Virtual instruments haven’t completely taken over the world: the hardware drum machine concept is still alive and well, as seen by Alesis’ follow-up to their very successful and long-lived SR16. Is the ’18 destined to follow in the footsteps of its elder sibling’s 20-year reign, the SR 16?

Both are excellent machines, but which one is to win? Let’s check them out. If you are interested in these models, keep reading our Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 review for more information below.

Winner of Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18: Alesis SR 18

We’ve arrived at the most essential section of our Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 comparison. We know you’re wondering who will win the Alesis SR 16 versus SR 18 match. Alesis SR 18 is the solution to that query.

Both offer excellent sound quality, however the Alesis SR 18 sounds noticeably better than the Alesis SR 16. In fact, SR 18 features a wider assortment of effects and sounds, making it a superior choice.

We know that SR 18 is more costly than SR 16, but the price difference is fully justified by the features and elements that Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 provide.

Alesis SR 16

Description: The Alesis SR 16 is one of the most well-known rhythm machines ever made. It is a stand-alone drum machine that has been in use for 27 years.

Features: From its debut in 1990 until the present, this electronic drum machine has evolved in tandem with the electronic music scene.

Many people are astonished that they are still manufactured. Often, all you need is a simple, small, and simple-to-use drum machine that will meet your demands. The Alesis SR16 is an excellent option for this.

The sound may be used as dry tones or in conjunction with en-suite digital reverbs. There are several internal drum sounds to choose from. Because it is MIDI compatible, you may link it to other music equipment to match the tempo or record externally.

You may anticipate some old-school sounds from this because it was published in 1990, yet traditional drum sounds are still heavily used in many different types of electronic music, hip-hop, and more. As a result, this is still highly relevant to current music.

On the front are 12 velocity-sensitive buttons that may be used to generate real-time drum patterns with the built-in sequencer. These include Tom 1, Tom 2, and Tom 3, as well as Ride, Crash, Percussion 1, Kick, Snare, and Closed. Hi-hat.


  • Drum machine that may be programmed for practice, output, and performance
  • MIDI in/out/thru with full MIDI capabilities for enhanced external control
  • For dramatic, high-fidelity grooves, there are 233 drum sounds with a 24-bit sound engine


  • None

Alesis SR 18

Description: The Alesis SR18 Drum Machine is an updated version of the SR16 Drum Machine. It sounds better and has more sounds, yet it uses very similar technology as the Alesis SR16. 

Features: If you’re searching for a freestanding, small, and easy-to-use drum machine, this may be a good option; but, for the money you’d pay here, you could get a more fully-featured drum machine.

These also include velocity-sensitive pads and may be powered by batteries (which is a big plus) or by AC power. It supports both MIDI In and Out, and there are two distinct footswitch inputs (one for Start/Stop and one for Count/A/B/Fill).

If you want all of the benefits of the SR16 but with greater sounds and a wider selection, consider the Alesis SR-18.

The ASR 18 also includes a plethora of other internal sounds, as well as 50 internal bass tracks to which you may create bass lines. It also has 32 polyphonic voices, which is more than the SR 16.

The button layout differs from its predecessor in that it incorporates the following, which we believe are more appropriate and applicable to more current uses: Crash, Ride, Bell, Kick (kick drums), Snare 1, Snare 2, Snare 3 Closed Hi-Hat, Middle Hi-Hat, and Open Hi-Hat


  • Large sound bank of sounds for any style
  • Battery power for maximum portability
  • Built-in Effects


  • Costly

Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 Comparison

Despite all of the benefits of today’s rapid technological advancement, we sometimes just want to keep things simple. The SR16 is a tried-and-true drum machine. While it lacks many of the bells and whistles of contemporary options, it remains popular because to its ease of use, great sound, and simplicity. 

Since the release of the Alesis SR16 in the early 1990s, technology has posed some severe challenges to the basic drum machine. Though there is a market for’retro’ (ie, pre-2000) drum machines, the relevancy of a non-sampling hardware drum box in this day and age may be questioned.

Alesis, on the other hand, has upgraded the venerable SR16, increasing the amount of sound samples and preset slots, adding an instrument input, and adopting 24-bit output resolution.

Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 Design

The SR16 is small, light, and simple to operate. Unlike other current devices, this one does not have a steep learning curve. The menu is straightforward and simple to use. Practically, the key reason for SR16’s success is a nice blend of strong internal software and decent acoustics.

The SR18 is a thoughtful improvement to its predecessor; Alesis hasn’t gone crazy, so it’s still a straightforward and useful tool. There isn’t much to complain about, however we’re not certain that the inclusion of the instrument input is worth the loss of an output jack.

This, on the other hand, is a fast and easy box that is considerably less likely to shatter than a laptop. And, unlike the SR16, it runs on batteries and features a display that you can see when the stage lights go off.

Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 Sound

The sounds of SR 18 are typical of decent quality, with no ugly digital noise artifacts, and the tonal range is obviously an upgrade over prior versions. The normal pitch and envelope parameters let you tune the hits just enough, but not so much that you get lost spending hours programming the snare drum.

Acoustic drum samples in drum machines are frequently shaky, but there are some extremely usable sounds here, particularly on the percussion side. Nonetheless, the velocity-varying acoustic drums (particularly the snares) lack the ability to roll authentically.

We arrived at the most crucial aspect – sound quality. The first thing to consider is that this is an ancient drum machine, and years aren’t digital instruments’ greatest friend. Regardless of its age, the Alesis SR16 is still performing admirably. The trick is that samples are recorded in a studio with actual drums and percussions, so you can expect a really authentic sound.

Buyer’s Guide

Electronic drum machines are a prominent piece of equipment in the arsenals of producers, DJs, and live performers.

These are frequently utilized in musical forms that need strong drum beats. They’re also popular with minimalist bands and solo artists that don’t have a drummer. These gadgets are also much easier to travel than a conventional drum equipment.

A Drum Machine is a freestanding digital musical instrument that can playback drum recordings as well as synthetic drums as rhythms and patterns.

Drum machines are available in a variety of configurations, beginning with entry-level (starter) devices that allow users to play a collection of internal sounds and sequence them into their own playing patterns. Higher-end versions typically offer more effects sequencing capabilities as well as additional ways to connect with music software such as DAWs.


Drum machines come in a wide variety of prices. If you want an entry-level model that can just play a few pre-recorded samples or internally produced sounds, you can acquire one for a reasonable price.

This should also enable you to perform some rudimentary sequencing and output to a speaker system or headphones. In general, you should search for MIDI functionality if you want to leave the potential of it triggering external samples in a DAW open.


The dimensions of these drum machines vary greatly. For example, the young engineer described before is exceedingly light. The Alesis SR-16 is small enough to carry about with you.

Higher-end alternatives, on the other hand, are often larger pieces of equipment. Although they are still relatively tiny, they will be more difficult to transport with all of your other stuff.

Conclusion: Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 [2022 Review]

Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 have been in the business for some time and are quite popular products. Even now, many people appreciate them. People check for numerous factors when choosing a drum machine model, and it appears that each of these machines has plenty to offer for any requirement.

Overall, both have a lot to offer, although the features of Alesis SR 18 outnumber those of SR 16. We hope you liked our Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 review and it was helpful.

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