Alesis QS8

Alesis QS8 Image

The QS8 came out on the heels of the QS7 and was an even more professional quality version - it was Alesis' flagship model! It featured a full 88-note weighted keyboard with piano style hammer-action and a strong all-metal chassis with black solid oak end-pieces. Otherwise, it's identical to the QS7, with 16 MegaBytes of sample/synthesis ROM (expandable to 32 MegaBytes), 4 stereo outputs, 4 control sliders, discrete MIDI OUT and THRU ports, a third Expression Pedal input, ADAT optical digital output, 48kHz clock input, and a second PCMCIA expansion card slot.

The QS8 is undoubtedly a powerful and flexible synthesizer capable of creating rich sounds - both acoustic and electronic. There's 64 voices of polyphony and 16 parts multitimbrality and tons of memory and expand-ability! The QS8 uses digital additive/subtractive sample playback synthesis to create high quality stereo grand pianos, organs, strings, drums/percussion, brass, woodwinds, new and classic synth textures, General MIDI, and rhythmic/sonic loops. Most of them sound pretty darn great too! Keith Emerson wrote the demo for it, as well as some patches.

As a master synth, the QS excels in it's price range, except for that tiny LCD display which makes navigating through the pages and pages of program settings pretty tedious. The QS8 implements the powerful QS Modulation Matrix, allowing users to assign virtually any controller source to any modulation parameter. There's an onboard multi-effects processor (based on the QuadraVerb 2) with four totally discrete effects busses that include reverb, delay, rotary speaker simulation, distortion, chorus and much more. With a direct Mac or PC hook-up, loading patches and editing via software is a snap! QS synths shipped with Alesis' Sound Bridge software for Mac/PC which lets you write AIFF and WAV samples, Standard MIDI Files and Program data to PCMCIA Flash or SRAM cards. It can play Standard MIDI file sequences from the expansion cards without the use of an external sequencer. For a top-quality synthesizer that isn't focused just on dance or trance, be sure to consider the QS8.

The QS7 is a mid-sized 76-note keyboard version with semi-weighted keys for players who need that realistic feel at a more affordable price. The QSR is identical to the QS7 and QS8, except that it is a keyboard-less rackmount version. 1999 saw the release of the updated QS8.1 which was a vast improvement over this original.

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12 Visitor comments
January 27, 2013 @ 7:32 pm
I still play mine and understand people's attachment to the acoustic and electric piano sounds (the organ patches are terrific as well). I remember comparing the QS8 action to the Kurzweiler and I chose the Alesis (and I had the bucks to buy either).

Compared to the kinds of actions available today for less than a grand, playing the QS8 is a bit like training to run with ankle weights. I've got access to an acoustic Yamaha upright and a C3 small grand in the house and it's interesting to go back and forth.

Very heavy and awkward to lug around though (and I speak from experience!).
March 25, 2012 @ 9:59 pm
For a 'rompler', the QS8 does have some great sounds (Keith Emerson wrote demo and some sound designs/multis), but I really love its EXTENSIVE midi capabilities, making it a great controller with the best feeling weighted full 88 keyboard (IMO), and use it primarily for the VERY good grand piano sound and to split the keyboard into two zones to control both rack versions of Supernova and Waldorf MicroQ. Can't imagine trying to program with tiny screen but there's gr8 3rd pty book avail. that also simplifies extensive midi set-ups--again, as a pianist firstly, love the keys--never will sell!
December 25, 2011 @ 6:35 pm
hi. i don't know how set the 4 assignable controllers to other effects . I wanna to know who can i do it.. if someone know this it would be grateful :)
December 25, 2011 @ 1:12 pm
Hey Nick, I am looking for one for my son Nic, how much did you pay for it. I know it's 15 yrs old and have seen 250-450 on ebay. Whats a realistic price....Sold my M1 for $400 3 yrs ago
November 3, 2011 @ 8:08 am
Yes it's suitable for me because, the keys has the heaviest or most resistance that I can find in the music shops at that time. Glad to announce that I bought a pre-owned QS8 last year, to re-train my fingers again. Instead of putting an upright piano in my room. Then there are the 4 sliders and quick access to all the sounds via sound-type buttons, that's something not found on my S4 Plus module. Anyway, being digital it sounds like the QS series and previous versions. Basically it's down to the keys and what Qcards I have on my shelf. A sound that evokes memories. :-)
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Here are a bunch of demo patches from the QS7, displaying the QS-synth's wide range of excellent contemporary, acoustic, and electronic synth sounds & textures. From the Future Music CD, issue 51.

    Manual - Alesis have made manuals and program charts for many of their products available on-line, for free download as .PDF files.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 64 voices
  • Oscillators - 48kHz Linear samples.
    16MB, expandable to 32MB using 2 PCMCIA ROM and RAM cards
  • Multitimbral - 16 parts
  • Effects - 4 On-board effects, based on the Alesis QuadraVerb 2 FX processor
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - 88 velocity and aftertouch sensitive, weighted, hammer-action
  • Memory - 512 preset 128 user programs, 400 preset and 100 user mixes, expandable using PCMCIA cards
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (16-parts), RS232/RS422 computer serial port for Macintosh or PC
  • Date Produced - 1996

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