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Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine 

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The Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine has all of the effects and potential that todays musicians desire. Alesis launched the popular SR-16 Drum Machine in 19...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

32MB sound set gives you near limitless expressive possibilities.

The Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine has all of the effects and potential that todays musicians desire. Alesis launched the popular SR-16 Drum Machine in 1990 and the SR-18 builds on this powerful technology. The SR-18 Drum Machine is loaded with 500 percussion and 50 bass sounds. With this kind of variety, you can play everything from classic rock to country to hip-hop. The SR-18 has features like reverb, compression, and EQ. It contains a Mute/Solo function for parts and its Pattern Play Mode allows for patterns to be generated directly from the pads. The Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine can be powered by AC or batteries so that you have maximum portability along with its infinite capabilities.

FEATURES
  • Large, 32MB sound set with percussion bank and bass synth
  • Over 500 percussion and 50 bass sounds
  • Built-in Effects - Reverb, EQ, and Compression
  • Battery power for max portability
  • Pattern Play Mode enables different patterns to be triggered from the pads directly
SPECIFICATIONS

SR-18 Drum Machine

  • AC adapter included
    Also has battery power capability (6 AA's - not included with product)
    32-voice polyphony
    Backlit LCD
    MIDI In and Out
    TRS 1/4" Aux Output
    Drum Roand footswitch control make it flexible.ll function
    Headphone output
    Instrument Input
    100 Preset Patterns and 100 User Patterns
    Tempo / Value dial
    2 footswitch control jacks- Start/Stop and Count/A/B/fill (footswitch sold separately)
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
AlesisSR-18 Drum Machine
 
4.2

(based on 47 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (28)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

91%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good quality (21)
  • Easy to use (18)
  • Functional (18)
  • Improves sound (16)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (16)
  • Back-up (9)
  • Concerts (9)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (17), Professional musician (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

one of the best drum machine on the market

I learned to use a drum machine on the SR16 and years later finally deciding to get my own drum machine, I went to the SR18. I am glad to say I did not...Read complete review

I learned to use a drum machine on the SR16 and years later finally deciding to get my own drum machine, I went to the SR18. I am glad to say I did not regret that choice, because this drum machine is an amazing piece of equipment for all styles of music! And not only is it an amazing piece of equipment, but the sounds and samples are drastically improved from the SR16.I purchased the SR18 because I wanted to start creating my own professional electronic music (mainly house, trance, and dance beats). For a while, I was using FL Studio to produce my drums but over the years, I've grown tired of the generic drum beats. The drum samples were of somewhat low quality and I had to equalize and program all the effects for each drum piece every song. It would take me hours. In addition to this, I got tired of the old drum roll and piano roll for programming my drum notes.I finally decided to get a drum machine and I more than happy I did. The SR18 solved all my problems. First off, high quality samples. Every drum sound on this machine sounds extremely realistic. I played the demos off this thing and the drum kicks would shake the floor! Second, the effects on this thing are awesome. Preset reverb, equalization, and ambiance on all the kits and samples with this thing. No more spending hours making crappy drum samples sound good. Lastly, velocity sensitive pads make this thing a steal for the price compared to the other drum machines out there.One improvement on this thing over the SR16 is it now does more than just drums. It has extra slots for percussion and bass. What does this mean? The 12 pads on this machine hide the true number of drum pieces you can have on your drum set. You can have 24 piece drum sets by including the 12 on the percussion page. This is good for metal music for example as you can recreate multi piece drum sets with extra toms and cymbals. The bass page plays back bass samples and the pads act as a drum controller. Some of the bass samples sound kind of cheesy but the industrial and electronic bass presets sound awesome. Also, this thing has more than just bass samples. It has some awesome sounding synth presets to throw into your songs!I am now off to making great sound beats quickly and effortlessly for my music. Besides the great sounds, this thing only took a couple of days to get set up with my system. I have it integrated into my entire workstation so it can send and receive MIDI data through a USB MIDI hub. I also have the audio going into my mixer board so it sounds good. If you want, you can use this device for more than drums; it can be used as a MIDI controller if you wish to use it for those purposes.I have no complaints about this device. The one person on here complaining about this device not saving their songs does not know how to use the drum machine. It is fully capable of saving all drum patterns and songs you create on it.The last thing I will say about this device is the price is excellent. It's expensive but I've seen drum machines for electronic music that cost thousands of dollars. In addition to this, VST (software) plugins for the computers usually cost just as much, and you are not even getting a physical piece of hardware to play with! No matter your style of music, this thing excels at it all with excellent samples for hip hop, trance, metal, rock, and even funk. I recommend this to intermediate to professional level users. Beginners should learn to program drum samples first on the PC and learn what MIDI is before trying to use this drum machine.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Tricky

PROS: The sounds are very realistic; the presets are useful; and the variety is good - though more than needed for my applications, and perhaps less as well. The price for features...Read complete review

PROS: The sounds are very realistic; the presets are useful; and the variety is good - though more than needed for my applications, and perhaps less as well. The price for features is great-but everyone will need more of some, and less of others. If you are doing the simple "standards," you can flip through the presets, listen for something familiar, adjust the tempo accordingly, decide whether to start on "A" or "B" and drop about 20 songs onto a recording deck fairly quickly (those "blues in A" songs are a snap). CONS: Tricky for the non-drummer; switching between sounds requires a few extra steps than simplicity suggests, and actually building multi-part songs (appending things together) is more complex than even practical. Also, the "quantize" feature messes me up more than it fixes tempo mis-beats. (When I am having a problem, turning that OFF usually fixes it.)Non-drummers (especially those of us over 40) will find the learning curve a bit frustrating. I'm using it to program backing tracks for a one-man-band situation, and my originals are Rush-esque. Thus far, I have yet to finish even one of these type songs -- and that is with the assistance of a couple of teenagers who understand menu wheels. If the pads were even sorted like a drum kit, it might be more friendly for building the song's parts the hard way.Generally, it is taking far too many hours per song to be as useful as I had hoped. Is the Boss unit any more friendly for more complex songs? Could we get a "bios flash" to give us "A, B, C, D & E" pattern potential?Wouldn't it be nice if downloadable expansion programs were available, or if they had an "SR-18-R" model that skipped the Latino patterns and added a bunch more "Rock" modules? We need more preset patterns programmers -- listen to Ratt, Crue & Dream Theatre, and give us more options with double kick that are set in off-time (non-4/4) progressions.The unit works perfectly, I guess -- but owning it for a year now, I am still not proficient with it. Being a few years beyond 8th grade before ever touching one of these hasn't helped. That's my fault, not the machine's -- but that reality would influence my recomendation to other former hair-banders looking for an out-of-retirement party.

Reviewed by 47 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(10 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Awesome Tool!

By Mark Thompson

from Texas

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

Love it!
Never been compelled to write a review before, but I have been inspired by this. I will be brief. Criticisms I have seen on other reviews are due to the fact that those reviewers have not read the manual. You CAN easily eliminate other music layers (drums vs bass vs percussion) and you CAN easily program far more than two measures at a time. Mostly intuitive menu and interface. I've built several good drum kits already, very customizable.
Only had it for several weeks. Seems solidly built. Inputs and outputs seem solid.
see above. Cool item. Price is right for what I need. Yes, I would rather be banging on actual drums, but the space constraints and mic difficulties in recording acoustic drums make this a very atractive alternative.

(8 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine

By Pete-2k_o0

from Australia

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

I was looking for a simple to use drum machine that I could play along with when no drummer was available. This product definately didn't disappoint. After reading other reviews I decided to by this particular model mainly because for an extra $100 it had bass rhythms as well.Out of the box, the unit is simple to operate and I've never owned a drum machine before and didn't read the manual yet. I'm sure once I read the manual I'll be able to navigate more efficiently. The unit has about 100 preset beats with A+B, so I guess there's about 200? Someone posted that there wasn't enough rock rhythms on the machine. Well between the rock, hard rock and blues rhythms thats about 60% of the beats. And you dont have to use a rock beat necessarilly for a rock song. I found that the hard rock sounds were simplier and could be used easily on various song by changing the tempo. But the machine has somthing for everyone. With rock/blues/hardrock/alt/country/tecno/hiphop to name a few. But even if you're into somthing else still has the classis mamba and a few other generic beatsAs for the bass sounds - I must admit there fun to play along with but sometimes they get in the way due to the song being played. But genetically some thought must have gone into them because I think they're quite useable depending on the song. Remember - you have 200 odd patterns to play with and if you can't find a beat and rhythm that suits - well the song probably isn't worth playing. As yes a few of the bass sounds are a bit ordinary - mainly because it sounds like fretless electric bass (think claptons here in heaven). When I think rock bass I think JPJ, entwhisle, geezer etc which ranges between clean natural sound bass to bass thats a bit dirty and growly. These bass sounds are more modern sounding.Changing tempo is pretty easy with the tempo button, although it wold be good to have a simple speed up, slow down to get it there. I'm sure thats what the round button does but have to read the manual.Overall - the unit is easy to pick up and use. You can get rhythms going in seconds and be playing along within minutes of taking it out of the box. Only with time does the units full potential shine though

(8 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

I was expecting more. Perhaps staying with the SR-16 is the best option.

By Kenneth Harville

from Louisiana

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

Unless I learn to record my own patterns, it has about two that I can use!
Does not do anything that the cheaper SR-16 won't do. I expected much more from a more modern device. It lacks simple rhythms. I'm sure I could program my own but why should I have to do that? The many complicated patterns such as the African and rock are good but useless to me. Why can't I just have a machine that can beat out a simple kick, snare and hi-hat. The patterns are too elaborate with cow bells and crazy off-beat sounds.
Seems well built.
More expensive than the SR-16.

(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

one of the best drum machine on the market

By Edward

from Pittsburgh, PA

See all my reviews

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

I learned to use a drum machine on the SR16 and years later finally deciding to get my own drum machine, I went to the SR18. I am glad to say I did not regret that choice, because this drum machine is an amazing piece of equipment for all styles of music! And not only is it an amazing piece of equipment, but the sounds and samples are drastically improved from the SR16.I purchased the SR18 because I wanted to start creating my own professional electronic music (mainly house, trance, and dance beats). For a while, I was using FL Studio to produce my drums but over the years, I've grown tired of the generic drum beats. The drum samples were of somewhat low quality and I had to equalize and program all the effects for each drum piece every song. It would take me hours. In addition to this, I got tired of the old drum roll and piano roll for programming my drum notes.I finally decided to get a drum machine and I more than happy I did. The SR18 solved all my problems. First off, high quality samples. Every drum sound on this machine sounds extremely realistic. I played the demos off this thing and the drum kicks would shake the floor! Second, the effects on this thing are awesome. Preset reverb, equalization, and ambiance on all the kits and samples with this thing. No more spending hours making crappy drum samples sound good. Lastly, velocity sensitive pads make this thing a steal for the price compared to the other drum machines out there.One improvement on this thing over the SR16 is it now does more than just drums. It has extra slots for percussion and bass. What does this mean? The 12 pads on this machine hide the true number of drum pieces you can have on your drum set. You can have 24 piece drum sets by including the 12 on the percussion page. This is good for metal music for example as you can recreate multi piece drum sets with extra toms and cymbals. The bass page plays back bass samples and the pads act as a drum controller. Some of the bass samples sound kind of cheesy but the industrial and electronic bass presets sound awesome. Also, this thing has more than just bass samples. It has some awesome sounding synth presets to throw into your songs!I am now off to making great sound beats quickly and effortlessly for my music. Besides the great sounds, this thing only took a couple of days to get set up with my system. I have it integrated into my entire workstation so it can send and receive MIDI data through a USB MIDI hub. I also have the audio going into my mixer board so it sounds good. If you want, you can use this device for more than drums; it can be used as a MIDI controller if you wish to use it for those purposes.I have no complaints about this device. The one person on here complaining about this device not saving their songs does not know how to use the drum machine. It is fully capable of saving all drum patterns and songs you create on it.The last thing I will say about this device is the price is excellent. It's expensive but I've seen drum machines for electronic music that cost thousands of dollars. In addition to this, VST (software) plugins for the computers usually cost just as much, and you are not even getting a physical piece of hardware to play with! No matter your style of music, this thing excels at it all with excellent samples for hip hop, trance, metal, rock, and even funk. I recommend this to intermediate to professional level users. Beginners should learn to program drum samples first on the PC and learn what MIDI is before trying to use this drum machine.

(7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Just got it!

By Peter Krill

from New Jersey

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

I now have both the Alesis AR16 and the AR18 The AR18 sounds great it just has a rich sound to it. They can keep the base but everything else is a big improvement on the AR16 I use it with two Yamaha FC4 Sustain pedals for start and stop and for the fill A&B.

(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

2 foot switches are the secret

By musicfirst

from kc

See all my reviews

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

We use the Alesis SR 18 in our rock band (3 members, no drummer). It goes through the mixer and then in the PA (Fender). Sounds are very good and the stereo effect adds reality. I control the sr18, while I play guitar, with two foot switches (one to start it and one to use the fills and change between A and B patterns and assign tempo). The fills help to make it sound very realistic. We use it in practice and live (small venues). I never owned a drum machine before. I found this one easy to use thanks to the user guide that goes through the different functions in details (It took me about 5-6 hours of "study" before starting being able to program the sr 18). I mainly use preset or user patterns and fills that I copy in an empty pattern spot and then reprogram (change sounds, effects, tempo, add, delete stuff). Don't forget to save. If you turn it off, there will be no warning and everything will be lost. I also sometimes create my own patterns but then I have trouble creating the fills (I am not a drummer). I then arrange those patterns in songs but I also use patterns directly when playing and I control them with the foot switches. I contacted their help center (via email) to learn more about saving my work in an external harddrive- to save the machine memory- and the answer came one day later very uiseful)The best feature for us, when we play the sr18 in song mode, is to be able, with the foot swich, to play as long as we want (so we can repeat a chorus or play a longer guitar solo). Very versatile machine when controlled with two foot switches!

(6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Not Impressed

By Joanie Gillum

from Undisclosed

Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

I have owned this for about two years and I am not impressed by it. I was happy for a while and the more I use it the more I realize that the sound qaulity is lacking. And I also want to note that If you are rapper, this is a good drum machine but If you produce rock/metal music like me, get something else, too much fake sounding samples and not the real sound I am looking for.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

I LOVE this thing

By Shrubble

from Baltimore

About Me Experienced

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Pros

  • Cool
  • Easy To Use
  • Functional
  • Good Quality

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Backup
    • Concerts
    • Practicing

    Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

    This thing is really cool. I picked up the Alesis SR-18 on sale from Musician's Friend a month ago or so, I have to admit it delivers a lot more that I expected, especially at this price.

    My background first: I am for the most part a guitarist, although I play other instruments. I'm not the type of person that cares for boxes with zillions of esoteric features, regardless of how good they sound. I generally want to plug in and play music.

    So with that being said, as I was reading the docs that came with this drum machine I began to get a little freaked out with the level of effort I was going to have to put in just to get some good backup beats for practice mostly, maybe some light gigging.

    Once I started playing with it though, it became clear quite quickly that I can pretty much get any bass/drum sounds I want out of this device with very little effort. I'm not going to say it's completely intuitive, but I will say it's whatever is just beyond that. It took me a bit to figure out how to get the drums and bass I wanted associated with the particular loop that I was saving to, but once it clicked (maybe an hour or two), I found myself stringing together entire songs, well, pretty darn easily.

    And the sounds is really good as well. The are oodles of drum kits, percussion instruments, and bass sounds to choose from, and with a little bit of practice mixing and matching them is a simple affair, as is editing out mistakes.

    There are also tons a good canned beats already in the device, although I like to program my own.

    I also like the broad range of 1/4" jack connections available on the device, honestly when I when learning the functions of the device I was sitting on my couch with my earbud headphones in the headphone jack using an adapter, and it sounded phenomenal!

    The display is meaningful and easy to understand, and the whole unit is set-up to quickly move from one task to another in real-time, for those that choose to do so.

    I dunno, to me it does a great job of giving me good beats (custom or canned) to practice with when I can't get a drummer to haul his/her stuff over, and it also provides a good option for a drummer if would prefer to play in a smaller band.

    Nice all around, especially for the price!

    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    A Great Successor to the SR16

    By Chris Downing

    from Devizes UK

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

    Just got mine in the post and it's all very exciting. They've added bass and perscussion to the SR16 in this package and more drum kits (500) and pretty much more of everything. Bigger too - so if you want to hit the buttons to play it's easier - and they are velocity sensitive (8 degress of effect) so you can be more expressive.We're going to use this for live work as well as the studio so being able to attach two pedals to contol the A B patterns and A B fills is very useful to help create a more realistic effect. The drum sounds are awesome and can be played dry or with effects to add some DD, Rev and whatever. The bass tracks have 50 different sounds, so slap, pop, click, pick nad fingers are all her including a string bass sound that's very realistic.We'll be able to programme in 100 songs on this box and in total I understand it can store 80,000 notes - that's got to be an 'all-nighter' I imagine.

    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Even better than I thought it would be!!

    By MusicByDesignStudio

    from Tek-Sis

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Comments about Alesis SR-18 Drum Machine:

    I own this and also the Akai XR20. It really seems they were made in the same factory because there are so many parallels its amazing. Same blue display, same size body, same back panel with its connectors and volume knob etc. Same wall-wart power adapter and both have the same battery door on the bottom where you can power by battery if you wish. Even the boxes they come in are the same size and both units come with manuals that even look almost the same. There are differences though. The buttons and pads are different as are the sounds are way different. Also the Alesis doesn't have the cool blue pads that glow when you play them or when the unit plays the sounds back. The Akai is very cool to have but the Alesis (in my opinion) is alot more useful to more styles of music (I'm sure you already knew that) but having both I find im using the Alesis more often. I guess if you only do rap/HipHop/R&B the Akai might be your ticket but the Alesis can do that stuff along with Rock, Country, Pop, Techno, Jazz, and even the Mambo, & Latin percussion type beats. Like the Akai XR20, the Alesis has lots of great sounds and while I am keeping both units I would have to say if you can only get one, the Alesis in my opion is the winner unless you gotta have the flashy blue lighted Pads. Like one guy's review said, the "user" patterns are way better than the "factory" side. As a bonus it even costs less than the akai XR20.

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