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Re: Cheap Drum Machine

Kevin wrote:
> OT I know, but then again, you all know a lot of useful OT things like
> which is a better cheap drum machine, the Alesis SR16 and the Zoom RT
> 223.  I can find both used for less than $100 and was curious if anyone
> had any experience with either of them that might sway me one way or
> another.  I'm basically looking for a machine I can play live and has
> Midi out.  Beyond that I'm flexible (other than wanting to keep my costs
> around $100).

Kevin, I owned the grandaddy Alesis HR-16 (precursor to the SR-16) since
1980-something, and finally had to retire it last year when the LCD window
got all mushy-black and the pads needed continual cleaning to work. I loved
this machine in a way that would make my wife jealous. I got the Zoom 223 
replace it. Initially I was pretty jazzed up - good effects, good sounds,
moderately easy programming. Then I hit the memory wall. The friggin' thing
has NO memory. You'll get a few sets programmed, a few patterns written, a
few songs assembled, and right in the middle of writng something you'll get
a "memory full" message. For me, this is a real deal-breaker. It has other
shortcomings as well:
* No MIDI out! No MIDI Thru! (MIDI in works fine, I drive it from my
recording workstation)
* You can't overlay sounds as on the Alesis. I used to build the coolest
patterns by mixing just a hint of timbale with a snare, maybe a deeply
detuned snare really soft on all the drums as well to simulate snare 
stuff like that. No can do on the Zoom 223.
* Zoom 223 has only 2 outputs. Alesis has 4. I used to program my cymbals 
outputs 3 and 4 and run them through a Microverb to get a l-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-g
cymbal wash
* Zoom 223's little backlit LCD window of information is painfully small.

I will say this for the Zoom 223:
* It runs on batteries. I get totally in another world when I carry this
little paperback-sized box around, slip on a set of headphones, and lay 
some whack gamelan-meets-rave patterns while sipping a latte at Starbucks.
* The sounds are really good, and deeply tunable.
* The pads on the 223 are better than the old HR-16. Can't compare them to
the SR-16.
* Some nice bass sounds on the 223 (upright, slap, synth, harmonics, etc.)
* Some nice effects (good reverbs, compression, bit-reduction distortion,
distressed analog distortion, etc.)

If you'd like to hear my use of the Zoom 223 in a standard song context, 
can go to my web site and listen to the one song I've posted so far. Try
this link:
Scroll down about 1/3 of the way and look for "Postmortal Postman." The
drums are a Zoom 223.

Yesterday I bought the Alesis/Ion drum pad-drum machine set at Costco for
$200. I've heard that the pad-to-MIDI interface is glitchy, but I figure 
getting the drum machine for $150, plus some pads and a glitchy interface
for $50.

Bottom line: I'd grab the Alesis SR16 over the Zoom 223, particularly used
for $100.

Best, dB
Douglas Baldwin, coyote-at-large

"Life! Life!
Clouds and clowns!
You don't have to come down!"
- Sly and the Family Stone

 PS - I love your ps:

> Till now you seriously considered yourself to be the body and to have a
> form. That is the primal ignorance which is the root cause of all 
> - Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)