QS6 - 61 key model
The QS6 is a powerful multitimbral synthesizer from the effects-box geniuses at Alesis. There's 64 voices of polyphony and 16 parts multitimbrality and tons of memory and expand-ability packed into to this big, blue, beautifully laid out performance synthesizer. Based on the original QuadraSynth series, The QS6 has 8 MegaBytes of samples and 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! However Alesis had not yet fully anticipated the dance craze and so this is not one of those "physical-modeling" synths that began appearing at the same time. And sadly, in addition to the north-bound Pitch/Mod wheels, there are only just two real-time assignable control sliders for live tweaking, which is not a lot at all.
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 QS6 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 an all around versatile modern synthesizer that isn't focused just on dance or trance, be sure to consider the QS6.
More demanding players may want to check out the more professional QS7 (76 semi weighted keys), QS8 (88 weighted keys with piano style hammer action) and QSR (rack-mount) versions. They also featured double the sample-ROM and many other upgrades! By 1999, all the Quadrasynths were being replaced by the QS6.1, 7.1 and 8.1 versions.
Demos & Media
8MB, expandable to 16MB using PCMCIA ROM and RAM cards
Websites of Interest
Images from Quadrasynth Pages and the Synth And Midi Museum.