The Alesis QS7

Visit the MIDI-Store for great deals on Alesis gear.
You can find a QS7 review and a sampleCD in the December/96 issue of Future Magazine.

Specifications | Review | Press Release | Flash RAM Card Warning ! | About the CD ROM
New Serial Port Driver and SoundBridge Versions. | Cakewalk Instrument Definitions
Windows Editor Librarian | Serial Port Driver | SoundBridge | QS7 Schematics (PDF) | MIDI files

Alesis QS7 (view image)

  • Type : Sample playback synthesizer keyboard
  • Keys: 76 velocity and aftertouch sensitive, semi-weighted, synth-action
  • Polyphony : 64 voices
  • MIDI Channels : 16
  • ROM : 16MB, expandable to 32MB using 2 PCMCIA ROM and RAM cards.
  • Sounds : 512 preset 128 user programs, 400 preset and 100 user mixes, expandable using PCMCIA cards.
  • Samples : 48kHz Linear samples
  • General MIDI : GM compatible.
  • Effects : On board effects, based on the Alesis Q2 FX processor
  • Drums : Drum kits, rhythm loops
  • Input / Output : 4 Audio Out, Phones, MIDI IN, OUT, THRU, Serial interface for Mac/PC, ADAT optical digital output, 48kHz input, 2 PCMCIA card slots
  • Controls : Pitch wheel, Mod. wheel, 4 assignable control sliders, 3 Pedal inputs
  • Sequencer No on-board sequencer, can play standard MIDI files from PCMCIA expansion cards
  • Other features : Using PCMCIA Flash RAM cards, custom samples and programs can be added. Free CD-ROM with Sysex and Sample Transfer utility, sequencer, editor and MIDI player software, extra sounds.
  • List Price : $1,599

Review by Rob Martino

I got to play a QS7 for a while this weekend, and already own a QS+. Most of the same types of sounds are covered on the QS7, so there is some overlap, but some of the patches with the same name don't sound the same, some are better (the Hammond organs), some worse (Communion for example). The QS7 had some really great new brass sounds, and orchestral patches in general (like the LA philarmonic ones). I've never been much of a fan of using brass sounds on a synth but the QS7s were killer. The woodwinds were about the same (fairly good quality already on the QS+) with the notable exception of the flute... that gorgeous vibrato flute sample on the QS+, perfect for soft pads and mellotron flute sounds, is gone! The flute sounds on the QS7 seemed to use a harsh, piercing sample with a raspy attack. The QS7 seemed to include a wider and more improved variety of synth sounds. Some notable ones were BladeRunner, Fluid Pad, Outland, and some awesome leads like Alpha Lead and Beta Lead. I notice a lot of the new synth sounds I liked use some "pad" samples not found on the QS+, like X Pad, J Pad and M Pad. I'd love to get a hold of these! And of course the organs....excellent on the QS7! The Hammond sounds are as good as I expected. My only minor complaint is that the digital distortion (found on most synths) doesn't really do the samples justice, I think I'd probably use the rotary speaker simulation on my Boss SE-70 instead, which has a creamy analog distortion. Digital distortion sounds kind of brittle and harsh to my ears. You could easily (in a mix setup) patch the organ to the aux outputs to a nice leslie simulator to get some absolute monster organ sounds with the new QS synths. Anyways, as I tried out the QS7 I was so impressed I had thoughts of trading in my QS+ towards it, but I think instead I'll try to get a hold of those samples I need to get some of those new patches. The QS+ still had a lot of good samples that seem to be missing from the new QS's, and still has the best LCD display, so fortunately it isn't really being "obsoleted". I also compared the QS7 to the Roland XP-80 sitting above it and it compared very favorably, the QS7 seeming to have a bit more precision in clarity of sample quality and effects.

Rob Martino
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From the press release :


"The QS7 features a 76-key semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch and release velocity. The QS7 incorporates 16 megabytes of onboard sound ROM. It features Alesis' acclaimed phase-accurate stereo grand piano voice, as well as a full complement of organs, strings, drums/percussion, brass, woodwinds, and rhythmic/sonic loops. It also features several banks of both new and classic synth textures, including waveforms from Keith Emerson's famous analog modular synthesizer. The QS7 offers 640 Programs and 500 multitimbral Mixes, which may be expanded to offer 1660 Programs and 1300 Mixes (32MB of ROM) using its two PCMCIA sound card slots and Alesis sound cards. All of the QS7's internal and external ROM and RAM voices are immediately accessible without installing expansion boards or waiting for disk drives. QS7's extensive master controller features include four fully-assignable real-time control sliders as well as pitch and modulation wheels. A sustain pedal and two assignable pedal inputs are included on the rear panel. The QS7 also implements the powerful QS Modulation Matrix, allowing users to assign virtually any controller source to any modulation parameter. The onboard effects processor utilizes four totally discrete effects busses for powerful multieffects that include reverb, delay, rotary speaker simulation, distortion, chorus and much more. Using Alesis' new Sound Bridge 2.0 software and any Mac or PC, the QS7 can write AIFF and .WAV samples as well as Standard MIDI Files and Program data to PCMCIA Flash or SRAM cards. Standard MIDI File sequences can then be played back by the QS7 without the use of any external sequencing device. For direct digital connection to ADAT recorders and compatible products, the QS7 includes the ADAT Optical Digital Interface. Also included is a serial data port that provides direct connection to a Macintosh or PC without a MIDI interface. Four independent 1/4" audio outputs and a headphone output are also provided. Like Alesis' QS6, the QS7 includes a CD-ROM in Mac and Windows format that includes sequencing software, Alesis' new Sound Bridge 2.0 and Freeloader software, General MIDI sequences, editor/librarian tools, additional sample and program data and other third party software. The QS7's strong all-metal chassis is designed for use both in studios and on the road. Dimensions of the QS7 are 44 1/4" wide x 11" deep x 3 1/4" high. For more information, contact Alesis at 310-841-2272. Alesis Corporation, 3630 Holdrege Avenue, LA, CA 90016."

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Flash RAM Card Warning !

To all QS7 and QS8 owners:

There have been reports of some QS7 and QS8 owners having difficulty using SoundBridge with the approved AMD flash cards. Thanks to Jeff Pynonnen and Les Winters, we have been able to isolate the problem. It seems that AMD, the company who manufactures the flash cards that we approve for use with our synths is actually making two types of cards with the same part #. Both are exactly alike, except one has a ceramic case, and one has a metal case. It has been discovered that the metal case cards do not function correctly with the QS7 and QS8...however, they do work correctly on the QS6 and S9. The discrepancy is due to the double card slot interacting peculiarly with the metal case - the result is that the QS7 and QS8 think they're SRAM cards, and will not allow them to be burned...suffice it to say that neither we nor the engineers at AMD can explain why at this time - they're exactly the same otherwise. AMD is still manufacturing the ceramic case cards, and will gladly send that model to anyone who specifies (same price)...remember, the part # for the two cards is the exact same (AmC008DFLKA for the 8 meg...just change the 8 to a 4 for the 4 meg, etc). Remember, the ceramic ones work in all the synths, and the metal ones only work in the synths with one card slot. Please feel free to email me with any questions...

dB
Alesis Keyboards


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New SoundBridge and Serial Port Driver Versions


Alesis Serial Port Driver for Windows 2.00 (FINAL) 10/96
  • supports the Alesis QS6, QS7, QS8
  • supports direct high speed connections to the QS7, QS8
  • Works with Windows 3.1 and Windows 95
  • includes complete documentation of all parameters, installation instructions for both 3.1 and 95.
  • Download it now !

Do you need a serial cable ?

You can order one directly from Alesis, call : 800-525-3747. (Price : $14.99)

If you want to make your own cable, here is the pinout for Mac and PC

Sound Bridge for Macintosh 2.00 (FINAL) 10/96
  • supports MIDI directly, Midi Manager(TM), OMS(TM) 2.x.
  • Loads and Downloads individual sample files, Sample Cell(TM) Instruments, Sysex Program Banks, and Standard MIDI Files.
  • vastly improved user interface since v1.00
  • supports Drag and Drop in System 7.5, also supported in System 7.1 with the Drag Manager extension.
  • complete with electronic online manual
  • Download it now !
Sound Bridge for Windows 1.20 (FINAL) 10/96
This is the current release version of Sound Bridge for Windows. It is compiled for Windows 3.1 and it works just fine in Windows 95 as well.

NEW FEATURES:

  • improved timing efficiency for better processing and speed during download of data. These improvements also facilitate much faster download times when using the Alesis Windows Serial Midi Driver with the QS7 or QS8 at higher baud rates.
  • a sysex bank (bulk dump) can now be loaded into a project and downloaded to the card along with sample data. This program bank will appear in the synth as an additional card bank of programs. This feature will work with the Quadrasynth Plus, S4 Plus, QS6, QS7, and QS8.
  • standard midi files can be loaded into a project and downloaded to the card along with optional sample data and a program bank. The feature to playback the sequences is currently only available on the QS7 and QS8, and also the QS6 with version 2.0 upgrade !.
  • complete with online Windows Help File
  • Download it now !

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About the QS7 and QS8 CD-ROM ...

Soundbridge will be included on the forthcoming CD ROM for the QS7 & 8 which should be available shortly. Only QS7 & 8 users are entitled to a copy of the disk free of charge. The disk will not be available for purchase due to liscensing issues.

Users who did not receive a claim form with their QS7/8 for the CD ROM should call with their serial number ready. The CD will be ordered upon verification of registration.

If you have any questions or comments, call :

Alesis Technical Support
800-5ALESIS
800-525-3747