Synth Site: Alesis: QS8 Synth: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Paul a part time user from USA writes:
I have a QS8 and I'm soon going to get a JV-2080 and they'll work out PERFECTLY with each other. The features that I like most are it's literally thousands of sounds and the quality of them. The piano sample is a full 8 megs and is one of the best implemented in a synth and I love it. I loved the sounds and it's such a great buy for what it has and what you can do. I absolutly died when I heard it's great synth sounds, which is what I was mostly hoping it had. There are hundreds of synth sounds, too. And hundreds of other acoustic sounds for that matter. I don't know what people are talking about but the acoustic guitars sound great to me. It should be a perfect compliment to a 1080 or 2080. Someone told me they heard it compares with the JV's and XP's Roland makes and now that I have one and have heard the JV's and XP's I'd have to agree. You can even import your own samples and use them in patches and save them on a blank PCMCIA card you can buy at pretty good prices - or you can save banks of patches (up to 8 a card) or import sequences that can be stored then played back instead of carrying your computer around places when you are giging or whatever. There are two slots for these PCMCIA cards and Alesis makes a whole line of expansion cards called QCards with 8mb of samples and a bank of sounds. If there's one thing I think Alesis should advertise this product as having is it's WONDERFUL effects. Even though there are &quot;only&quot; 4 busses, you can have up to 2 different effects per buss - 8 individual EFX!!!!!!!!! It's the exact same effects processor as their best effects rack, the Q2. I really think they should advertise that - they'd get more buyers! Anyway, I love the keyboard and the controller options and synth options and sounds and effects options which are all amazing. One LITTLE thing isn't too amazing, though. Well maybe it's amazing how they could fit so much power under such a little window, but the LCD is small. It's something like 2 lines and 16 characters wide. Nevertheless, the keyboard comes with a CD-ROM with samples and 8 banks of different kinds of patches and a free version of MOTU's Unisyn for the QS series and other software. But the best thing - the price - is totally bogus! The lowest I've found it for was $1400!!! All that sound and power for that tiny wieny price tag! What the heck!?? Anyway, I would really recommend it and don't let the price fool you because it's worth a lot more than $1400 I'll tell you that! I think the name itself actually sums it all up: QS8: 64 Voice 88 Key Expandable Master Synthesizer! Wow!!! I wanted a keyboard that was both a wonderful synth with lots of outstanding sounds, and with 88 great feeling keys, and with good controller capabilities, and I got a synth that is like a JV and with the perfect/best sounds I've ever heard (besides on an JV) and tons of them, and with one of the best effects processors ever implemented into a synth, and with a great-feeling keyboard and controller capabilities, as well as expandability (I have about 1,790 sounds on it now and a Classical card in it too) and digital out and a serial port for direct and faster connection to a computer without a Midi interface! I couldn't believe it. I thought I was going to get my money's worth but instead I got more than I barganed for! What a deal! And yes, it's a professional synth. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise because chances are they haven't even seen one....

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:35
David Hendrix a part time user from USA writes:
No 'board is perfect, but the QS8 is a perfect fit for my application.

I am not sure comparing a $1.2 controller to a $9K controller is valid.

To me that's like comparing a PII/300 PC with a Sun Enterprise 10K.

Sure, they're both computers, but you expect more from a 64 processor,

12GB backplane UNIX supercomputer (for a cool couple million). The feel, sound, and quality should bring many enjoyable hours. And,

since most of the people who listen and sing in church are not seasoned

audiophiles, as probably Chris N. can attest to, they'll never know

if I am using a cadillac or a vw.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:35
Edoardo Franchi a professional user from Italy writes:
Great action, great sounds except for strings and acoustic drums.

I hope in cards....i have the vintage one and it's good but el. pianos and hammond inside were already good too.

The multi mix are hard to program because of that silly display!!!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:35
Rob Williamson a professional user from USA writes:
Well, I've used the QS8 for a while now and I have a few things to say.

First, I should start by saying that I've typically used SY22, SY77, SY99, VL1,

Disklavier, Korg I4, some Proteus racks, and a variety of sampling and tone

generator units (again, these are mostly Yamaha). For the price of the QS8, it's

a nice buy, particularly for people that want to add some muscle to their sound

engine (64 voice polyphony is VERY nice). The QS8 is an excellent keyboard for

people that are looking to buy their first, and also for folks that enjoy

making music as a hobby or for local gigs and so forth. However, I've read some

of the comments that other folks (below) have written, and I'd like to discuss

some differences I've noted between this unit and others I am using. First,

although many of the sounds are very nice, in comparison to units like the SY

series, they sound somewhat dry. Now, this is a somewhat unfair comparison to

make. The SY series keyboards run up to some $9K for the SY99 (now discontinued,

unfortunately). The QS8 is only about $1.2K. The QS8 is unquestionably value for

your money, especially when you consider that many of the SY-series only feature

48-note polyphony. I only mention this because it's a mistake to think that one

is getting high-end sound control from the QS8. The QS8 is (I believe) FM

synthesis technology, and, to a seasoned acoustophile, it definitely sounds less

rich than AWM synthesis. In terms of usability, the QS8 has a less easily

understood interface than is available in the SY, and I-series synthesizers.

In fact, I would probably say the Alesis is one of the most complex

architectures I have ever used. In order to take control of it's effect send

architecture, for example, you need to consult tables on how it's routing

and effects operate under a given configuration. Sometimes it can be unclear

what effects are available and at what times they are usable. In comparison,

the SY series has on-screen menus that make it more clear and intuitive what

effects are in place and under what conditions they are operating. The I4 is

probably approaching the QS8's degree of complexity in effects patch

programming. I am still having major difficulties working with this synthesizer

and MIDI. I have my entire studio running on Vision 3.5. This is the only

synthesizer in my studio which distinguishes between mix and program key events,

the result of which is that it is generally a major hassle to record program

sequences destined for mixes, the keyboard won't play program sequences in mix

mode and won't play mix sequences in program mode. With some tweaking around,

this can be worked around, but it's a pain in the neck. I'm not sure you could

call this a &quot;problem&quot;, but it sure does take up your time dealing with it. I'm

giving this keyboard a 3 out of 5 because it's a good keyboard worth adding to

anyone's collection (particularly novice users), but demanding/high-end users

should be aware of it's synthesis limitations and somewhat difficult programming

interface.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:35
Jonathan Meek a part time user from USA writes:
About a year ago, my youth group got our wonderful SY 77 stolen. As the keyboard player, I went in search of a replacement. I checked out a Kurzweil, another Yamaha, and finally played the QS8. I did a small run through a song on that keyboard, and KNEW that it was perfect. Well, a few months later, it made it's fist church service. Now, my youth group does more than just hymns (we do Alternitive to semi-Classical, instead of Kum-Ba-Ya), but the QS stands up to just about anything, includidng gigs all over the southern US. It's EXTREMELY light weight makes it easy to get around places, so I don't have to get a roadie=) It is definitely one of the best desingerd set of keys I've ever had the chance to play. The only gripe is the medium-sized task of editing effects. It's kinda hard to add a heavy Lezlie, in between songs. All in all, though, It's a great keyboard

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:35
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