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GM sounds. For a company that doesnt specialize in General MIDI instruments, Alesis has made a decent stab at the GM sound set. The pianos and other keyboards work best. The basses are a little clunky, but the drums are good. Unfortunately, the strings and brass are exceptionally dreary, which could prove decisive in a GM assessment.
The basic GM sequences work fine, but as a whole, the sounds dont blend together terribly well, so SMF playback is more satisfying technically than artistically. The QSR also lacks the enhanced features found in GS, XG, and GM2 modules.
Other sounds, features, and drums. Although its not exactly an afterthought, General MIDI is not the main attraction in the QSR. The QSR is, however, a handy box of Alesis sounds, and its brimming with ultra-high-quality effects. It also provides direct access to ADAT-compatible gear. The sounds include plenty of spangly pianos, Velocity-switching guitar-string things, lush orchestras, raucous organs, indescribably exotic synth patches, and rhythmic Wavestation-style patches. The QSRs drum kits are big and punchy. The drum selection is a bit limited, but the available sounds are eminently usable.
The QSR also features full onboard editing and allows loading personal samples via flash RAM and PC Cards. Each Bank of sounds stores 100 multitimbral Mixes. Two card slots provide access to new sounds.
Effects and controls. The QSR provides four separate multi-effects buses for routing chorus, delay, reverb, lezlie, flanging, resonator, gate, detune, and a host of others. Each effect is fully editable, although users need to stay focused while routing them, especially when choosing effects for a Mix.
Controllers AD (physically present on the QS keyboard but just available on the QSR) provide instant control over Program parameters such as filter cutoff, envelope attack, and modulation. Each Program has its own set of controllable parameters, so experimentation with whats available is necessary. The range of possibilities is impressive: pitch, effects, LFO, filter, portamento, and more.
Bottom line. GM alone is not the reason to buy an Alesis QSR. In fact, if GM is anything more than a testing requirement, other modules provide better GM capabilities. If the Alesis way of doing things is favorable, however, or connectivity to an ADAT device is needed, the QSR is worth considering, especially if just GM1 mapping and playback facility are necessary.
Reprinted with permission from Magazine, February, 2001
© 2000, Intertec Publishing, A Primedia Company All Rights Reserved
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