Alesis SR-18 or what?
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#1
31st May 2009
Old 31st May 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Alesis SR-18 or what?

Well, I'm thinking it might be time to replace my faltering Alesis HR-16.

But the reviews of the new SR-18 have been generally polite but disappointed. Like it doesn't save your work unless you make it save, which means you WILL lose stuff. And there seem to have been some failures. And you have to go out and buy and learn MIDI stuff if you want to back up your work, which you do. And are there button problems again? And more.

This p's me off. The old HR worked so well and the new machine seems to be one more argument against buying from an American company (actual location of manufacture is not relevant -- my Ohio Subaru is great).

Does anyone have a better suggestion for my new drum machine? I'd prefer a hardware machine so there aren't any latency issues while the computer is trying to play drums and record tracks at the same time. I'd prefer real-sounding drums; not electrodance stuff, which I like but it's not what I do. And I need fairly simple programming because I'm pretty simple myself.

Is there anything like that available and recommendable?

Thanks

LP
#2
31st May 2009
Old 31st May 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
plaid_emu's Avatar
Unfortunately, the best way to get realistic drums these days is software. There's the SM Pro Audio V-Machine which is a stand-alone plug-in player with very low latency. You'll need some way to trigger it via MIDI though, so you'll need some kind of sequencer. You could use your laptop to trigger it.

There's also the MPC500 but it will require you to purchase (or make) some realistic drum samples to load into it. You'll also have to figure out how to make programs (assign samples to the pads) and chain your sequences together to make a song. So the downside is the workflow will take a bit of getting used to, but you'll have a lot of other nice features you won't get in the SR-18. MIDI sequencing for external keyboards/synths/sound modules and also the ability to record guitar/bass/synth riffs and loop them with your drum sounds.

There's the BOSS and ZOOM drum machines which many folks seem to be very happy with. Don't know much about those so you'll have to do your own research there.

You could always just buy an SR-18 and see how you get along with it. Most of these online retailers nowadays offer a no-hassle return policy if it's not working out for you.
#3
31st May 2009
Old 31st May 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
golden beers's Avatar
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#4
31st May 2009
Old 31st May 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
These all sound like good ideas (the Vintage Drum product looks pretty cool), but I have to do every part including vocals, learning to play the guitars, recording, graphics, website....and so I have to deliberately and arbitrarily decide that I am -not- going to go down certain paths if this is ever going to get done.

A very simple computer sequencer might be one answer. I have two rackmount drum modules that I thought I'd learn MIDI and use but they took too much time. I'm not that smart. Haven't touched them for almost a year.

LP
#5
1st June 2009
Old 1st June 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
plaid_emu's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
A very simple computer sequencer might be one answer. I have two rackmount drum modules that I thought I'd learn MIDI and use but they took too much time. I'm not that smart. Haven't touched them for almost a year.
A friend of mine (one of the smartest guys I know) was over at my house the other day. He's a guitar player and made a remark about how "dumb" he was and there was no way could work any of my gear. tutt This is just such bullshit. If he wanted me to, I could show him how to work my entire setup over the weekend.

MIDI isn't as tough as you think. Once you get the hang of understanding how the data flows and the concept of channels etc., you'll be banging out great drum tracks in no time. If you use Windows or a microwave oven, you can use MIDI. I've got faith in you. thumbsup
#6
1st June 2009
Old 1st June 2009
  #6
Banned
 

If you're insistent on going hardware, I'd say get an MPC and just load it up with your own samples. There's lots of good acoustic drum samples out there, you just have to look for them.
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#7
2nd June 2009
Old 2nd June 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I should pay more than twice as much for a machine that appears to be complicated, doesn't even have sounds in it, and would require me to get and time my own samples?

I appreciate the thought but I think we're going in the wrong direction here.

In the absence of quick-and-effective software sequencer recommendations, it appears in the end that the Alesis is the best of the options that are available.
Man, there's something for them to be proud of: "We're your best option".

LP
#8
2nd June 2009
Old 2nd June 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
golden beers's Avatar
yea well if you don't want to learn new kitt, best stay with what you know i suppose
#9
2nd June 2009
Old 2nd June 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
There are plenty of sample-based drum machines out there: Alesis, Boss, Zoom, etc. I've never used the Alesis boxes but I've owned a Zoom RT-234 and a Boss DR-770.

I like the Zoom box because you can record various tracks and then mute/unmute them while playing. But the sounds are a bit sterile without some external fx. They also have a bass track with some decent sounds.

The newest Boss machines have a lot of features, including some rudimentary effects and amp simulations, which allows them to achieve a wider sonic range. They sound better but IMO a little quirky to use.

So, my recommendation is: get a Zoom box (RT-223, RT-234) if you want something easy to use, or a Boss box (DR-670, DR-880) if you want the better sounds and features.

BTW.- both the Zoom and Boss machinen (at least those I've owned) save the sequences as you play them... no need to hit a "Write" button.
#10
2nd June 2009
Old 2nd June 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
d1rtynyc's Avatar
 

If you love the SR16 why not replace the broke one with a new one?
$146.95 for a new one. No learning curve, no suprises.
The SR16 is still being sold because of people like you who love it & it serves their needs.
If you don't want to learn a new piece, why mess with a good thing?
#11
2nd June 2009
Old 2nd June 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
alexp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
I should pay more than twice as much for a machine that appears to be complicated, doesn't even have sounds in it, and would require me to get and time my own samples?

I appreciate the thought but I think we're going in the wrong direction here.

In the absence of quick-and-effective software sequencer recommendations, it appears in the end that the Alesis is the best of the options that are available.
Man, there's something for them to be proud of: "We're your best option".

LP
God forbid you actually take the time to develop your own sounds.... Outrageous!

Maybe you should just sell everything and buy a flute. If your not going to put any sort of time and effort into who you are as an artist, best to get out while your ahead.


alexP
#12
2nd June 2009
Old 2nd June 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 
wax808's Avatar
 

FWIW: The MPC-1000 can do some pretty incredible stuff when it comes to creating realistic drums. With the JJos you can do crazy things like assign ASDR and filters to velocity. If you know how to design sounds and take your time you could be very pleased. I've heard samples from Nym on MPC-Forums.com that sound eerily real.



Of course this would require work.
#13
3rd June 2009
Old 3rd June 2009
  #13
Banned
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexp View Post
Maybe you should just sell everything and buy a flute.
Nah. That would require learning something. He needs to go with a variant of what he already knows: Ukulele. Only four strings, so it'll be easier than a guitar!
#14
3rd June 2009
Old 3rd June 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
chrisrnps's Avatar
 

We're here to help.

lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#15
9th June 2009
Old 9th June 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
" If you use Windows or a microwave oven, you can use MIDI..."

Actually, I've never been able to figure out how to work a microwave oven....

As for Windows, I've got most of the website working on IE and Chrome (Firefox and Opera work fine 100%), so is that a passing grade?



LP
#16
24th June 2009
Old 24th June 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Speeddemon's Avatar
 

Given that my 4th (!) drum computer arrived today, I thought I'd chime in.

I own a Roland R8MKII, a Zoom RT-323, the inbuilt drum computer of my Boss BR-600 recorder and since today a classic Roland R70.

Each of these has their benefits and strengths;
lots of cool sounds (because of the ROM cards)=R8MKII
most editability of sounds (and good sounds)=R70
easy operation and realistic uncompressed sounds=RT-323.

All of them have the same way of recording a pattern in real time, the R70 has the added bonus of a Rhythm Expert/Generator (tell him what style, how many measures, how much 'human feel' and substyles, and he'll create it.
All 3 of them are only available 2nd handed now and depending on your budget, the Zoom is probably the cheapest. The Zoom and the R70 have 4 outputs (main L&R + Sub 1 and Sub 2) and the R8MKII has 10 outputs; Main L&R, Individual out 1 to 8).

If you like to compress afterwards for big sounds, get the Zoom. It also has the most user-kits (64; whereas the R8MKII has 5 and the R70 has 6), it has more cymbals and hi-hats (very realistic ones) than the Rolands, but lacks a few of the sound edit parameters of the Rolands, which I consider mandatory=decay and nuance. (and the R70 adds brilliance and attack damp).
The Rolands take more time to tweak and they'll sound fatter/bigger. The R70 even has a sound layer option; assign a sample to a pad and then assign a 2nd sample to that first sound! You can have 2 snares piggyback this way, or use a normal/dry snare, with an added 'ambience tail'. This will really beef up a kinda thin snare in a good way.

Given that the Zoom's manual is an A5-sized booklet, about 90 pages, and the Roland's manuals are A4 sized, over 250 pages, you know which are easier.
I may get an Akai MPC in a few years and sample the best of each AND add some other (online) samples.
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#17
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Great info, thanks!

I have to admit, the first time I heard of a product line called "Zoom", I thought it came in pink and purple plastic and was sold in the toy department at WalMart.

If you're telling me that it's a solid product I can only take your advice. You certainly have the experience. I do observe that none of you seem to be that enthusiastic about the new Alesis machine.

LP
#18
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
I have to admit, the first time I heard of a product line called "Zoom", I thought it came in pink and purple plastic and was sold in the toy department at WalMart.
LOL.

My first piece of kit, ever, was a Zoom RhythmTrack 234 drum machine. Very nice kit. The sounds weren't really editable, as SpeedDemon says, but the sequencer was very easy to use and I loved that it had four tracks (3 drum tracks and 1 bass track) that could be muted/unmuted at any time.

I've also owned a Zoom SampleTrack (little sampler with its own character - liked it better than the Korg ES-1), and an RFX-2000 (metallic-sounding multieffects unit). I was always happy with my Zoom gear and never had any complaints. I eventually sold them all to purchase better gear, but they're a great budget option.
#19
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #19
Banned
 

My first guitar processor was a Zoom 505. I never got on with the other Zoom processors like I did that one. Run the distortion circuit with max gain through the clean channel of a Peavey Solidstate amp with mids scooped... vicious metal tone. Tubes don't impress me now because of that little Zoom box.
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#20
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I was one of those guys that the hi-fi salesmen laughed at in the Seventies for saying that I liked tubes better....and I've played almost nothing but tubes since 1968....but if I had to go out and play now I'd take solid state any day. Nobody in that bar cares whether I have tubes or transistors, and who needs the weight and maintenance of a tube amp. At my age the clock runs very fast and you can't let yourself be pulled away from doing the important stuff.

Exception of course for the blues guy playing a Princeton or something.
#21
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Speeddemon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
Great info, thanks!

I have to admit, the first time I heard of a product line called "Zoom", I thought it came in pink and purple plastic and was sold in the toy department at WalMart.

If you're telling me that it's a solid product I can only take your advice. You certainly have the experience. I do observe that none of you seem to be that enthusiastic about the new Alesis machine.

LP
Well, I've done some reasearch on the SR-18 too, since they go used for only a little more than the Zoom RT-323. There were some complaints about the Alesis, and reading between the lines made it clear that it wasn't that big of an upgrade from the SR-16 (which is cool in its own way, but sounds very 80's). And I just love the fact that I'm playing with 2 drum machines from 1991-92 that slay almost all the new competition (aside from a fully loaded MPC or Machinedrum...)

Here is a mildly positive review of the SR-18...
Alesis SR18

The thing I miss in a 2008 drumcomputer is a USER RAM memory and USB connection. Hell, put in an SD-slot and buy a 2Gb card for $10, so you can upload your own high-def, multi-layered samples.
Also, the fact that the SR-18 has only 12 velocity pads, bugs me. The Zoom has 13 and my Roland's have 16. I need those!
(kick, snare, phh, chh, ohh, stick (or cowbell), tom 1, tom 2, tom 3, tom 4, crash 1, crash 2, ride, ride bell, splash (or china) and 1 extra... so even with the Zoom I'm dropping the splash, stick and extra. (or use only 3 toms).

Oh, another cool thing with the Zoom RT-323 (next to what shadowfac pointed out about Drum A, Drum B and Bass), is the Pad Layers (3, and 4 for the bass part).
Basically you can assign 3 sets of 13 (pads) sounds per drumkit, each being its own pad layer.
So you could use layer 1 for the basic drumkit. use layer 2 for all types of specifically tuned cymbals or have extra sets of tom-sounds and use layer 3 for percussion. The 4 layers in the Bass part are 4 octaves, but the same bass sound all over.

And one thing cool about the Zoom that I haven't gotten around yet on the Rolands is, that you attach a sound to a pad. And if you edit that sound, the edits count per PAD! This makes it possible to assign Dry Snare 01 to Pad 1 and Pad 2, and have the Pad 2 snare pitched down 10%.

When you'd do that on the Roland, you're editing the sound itself, making it shift 10% on every pad, in every bank where you used 'Dry snare 01'. A way around it is to copy such a preset sound to one of the 30 User sound-spaces and edit it there, but I want 'per pad-editing' too on the Rolands, given that I prefer the same main crash cymbal in most of my user-defined kits.
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#22
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
What kills me is the interfaces. I'm getting the impression that the Zoom machines don't even have output ports so you can back things up?

And the new Alesis. The only data output is a midi so the solo folkie doing college coffeehouse gigs has to carry a midi setup with him in case he has to do a restore?

You know how writers have editors and recording guys have masterers? The guys who make these machines should have some kind of person in charge of reviewing the beta design and stop them from doing stupid things. If someone with some vision were in charge of the SR-18 release he'd not only have a USB port on it, but you'd be able to export your song in a four-track (or whatever) WAV file so the samples can fly right into my Audacity without undergoing two conversions to analog and back.

The SR-18 looks better if you can turn off that schmaltzy reverb, but still....it is a letdown. And the Zoom seems like a contender if I can get over the "toy" vibe that it gives me.

"And one thing cool about the Zoom that I haven't gotten around yet on the Rolands is, that you attach a sound to a pad. And if you edit that sound, the edits count per PAD! This makes it possible to assign Dry Snare 01 to Pad 1 and Pad 2, and have the Pad 2 snare pitched down 10%."

I'd like that....

LP
#23
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeddemon View Post
The thing I miss in a 2008 drumcomputer is a USER RAM memory and USB connection. Hell, put in an SD-slot and buy a 2Gb card for $10, so you can upload your own high-def, multi-layered samples.
Also, the fact that the SR-18 has only 12 velocity pads, bugs me. The Zoom has 13 and my Roland's have 16. I need those!
(kick, snare, phh, chh, ohh, stick (or cowbell), tom 1, tom 2, tom 3, tom 4, crash 1, crash 2, ride, ride bell, splash (or china) and 1 extra... so even with the Zoom I'm dropping the splash, stick and extra. (or use only 3 toms).
This all smells MPC to me: user RAM, USB connection, flash card slot (CF, in the case of the MPC), multi-layered samples (w/optional velocity switching), 16 pads. You're basically describing the MPC-1000.

With the MPC-1000 you can also: switch between 4 banks of pads, giving you instant access to up to 64 sounds, save programs and sequences in the CF card and transfer them easily to the PC via USB, add an internal hard disk for larger capacity and faster access, have two decent fx busses, sequence your other gear (2 MIDI Out ports), etc.

The new MPC's (I don't know about the older ones) also have an auto-load function, so you can always have your favorite samples ready at boot-up.

Even the MPC-500 kills the SR-18 (and most sample-based drum machines), but it has only 12 pads instead of 16 (with 4 banks, so you have instant access 48 sounds in total). BTW.- this doesn't mean that you can only use 48 sounds in a song. Pad assignments are called "programs", and you can have up to 128 programs loaded in memory. When sequencing, you can assign a different program to each track (there are 16 tracks), so you can actually use hundreds of sounds in a single pattern.
#24
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeddemon View Post
And one thing cool about the Zoom that I haven't gotten around yet on the Rolands is, that you attach a sound to a pad. And if you edit that sound, the edits count per PAD! This makes it possible to assign Dry Snare 01 to Pad 1 and Pad 2, and have the Pad 2 snare pitched down 10%.
I could do that with my Boss DR-770, and IIRC, also with my old Roland SPD-11. It seems weird that some of the most regarded Roland drum machines (e.g. R8) are not capable of doing this.
#25
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Speeddemon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
What kills me is the interfaces. I'm getting the impression that the Zoom machines don't even have output ports so you can back things up?
Actually, it has. The RT-323 can write patterns, songs, MIDI info and all kinds of user settings to a SmartMedia card (not the easiest to come by), from 4 to 128Mb.
Both the Rolands can write such info to the Roland RAM cards (M256E), but those are kinda expensive used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
The SR-18 looks better if you can turn off that schmaltzy reverb, but still....it is a letdown. And the Zoom seems like a contender if I can get over the "toy" vibe that it gives me.
As is told in the SOS-review, you can indeed bypass the reverb on the Alesis. The Roland R70 also has 2 effect processors; 1 for reverb/delay and 1 for chorus/flanger. I can see the need for a flanger; using it ever so sparingly on a hi-hat can add to a human feel.

Regarding the Zoom as a toy; the RT-323 was over $300 new and it really was Zoom's flagship model (over the RT-123 and RT-234).
I read in a user-review that they liked the sounds of a Boss DR-670 better than the Zoom's. This is only true for a few samples, IMHO (having owned both). The Boss has some classic Roland samples, with the big, fat and tight produced sound. But if you were to create an indie-recording mood with live instruments in your basement, the Boss would sound too clinical (also given that it has way less options to edit the samples than the older Rolands). And on the whole, the kinda 'loose', yet realistic sounds of the Zoom will lend itself better to post-production. Throw them through a fat compressor, limit the shit out them, etc.

I'm gonna buy an ART Pro VLA II (and possibly an FMR RNLA too) for this (amongst other things).

Although the Zoom does have some of those 'pre-produced' big sounds too, like the "Tight Kick".


Here's a nice review of the Zoom:
Zoom RT323 - Check 1,2 review

If you look around Ebay and craiglist, you can probably find one for around $100-150 in good condition. (although going by Ebay, it seems it was a bigger succes in Europe, most being available used in Germany and the UK).
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#26
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #26
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
"Indie recording mood" hits it. Just a guy bashing on a drum set. I don't need vibratoed cymbals in 5.1 circling the room or anything like that.

The guys making Sisters of Mercy tracks didn't like the HR-16 but I did. It had pretty much the right sounds for what I needed and was less trouble than.....well....a microwave oven. The only thing I didn't like about it (except the nonworking buttons) was that you can't see an offset track when you scroll the program. For every song you have to keep all these written notes for stuff you couldn't see.
#27
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #27
Lives for gear
 
crufty's Avatar
usb on external synths is the suck. It's way too easy for a bean counter to go--hmm, who needs the midi port. THEN....you are hosed.
lame pseudonym
Thread Starter
#28
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #28
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by crufty View Post
usb on external synths is the suck.
It might be time for Gearslutz to consider expanding their list of obscene words.

LP
#29
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #29
Lives for gear
 
ButchP's Avatar
 

I gotta say I checked out this thread thinking maybe the SR-18 had some new functions that were the shite but... where the threads gone is a bit odd to me.The OP wants a drum machine that sounds like real drums.
I had a SR-16 for...ummm..way too long.It served it's purpose but man that thing sucked on sounds..nothing close to real.I have a feeling the 18 is not to far above that.

hell I use Battery and the samples and the multitude of ways to manipulate them is light years beyond a SR-16 but still to my ears not real enough(damn close though)...

I just don't see how the OP is going to get "real drums osunds" out of an " idiot proof box.There's nothing that comes for free.It all takes work if you want quality...even a little...shortcuts are short fallings.

IMO breakdown use your brain a little and learn to use software.It hurts...so does everything....trying to escape that is futile(.. like resistance ..ee!) trying to find something that doesn't exist(yet) is even more futile welcome to the 21st century!!

BP
#30
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 
crufty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
It might be time for Gearslutz to consider expanding their list of obscene words.

LP


IF word IS "USB" AND sentence HAS "synth" AND "synth" IS NOT "Virus TI" THEN PRINT "***"
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
zboy2854 / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
jmoore / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
1
okta / Low End Theory
6
jjdpro / So much gear, so little time!
1
sunflute / So much gear, so little time!
0

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.