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Alesis Quadrasynth? (the 76 key one)

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:21 am
by Alex E
I've been looking for a good 76-key synth that can also be my master controller. I've narrowed it down to: Roland JX10, D70, and the original Alesis Quadrasynth. At the moment, the Quadrasynth seems to the the best way to go since it's rather easy to find and I can afford it. -The JX10 is sort of uncommon, and the D70 is more expensive than either one of those. I've been doing some research and I have some questions about the Quadra:

I've seen a couple units with yellowed keys. Is that common? :shock:

Any nice pads?

Do the keys feel good enough for it to be a decent master keyboard?

Any comments about it's sound quality/build quality/etc.?

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:59 am
by crystalmsc
Alex E wrote:Any nice pads? Any comments about it's sound quality?
I've only played several times with the keyboard, so can't really say much. But I got the S4+ which is actually the guts of the quadrasynth. One thing to notice that it didn't hava a resonance filter. So, as far as you aware of that, it makes some nice pads, specially in the mix mode. But imo, nowhere near the great sounds of the JX-10 or the D-70.
The sound quality is very good for a rompler of it's age, specially the fx which is based on the Q2 fx unit. I also have the 8 mb piano expansion card, which is a bit disappointing and not much better than the stock piano of the S4+. I prefer the main piano sound of the JV's Session board way better.

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:02 am
by Big Gnome
I've owned the original and the Plus model, and played extensively with the QS8. As I'm sure you know, they are fairly basic romplers--filled with (mostly) excellent samples--the piano in all models except the first (which sucked) is one of my favorite sampled pianos--but not a whole lot else to recommend them. To answer your question, pads are another strength of these boards, if you're into complex, expansive, digital-sounding pads; it sounds to me like Alesis was after a D-50 vibe.
Seems like they'd make a perfectly competent but not outstanding master controller, depending on what you'd use it for.

All in all--

-Plenty of good samples (apart from the original's crappy acoustic piano)
-Decent presets
-Nice keyboard feel. The original's is my favorite, and quite good at that; the Plus' is a little stiff for my taste. The QS8 has a very respectable weighted action which is quite nice for pianos, but I and my friend who owns one find it kind of awkward for other types sounds. Midi to the rescue...
-Nice, comfortable rubber controllers (although I prefer the later models' sliders to the rubber knobs on earlier models).
-Good effects--they included more or less a complete Quadraverb processor.
-Fair build quality. Older ones are plastic--albeit sturdy--newer ones are metal (and quite heavy). I can attest to my friend's QS8 holding up after being taken apart and generally abused by some overzealous airport security personnel.

-Pathetic filter. It's lowpass only, very shallow (I'd guess 1-pole, maybe 2-pole), and lacking resonance. There are a bunch of resonant waveforms, but that really doesn't quite cut it.
-Weird patch organization. This has been dressed up in newer models, but I think it's the same scheme.
-Older models have nice, big LED screens (which are nevertheless cramped); Alesis manufactured these specially for these boards and they are impossible to find if the backlight happens to blow, as mine has. Newer models have a tiny (but reliably backlit) pixel-based LCD screen.
-As with so many romplers, editing is a complicated, dissatisfying chore which is exacerbated tenfold by a non-backlit screen. :evil:
-The stylish buttons on the early models are susceptible to dust, rendering them a little unresponsive.
-They lack a lot of standard 'workstation' appointments (not that they are meant to be workstations)--sampling, sequencer, arpeggiator, and so forth. I actually prefer it that way, but that's just me.
-One bank of overwritable user presets (each, for individual patches and multitimbral setups) compared with 5 banks each of factory presets in ROM (they can be edited, but must be saved to the user bank), plus a GM bank.

Hope that helps.

Re: Alesis Quadrasynth? (the 76 key one)

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:34 pm
by rhino
i have 4 alesis keys and a rack. i find them to be a good 'middle ground' :acceptable piano, b-3, rhodes, brass, saxes... yet with a little programming, can do some werid, spacy things. (play mostly in church, so i don't try to freak out the 'mature' members!)

the best part of these boards is the ability to setup 16-way splits.. this works better on the 88-note qs8 (8.1, 8.2).
i often have bass, rhodes,organ,brass,synth lead,and a mellow pad on one "mix" . the splits can overlap, you can send program changes or not, and the sliders (knobs on the quadra+) can be set to send volume message to four different external sounds.