Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual here.

What is is an educational resource for people who are interested in electronic drum synthesis. The site hosts the online QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual, which provides background information and procedures that guide you through the process of planning, configuring, programming, and testing a drum synthesizer system based on the Alesis QSR, a powerful, vintage synthesizer manufactured in the 1990's.

For whom is the site intended? is intended for musicians, composers, producers, and students of electronic music. Whether new to electronic drum synthesis or experienced with electronic drum kits, the site will help you build your own drum synthesizer system using the Alesis QSR, and load your own custom samples for use in Programs.

Who created the website? was created by David Hawthorne, a drummer with over 40 years of experience. David holds Bachelor degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Music Recording. He developed a hybrid acoustic/electronic drum kit built around the Alesis QSR, which he uses at live performances and in his home recording studio.

What can do for me?

This site will show you how to build and program your own electronic drum kit using the Alesis QSR as your sound module. The QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual provides educational materials and step-by-step instructions covering the entire process. The Manual shows how you can prepare custom sample files for use with the QSR to simulate unique-sounding drum kits, exotic percussion instruments, and cool sound effects. Save money by building your own system; save time and avoid frustration using the resources on the site.

What knowledge is required?

Some knowledge of the MIDI interface and MIDI controllers is required. The QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual contains basic information about MIDI as well as links to additional resources for further reading.

How do I use the site?

The QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual is a topic-based, online help system. Unlike a printed manual, information is broken into standalone topics designed to help you perform specific tasks. You can navigate to topics using the search engine, the table of contents, pull-down menus, or embedded links. The site is organized to help you quickly find the information you need.

Topics are separated into categories. Experienced users can go directly to procedures of interest. Beginners will find background information and links in the Background Info section that build the necessary foundation for success as an electronic drummer.

How long does it take to configure a drum synthesizer system?

After you have gathered the necessary components, setting up a basic system using the Alesis QSR can be done in a few hours. Complex system configurations require more time and effort, depending on your needs. Remember, your system can expand over time as you gain experience with the hardware and software. Even a basic QSR drum synthesizer will produce professional-sounding results.

What is the typical cost of a system based on the QSR?

The cost will vary, depending on the system complexity. Currently, you can find used QSR synthesizers for around $200. The prices of pads, controllers, cables and other MIDI components will add to the cost, so research and planning will be required. A simple system consisting of the QSR and an Alesis Control Pad can be created for around $500. This includes the cost of the hardware, cables, and software described in the QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual.

What components can I use with the QSR?

MIDI-compatible trigger interfaces and controllers will generally work with the QSR. Refer to the Hardware Overview page in the QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual for more information.

Where can I find compatible sample files?

There are many sources of free drum and percussion samples on the web. You can also purchase sample files or create your own. The QSR is compatible with certain file formats, such as .WAV and .AIFF.

Can I use my own drum samples?

Yes. Whether you create your own sample files or use samples from a third-party, you will need to prepare the sample file for use with the QSR.

What software is required?

You will use Alesis Sound Bridge software and QS Edit Pro software, as described in the software overview section of the Manual. Optionally, you may add Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software and plug-ins to process sample files prior to use.

How can I get started?

Refer to the Background Info section of the Manual for conceptual and reference information. Go to the Setup section or download the QSR Drum Synthesizer Getting Started Guide for guidance on hardware and software installation, configuration, and testing. Use the Programs, Mixes, and Samples sections for procedures related to these topics.

How can I get support? is an independent website operated by David Hawthorne. The information provided on the site is intended for educational purposes. Technical support is not available.

If you need to contact the webmaster with questions or issues with the content, email me at I will try to reply within 2 business days.