Synth Site: Alesis: HR16: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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Jason Kilpatrick a part-time user from New York City, United States writes:
It is a great machine, one of the best drummachines, IMO. The ease of use + good sounds and features, altogether makes this a winner. My HR-16b (black version) only has 47 sounds, though. Everybody says the 16b is supposed to have something like 90...Why is mine 'lacking' in voices? Anyone care to share their knowledge? The sounds that are there are very good, though. Like the TR-626, these are very good machines that can be bought for far less than the more acknowledged TR-808,909, R-8 etc. The HR-16's normally go for 80-150$. If the rubberbuttons are still working decently, it is more than worth the price. Using the data-entry slider for real-time pitch-shifting is the bomb.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-06-2004 at 08:05
hyenuh a hobbyist user from California USA writes:
I really like this thing! It's my first drum machine, and I can say that it's really easy to use, way easier than I thought it'd be. The drum sounds are pretty good; they aren't very "techno" sounding by themselves, but I think they can sound pretty much however the hell you want 'em to if used properly. There's 49 voices in total with 16 pads, so you can have a good variety of sounds.. 49 might not sound like much, but the fact that you can detune each separate pad with 32 settings means you can seriously alter the sounds. Some of the voices done at certain tunings sound HELLA nice. The swing doesn't seem to work the way it should, but that's okay because I can syncopate my -own- rhythms thankyouverymuch. :P Messing with the Tuning slider while on Play is fun; you can make some really screwed up sounds that way. The pad velocity can be a pain so I turn it off, mostly 'cause I don't like the idea of pressing pads hard on a poor, decrepit old (heheh, not really though) '80s drum machine. I got mine for $100 (including the manual and a nice indepth how-to guide)... I don't think I would've paid more than that for it though. If you can get it that cheap or cheaper, and want something '80s-ish sounding, go for it!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-12-2004 at 17:51
Tony Skutnick a professional user from USA writes:
The HR-16 can be dull sounding if used without any type of adjustment. Start using the various settings such as tune, pan, voice etc... and you've got a machine to deal with on your hands. I have done so much with it (since 1989) and still do. It is a great machine to this day.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Nov-23-2003 at 23:10
It is DEAD EASY to use and has the ability to sound very electronic or, like real drums if thats your thing. Some say only the upgraded black version works for house/techno/electronica; that's crap. With 49 drum and perc sounds that can be detuned(over 1 octave up&down), and panning and velocity, it can do a hell of a lot! It's a winner. If I was to choose one drum-machine (an absurd thought, I know)it would be this one or the even better upgraded black version. They come cheap these days, so go get one!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jun-06-2003 at 13:27
L.B. Noire a hobbyist user from Texas writes:
I bought my HR-16 in 1988 for $400. I would still consider a good deal under $100. It is very easy to program and you can master it in about 10 minutes. The top even flips with a cheat sheet in case you forget how to program something.

The sounds are very clear and have held up over time (16-bit/44.1KHz samples). It leans towards realistic-sounding drums but there are a few electronic ones in there as well as a variety of percussion. You're limited in altering the individual sounds but you can get some cool effects by playing with the tuning. The standard snare is still one of my favorites as it's very strong and punchy. I've sampled it for use in Battery.

The pads are velocity sensitive so you can use them for expressive playing if you prefer to program in real-time. My brother perfected a tom roll on the pads. I prefer to either step-mode program or trigger the sounds via MIDI with a Yahama DD-5.

After a few years the buttons becames less responsive and felt gummy. This seems to be a standard problem with the HR-16. I took it apart and cleaned the contacts with rubbing alcohol. This would help for a while but it would eventually revert to its sluggish state. In search of a more permanent solution I punched holes in aluminum foil and glued them to the contacts. This works perfectly and now my HR-16 feels brand new again.

Since I've been working with software drum synths (I love Waldorf Attack) and software samplers for the last couple of years I haven't used my HR-16 as much. I recently dragged it out to play with it. It still sounds great for realistic drums. When I ran it through IK Multimedia's AmpliTube I was in heaven. The HR-16 has always sounded a little too "clean." With AmpliTube it became a dirty, evil, grungy, wicked, howling beast. :-)

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-23-2003 at 16:44
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