Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18: Detailed Comparison & Review

Every artist and performer needs a drum machine, and the Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 is unquestionably one of the favorites in the market right now. Despite the current tech demands, sometimes you need to keep it simple. For the ones who agree with this thinking, these two drum machines are the ideal fit.

Both Alesis SR 16 vs Alesis SR 18 are ideal for those on a tight budget thanks to their affordable price. Even though the Alesis SR 18 is more expensive than the Alesis SR 16, we do not think that they are overpriced.

Both drum machines have existed for quite some time. Alesis SR 16 and Alesis SR 18 were first released in 1990 and are still in development today, and they have improved quite nicely. They became one of the best-selling drum machines of all time and the reason for that is quite clear.

If you are interested in these models, keep reading our Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 comparison & review. We will be discussing their features to find out which one fits your needs more.

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

Here we have come to the most important part of our Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 review. We know that you are wondering who would win the battle of Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18. The answer to that question is Alesis SR 18.

Both have amazing sound quality but Alesis SR 18 sounds better than SR 16 for sure. The SR 18 has a broader range of effects and sounds so it would be a better choice. We know that SR 18 is more expensive than SR 16, but the price range is well justified by what they offer in terms of features and functionalities.

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Alesis SR 16 Review

Features of Alesis SR 16 Drum Machine

The simplicity of this drum machine is what people like the most about it. The SR 16 is a small, light, and simple-to-use drum machine. Unlike other modern devices that require high technological knowledge, this one is really easy to learn and operate.

The menu is straightforward to navigate. The SR 16 became famous because of its excellent combination of software and high-quality sounds. This drum machine is still in development, so you will see its improvement as you continue using it.

No matter how much it changed over time, the design and simple layout stayed the same. For that reason, it appears to be identical to the one that was first released 29 years ago.

If you enjoy vintage-style electronics, this is a fantastic opportunity so do not miss the chance! The first thing to notice about Alesis SR 16 is its size. It is a really small one so you will have no problems carrying it around. It is beneficial for people who do not want their place to look too cluttered.

It has a good number of buttons, and there are various controls for menu navigation and other settings. However, the velocity-sensitive pads are what you will see the most.

Pros & Cons of Alesis SR 16 Drum Machine

  • Easy use
  • Broad library of sounds
  • Good sound quality
  • Lightweight
  • Basic features
  • Limited MIDI
  • Not for serious projects

Alesis SR 18 Review

Features of Alesis SR 18 Drum Machine

Alesis SR 18 is a better version of SR 16. It doubles the number of sound samples and preset slots, adds an instrument input, and upgrades the display to 24-bit resolution. If you take a detailed look at it, SR 18 is identical to its SR 16 in many ways.

One of the differences is that space is limited at the back, the two Aux output jacks have been reduced to a TRS stereo jack to accommodate the new instrument input. MIDI, two footswitch inputs, volume knob, headphone jack, and DC input power switch are all included in the back of SR 18.

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The rubbery knobs on top feel nice, and the LCD provides good lighting. The SR 18’s casing is plastic, but it does not feel cheap. Most of the controls would be familiar if you have used a drum machine before. Steps: Edit, Roll, Fill, Tap Tempo, and the list goes on.

Using this machine is as straightforward as it can be, but phase editing is a little difficult.

There are also preset rhythms available, and their genre varies for different tastes. What we like the most is the drum kits, though we are truly amazed by the variety of those.

The sound quality of Alesis SR 18 is generally okay. There is no annoying digital noise and we can say that it has a better quality of sound compared to the ones released before.

Pros & Cons of Alesis SR 18 Drum Machine

  • Pre-sets are impressive
  • Percussion and bass
  • Durable and reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Simple layout
  • Poor instrument input

Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 Comparison

Since the Alesis SR 16 is less expensive than the Alesis SR 18, we were expecting it to have fewer features and less to offer. It has 12 velocity-sensitive pads with Dynamic Articulation, 50 presets, 50 user drum kits, and 233 sounds that can be assigned to each of the pads.

The Alesis Dynamic Articulation function comes to hand when adjusting the tonal content. It can provide a realistic performance that mimics real-life drums. It also includes many useful functions.

Along with those features, you will see sound stacking, step editing, as well as reverb and ambiance. Two footswitch jacks, MIDI I/O, a headphone jack, and stereo main and aux outputs are the features of Alesis SR 16. You can also use 16 polyphony voices but no more than that.

In comparison to the Alesis SR 16, the SR 18 is more effective, but you need to spend more time learning how to use it. Alesis SR 18 has 12 velocity-sensitive pads and Alesis Dynamic Articulation.

One of the differences is, SR 18 comes with a total of 32 MB of sound sets, including over 500 drum sounds and 50 additional bass tracks. These were not present in Alesis SR 16. 

Alesis SR 18 supports up to 32 polyphony voices which means you will have more opportunities to play whatever you want. Each pad placed on Alesis SR 18 has built-in effects such as reverb, EQ, and compression.

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In addition to all of these, we think that the most important aspect of Alesis SR 18 is, it can be used with a battery. On the other hand, Alesis SR 16 needs an AC adapter to be used.

Both of them can be used for live performances or you can simply prefer to use them in the comfort of your home. SR 16’s ease of use is its best-selling point and many people admire the accuracy of its drum samples. This is remarkable for a drum machine that has been around for a long time.

Alesis SR 16 can work well while recording ballads, rock songs, and even country music, and it shows the versatility of this tool. You get more than what you pay for with both of these machines, but it is undeniable that Alesis SR 18 offers more features.

The SR 16’s most common flaw is its delicate plastic casing. We are not saying that it breaks easily, but you have to be handling it with care no matter what. The SR 16 drum machine is highly recommended for its durability, history, and affordability, particularly for those who want to try it.

So, Who should buy SR 18? If you are looking for a retro drum machine, this is the one to buy. Alesis Sr 18’s programming range has been expanded and the company includes percussion and bass instruments.

However, that is not the only addition. 571 sounds, 175 preset rhythm patterns, 100 drum kits, and 50 different bass sounds are included and they are waiting for you to explore them.

The SR 18 drum machine is a good upgrade to SR 16 and it is the better version of it. When improving the SR 16 and turning it into this amazing SR 18, they did not go overbroad and made it difficult to learn. So, Alesis SR 18 is still manageable and easy to learn.

Conclusion: Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 [2024 Review]

Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 have been on the market for a very long time and they are very popular devices indeed. Many people still enjoy them even today. When it comes to selecting a drum machine model, people look for many aspects and it looks like both of these models have something to offer for every need.

Overall, both of them have lots to offer but the features of Alesis SR 18 exceed SR 16. We hope you liked our Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 review and it was helpful.

FAQs: Alesis SR 16 vs SR 18 Drum Machine

What are the main differences between Alesis SR 16 and SR 18

The Alesis SR-18 is more successor to the SR-16 and comes with additional features and improvements.

Can I create and save my patterns on both drum machines?

Yes, both drum machines come with pattern memory for saving your custom beats.

Is the SR-16 and SR-18 can be used for live performances?

Yes, both drum machines are suitable for live performances.

Which audio outputs do these drum machines have?

Both models come with stereo audio outputs.

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