perfect practice set. You can program it effortlessly and has many preset patterns. Also, it has many touch sensitivity buttons, among other features.

Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine Review

This SR 16 drum machine has been in the market for quite a long time. Since 1990, this machine has been in the market. Due to its excellent specs, Alesis SR 16 is still competitive in the current market. It has become one of the favorite drum machines for most musicians and producers.

Also read:

Read Article: 8 Best Drum Machines, how he passed the test among other Drum Machines.

Who is this Machine Best Suited for?

The Alesis SR16 drum machine has been of great use to the music industry. It is a machine of choice for mostremix engineers, song writers, and live performers.

It has 233 natural drum sounds as well. As such, the sounds in question makes it a perfect toy for songwriters, producers, and DJs.

Besides, it is also a very reliable machine due to its fantastic overall performance. This reliability makes this SR16 drum machine ideal for live performances.

What is in the box?

Despite this drum machine being one of the legendary machines, it has a lot to offer. As such, its features have held its solid appeal over the years. Some of its great features are as follows:

  • 233 sound samples
  • Digital effects
  • Customizable sounds
  • 12 velocity sensitive pads
  • 16 voice polyphony
  • 20 – 255 BPM tempo range
  • 200 user presets and 50 kits
  • 200 factory presets and 50 kits
  • 2 stereo pair
  • Two-foot switch jacks
  • MIDI support that enables you to use it with e-drum kits, computers, and keyboards.
  • 2.5 lbs

Features of Alesis SR16

For any drum machine to be in the market for three decades, its performance must be great. Alesis SR 16 is not exceptional. It has a wide range of features that enhances its overall performance. Let’s have a look at some of the features in question.

Sound Quality

For any drummer or music producer, sound quality is always a very crucial consideration. Although the machine in question is pretty old, its sound quality is admirable.

The kits 50 samples recording is done in the studio. Moreover, they are done with real drums and percussion. As such, the kits 50 samples offers a fantastic sound quality.

So, if you want a fantastic drum machine for live performance, consider Alesis SR16. Also, you might need when composing your music. It has rhythm variation buttons and two fill groups.

However, it does not offer the best quality for studio recordings. Apart from it having just 24-bit sound samples, they are fairly hard to mix. So, although it can work well in studio recording, it needs a lot of work.

Likewise, you can use MIDI sounds and connect this drum machine with several MIDI controllers. However, it is very demanding to set up the sound properly.

Easy to Program

Among many drum machines, Alesis SR16 is one of the easiest to program. Its interface is simple and user friendly. Since it doesn’t require you to be a professional, it is the best machine for practice. As a result, you can perfect your expertise with gradual practice.

Compact and Lightweight

This SR 16 drum machine is very portable due to its lightweight. It only weighs 25 lbs and has a compact design. As such, you can carry it to a live concert with easy. Besides, you can store it in a small space, thanks to its compact dimensions.

Touch Buttons Sensitivity

Despite the SR 16 measuring 9.25×6.5 inches only, it has many touch buttons. As a result, it is easy for to navigate through the menu and other settings control.

Moreover, this machine has velocity sensitivity pads. Velocity response has eight levels that you can use for various purposes. For instance, you can assign different drum sounds to each level of velocity.

Also, this feature enables you control the dynamics perfectly. This feature is unique for an old-school electronic drum such as Alesis SR16.


The Alesis SR 16 has various inputs and output ports. In total, this SR16 machine has four output ports. They include Aux, Headphones, right and left. 

Alesis SR-16 backside of the product how you know connect the product
Alesis SR-16 backside of the product

Also, it has MIDI ins and outs, and two foot switch inputs. If you are an average user, these connectivity ports are more than enough.

Excellent Practice Set

The Alesis SR 16 machine has 24-bit sound engine. Besides, it comes with 233 preset drum sounds that are natural sounding. As a result, this drum machine becomes ideal for practice.

50 Preset Patterns

When using Alesis SR 16, it is easy to sketch your song arrangement. It has 50 preset patterns, which you can access even without programming.  

Different pro drummers can play each of the 50 preset patterns in question. Also, every preset has A and B variations and two fill sections.

Sound Clarity

The Alesis SR 16 drum machine provides a clear sound. As such, it takes your listening and operating experience to a higher notch. So, you can effortlessly catch each beat of the composition.

Perfect for Solo Performance

The SR 16 drum machine has a comprehensive sound precision and production. As a result, it is suitable for rhythm control and song writing purposes. Therefore, it is one of the perfect machines that you can use for solo performances.

12 Velocity Sensitive Drum Pads

If you want to the grooves manually, this is the drum machine for you. Alesis SR 16 device has 12 velocity sensitive drum pads, which are ideal for drum sounds.  So, this feature creates a room for you to be as creative as possible.

12 v Power Adapter

This Alesis SR 16 machine comes with a 12 V power adapter. So, when using this machine, you are sure of a power supply. When it comes to drum machines, lack of power is one of the things that can limit your performance.

Alternatives to the Alesis SR 16

If the Alesis SR 16 is not suitable for your needs, you can consider other alternatives. There are other great drum machines for you in the market. Alesis SR18 is one of them.

It is a great successor of the SR 16, and it maintains a similar design and concept principles. However, its hardware is more updated.

But, there is no much difference between the two drum machines. A new LCD screen is the most notable upgrade of the hardware in question. However, it is of great importance, mostly when using it in the dark.

Likewise, the software has also been updated in this Alesis SR18. As such, it has more drum 50 user sound samples.

The bigger memory in this SR18 has your rights reserved. It allows you to save more of your work.

Also, it has a faster processor, among other similar features. Finally, the manufacturers claim to have improved the sound quality significantly.

The Major Downsides of Alesis SR 16


Although this SR 16 has a friendly user interface, it is not the best for studio recordings. Its 24-bit sound samples are not adequate for a spectacular quality.

Besides, they are hard to mix as well. As such, the SR 16 you will need to do a lot of work if you want quality studio recordings.  

Another setback for this machine is the lack of a backlight. Therefore, it can be challenging to use Alesis SR 16 in the dark. You might need an external source of light for this purpose.


What are the benefits of using Alesis SR 16?

This Machine is very simple to use due to its user-friendly interface. Also, it is small and lightweight, hence making it very portable.
A large sound database is another thing you will enjoy when using SR 16. It has 12 velocity sensitive pads that make your sound quality more superb.

Can I use Alesis SR 16 on a battery?

You can use this machine with a battery. But, you will need to use an AC inverter. Therefore, you cannot use some batteries, such as AA cells, to run this device.

Can I save my own beats on the SR 16 drum machine?

This Alesis SR 16 has your work saving rights reserved. It has 50 empty slots where you can save your work.  
As such, you do not have to worry about your work getting lost. It comes with 50 preset sounds as well.

What do I need to record SR 16 to my computer?

Recording Alesis Sr 16 from your computer is quite easy. You can use an audio interface for this purpose. Also, you can peg the MIDI signals to the music production software.   

Which speaker system should I use for SR 16 machine?

There is no specific type of speakers recommended for this device. You can choose your most preferred type of speakers.
However, you should choose the speaker in question depending on your application for this drum.


Alesis SR16 drum machine is a serious player in the market. Although it has some few limitations, it still has a lot to offer. As such, most DJs, musicians, and producers use it as their standard equipment.

It has a good sound quality, which makes your practice and listening better. Lots of sounds in this machine make it easier for you to learn playing drum machines.

It is easier to use SR16 due to its simple controls. Moreover, it is lightweight and has compact dimensions. As such, you can easily transport it to your live performance events. It does not take much of your space as well.