Alesis always had the knack of bringing out the kind of products most people needed at the kind of price most people could afford. The HR16 was no exception.

A handy, inexpensive little drum machine, it had (at the time) an astonishing number of sampled drum and percussion sounds and as such, found favour with many musicians across the world. It would almost have been the perfect drum machine had it not been let down by its flimsy, plastic construction and unreliable rubber pads and buttons.

Styled to match their accompanying MMT8 multi-track MIDI sequencer (complete with a flip-top lid that was a mini manual in itself), the HR16 was a runaway success for Alesis.

It was superceded by the HR16B which had a different sound set (and which was black rather than grey).



Keen to cash in on the emerging dance market, Alesis released the HR16B in 1989, a year after the original HR16.

Whereas the sounds in the HR16 were farily 'standard' and arguably a bit boring, the sounds in the B were altogether 'cooler' and more modern - more 'produced' if you like - and had more in the way of 'sound effects' (glass smashes, vocal 'pa' and 'pop' samples, metal cans, etc.).

Functionally, however, the HR16B was identical to the HR16 although a function was added to the HR16B that allowed both machines to be used as one instrument.

Despite claims from Alesis that they had "Rstylized" (sic) the casework, cosmetically they were identical too except that the B was black with black pads. Sadly, the HR16B inherited the original's flimsy build quality.