Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
2065 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Post Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:24 pm

I'm looking for an old drum machine to use live. I was looking at getting an SR-16, but after looking into it, I don't think it'll do what I'm after.
I want to be able to program whole songs with multiple parts, but not have to push buttons to change parts. I want to just simply push a button to start the song, and the entire song just be sequenced.
I have also just bought a ZOOM RT-234, but I'm looking at getting more old ones.
I should mention, I'm looking for old ones because there are many models that can be had at $100-$150 price point on Ebay.
Any recommendations?

TobyB
KVRist
59 posts since 18 Dec, 2018

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:48 pm

I still have an SR16 from... '94 maybe ... and I think you can have whole songs as you describe, and build them up from blocks of verse, chorus, fill, etc. much like you can in a DAW, EZ Drummer, etc.

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
2065 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:55 pm

TobyB wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:48 pm
I still have an SR16 from... '94 maybe ... and I think you can have whole songs as you describe, and build them up from blocks of verse, chorus, fill, etc. much like you can in a DAW, EZ Drummer, etc.
Oh right, if that is the case, that's great. The way I was reading, I thought you just had 3 parts per song; A, B and a fill, and you need to push a button each time to trigger the changes.

DJMaytag
KVRist
448 posts since 15 Dec, 2012 from Waunakee, Wiscompton

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:41 pm

I think the SR-16 is the biggest selling drum machine of all time, which sort of surprised me to hear recently. As such, there’s TONS of them on the market, and I wouldn’t pay more than $50 for one.
Reason 10 | ABL3 | RE-303 | Eurorack modular | Roland Juno-106, JX-10, & TR-606 | Moog Minimoog | SCI Prophet-600 | OB Matrix-1000 | Korg MS-20M | Arturia RackBrute 6U (x2) & DrumBrute Impact | Yamaha TX-81Z | RME Digiface USB

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
2065 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:44 pm

DJMaytag wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:41 pm
I think the SR-16 is the biggest selling drum machine of all time, which sort of surprised me to hear recently. As such, there’s TONS of them on the market, and I wouldn’t pay more than $50 for one.
Yes, there seem to be tons. As I understand, it was introduced in the early '90s, and is still in production today.

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DrGonzo
KVRAF
2400 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:40 pm

Not sure about the prices in the US but the Roland R8 was a pretty cool drum machine.

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Lotuz2019
KVRist
487 posts since 26 Apr, 2019 from Netherlands

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:47 pm

How about a Zoom ST224 and a large collection of drum samples?

Edit: after looking at the manual the sequencer of the ST224 looks pretty poor. :neutral: Perhaps there is another low cost drum sampler with a better sequencer available?

Edit 2: Then again, I wonder if the ST224 will record MIDI data when in song record mode. Assuming you have a DAW, you could program the entire song in your DAW, let your DAW trigger the sounds of the ST224 by MIDI, and record this as a song in the ST224 which you can play back from start to end.

If you really want a drum machine and not a drum sampler, then also take a look at the Boss Dr Rhythm series.

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
2065 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:37 pm

Lotuz2019 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:47 pm
How about a Zoom ST224 and a large collection of drum samples?

Edit: after looking at the manual the sequencer of the ST224 looks pretty poor. :neutral: Perhaps there is another low cost drum sampler with a better sequencer available?

Edit 2: Then again, I wonder if the ST224 will record MIDI data when in song record mode. Assuming you have a DAW, you could program the entire song in your DAW, let your DAW trigger the sounds of the ST224 by MIDI, and record this as a song in the ST224 which you can play back from start to end.

If you really want a drum machine and not a drum sampler, then also take a look at the Boss Dr Rhythm series.
I mentioned above that I'd bought a ZOOM RT-234, at the the time of posting, it was in the post from Japan. Well, it arrived... and the damn LED display is broken. I have had a little play, I can scroll through kits... I just can't really see what's going on, and it actually sounds really good. I know Zoom has a reputation for being little flimsy and toy-ish, but yeah, sounds really good, and I have heard that the RT series is quite hard to program.

AnX
KVRAF
6546 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:07 pm

SR16 does exactly that, as does the Boss DR660, which I prefer.

you program patterns, then chain them together to make a song

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
2065 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:43 am

AnX wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:07 pm
SR16 does exactly that, as does the Boss DR660, which I prefer.

you program patterns, then chain them together to make a song
I'll probably be getting a Boss DR 550, there's an abundance of them on Ebay.

Lotuz2019
KVRist
487 posts since 26 Apr, 2019 from Netherlands

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:08 pm

The DR-550 (mkI) was my first piece of gear. Easy to use. The 48 sounds are okay, but I got bored quickly. Therefore you might want to search for an mkII, because it has got 91 sounds. One thing I didn't like about the DR-550 is that it hasn't got MIDI Out/Thru.

kritikon
KVRAF
5140 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:18 pm

I'm pretty sure the SR16 plays whole songs...all drum machines at that level did. Many of them you had the option of playing individual patterns and manually changing them on the fly, or simply preprogramming a whole song that plays on one press.

I used to use a Roland R8 and they were pretty flexible...I was surprised at what detail you could get in there when you really delved around under the surface. But...quite fiddly IMO. R8s were pretty big sellers so there should be quite a few of them around for sale hopefully not at silly prices. I found the base R8 to be more aimed at realistic drum sets rather than electronic, but they did sell extra drumkits, so check what drum sounds are in any 2nd hand one before you buy (although you might still be able to get extra drumkits into them nowadays?). Downside is the learning curve on an R8 is pretty steep compared with an SR16 (IMO) but the detail is way deeper.

The odd times I used an SR16, I preferred their drumset tbh. More up my street, though it was full of all the usual real drums as well.

Only thing I would say is to avoid the temptation to save money and buy up the really cheap ones. You might be able to buy early things like the Roland 606 or equivalent. Don't. They're EXTREMELY limited and are almost toys compared to more modern offerings. At one time their price went up 2nd hand because of silly fads and trends, and the gullible were led to believe they were part of the silver box 303 mythos...those drum machines were awful unless you make a specific style of music. I can make better beats doing my own beatboxing chanting "bum tchakka hiss bum bum click" into a tin can on a piece of string. And I'm in no way a beatboxer.

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
26703 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:25 pm

AnX wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:07 pm
SR16 does exactly that, as does the Boss DR660, which I prefer.

you program patterns, then chain them together to make a song
The HR-16 is similar ... as is the Roland 707 and BOSS DR550 both of which I used in the early 90s.

Might be worth checking out Boss's SP505 sampling groovebox. It comes with several banks of Roland drum samples, and can be expanded with SD cards. I used one as the heart of my live setup for a while. It'll hold enough samples and patterns for about 12 songs. Built-in wav editor, but can import wavs from your computer too.

AnX
KVRAF
6546 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:48 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:25 pm
AnX wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:07 pm
SR16 does exactly that, as does the Boss DR660, which I prefer.

you program patterns, then chain them together to make a song
The HR-16 is similar ... as is the Roland 707 and BOSS DR550 both of which I used in the early 90s.
same here, but the 660 has the better sounds imo, and the 707 goes for silly prices :hihi:

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
26703 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: Old Drum Machines (Alesis SR-16 or similar)?

Post Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:59 pm

AnX wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:48 pm
thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:25 pm
AnX wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:07 pm
SR16 does exactly that, as does the Boss DR660, which I prefer.

you program patterns, then chain them together to make a song
The HR-16 is similar ... as is the Roland 707 and BOSS DR550 both of which I used in the early 90s.
same here, but the 660 has the better sounds imo, and the 707 goes for silly prices :hihi:
I agree, altho' I was offered a 707 for £250 not long ago. I didn't buy it (I have an RTYM). I had a DR550 coz I couldn't afford a 660 :)

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