Hardware Overview

Combining the Alesis QSR with MIDI drum triggers and a trigger interface, or a pad controller, produces a flexible, low-cost, open-architecture, electronic drum kit.

What hardware do I need?

The QSR Drum Synthesizer system can be configured in many different ways, from simple to complex. The Alesis QSR synthesizer module acts as the system sound module. A sound module receives digital control inputs and generates audio signals that can be connected to any audio system.

Important: Since the QSR sends and receives MIDI information, any device that generates MIDI commands can control the module. This means that you can use triggers and controllers from any manufacturer as long as they comply with the MIDI standard.

You can create a simple system by connecting a single MIDI controller, such as the Alesis Control Pad, to the QSR. Alternatively, or in addition, triggers can be connected to the system using trigger to MIDI interfaces. You can also use multiple QSR synthesizers in parallel to increase the polyphony or storage space of the system.

The QSR Drum Synthesizer Manual discusses the specific system configuration I used to develop my drum synthesizer system. This information will help you understand the possibilities and allow you to design your own system, based on your needs and budget. You may use a different configuration but the principles described here will be relevant.

Alesis Control Pad

This self-contained unit houses 8 piezo pads and integrated trigger to MIDI converters. Just connect the MIDI Out port to the QSR MIDI Input and start playing drum samples in minutes.

Alesis Trigger iO

This inexpensive trigger interface converts the signals from individual pads and controllers to MIDI. While Alesis no longer sells the Trigger iO, it is available from ddrum under the DDTI model name.

Pads and Controllers

There are a variety of pad and controller types on the market. We'll discuss a few of the options, but before buying your own components review the specifications for your particular trigger interface to ensure compatibility.

MIDI and Audio Accessories

Be sure to consider MIDI cables, trigger cables, audio cables, and a MIDI interface to your computer, as well as other MIDI devices that might be required. I use the MOTU FastLane MIDI interface in this example, as well as MIDI mergers from MIDI Solutions.