I don´t know too much about the comparison between a Alesis DM-5 and a Roland R8-m but this drum module still shines after 13 years. Made around 1989, at least that´s the date in my manual. There are 68 basic waveforms (1 silent rest?!) plus 3 PCM card slots (about 25 waveforms on each). There´s also a slot for a Ram card, which can store more patches than the 30 in the internal memory. The sounds on this module are very good, clear dry, as their are altogether 8 outputs you can feed seperate sound external effects, very good for the studio. I own 4 PCM cards which all sound good. I have Electronic, Dance, Jazz and contemporary percussion. These sounds are all excellent, the 808 and 909 sounds all sound like the real thing, maybe lacking in output a bit but with those extra outputs you can fix it in the mix. When it comes to programming it´s very capable and a bit complicated, the manual is pretty thick so there´s a lot you can do. There are "feel" patches, which is settings to modulate your sounds or patterns in real time as your sequenser spurts out those lovely notes. I won´t go into any details as i can´t remember too much without looking in the manual.It also works as a multitimbral synth in performance mode, i have it programmed to play a bass on one midi channel and drums on another. But it´s safe to say that for the 2000 kr i paid this drum synth + 4 cards, covers most of my needs, and there are plenty of different PCM cards available with more samples. Only minus=No FILTERS/LFO´s. You could compare this to the Alesis D-4 or Emu-Procussion, which you can pick up for the same price. But although the D-4 sounds good it´s not very programmable, as for the Emu-procussion i´ve never tried it. I use it a lot in my music which i´ll have on line any day now at: http://www.mp3.com/freakcontrol.