Alesis QS8.1, QS7.1 User Manual

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ALESIS

QS7.1 and QS8.1

Reference Manual

INTRODUCTION

Thank you for purchasing an Alesis QS7.1/QS8.1 64-VoiceExpandable Synthesizer. It’s a powerful instrument and we’re sure you will find it exciting to use. The more you know about it the more you’ll be able to do, so we recommend that you make good use of this manual.

But most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! (There’s a good reason they call what musicians do playing.)

HOWTOUSETHISMANUAL

No manual can cover the needs of all musicians. There are simply too many of you, and your needs are too different. But we’ve tried to make this a document that will teach you what you need to know while encouraging you to explore new and interesting territory.

It is divided into eleven parts. How many of these sections you need to read will depend on what you want to do with your QS.

Part 1: SETUP & CONNECTIONS covers how to hook up your QS so it can be turned on and played. This section also contains useful audio basics, some tips on wiring and power, and directions for connecting your QS to other MIDI gear.

Part 2: OVERVIEW introduces the front panel controls and LCD, along with the terms and internal structures that every QS owner ought to know. Here is where you’ll learn what all the buttons do, and how the sounds are organized. This chapter also covers the Card expansion options you have available.

Part 3: FIRST SESSION starts you playing.

Part 4: BASIC OPERATION takes everything in the First Session one step further. After covering this material you’ll be a QS performance wizard, fully versed in how to use the instrument’s Programs and Mixes and how to change Global settings. It’ll also take you through the basics of using the [STORE] button to save your edits, how to go about naming them, and the procedures for playing back sequences from a card.

Part 5: MIDI is for players who want to use their QS for MIDI performance and sequencing. Because it’s relevant, you’ll also find a little here about the very top level of Mix editing.Sys-extransfer operations are also covered in this section.

Part 6: EDITING EFFECTS will show you how to modify the the matrix of effects processors that are built into your QS. This is useful to know even if all you want to do is “play the presets,” because even if you love a particular sound you might find that its current processing doesn’t quite fit in with your music. Need to lengthen or shorten a Program’s reverb time? Extend a delay? Make an echo louder? Or maybe even shut the effects completely off, so you can run a raw signal into your mixing deck or external effects processor? This is where you’ll find the answers.

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Contents

Part 7: EDITING MIXES takes you to the next level of editing power, showing you how to change the preset Mixes and put together new ones of your own. It also explains the parameters which give the QS its strength as a master MIDI keyboard.

Part 8: EDITING PROGRAMS gets deep into the instrument. If you are interested in pushing the QS synthesis engine to the max — and it’s a powerful engine, it really is — then you’ll want to study this section very closely.

Part 9: EXTRAS includes all sorts of fun and useful information that doesn’t fit neatly into the other sections. This is where to look for discussion of RAMcards, Sound Bridge, the QSCD-ROM,and other things of general interest.

Part 10: APPENDICES contains reference material on service and maintenance, troubleshooting, and the QS’s MIDI Implementation.

Part 11: Index lists some key parameters and concepts alphabetically, along with the page numbers on which you will find the most information about the item you are researching.

MANUALCONVENTIONS

All buttons, knobs, and switches on the QS are referred to in bracketed capital letters that match the instrument’s actual markings. Here are some examples:

[PROGRAM] means the button to the right of the LCD that says “PROGRAM” on it.

[ PAGE] and[PAGE ] refer to the two buttons on the left of the LCD that haveleft-and-rightcursors on them.

[CONTROLLER D] is the slider on the right side of the slider grouping, with “D” printed underneath.

[00 PIANO] refers to the leftmost button in the top row of numbered buttons.

Sometimes this will be shorthanded as [00], depending on what’s being discussed.

[PITCH] is the control wheel at the left side of the instrument.

And [SUS PEDAL] is the rear panel jack you’d plug your sustain pedal into.

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QS7.1/QS8.1 Reference Manual

Unpacking and Inspection

The shipping carton for your QS should contain the following items:

QS (with the same serial number as shown on the shipping carton)

Sustain pedal

AC Power Cable

Computer CD-ROMcontaining software

This instruction manual, plus Mix and Program lists and a Quick Start guide

Alesis warranty card

If you haven’t filled out your warranty card and mailed it back to us, please take the time to do so. This will help us give you the best support we possibly can.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

 

Part 1: SETUP & CONNECTIONS .........................................................

9

AC Power...............................................................................................................

9

Audio....................................................................................................................

10

MIDI.....................................................................................................................

12

Direct Computer Link.............................................................................................

14

Pedal and Footswitch Hookup................................................................................

16

Digital Audio/Optical Hookup..............................................................................

16

48 kHz Input..........................................................................................................

17

Part 2: OVERVIEW ............................................................................

19

A Quick Tour Of The Front Panel.............................................................................

19

Programs, Mixes, And Banks...................................................................................

24

The Performance Controls.......................................................................................

26

PCMCIA Expansion Cards......................................................................................

28

Part 3: FIRST SESSION ......................................................................

29

Powering Up..........................................................................................................

29

Playing the Demo Sequences...................................................................................

29

Playing Programs...................................................................................................

30

Playing Mixes........................................................................................................

31

The Performance Controls, Pt. II..............................................................................

33

Transposing The Keyboard.........................................................................

33

Performance Transposition Chart................................................................

34

Part 4: BASIC OPERATION.................................................................

35

Recap....................................................................................................................

35

The Double-ButtonPress Trick................................................................................

35

Copying Existing Programs And Mixes To A New Location In The User Bank.............

36

…Or To A New Location On A Card Bank................................................................

36

Changing The Programs In A Mix............................................................................

37

Storing Altered Mixes To The User Bank (Or To A Card)..........................................

37

Storing Altered Programs To The User Bank (Or To A Card).....................................

37

Changing The Name Of A Program Or Mix..............................................................

38

Compare Mode.......................................................................................................

38

Playing Sequences From A Card..............................................................................

39

The Global Settings (And How To Change Them)....................................................

40

Part 5: MIDI .....................................................................................

49

The Power of Mix Mode..........................................................................................

49

Using an External Sequencer....................................................................................

50

Program Assign for each MIDI Channel...................................................................

52

Sending and Receiving Bank Select Messages..........................................................

52

Using the QS6.1 as a Master Keyboard....................................................................

54

Saving Programs via MIDI Sys Ex...........................................................................

58

Editing Programs via MIDI Sys Ex..........................................................................

59

Part 6: EDITING EFFECTS ..................................................................

61

Basic Info...............................................................................................................

61

Entering Effects Edit Mode From Program Mode.......................................................

62

Entering Effects Edit Mode From Mix Mode..............................................................

62

Navigating In Effects Edit Mode.............................................................................

63

Selecting From Among The Available Effects Patches In A Mix....................

63

The “FX Program Change via MIDI” function..............................................

64

How The Display Changes When You Alter An Effect.............................................

65

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Table of Contents

 

 

Storing Effect Patches In Program Mode..................................................................

65

 

Storing Effect Patches in Mix Mode.........................................................................

65

 

Copying Effects From One Program To Another........................................................

66

 

Keeping Track: The Interaction Of Effects, Programs, And Mixes..............................

67

 

Picking An Effect Configuration..............................................................................

67

 

Configuration #1: 1 REVERB...................................................................................

68

 

Configuration #2: 2 REVERBS.................................................................................

70

 

Configuration #3: LEZLIE+REVERB.......................................................................

72

 

Configuration #4: 1 REVERB+EQ............................................................................

73

 

Configuration #5: OVERDRIVE+LEZLIE................................................................

74

 

Routing Sounds or Programs Through The Effects Only.............................................

75

 

Setting Effect Send Levels......................................................................................

76

 

If The Send Inputs Clip...........................................................................................

76

 

[00] to[30] —EffectSends 1 - 4................................................................................

76

 

EQ.........................................................................................................................

77

 

Mod.......................................................................................................................

78

 

Lezlie....................................................................................................................

81

 

Pitch.....................................................................................................................

83

 

Delay....................................................................................................................

89

 

Reverb ..................................................................................................................

90

 

Overdrive..............................................................................................................

96

 

Effect Mix..............................................................................................................

97

Part 7: Editing Mixes........................................................................

99

 

What is a Mix?......................................................................................................

99

 

Polyphony in Mix Play Mode..................................................................................

99

 

Program Assign for each MIDI Channel...................................................................

99

 

Mix Edit Mode.......................................................................................................

100

 

Understanding the Edit Buffers..............................................................................

101

 

Level Setting for Each Program...............................................................................

102

 

Pitch.....................................................................................................................

103

 

Effect.....................................................................................................................

103

 

Keyboard/MIDI.....................................................................................................

104

 

Controllers.............................................................................................................

105

 

Setting the Range...................................................................................................

106

 

Naming a Mix........................................................................................................

106

Part 8: Editing Programs……………………………………………………………………………..107

 

Overview..............................................................................................................

107

 

The “Normalized” Synth Voice..............................................................................

107

 

How the QS6.1 Generates Sound.............................................................................

108

 

Program Sound Layers............................................................................................

108

 

QS6.1 Signal Flow..................................................................................................

109

 

About Modulation..................................................................................................

111

 

About Signal Processing..........................................................................................

112

 

Drum Mode............................................................................................................

113

 

Storing Your Edited Programs.................................................................................

114

 

Program Edit Functions...........................................................................................

115

 

Voice.........................................................................................................

116

 

Muting and Unmuting Sounds..........................................................

116

 

Level.........................................................................................................

119

 

Pitch.........................................................................................................

120

 

Filter.........................................................................................................

123

 

Amp/Range...............................................................................................

126

 

Pitch Envelope...........................................................................................

130

 

Filter Envelope..........................................................................................

133

 

Amp Envelope............................................................................................

136

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Table of Contents

Name........................................................................................................

138

Mod 1 – Mod 6.............................................................................................

139

Pitch LFO..................................................................................................

144

Filter LFO.................................................................................................

146

Amp LFO...................................................................................................

147

Tracking Generator.....................................................................................

149

Programming Drum Sounds in Drum Mode................................................................

151

Voice.........................................................................................................

151

Level.........................................................................................................

153

Pitch.........................................................................................................

153

Filter.........................................................................................................

154

Amp/Range...............................................................................................

154

Amp Envelope............................................................................................

155

Mute Group....................................................................................

155

Special Programming Functions...............................................................................

156

Copying Sounds..........................................................................................

156

To Audition Programs Before Storing...........................................................

157

Part 9: Extras…………………………………………………………………………………………………159

A Word About the QS CD-ROM..............................................................................

159

Sound Bridge™..........................................................................................

159

Using PCMCIA Expansion Cards.............................................................................

160

Saving the User Bank to a PCMCIA Card....................................................

160

Loading a Bank from an External Card........................................................

161

Storing an Individual Program or Mix .........................................................

162

Loading an Individual Program or Mix........................................................

162

Card Storage Ramifications...................................................................................

163

More about SRAM Cards.............................................................................

164

SRAM Cards and Mix Mode........................................................................

164

Part 10: Appendices…………………………………………………………………………………….165

Appendix A...........................................................................................................

165

Troubleshooting.........................................................................................

165

Recovering From A “Crash”............................................................

166

Re-initializing..............................................................................

166

Checking The Software Version......................................................

167

Maintenance/Service.................................................................................

167

Cleaning your QS6.1.......................................................................

167

Preventative Maintenance..............................................................

167

Refer All Servicing to Alesis..........................................................

167

Obtaining Repair Service...............................................................

168

Appendix B: MIDI Supplement...............................................................................

169

MIDI Basics...............................................................................................

169

MIDI Hardware.........................................................................................

169

MIDI Message Basics..................................................................................

170

Channel Messages: Mode Messages.................................................

170

Channel Messages: Voice Messages.................................................

170

Continuous Controllers List.............................................................

171

System Common Messages...............................................................

172

General MIDI.............................................................................................

172

MIDI Implementation Chart......................................................................

174

Appendix C: Parameters Index................................................................................

175

Program Edit Parameters............................................................................

175

Mix Edit Parameters..................................................................................

177

Part 11: Index………………………………………………………………………………………………179

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Table of Contents

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QS7.1/QS8.1 Reference Manual

Setup & Connections: Part 1

PART1

SETUP & CONNECTIONS

AC POWER

HOOKUP

Your QS7.1/QS8.1 is set to work with the voltage of the country to which it was shipped (either 110 or 220V, 50 or 60 Hz) and comes equipped with the appropriate power cable.

Hooking that cable up is simple.

Make sure your QS is turned off.

Plug the female (jack) end of the power cable into the QS’s power socket.

Plug the male (plug) end into a source of AC power. It’s good practice not to turn the QS on until all other cables are hooked up.

The IEC-specpower cable included with your QS is designed to connect to an outlet with three holes, the third of which — the round one — is the ground connection. This connection is an important safety feature: it keeps the QS’s chassis at ground potential, preventing accidental shocks.

Unfortunately, not all three-holesockets are properly grounded. We recommend that you use an AC line tester to check the ground connection on any socket you may use, just to be on the safe side. If you find an ungrounded outlet, consult with a licensed electrician about getting the problem fixed.

Avoid using ungrounded outlets. Plugging the QS into an ungrounded outlet can be hazardous. The same goes for “lifting” the unit off ground by using a three-to-twoplug adapter. Don’t do it!

Alesis cannot be responsible for any problems that might be caused by using the QS with improper AC wiring.

LINE CONDITIONERS AND PROTECTORS

The power coming through some AC lines contains voltage surges, spikes, or transients that can stress your gear, causing failure or malfunctions. Although the QS is designed to tolerate typical voltage variations, it isn’t invulnerable. So if the power in your area is particularly bad (or if you are out playing live gigs) you will probably want to take precautions. You have three basic options:

Line spike/surge protectors. These relatively inexpensive devices are designed to protect against strong surges and spikes. They act somewhat like fuses and will have to be either replaced or reset (depending on the unit) if they’ve been hit by an extremely strong spike.

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Part 1: Setup & Connections

Line filters. These cost more than simple spike/surge protectors, but may be worth it depending on your situation. Along with surge protection they offer circuits that can remove some line noise — things like dimmer hash, transients from other appliances, etc.

An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This is the most expensive way to go, but it is also the best. Your typical UPS offers complete line protection/filtering and throws in emergency battery power that will come on instantly if there is a power outage. This will prevent anything inRAM-onlymemory from getting lost, and enable you to take the time to shut down everything properly. That last step is very important. You should always turn everything in your rig

physically off when the power goes out — otherwise you risk serious gear and/or speaker damage from the current surge that takes place when power is finally restored.

AUDIO

CONNECTIONS

The QS has two Main outputs and a stereo headphone output. These make for several possible hookups:

Mono. To run in mono, connect a single mono cable from one of the QS’s [MAIN] output jacks to either a mono amp or an individual mixer input. (You can use either the[LEFT MAIN] or the[RIGHT MAIN] output jack.) Please note that with this connection you will only be hearing one channel, so any Programs or Mixes designed for stereo output will sound incomplete or diminished.

Stereo. To run in stereo, connect two mono cords (one each from the[LEFT] and[RIGHT] output jacks) to either (A) a stereo amp system or (B) two separate mixer inputs. For full effect, make sure that these inputs are panned hard left and right.

Dual Stereo/Four Individual Outs. Connect two mono cords from the [LEFT] and [RIGHT] MAIN OUTPUT jacks and two mono cords from the [LEFT] and [RIGHT] AUX OUTPUT jacks to a dual stereo amplification system, or four mixer inputs.

Stereo Headphones. To listen over headphones, plug a set ofhigh-qualitystereo headphones into the headphones[] jack on the rear panel. The volume for the headphone output is controlled by the front panel[VOLUME] slider. Some headphones have a higher electrical resistance than others; if the sound level seems too low even with the[VOLUME] slide up full, try a different set.

LEVELS

To get the highest audio quality when performing or recording, set your QS’s [VOLUME] slider all the way up. If the resulting signal is too loud (“hot”) for your mixer or

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QS7.1/QS8.1 Reference Manual