Nice NAMM 2008 roundup from Wire To The Ear

The splendid and stylish new gear blog Wire To The Ear have a nice roundup of NAMM bits, including Akai's bizarre preset MPC, the XR20 and Alesis' SR-18, an upgrade - 18 years on - to the ubiquitous SR-16, every busker's favourite drum machine.

I expected more cool things from this year's NAMM.
ive had an sr-16 for 10 years (my first musical instrument) and i still use it today- a brilliant machine- hopefully this new one will get over all the failings of the old one (low polyphony- cant even play all 12 sounds of one drum set at once properly, slows down/misses beats with complex patterns (hr16 is much better at that) buttons wear out, cant change patterns with midi.......)
no 'tape' out.. ha ha
i hope you can still switch drumsets with the + and - buttons while its playing- thats so much fun on the old one

I would like to know what made it so brilliant. I'm interested in this drum machine, and the akai version. What would make these so appealing?
i have very fond memories of using my sr16 when i had no other equipment and really wanted to make techno- its not really the most appropriate machine for techno but i learned it inside out and was very pleased with the rhythms i made
im biased in favour of it because its the machine i used to make my first steps in learning to make music
i would probably enjoy the new one less- its more fun trying to make bass lines out of drums rather than using a bass synth
hmmmm i dont think i can really give any useful advice about it
the akai one (xr20) seems to be identical apart from the name- the manual accidentally refers to it as sr-18 a couple of times! i wonder which name costs more
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