Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine


88 out of 100. Incorporating 1000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Alesis SR-16
Alesis SR-16

Alesis' founder and MXR co-founder Keith Barr entered into the realm of drum machines with the help of Marcus Ryle, who later founded his own company called Line 6. And decades after, the brand is still sought after when it comes to drum machines, with the SR-16 being one of their most popular.

This compact and affordable drum machine was first released in the early '90s, and as a testament to its quality, it is still in production today, with only minor updates to its features and sounds!

It has 233 drum samples to choose from, 100 preset patterns and another has extra space for another 100 for your own drum patterns and fills.

It will also let you edit the sound, voice, panning and tuning of each sample in detail, including changing the tonality of the sound when played at different volumes.

These features add up to give this humble drum machine incredibly realistic sounding percussion sounds, especially when considering the price.


  • 233 sound samples
  • Digital Effects
  • Customizable song patterns
  • 12 velocity sensitive pads
  • 16 voice polyphony
  • Tempo range: 20 to 255 BPM
  • 200 User / 200 factory presets
  • Kits: 50 user / 50 preset
  • 2 Stereo pair outputs
  • 2 Footswitch Jacks


From live performance to home recording, many report the Alesis SR-16 has done them all, and did so well enough to merit top ratings and long winding reviews. It's ease of use is almost always mentioned in a positive light, and many also praise the quality of its drum samples, which is very impressive for a drum machine that's over two decades old now. Unlike other drum machines that focus on modern hip-hop and dance music, the SR-16 has been reported to work very well for recording ballads, rock tunes and even country music. Finally, its value for money got a lot of thumbs up.


The most common concern with the SR-16 is its fragile plastic exterior, and while it is not too fragile, reviewers still recommend careful handling. There are some users who were not happy with the learning curve, while others mention not being too enthusiastic about the pads. As expected, a number of users pointed to some of the drum samples being of low quality, but at the same time, they admit that majority of the sounds are nice.


With its longevity, legacy and affordability, the Alesis SR-16 is highly recommended, especially for those who want to test the waters so to speak.

NB: This was on our recommended list until we performed a thorough review of the drum machine category in March 2019, at which time we found there were more highly rated options that had become available and you can see them in our guide to The Best Drum Machines.

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