Could somebody please give me some basic advice on building a track in N using an Alesis SR-16 please?

Well, you could just program the drums, record them, and then layer instruments on top of that. Or do you want to control the drum machine with n?

I like the idea of controlling the drum machine with N if that is possible Tom. If so, how do I go about that ??

I used to have one of those things… If I recall correctly, the SR-16 can act as a slave to n-track’s tempo, start and stop commands.

I sold my SR-16 when I got FruityLoops. Same concept (plus a lot more) as the SR-16 (program a pattern, then arrange patterns into a song), but much easier to use, and works very well with n-Track.

I have an SR-16 and have tried using it as a master and a slave for recording in n-track but always had some sort of problem. I’m sure it’s possible to iron out the problems but I’m not sure the effort/success rate would be justifiable.

In the end I’ve done a number of things.

1. Recorded the SR-16 as an audio file into n (sometimes with different parts to seperate tracks) and built the song from there.

2. Recorded via midi (SR-16 to n-track) one measure of A, B & their fills. Then copied and pasted as necessary for the song.

3. Used the samples contained in the SR-16 either by triggering them in SR-16 and recording the audio or, more flexibly,

4. Recording an audio file of all the SR-16 hits and slicing them into individual hits which can then be used in a soft drum synth.

There are so many great sounds in the SR-16; especially handy are the percussion ones eg congas etc. I found a lot of good drum-set sounds free on the web but percussion seemed harder to find.


What Mike and John said - using n-track as the midi source. If you are lazy you can get all of the sounds on a CDR on Ebay for about 3 bucks. But you should really try a VSTi drum machine, which is a heck of a lot easier to use than using n to control the SR16 or even programmin gthe drum track on the 16 and then recording it as an audio file. With the VSTi you can step program, or do a whole track with a midi controller. With something like FL or Orion or whatever you can also make loops so much more quickly and easily. FL also works as a VSTi in addition to being a superb standalone sequencer, making it one heck of a bargain, one heck of a VSTi.

Heck, you can have the CDR of hits I bought if you want. :)

Heck, I seem to really have the heckups tonight. :)

I bought a SR-16 just a week ago - cleanup sale in my music store, hence no case, manual, or cables, just the unit and a wall-wart to power it. I intend to use it for rehearsal or live performance only.

My preferences in drum programming are definitely a VSTi run by some sensible sequencer program. My experience is best with the Jazz++ sequencer (free) and using the finished midi tracks imported into n-Track as the control for the sfz SoundFont player loaded with NS-kit (also free). It may sound a bit cumbersome, but it saves me the problem of finding space for a real drummer… - this setup comes close to next to one.

regards, Nils

So have I made a mistake by purchasing an SR-16 or is it useable fellers?

I have Redrum available as a VST via Reason - should I concentrate on trying to get my head round that and re-sell the SR on ebay ??

Reading these replies (thanks) has made me realise how little I know about the concept of building a real sounding rhythm track.


I had the same quandary with a Boss DR-550II. If you play live, then obviously it’s a lot simpler to take your SR-16 with you than a PC sequencer, but apart from that scenario, I’d be selling the SR-16 and using a software sequencer - I’ve not used the Reason Redrum, but I’m sure it’ll do the job. If you particularly like the sounds on your SR-16, then sample them before you sell it and you have the best of both worlds.


There are two classes of problems to deal with in building realistic sounding drum tracks. One class has to do with technical issues, e.g., how to use n-Track as the midi controller for the SR-16. Personally, VSTi are so much easier to use that I’d rather not deal with teh 16, but some folks who have used those things for years are so good with them that it is nearly second nature.

The second set of problems has to do with artistic concerns. In my book it is very difficult to make programmed drums sound real, even with groove templates or the like. A drum machine is a machine and is not the same instrument as a set of real drums. That means it has different strengths, e.g., esp. if you want to do things that real drummers can’t do. Also, you might find that working with the 16 steers you in one direction, whereas a VSTi drum machine might steer you in another direction, and even among VSTi things there are significant differences. The artistic problems are difficult to solve apart from just playing with all the stuff to see what you can get out of it. And all of it is good.

Anyway, if you have Reason I’d say it’d be well worth the time learning that program. Probably fewer hassles and more productive than trying to make the sr-16 work right now. But if it were me I wouldn’t sell the 16; I hate to sell anything that has its own vibe, its own creative possibilities.

my 2 cents.

Thanks for the replies so far, I keep logging on to read a new piece of information which changes my mind, all useful stuff though