Summary: As solid a performer as you'd expect given the heritage, but with much more sonic scope than its forebear, the SR18 should certainly be on the shortlist of anyone in the market for a hardware drum machine.
Pros: A wide-ranging collection of solid drum one‑shots and bass multisamples that should cater for most styles of music., More sounds, editability and polyphony than the SR16., Added instrument input., The ability to trigger sequencer patterns from the pads for live performance.
Cons: In an age of multi-gigabyte virtual instruments, ROM-based sample-playback units such as this face much tougher competition in the studio, particularly where realistic-sounding acoustic drums are required.
Excerpt: Alesis’ SR-16 was one of the best-loved drum machines of the last decade. Unlike most others it focused not on electronica, but real drum sounds. And while these could sound a little artificial on occasion, they were leagues ahead of what computers could offer at the time. There are still many people, notably guitarists, bassists and drummers, who prefer not to use computers for everything, and it is at them that the new SR-18 is aimed.