Akai XR20 vs Alesis SR18 

Technology is very helpful to improve your life and it enriches the options of various tools we can choose from, including musical instruments. Among those, drum machines are great for those who want to make beats for their song, moreover, with the compact and simple design. If this sounds like what you are trying to aim, Akai XR20 Vs Alesis SR18 are two amazing machines to consider. Go see what they can offer and which of them will be the best option here.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • What are Drum Machines
  • What are Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18
  • What Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 Look Like
  • How Many Sound and Patterns in Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18
  • How are the Performance of Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18
  • What Ports Available in Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18
  • Akai XR20 Vs Alesis SR18

Drum Machines

Almost everyone of us has a specific taste in music that built our playlist and since we have different tastes, yours and your friend’s favorite songs and musician don’t have to be the same. At the end of the day, what catches our ears are good songs or music and in modern days, music itself also evolves to be more diverse. Electronic is one of the most popular genres today, often listened to by young people and if you are as well, having a drum machine will be a great decision.

You don’t have to be a professional producer to own this gear as they can be used in various different settings even inside your bedroom to play around. As the name suggests, this is an electronic instrument or a hardware which is built to imitate the sound of electronic drums and various other percussive instruments. You will find them mostly in a box-shape, similar to a mixer board and have a set of buttons, screen, or knobs depending on the model.

Drum machines are very popular in modern setup and in different genres but electronic music like dance or anyone who wants to make beats and in general is focusing more on those songs or arrangements that are offering a sonic experimentation. In older genres such as rock, this gear is usually only used for a quick recording of their finished demos without having to assemble a real drum set on the spot. But, since music itself is art, there is no limitation on how you want to experiment.

Buying a drum machine is not the easiest task as well because just like any other electronic instrument, you want to consider their capabilities and specification yet, for beginners, we can start from the size first. Drum machines used to be very bulky but today they can be very compact for your convenience but, smaller units will be difficult to play especially live as their buttons or pads are narrow. Second is the type, whether you want analog or digital.

It is a matter of preference however since we may not have the same impression and commonly the analog type produces warmer sound than the digital one but personally we like both of them and it can even be more complex in which most will probably go with hybrid or digital instead for realism. Most drums will give you a set of built-in sound but in some models you may have more freedom to upload your own sample which typically only plays a short phrase instead of a sampler’s longer phrase.

 Akai XR20 Alesis SR18 
Best Offerclick hereclick here
Shipping Weight3.85 pounds
1.15 pounds

About Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18

Drum machine is a great tool to invest in your setup because it opens for a possibility to create and play along depending on what you want to do with the unit. They are available in a huge range of prices differentiated on the entry-level, mid-range, and professional tools so almost everyone can get the perfect option for their application. If you have no specific preference, it is faster to shop based on the budget or brand that you like the most.

Usually well-known or popular brands are carrying tons of choices including for their drum machine and among those that create electronic music equipment, Akai and Alesis are two popular brands you will see often at stores. Chances are, you can see their products in almost any music stores where you live and this is not without a reason as they are both great choices for the budget and for the quality. They do carry some interesting models on the entry-level that may catch your attention.

Shopping on the entry-level can be difficult as price often reflects well on the product but not with Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18. Both of them are equally affordable and loved by many due to their sound quality and what they can offer in the box but being machines from two different manufacturers does make them different as well. Overall, their performances are satisfying, sound wise, very pleasant but there might be some aspects that make you prefer one over the other. 

These kits are not new anymore and the XR20 is even almost two decades old now which is understandable why it is nice to the pocket compared to the vast amount of new gears nowadays. Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 are more of a traditional drum machine and aimed towards hobbyist or casual users who are mostly into electronic music to play around or to compose their own track. Nowadays, computers are very convenient for integration while these two do focus more as standalone units.

Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 Design

Checking out the machine, it is easy to tell how old they are due to the classic design but for the build quality, the whole plastic cover does seem pretty decent and should be able to last for quite a long time. Identical with many other drum machines out there, they sport this rectangle/square shape with a set of buttons and display on top. The box itself is very compact in our opinion with Alesis measured about 9.2-inch deep and 13-inch wide compared to Akai’s 7-inch deep and 9-inch wide.

The first thing you will notice very different between the two is their pads itself because as you can see, they are pretty wide on both drums but when you power them up, the Akai XR20 is actually lit up as the pads have blue LED in it which makes it a bit of aesthetic improvement. But, for the buttons responsiveness and feels, they are pretty much the same. As for the display itself, they are bright and easy to read but the XR20 is brighter in comparison. 

Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 Sound and Pattern

One of the most important points of getting a drum machine is using their built-in sounds and here Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 are packing so much with 700 and 500 high quality sounds built-in the unit. This is then accompanied by 99 and 200 patterns that you can choose anytime or create your own. These two however, are not samples capable so they don’t provide a function to let you add your own sound but if you go dive in the internet, we are sure you can see some tricks to do so.

The SR18 is an upgrade of the older favorite SR16 and in this model as well Alesis decided to put effects with its two preset-driven processors. Similarly, the XR20 also offers the effects on board and you can find Reverb, EQ/Compression, or ready-to-use presets and you can use the page up or down button to navigate inside the menu. Read also: Alesis SR18 Vs Boss DR 880

Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 Performance 

Moving to the performance part, Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 are somehow very similar or almost identical in operation and many also said that they probably have the same hardware. Drum machines in general are not friendly towards beginners or if you want something that can be understood in an instant since these two do require some learning curve. What’s different in our opinion is their sound because while the XR20 is clearly designed towards modern, hip-hop or R&B, most people may prefer SR18 for its rock capability.

The extent of an instrument usually only decided by the musician so it all comes to what’s click on your ears. In Alesis we like the traditional drums and basic bass sound and on the XR20, we do prefer its kick drum which seems to suit electronic music the most.

Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 Ports and Power

As a standalone unit, Akai XR20 and Alesis SR18 don’t come with any computer connectivity so all happens in the machine itself including for storing. They carry the same ports however including for MIDI, headphone, microphone, and monitor. In addition, if you plan on using these gears in a portable manner, besides being connected to direct power you can also use AA batteries to power them up and they do last decently for several hours or you can also choose the rechargeable battery to reduce waste.

Akai XR20 vs Alesis SR18 

Both of these drum machines are amazing for the price that they are currently offered in and in general they are very much on the same level especially for quality and hardware. If you are looking for something like MPC, Akai XR20 will look very attractive and this model does have sound geared more towards electronics while the type of sound in SR18 is often used more in jazz or rock music. 

 Akai XR20Alesis SR18
Best Deal*Save Money Please click hereSave Money Please click here
Brand Akai Alesis
Key features- Over 700 sounds produced by Chronic Music
- 99 Preset patterns and 99 User patterns
- Backlit LCD
- Bright, glowing, backlit pads that follow the beat
- A Studio Icon - Legendary classic drum machine for songwriters, live perform-ers and remix engineers
- In Demand Sound - 500 professional sounds included, built-in digital effects for added realism and powered by Alesis exclusive Dynamic Articulation
- Seamless MIDI Connectivity - Complete MIDI support for use with keyboards, computers, DAWs and electronic drum kits
- Production Essentials - Pattern Play Mode enables different patterns to be trig-gered from the pads directly; programmable Drum Roll function

Customer Ratings*4.7 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars


NOTE : Product prices, availability, ratings and save money information are accurate as of the date/time indicated on post time (as seen right bellow the tittle) and are subject to change. Any price, ratings, availability and save money information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

All in all, since there is no bad option between the two, we can go with anything that seems to fit your taste better. But, in case you are only making hip-hop or electronic music, we do think that the Akai XR20 is the more ideal option.


Leave a Comment