Synth Site: Alesis: QS8 Synth: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Kris a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I loved the QS8 sound so much that I bought a QSR to complement it. They're my primary workhorses out of my 16 item kit. Sound is fantastic. Samples are great. My QS8 is my primary controller due to its keyboard etc. Love the feel. It does have one serious glitch IMO. That being, if it receives a MIDI start message, it starts playing any demo sequences that might be stored on its PCMCIA cards (if you own one of Alesis' QCards - they apply). This means that if you'd like to send MIDI time code from, say Cakewalk (in my case), everytime I do so to sync with another piece of my gear, my QS8 goes into MIX mode and starts playing something entirely unrelated. Kindof a pain and QUITE a shortcoming in the design ALESIS! Don't know if this has been fixed or can be switched on/off on the QS8.1 though. Alesis' solution was to put a filter before the QS8 to stop those MIDI messages... didn't make me happy. But for sound, the QS series is great!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-29-1999 at 08:37
Tay Bian a hobbyist user from Singapore writes:
Buying another keyboard was never on my mind. But at the Guitar Centre in Spring Valley,Dallas; going from one keyboard to another, tweaking the sounds, running the keys off, I realised I'd been on this keyboard for a pretty long while (I usually move to the next one after about 15 mins or so).

The piano sounds were excellent and coupled with that superb hammer action, it was a darn good play. Depress the keys gradually (somewhat like slowmotion) and you'll hit a soft ridge before hitting the keybed. Very much like how an acoustic piano would hit the restraint before the string gets hit. But I'd be kidding you if I said it feels like an acoustic piano.(I'd knew it wasn't acoustic if I were blindfolded and hit the keys. You would too.) It's got a special feel of its own that puts it in a class by itself.Not necessarily inferior to a piano feel.

Anyway, I went on. Tried the guitars (wow!), brass(I've heard better), woodwinds(pretty good) , organs(with some tweaking they will be awesome), strings(violins and violas are a scene from 'Just For Laughs' but string ensemble is ok), synths(excellent), drum kits(Somehow lacking in a jazz kit. Snares are also a little weak). The pianos would be the star (although EPs are quite disgraceful. Rhodes and Wurlis are pretty decent though).

Anyway, before I knew it, I'd spent a good 90 mins on this one here. I look up....to the blank space above the buttons...and I see......Korg N1..no.no..just kidding..it was the Alesis QS8, of course.(else I wouldn't be here, would I?)

I'm now a happy owner of a QS8.1 (after waiting for a year for it to get out of the alesis labs).

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-15-1999 at 03:37
Jonathan a professional user from Germany writes:
The sounds are good. the keyboard is good. It is, however, a joke trying to control the thing in a live situation. After Alesis didn't reply to my eMail, asking how to control the volume of two sounds with the controllers, I sent eMails to a dozen people asking how to do this complicated act. Nobody could help me further. Maybe I'm too stupid for the manual (be it english or german). It's going back to the shop tomorrow. There must be something better for the price, or shall I just carry on lugging my dependable old KX88 around with a JV880. (It's just so heavy, and I was wanting to be lazy and get home quicker after a gig!) Buy one, but try it out first, to see if it will do want you want it to do first.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-12-1999 at 17:13
Mike a part-timer user from USA writes:
If you are a professional musician (make your leaving playing music) you're probably not reading this. I am a professional computer programmer and, first of all, I don't usually need other people opinion in my area of expertise, and second of all I never consider the cost as a factor when I'm buying the tool I make money with... With that in mind here goes the review. QS8 is cheep, that's the main reason we're even talking about it. But that's off course not the only reason. I'll be comparing QS8 to its main competitor - N1. The keyboard is FATAR - better than Korg's, a little lighter (preferred by some) and less noisy. Banks/Patches/Mixes organization is a lot better on QS8, but if you're not a complete idiot, Korg's is not so horrible either. But maybe, first I should tell you my story. I bought QS7 first and I loved it. Then I decided that 88 weighted keys is a must for me and I exchanged it for N1 (why N1 and not QS8? Just wanted to try something else..). The Korg I bought had these disgusting mahogany wooden ends that made it look like a piece of furniture so I had to return it. Unfortunately, they didn't have any other N1's and I decided to buy FATAR Studiologic controller and a sound module. Now, take it from me, do not buy Studiologic! These guys make pretty nice keys but their controllers suck big time! I opened one and, Mamma Mia, what did I see inside... There're some nice shoes they make in Italy but not controllers - what a piece of crap! Cheap, cheap, cheap! Well, I didn't have any choice and I bought QS8 (I wanted to buy something already!) Now, I recorded a few sequences using QS7 presets and then recorded the same sequences using N1. The difference: N1 wins 10 to zero. Full bodied, convincing sounds versus very thin mix of 'noises' with each individual sound loosing it's personality in a mix completely. I've listened for those sequences through my JBL at home, through my really crappy car stereo - same result. Don't get me wrong, QS's sound was OK, but only before I compared it to Korg's. It's like listening for something without the right EQ setup or with one, you never know before you compare!!! OK, so you're probably thinking that I'm totally in love with Korg now, right? Wrong! If choosing a synth was so easy, this site wouldn't even exist! I was looking for all around keyboard. The one that can provide me with, maybe, not all the best features but with a lot of them. So let's compare, shell we? As being said before, Korg beats Alesis in the sound department, especially in the multitimbral mode. Setting up a multi mode is a different story altogether though. You just have to love Alesis's Mix mode, so easy! You can assign any patch to any of the 16 MIDI channels in a matter of a seconds. Korg, well, only GM/GS/XG are easy, custom config is a nightmare if possible at all. Piano sounds, ah those pianos! My first impression was that the QS is better, but after listening for some piano solos produced by both, I must say that Korg is better again. Just compare the high notes and you'll see what I'm talking about. Winds (especially flute and sax) - very nice on QS8. But with Korg you get breath (press a key a little harder) and a lip (press it a little more harder). Acoustic Guitars - QS8 no doubt. Korg sucks, (but not too much). Srings: QS8 - UNUSABLE!!!, Korg - beautiful. Synth: very creative on QS but, again mostly unusable even if you're into Vangelis kind of thing. Korg - classy, a little boring at times but a step above in terms of quality and frankly (my opinion) a lot more inspirational. Drums: ah what the hell, Alesis just can not win! Let's talk about QS's winning points, cause there're some more actually. It fits in 76 key case (important to some of us). It has two PCMCI slots (not bad but who cares considering the price of the blank cards - 60 bucks for an 8meg aftermarket card without guarantee to work and $110 for a real one? please. Q-cards did not impress me al all based on the demo). No power supply, just plug it into the outlet (I like this, make me feel comfortable..). Metal all around ( Korg has this nasty wooden/paper/carton like bottom panel, horrible!). That's about it. You may ask me "What about other products?". Well, the way I see it, there's nothing really else in this category. A90/PC88/SgPro are all controllers. Just a few sounds and a LOT of buttons. Unless you're a life performing musician, those things will be useless to you. Besides, the price of these controllers is equal or higher than of those you'd pay for QS8 or N1. As for the keys, PC88 uses the same FATAR keys as QS8, SgPro - same as N1, and A90 - who cares, it's so expensive anyway (and not better at all). Off course we have Z1/Trinity, EX5/7, XP, JP8000, Nord, Ensoniq stuff, but those are synths/workstation and I believe we're talking about Piano action here plus Synth, so those can not be really applied here. Bottom line: QS8, N1 or else.... For a home studio, QS8 is very good as a controller with some free sounds and a good platform to do some basic home-brew sequencing. N1 is equally a good controller with a lot better sounds but a pain in the neck as a multitimbral sound module. The way I see it, if you're like me and never satisfied with anything (like most musicians I might add) then bite the bullet and buy everything out there! Finding a happy medium is impossible. A nice 88-key controller (QS8 will do BTW), 61-key synth action controller (can't leave without it either), a few sound modules (which you'll keep buying and buying and buying.....) is all you need, so think realistically what you need at this time then just go and buy it , that's all.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-28-1998 at 02:43
FatHands a part-timer user from USA writes:
All I could say about this is - wow! With all the other synths I played, this had more sounds, great sounds quality and equal to better expandibility than the others in the $2-$4k price range. It took me a good 2 and a half weeks to fly through all the sounds and test them. Oh, and it has SUPERB control - Fatar did an awesome job with this.

Although I concur with what most people say about the brass, there are a few good ones, like ClassBrass, which impressed me. The strings (especially stringlayer4 in the MIX bank) are awesome! Some of the pads, like Water!!!, MoonRising, and Zoolead just sound plain AWESOME and are great to play with. THe guitars are ok, but the electric ones sound a little more like phat distorted synth basses rather than actual guitars. The harp sound is gorgeous, as are the piano, harpsicord, and Rhoads sounds (which is an extra plus for me).

Qcard expansion is something I look forward to, as is getting into the programming aspect with the keyboard (which is something I have yet to learn :). Overall, a great keyboard to anyone who's playing live, or using it for MIDI compostion (which is what I'm doing... I also sample it and use it in FastTrakker for my mod work!). I love it, and it's not leaving my side for a looong time. One day I'll get a Kurzweil... heheheheheh.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Aug-21-1998 at 11:14
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