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Is The Alesis QS series as Bad as some say


Skyyder

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I just recently purchased as Alesis QS7.1 which has not yet been delivered to me. However I've read so much negative things about the Alesis QS series that I'm now beginning to worry that I might have made a bad purchase. Lets say features aren't all that important to me and that sounds are my real interest. Are the sounds that bad for the type of music I play which is Gospel. I wanted a synth with 76 keys, good feel on the keyboard good pianos, strings, organs and E-pianos. Will the QS7.1 disappoint. My budget was $700. Would the Yamaha S30 have been a better purchase
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I don't know whether the Yamaha would be a better choice or not.

 

However, it took me a long time to convince myself the QS was a useful synth. The samples always seemed to lack something, or often to have some extra 'shimmer' that is not in the original sound.

 

Ultimately I couldn't resist because the sounds are good enough and the price dropped *that* low! lol And I've been able to do a few things to improve the sounds:

 

a) so many sounds have too many effects tacked-on! Removal of effects often gets you back to a usable sound (why the heck does the Clav sound have slapback anyway?).

 

b) For many sounds, a tube amp is a better choice than a PA system. Consequently, I pan those right and run the right output to my Marshall amp. The pianos, cellos, and other 'natural' sounds continue going on the Left channel to the PA.

 

c) On some sounds, Tron Flute, for example, the attack is way too 'clicky'. So I change it a bit - now Strawberry Fields and Court of the Crimson King sound pretty close! It takes patience, but this keyboard can sound really good.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

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Completely a matter of taste. I have a QS 8, and while I'm not absolutely crazy about it, some formidable cats around here like Soapbox, Jeff K., SteadyB, and our main man Dave Bryce himself swear by their QS's. The moral: be not swayed by the rantings (albiet sometimes eloquent and persuasive rantings) of people who are defendning their own gear choices by slagging others'. Not that I'm above this. I have, in the past, actually let myself get depressed about negative user reviews of gear I spent good money on. No more. The QS is a very serviceable board.

 

IMO:

 

Acoustic Piano-- strength of the QS. Take the Dark Classic preset, kill about 85% of the reverb on it, and you have a very lovely dark piano, which is the way I like them.. Between True Stereo and Pure Stereo, you're likley to find one brighter piano you can live with. Also, search the Internet for the "Boriano", a QS piano patch programmed by a guy named Boris. Load it with the Unisyn editor that comes with the QS software. I like the Boriano.

 

EPs: There are a couple of winners on the QS. Ray Roadz for Rhodes sounds, Whirl Lee for Wurli are my two favorite. However, i think recent trends have shown that modelling synths fare better with EPs. I really prefer some of the EPs on my Korg Z1--more animated and warm than the QS. And I hear EPs on the Nord Electro are dynamite.

 

Organs: all a matter of taste, but I'm not a huge fan of the QS organs. A lot of them, are on the Rockier side, maybe that's why.

 

Strings: forget it. This is not a strength of the QS. Well, you might find the string sections acceptable. Solo strings are a larf, IMO. YOu need Gigasampler or the like for good strings.

 

Be Open to the QS synth sounds (presets 80 and up). Some are surprisingly good, especially the evolving pads.

 

And overall, the QS sounds are very hot and very clean. You can do worse (and you can augment with Qcards, or modules by other makers.)

 

Enjoy it!

 

(Also: S30 has great sounds, but the keyboard is for sh*t. I played it in the store and loved its sounds but couldn't even consider it because the keys felt so cheap and unexpressive, and I'm not even a true keyboard player. With the QS 7.1, you have, at the very least, an excellent controller.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Originally posted by coyote:

I don't know whether the Yamaha would be a better choice or not.

 

However, it took me a long time to convince myself the QS was a useful synth. The samples always seemed to lack something, or often to have some extra 'shimmer' that is not in the original sound.

 

Ultimately I couldn't resist because the sounds are good enough and the price dropped *that* low! lol And I've been able to do a few things to improve the sounds:

 

a) so many sounds have too many effects tacked-on! Removal of effects often gets you back to a usable sound (why the heck does the Clav sound have slapback anyway?).

 

b) For many sounds, a tube amp is a better choice than a PA system. Consequently, I pan those right and run the right output to my Marshall amp. The pianos, cellos, and other 'natural' sounds continue going on the Left channel to the PA.

 

c) On some sounds, Tron Flute, for example, the attack is way too 'clicky'. So I change it a bit - now Strawberry Fields and Court of the Crimson King sound pretty close! It takes patience, but this keyboard can sound really good.

This is a good summary. I have an early QS8 and I still think it holds up reasonably well. The piano sounds are quite decent; better than many but perhaps not as nice as the Kurzweil PC2 or the Roland 5050 and its ilk. The inbuilt sounds can certainly be effectively edited to taste.
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I can definitely say I have an eternal love and hate relationship with that synth. I will agree with coyote... I do a fair amount of editing as I feel the sounds either have too much release or too much effect.

 

I for one don't care much for the pianos, but in a crunch I would use them, I guess. I think the sounds are pretty good overall, the only thumbs down I have is the orchestral sounds. I probably use the synth sounds the most from the stocks sounds.

 

I do think the better sounds are in the qcards. You should definitely look into getting one or two depending on your needs.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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I have an Alesis QSR and I love it! Sound is so subjective so I may like it, you may not. I think the pianos on the QS are nice, I especially like the JazzPrc organ patch. I have a couple of Qcards which are extremely useful and don't forget, if you dive deeper in programming your QS synth, you'll find that with Soundbridge and a 8mb PCMCIA card, you could create your own sounds from scratch. Okay, it's sometimes a PITA coz burning samples to a card takes a long time. But with patience, it all works out in the end.
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Thanks a lot guys you have really helped to put a lot of my fears to ease. As someone said everything is subjective so I'll just have to wait until my QS7.1 gets here and then listen up for myself.

 

I've been playing keys for a little over a year now so I hardly know anything about programming a synth. Is there a website that anyone could recommend that would help me to understand how to go about doing this.

......Thanks many

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A guy named Rich at tweakheadz.com has a guide to programming synths that's based on the QS.

 

With that being said, I think the electric pianos, electric basses, and drums all suck on the QS! I don't like doing a whole bunch of programming. . .but you sure will be programming with your QS. Have you heard the Triton LE? Puts the QS sounds to shame. Have you heard the Rhodes on the Yamaha S30? Kills anything the QS has to offer. So now I have to go spend, like, 200 extra dollars (for 2 qcards) to make the thing sound decent? This is besides the sustain problems I encounter when using this thing with Cakewalk, and somebody else on this forum says theirs went all out of tune (and others admitted that theirs did too).

 

Yeah, I got mine (qs7.1) for $550. But when I get through buying flash cards and qcards, tube amps, and crap to make the thing sound right, I'll be at $900. Hmmm...an s30 costs that much, so does the Emu PK-6, or an XP-30.

 

Mine is going on ebay. . .I think. Decisions, decisions.

 

Aaron

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I'm with Aaron on this. For useability out of the box and great sounds, you can't beat the yammies s30 and s80. The QSR I have gets used mainly for the analogish sounds, after buying the Vintage Synths card. But other than that, I wouldn't use much on that module. I kinda thought I liked the True Piano sound for a while until I recorded it and listened to it played back... Not the greatest: too much reverb, not enough sustain. I am sure with some tweaking the True Stereo Piano would be fine, but out of the box, it isn't.

 

I'd say the only thing that the QS7 has that is worthwhile is the 76 keys...

 

My two cents.

 

Albert

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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The problem w/ this is that the Yamaha user interface is, shall we say, cryptic at best.... it's totally non-instinctive (if that's a usable phrase). You power it up, press a button.... and nothing changes! I guess those boards are geared to recording. They are definitely NOT geared to performance.

 

Originally posted by tuttorney:

I'm with Aaron on this. For useability out of the box and great sounds, you can't beat the yammies s30 and s80.

Albert

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

[QB]The problem w/ this is that the Yamaha user interface is, shall we say, cryptic at best.... it's totally non-instinctive (if that's a usable phrase). You power it up, press a button.... and nothing changes! I guess those boards are geared to recording. They are definitely NOT geared to performance.

You know, I really don't know why Yamaha gets a bad rap in the OS department, since I am not into programming much, but as far as it being a recording keyboard as opposed to a gigging board, I don't see how different it is from the Roland or Korg Keyboards I've played. But then again, I am not a gigging musician (anymore)!

 

My two cents

 

Albert

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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The reason why I like the QS is because it was my first pro-synth purchase (been using a Casio for years!!). It's really a matter of taste. The QS wasn't meant to be the best "all-in-one sound source" anyways. For now, I only use the QS. I like Roland and Korg synths much better (from playing 'em at the music store and will buy when my bank account lets me :( ) but I would still use the QS for it's piano and synth sounds (from 80 on up)-- not the strings. IMHO, Roland would be a better choice for strings. Just add some sound modules to your set-up and buy those QCards. I only have two QCards (and like 'em) but I'm quite sure that they're all good enough to use if the presets are not to your likings and don't feel like programming (like myself). But for $550, it's a hard deal to pass up ;)
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Originally posted by tuttorney:

But then again, I am not a gigging musician (anymore)!

Ahhh, but I am...and I think the QS's are cool. If you don't believe me, check out my tune on our new Keyboard Corner Compilation - done entirely on Alesis gear.

 

EVERY synth, IMHO, has its strengths and its weaknesses - and it all depends on what you're trying to do with it. I don't think Alesis would have sold as many as they did (an uphill battle since they weren't as big as the other guys) if it sucked.

 

I think it's a good all-round meat-and-potatoes synth, and the Q cards are an excellent investment. Not all the sounds are great, but they aren't on any other synth I've ever played, either. I have gear by just about everyone else in my stable, and my philosophy is to use the best sounds from each, combine 'em together and create your own sound.

 

I think you'll be happy, Sky...

 

:)

lz

www.lauriez.com

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Originally posted by coyote:

The problem w/ this is that the Yamaha user interface is, shall we say, cryptic at best.... it's totally non-instinctive (if that's a usable phrase). You power it up, press a button.... and nothing changes! I guess those boards are geared to recording. They are definitely NOT geared to performance.

I disagree. The only reason my qsr is easier than my cs6x is that it's simpler, and I don't always see that as an advantage.

 

What yamaha are you talking about?

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

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ANY Yamaha. There are about 30 buttons on the s80. Only two of them let you select a sound, and you must scroll thru a list to get there. On my QS7.1 I press one button and get an instant sound change! MUCH better for live performance. Seems that real-time control isn't part of Yamaha's bag of tricks. It's unfortunate, because their sounds ARE good. But I won't buy a keyboard unless I can perform with it; to me, the recording process is secondary to live performance.

 

Originally posted by Rod CA:

What yamaha are you talking about?

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

ANY Yamaha. There are about 30 buttons on the s80. Only two of them let you select a sound, and you must scroll thru a list to get there. On my QS7.1 I press one button and get an instant sound change!

No, you don't.

 

If you press any of the buttons 1-16, you get an immediate sound change. To move further within the bank, press the A-H keys. To change banks, there's a dedicated button for each bank, unlike the qs, where you have to press the bank select up or down multiple times to switch banks.

 

You don't have to scroll thru anything.

 

In fact, I can change sounds generally faster than I can in the QS, in certain instance. Yes, there are certain times where you have to press two buttons to change sounds in the yamaha, but I don't see that as a HUGE deal. There are times that you can change patches faster in the qs, faster in the yamaha. But I'm puzzled as to why this is such a big deal as to why someone would not buy it for this reason.

 

I don't know which 2, but there are about 30 buttons you use to select sounds. 2?

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Ktempo,

 

Once again you've saved me. Because of what you wrote, I've reconsidered. I pulled this big, well made, streamlined, beautiful machine out of the keyboard bag and thought. . .for $550.00 I'd be crazy to sell this bad boy! And plus. . . there's always SoundDiver!

 

Aaron

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Is there some trick to this? When I was buying my Alesis, I wanted to check out the Yamahas. I would press button after button, and nothing would change. So I'd power it off, power it back on, and try again - and nothing would change! I did this a few times. Finally I found that I had to press one of those preset buttons to select a group, press an up-or-down button somewhere to scroll thru and select the sound within the group, and then press an 'enter'-type key. Only then would the sound change.

 

Anyway, my opinion is that if I have to do all this and there is no clearcut way to immediately select sounds when I power it up, I don't want it - regardless of all its other wonderful attributes. BTW, I watched a salesperson have difficulty selecting sounds also. That sealed it for me.... Who knows? Maybe I'm just a moron lol

 

Originally posted by Rod CA:

If you press any of the buttons 1-16, you get an immediate sound change. To move further within the bank, press the A-H keys. To change banks, there's a dedicated button for each bank, unlike the qs, where you have to press the bank select up or down multiple times to switch banks.

 

You don't have to scroll thru anything.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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I think there must have been something wrong with the Yamaha you tried because like Rod said, switching sounds on the S30/80/CS6X really couldn't be easier. The only time you have to scroll to change sounds is when you are setting up a multi-timbal performance.

 

-Casey

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Let me put some things straight about what some guys out here tell about Yamaha.

First of all, the UI is NOT cryptic or hard to understand, it's the manual that sux! I change patches with the bank knobs or with a turning knob. Simple.Sure, the UI in an S-series/CS-series or Motif is not as easy as a Triton UI but it's okay, although I had a struggle with the MIDI setup.

Yamaha sounds are NOT thin anymore! Cutting yes, but thin? I can generate some real warm sounds on my CS6x. I think too many cats out here are listening to presets only. If you EQ a little (realtime on S/CS which means easy!) the sound gets much warmer. And they don't drown in the mix like some Rolands do (maybe that's a prejudice too but that's my experience).

I think those two prejudiced opinions are out there because of the DX and SY series. I also think that you just should buy whatever you want and use the best of every board you have.

And a last remark, I don't understand why everybody is defending an instrument which is getting out of tune as much as the QS does. That's about the last thing you want on a gig. I would go maaaad! :mad: Apparently the QS must have some way cool things to compensate for this.

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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And a last remark, I don't understand why everybody is defending an instrument which is getting out of tune as much as the QS does. That's about the last thing you want on a gig. I would go maaaad! Apparently the QS must have some way cool things to compensate for this.
It doesn't.

 

Aaron

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And a last remark, I don't understand why everybody is defending an instrument which is getting out of tune as much as the QS does. That's about the last thing you want on a gig. I would go maaaad! Apparently the QS must have some way cool things to compensate for this.
It doesn't.

 

Aaron

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Hey Aaron :wave: ,

 

By all means, give the QS a chance to impress you a little bit. Try those QCards. All the preset sounds on the QS are not sucky. The QS is all I use and I'm very pleased with it. Any other keyboard(s) and sound modules that I'll get will only "accompany" the QS. "Ya know what I mean, Verne?" :):thu:

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Anyway, my opinion is that if I have to do all this and there is no clearcut way to immediately select sounds when I power it up, I don't want it - regardless of all its other wonderful attributes. BTW, I watched a salesperson have difficulty selecting sounds also. That sealed it for me.... Who knows? Maybe I'm just a moron lol

Selecting sounds on a CS6x: First choose voice or performance (not necessary everytime), then choose pre1/pre2/int/ext/plg1/plg2 (one of these, also not necessary everytime), then A-H (also not necessary everytime) and finally choose 1-16. Or use the turning knob. That's a maximum of four steps but if you're smart you store your favorite patches close to each other. Now, that's easy, right? I guess it works the same for S-series and Motif.

I don't give a chance to a board that gets out of tune. I've had that with a sound canvas :bor: and an old JX8P. Ditched them immediately.

http://www.bobwijnen.nl

 

Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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