Editing the Mix Template

Learn to create custom Mixes for the QSR Drum Synthesizer by editing your Mix Template using QS Edit Pro software.

Before you begin

  • Create the drum Mix Template presented in the Creating the Mix Template topic or download the Mix Template using the link below.
  • Refer to the Loading the QS Drum Programs Bank Sysex File topic for instructions on loading the Programs into the User bank.
  • Verify communication between the QSR and QS Edit Pro.

About this task

In this topic, you will edit the Mix Template to create new Mixes. The template simplifies creation of Mixes that follow the Programming Strategy topic guidelines. To create a new Mix, edit the template and write the modified Mix to the desired Mix location. We will start with the Mix Template created in a prior topic (loaded in Mix location 000). We will also use the Alesis QS Drum Programs, loaded into the User bank.

The Mix Template uses the same drum Program on each channel, and each drum channel's settings are identical. Playing the Mix Template as-is (using the appropriate MIDI channels) produces essentially the same result as if you were using the "Rock Drumz" Program in Program Play mode. The template settings are simply placeholders; you will replace Programs and change channel settings as you create new Mixes.

The sections below guide you through the editing process and introduce techniques you will use when creating your custom Mixes. You will learn to selectively change drum sounds, adjust parameters, write Mixes to new locations, and layer sounds from different Programs.

Links to topic sections


Open the Mix Template

  1. Open QS Edit Pro software.
    Attention: Before editing, back up the QSR User bank data to your computer.
    Tip: The "Template1" Mix was created and saved in User bank Mix location 000. You can copy it to another location and edit the new Mix there or make your changes to the template in location 000 and then write it to another location.
  2. Click QS Mode > Mix Mode.
  3. Click the Select button to open the Mix Select window.
  4. Click to select the "Template1" Mix (location 000) and close the Mix Select window.
    Tip: If your template file is stored on the computer disk, you can upload it directly into any User bank Mix location. Simply select the target Mix location in the Mix Select window, close the Mix Select window, and then use the Mix > Load Single Mix from Disk function. The Mix will be loaded into the current Mix number.
  5. Verify that QS Edit Pro displays the Mix Mode window as shown below.
    Mix Template settings shown in QS Edit Pro Mix Mode window

Setting the Effects Program

Important: Each Program has its own Effects settings (a set of parameters that control the Effects module in the QSR). In Program play mode, the QSR uses the Effects settings for the Program in use. In Mix play mode, you select one Program from the 16 Mix channels as the Effects Program Channel. The Effects settings for that channel's Program are then applied to all Mix channels.

  1. Verify that the Fx Prg Channel parameter in the Mix Mode window is set to Chn 6.
    QS Edit Pro Effects Program Channel control, set to Chn 6
  2. Play the snare drum sound using the Virtual Keyboard. Set the MIDI Channel slider control to Ch 9. Use note D1 to play the snare sound.
    The snare drum sound should be dry (no effects) because the FXL (effects level) setting on Mix channel 9 is 0. We will next increase the FXL setting to 99 to hear the maximum effects level.
    QS Edit Pro Mix Mode window, testing snare effects dry

  3. Click the FXL cell in row 9 to open the Mix Editor window. Verify that "MIX (Chn 9)" is shown at the top of the window.
    QS Edit Pro Mix Editor window, default template settings

    The Mix Editor provides controls for editing the volume, pan, effects level, and tuning parameters for the Program in the selected Mix channel. The default settings are full volume (99), center pan, effects level OFF (0), and pitch adjustment off (0 Semi Tunes). The window also allows setting of Effects Bus and Output. A value of PRG indicates that the settings defined within the Program itself will be used.
  4. Move the FX Level slider control to set the effects level to 99.
    Attention: Moving the slider all the way to the top-most setting in its range changes the value to PRG (which uses the Program effects level setting instead of the level set here). We want to set the level to 99, which means you must carefully adjust the slider to a point just below the top of the range. A value of 99 will be displayed.
  5. Click Done to close the Mix Editor window. Your changes will be retained in the QSR edit buffer. Do not STORE the changes yet.
  6. Play the snare drum sound using note D1 on the Virtual Keyboard. Listen to the change in the drum sound. The "TrueStereo" Program effects use a reverb that simulates a large room, which has a long decay.
    Note: You would not use an Effects Level setting of 99 in most situations, but this setting allows you to clearly hear the effects when auditioning Programs.
  7. To view the effects parameter settings in Mix Mode click Effect > Effect Editor. This opens the editor with the parameters for the designated Fx Prg Channel.
    QS Edit Pro Effects Editor in Mix Mode

  8. Close the Effects Editor window after viewing the parameter settings.
    Tip: Refer to the QSR Reference Manual and the QS Edit Pro tutorials for more information about editing effects.
  9. Double-click the Program name for Mix channel 6 to open the Program Select window. Change the Program in the channel to audition other effects. You can use any of the Programs in the User bank, the Preset banks, the GM bank, or any slots with a PCMCIA card inserted.
  10. After auditioning Program effects, reselect the "TrueStereo" Program in Mix channel 6. Close the Program Select window.

Editing Mix Channel Parameters

This section introduces techniques for editing Mix channel parameter settings. The example presented here uses the snare drum Mix channel (channel 9), but the same editing techniques can be applied to other drum sound Mix parameters as well.

  1. Click the MIDI channel 9 button at the top of the window, or click on the Program name in Mix channel 9, to select the channel. Expand the window as shown below.
    QSR drum Mix Template with channel 9 selected

    The "Rock Drumz" Program contains a good, general-purpose snare drum sound. The Program uses a single built-in sample—the "Fat Wood 1" snare sample.
    QS Edit Pro drum sound select window
  2. Test the snare drum sound by playing note D1 through MIDI channel 9 using the Virtual Keyboard.
  3. Click the FXL cell for Mix channel 9 to open the Mix Editor window. Set the FX Level slider to a setting of 80. Adjust the Semi Tune slider to -6.
    QS Edit Pro Mix Editor with snare drum parameter settings
    The Semi Tune control is used to change the pitch of the sample. In this case, we have detuned the snare drum sound to simulate a deep, wood snare drum. The FX Level setting of 80 gives the reverb a nice, long decay that does not overpower the dry sample. Snare drum sounds are typically panned center so we will leave the default Pan setting.
  4. Click Done to save changes and close the Mix Editor window.

Saving the edited Mix

In this procedure, we have intentionally avoided storing the changes we made to the Mix Template (using the STORE button on the QSR front panel). Storing the changes in Mix location 000 would overwrite the Mix Template we created.

Tip: While editing, if you need to discard your changes, simply select a different Mix. The changes will be discarded. When you are ready to save your edits, use caution to avoid overwriting the Mix Template in location 000. Instead, write the modified Mix to a different Mix location in the User bank using the procedure below. If you accidentally overwrite the Mix Template, you can reload it from your computer.

  1. Click Mix > Write Mix To QS to open the Write Mix window.
  2. Click Mix location 001 to highlight the current Mix name in that location.
  3. Type a new Mix name (for example, "My Mix 1"), then click OK.
    QS Edit Pro Write Mix window, save Mix to new location
    Tip: You should preserve the Mix Template saved in location 000 in its original state so it is ready for use in creating future Mixes. Save edits to the Mix Template in a new Mix location.
  4. After writing the Mix to the QSR, remember to press the STORE button on the front panel twice to save the data to nonvolatile memory.

Using the Mix - All Channels window

  1. QS Edit Pro offers an alternative interface for editing Mix parameters. Click the Mix All button to open the Mix - All Channels window below.
    QS Edit Pro Mix All Channels window

    The Mix - All Channels window provides direct, simultaneous access to a selected parameter's settings for all 16 Mix channels. This window simplifies the process of blending Programs in a Mix. The parameter list located at the top-right corner of the window is used to select the parameter to be edited, such as volume level in this example. Using this window you can quickly balance levels of individual drum sounds or groups in a Mix.
    Note that the Mix channel labels at the top of the window do not always align with the correct slider. Be careful when adjusting sliders that you are using the correct control!
  2. Close the Mix - All Channels window to return to the Mix Mode window.

Changing a Mix channel Program

The Mix Template uses the same Program on each of the active Mix channels. Typically, you will use different Programs on one or more of the Mix channels to create interesting sound combinations. This section covers the procedure for changing the Program settings on individual Mix channels.

  1. Change the Virtual Keyboard MIDI Channel setting to 8 using the MIDI channel slider in the lower-right corner of the Mix Mode window.
    The Virtual Keyboard can only send Note On commands through one MIDI channel at a time. Channel 8 is used for kick drum sounds in the Mix Template. After changing the MIDI channel to Ch. 8, verify that you can play the kick drum sound using note C1 on the Virtual Keyboard.
  2. Double-click the Program name in Mix channel 8 to open the Program Select window and choose User bank Program location 062 ("BasicKit11").
    QS Edit Pro Program Select window, select BasicKit11 Program
    Tip: With the Program Select window open, you can use the Virtual Keyboard to audition sounds. This allows you to quickly test the kick drum sound in each Program.
  3. Close the Program Select window.
  4. Open the Mix Editor window to adjust the kick drum Program settings (click on the Vol or FXL cell in Mix Channel 8). Set the FX Level to 40 and the Semi Tune slider to -8. This lowers the pitch of the kick sound and adds a little reverb.
    QS Edit Pro Mix Mode window, BasicKit11 kick Program settings
    Tip: Now that you have set up the snare sound on MIDI channel 9 and the kick sound on channel 8, you may find using the Virtual Keyboard is inconvenient because of the need to change MIDI channels to alternate between drum sounds. This is a good time to test the Mix using your controller or trigger interface. To trigger Mix sounds from your hardware, set your kick trigger to MIDI channel 8 and note C1. Then set your snare trigger to MIDI channel 9 and note D1. You should now be able to play both Mix channels, as you would in normal operation. You will find it is much faster and more natural to test Mixes using your system hardware.

Layering Programs in a Mix

Sound layering can be performed within a Program or within a Mix. This section describes the procedure for layering within a Mix using the Mix Group controls.

  1. Examine the "My Mix 1" settings in QS Edit Pro. Note the unused Mix channels 1-5. These Mix channels can be used for layering Program sounds by assigning them to the Mix Group using the MG button.
  2. Set the Virtual Keyboard MIDI channel slider to Ch10. This will allow you to play notes using the Mix Group master channel.
  3. Click Midi > Global Settings. Verify that the Mix Group Channel parameter is set to Ch 10.
    QS Edit Pro Global Settings window, Mix Group channel 10
  4. Click to activate the En button and the MG button on Mix channel 1. Both should turn bright red.
    Important: The MIDI In (MI) button should be off on Mix channel 1. The En button on Mix channel 10 should also be off.
  5. Play the Virtual Keyboard using MIDI Ch. 10. You should hear the piano sound on Mix channel 1 because it is assigned to the Mix Group, which is controlled using channel 10.
  6. Click on the KbL<>KbH cell to open the Keyboard Zones editor.
  7. Restrict the note range for Mix channel 1 to note D1.
  8. Double-click the "TrueStereo" Program name in Mix channel 1 to open the Program Select window.
    QS Edit Pro Program Select window
  9. Click the User Bn tab and select the "9 Time" Program in User bank Program location 000. Close the Program Select window.
  10. Use the Virtual Keyboard to audition the "9 Time" snare sound using note D1.
  11. Adjust the Vol level to 66, the FXL setting to 15, and the STn setting to -2 as shown below. Play the D1 note and observe the effect on the Mix Group snare sound.
  12. Click the MG button on Mix channel 9 to add the snare channel to the Mix Group. Play the D1 note and compare the individual and blended sounds by enabling or disabling either of the Mix Group channels (1 or 9).
    QS Edit Pro Mix mode window, layered Programs using Mix Group
    Tip: This layering technique can be used with other drum sounds as well. Simply limit the note ranges of any Mix channels assigned to the Mix Group, using different note numbers for each drum sound to avoid unexpected results.
    Remember: To play layered Mix channels, you may have to change the MIDI channel settings for your system's pads or triggers. For example, a snare trigger that was previously set for MIDI channel 9 (the normal snare channel using my guidelines) would need to be reassigned to MIDI channel 10 (the Mix Group master channel) to play the layered Mix Group sounds.
    Restriction: Most drum sound groups can be assigned to the Mix Group without issues resulting from overlaps, with the exception of cymbal sounds. Cymbal sounds overlap with tom sounds, using the General MIDI note number standard. Reassign the cymbal or tom sound note numbers to eliminate overlap if you plan to assign both to the Mix Group.