Alesis QS6.2 Synth

Restore the Factory User Bank in Your Alesis QS Synthesizer

I recently fired up my old Alesis QS6.2 synth after a long hiatus, only to discover the user bank was hosed. Not only did I want those sounds to play with, but they have special significance to me, since I worked on them while I was an engineer at Alesis!

Opening up the unit, I found out sure enough that the battery was dead. It was pretty easy to find a source online at Syntaur, so I ordered a replacement.

Replacing the Battery

Doing battery swap requires de-soldering the existing battery from the PC board, which is not trivial. Ideally, you’d have a good soldering gun and a “solder-sucker” or a good solder wick. I had neither but I got it off, albeit sloppily.

Then, I had to solder the new battery on.  Again, if you have a solder-sucker or wick, you can clear the holes of solder and simply drop the battery in. If you don’t, it’s more difficult. Here are the official instructions from Syntaur.

If you’ve never done anything like this before, I recommend taking your unit in to an authorized repair center get the battery professionally replaced.

Finding the QS User Bank

I figured it would then be easy to find the QS6.2 User Bank sysex file online, but it’s not.

Searching through my old computer files, I found it on my computer from when I worked on it!

Here They Are!!

So, as a public service, here are the QS Synth User Bank Sysex files:

The following banks are provided courtesy of reader Charles:

To load these into your QS synth, you’ll need a MIDI interface for your computer and some MIDI software. On Windows, I use Cakewalk or MIDI-OX (free).  Enjoy!!

Leave me a comment below if you have a QS synth! – Brian

p.s., this is the NAMM show display where we introduced the QS6.2 synth back in 2002. I was the engineer in charge of the update from the QS6.1 to QS6.2. I upgraded the D/A converters, improved the analog PCB layout to eliminate hum in the outputs, improved the button layout ergonomics, and updated the colors (from black to silver). Oh, and I re-programmed the user bank!

Alesis QS6.2 at NAMM 2002
Alesis QS6.2 at NAMM 2002

For Alesis Service

Lots of people have asked me where to get service for their Alesis synths! In the Los Angeles area, we used to work closely with Audio Design & Service in Burbank, CA, and I recommend them for music instrument repair.

Keep in touch!

Subscribe to my blog to get an email when I write a new article, usually fewer than one a month. - Brian

Join 78 other subscribers

Please share this article with friends!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply to keith Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

108 Comments

  1. I wanted to say thank you for posting the QS6.2 User Bank Sysex files. I have a QS7 and I really like how some of the patches sound on my old machine. It is getting hard to find anything about the QS these days.

  2. I have a 6.2 and my last 5 keys are not working. Other that reinitialing is there any suggestions before I open it up?

    1. HI Chuck,

      Hmm, I can’t think of anything else to try before opening it up and checking for pinched cables, partially-seated connections, etc.

      Best,
      Brian

  3. Ola Brian, tudo bem?

    Sei que se trata de uma postagem antiga, porém tenho grande paixão pelos QSs, praticamente já tive todos os modelos. Atualmente possuo um maravilhoso QS*.1, que na minha humilde opinião, é o melhor da série.
    Baixei praticamente todo os bancos de todos os modelos QS e transfiro para o banco USER do QS8.1. O banco USER do QS8.2 é muito bom, porém é o único banco que consegui.
    Você teria a imagem dos outros bancos para fornecer? não consegui encontra-los na net.
    Todos os outros bancos baixei do site http://www.midiworld.com/quadrasynth/qs_swlib.htm.

    Grande Abraço, saudações do Brasil.

    Daniel Gussoni

  4. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for all of the info here. I downloaded the 6.2 user bank – you may be the only remaining source for it. I have 10 functioning and non-functioning Alesis keyboards, 4 – 6.1, 3 – 7.1 and 3 – 8.1 as well as one 6.2 that has just lost its user bank data. I replace the batteries with sockets I ordered by the bag from Parts Express – part number 140-760, and then just insert a 2032 lithium battery.
    Gary

  5. Hi Brian – trying to find out if the final QS 6.1 OS was version 1.0. Any ideas? Thanks for your efforts here, much appreciated :-)

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately the QS6.1 pre-dates my time at Alesis somewhat. I don’t know if 1.0 was the final version, and I wasn’t able to find a rev history only.

      Best,
      Brian

  6. Recently I had my user bank get corrupted on my QS 6.2.
    I am devastated by this as I am not very tech savvy to fix this!
    I’ve googled this problem and found that I could just download the original SysEx User Bank file and supposedly load that onto my Alesis via a MIDI interface and MIDI software and it would solve my problem but I can’t get it to work!

    I have a MacBook Pro running OSX 10.12.5.
    I downloaded SysEx Librarian.
    My MIDI interface is a VICTSING USB IN-OUT MIDI Cable Converter PC to Music Keyboard Adapter Cord.
    I downloaded the SysEx file from a knowledgeable guy on The FrugalNoodle.com and followed all the directions given but I can’t get my Alesis to recognize the midi signals.
    I’ve read the online manual for loading sounds via MIDI onto the Alesis and I think I’ve done everything it said properly but I still can’t get it to work!

    PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME ASAP!!! No gigs in the immediate future but I want to see if I can even fix this problem, whether I need a new battery OR if there’s NO way to get the original user banks back. One other idea is if I can do a dump of the user bank sounds on my 88 Key Alesis QS 8.1 to my QS 6.2.
    My last resort is to buy another one and hope that it has the exact same sounds!
    Thanks, Dave

    1. Hi Dave,

      You’ll have to do some investigation to see what the culprit is. I would get some sequencing software and see if you can sequence another MIDI device with it, like another keyboard or drum machine. If that works, it means there is something wrong with the QS or its settings. If that doesn’t work, it means there is something wrong with the MIDI interface or its settings.

      Best,
      Brian

    2. It will not work with a Mac. All Alesis synths seem to develop devastating problems and then finding someone to fix them is difficult. The fixes will only work for a short time. I have 5 Alesis synths and all of them are now collecting dust including the high priced Andromeda.

  7. Thanks, Brian! Do you know what voltage the battery in a 8.2 should read, or where I can get the specs to find out?

  8. Hello Brian! Thanks so much for this informative post. I just took our QS8.2 out of 2 years’ storage to find that for all except the default 00 tone, a frying/crackle noise accompanies the tone, which quickly begins to build on itself in something that sounds just like a feedback loop until it’s very loud and I shut the unit off. Could this be the result of a very low, but not-yet fully-dead battery? Or did is it likely that something more insidious happened during its time in the garage? (In the SF Bay area, so humidity an0d temperature swings weren’t too extreme, My stereo and computers used & stored out there are no worse off for it.) Many thanks in advance – Evan

    1. Hi Evan,

      I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s definitely worth trying to replace the battery. Or if you have a volt meter you can measure it before replacing it. It’s definitely a suspect at this point.

      Best,
      Brian

    2. My QSR also has the frying/crackle that I described as a distorted sound. But I think it is better described as a frying/ crackle noise. My noise is seemingly only in the piano sounds. It seems to be produced randomly, until you start playing with the individual piano samples. Each single note has an individual behavior. Some samples only have the noise after a delay, some seem to be based on velocity, and others seem to be based on pitch (note). Playing a combination of notes sounding together changes the effect and seems to become random again. It is very frustrating. I did purchase a Quadracard stereo piano and those sound great.
      I still miss my internal piano sounds and wish i could get it repaired.

  9. I found the PDF files for a listing of all the QS7 sounds in the “program” bank. However I cannot find the same for the sounds in the “mix” bank. Is it out there somewhere? Thank you.

    1. I have the pdf for the sounds in the Mix bank. Email me and I’ll send it as I don’t see a way to post it in this comment. I also have a bunch of stuff before Alesis shut down their legacy site for the QS X.X. I really don’t see why they shut it down as the dox did NOT take up a lot of room and also considering it was the best product they ever made!

  10. Hi Brian, Thank You for posting this! I had identical symptoms on my QS6.1 after it had sat dormant for a while. User Bank was showing random characters, and no sound. After reloading the User Bank from the sysex file you posted (much thanks for that) I lost the bank as soon as I turned the keyboard off. Logically, it had to be the battery. I found the system board was pretty easy to unmount – 4 screws. I left all of the ribbon cables attached – they are secured by hot glue in some areas. I’ve done limited soldering projects and did have a solder sucker and I used a smaller “pencil type” tip on the soldering iron itself. The old battery came off pretty easy once most of the solder was removed. I would recommend using a mid to large sewing needle to make sure all of the holes (solder points) are clear. Once I did that, the new battery literally dropped right in. Three solder points later, I was done. Reloaded the User Bank and I’m back in business!

    1. “Three solder points later, I was done. Reloaded the User Bank and I’m back in business!”
      Nice! I have read the user manual where it describes how to use the program and page buttons to save all banks to my Mac, which worked, but nowhere does it explain that process in reverse. What steps did you take to load the presets back onto the QS? The manual mentions to make sure the person you are sharing banks with knows how to back up their presets before loading them, but then says nothing about how to load them. What menu were you on when you restored the sysex dump? Thanks for responding, I will be swapping out my battery as soon as i know how to restore the presets I have saved to my Mac with SysExlibrarian.

      1. Hi Fred,

        If memory serves, you don’t have to be on a particular menu page on the QS in order to do a sysex dump to it. I think it works in almost any mode. Try it out and let me know if you get a chance.

        Best,
        Brian

        1. I soldered in the new battery, held 0 and 3 during power-up but have a blank screen now. I ran SysEx librarian on my Mac, “Played” the Factory bank, which on the Mac appears to be sending, but nothing on the QS6.1
          I don’t get anything on the display at all now, no “Alesis” or anything. Is that considered normal until I load the Factory dump back to it? Thanks for any suggestions, I’m a little worried I’ve hosed my QS somehow, but I’ll keep at it. Probably missing something simple.

        2. Hi Fred,

          Blank screen is a sign that something is wrong. Often it means the cables are not plugged in all of the way or are plugged in wrong. Double check the cables.

          Best,
          Brian

  11. Hi Brian,
    I read you are an engineer for alesis. I’m wondering how can get my QS8 repaired. The keyboard controller does not seem to be sending signals to the asic, but I can control the synth via midi in from another controller. It is odd behavior in that when it was fist showing signs of malfunction the synth would work when I turned it up, keyboard facing down. But when returning it to normal, level position the controller would not longer work. Thinking there was a loose cable, I opened it up but found nothing loose. I re-assembled and now the keyboard controller doesn’t work at all. Could it be a defective power capacitor? I checked pin 18 on the keyscan chip, and it read 5V. 1) How do I check the controller itself, detached from the synth? 2) how to I check the input to the asic keyscan chip without the controller keyboard? 3) Where can I get a replacement main board? 4) will the QSR take connection from the qs8 ribbon cable connectors? 5) Do the velocity ribbons need to be connected for the synth to accept controller signals?

    I love this synth, but hardly used. I hope to find someone who can help me.

    Thanks,
    John

    1. Hi John,

      I no longer work for Alesis, but you might still be able to find a third-party service center that can fix it. Call Alesis for details.

      Regarding the ribbon cables, make sure they’re plugged in correctly; I don’t remember if they are keyed or not.

      Best,
      Brian

  12. Hello Brian or anyone else with this familiar issue.

    My Alesis Q 6.1 has annoying output hum. Can no longer send directly to PA as noise is distressing. Please advise. Love the Alesis but must overcome this problem or upgrade to a fresh synth. Thanks Dan

    1. Hi Dan,

      First, I’d say, change up your AC power strips to make sure it’s not a ground loop problem. Plug in your QS into the same or different outlet as your PA to experiment.

      Another option – does the headphone jack also have hum? You could use that output to go to a PA if it doesn’t (with the volume turned low).

      If you google around you can find articles about QS6.1 hum, but most require some electronics knowledge to address: https://www.google.com/search?q=alesis+qs6.1+hum&oq=alesis+qs6.1+hum&aqs=chrome..69i57.3672j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      Otherwise, you’d have to take it to a service center, or get a new synth.

      Best,
      Brian

  13. You have no idea how grateful I am for this post! Trouble is, I am by far the lay-est of laymen when it comes to the innards of anything electronic.
    My QS is about ten yrs old. It’s my favorite of all my sundry instruments. Is a battery change difficult, or should I just take it to a dealer?
    is there a tutorial somewhere for uploading the User Bank? Can I do it through Logic9?

    1. Hi Joe,

      If you’re not comfortable using a soldering iron, I suggest taking your unit to an authorized repair center.

      Check your Logic9 manual on how to upload sysex files.

      Best,
      Brian

  14. The exact same just happened to me. I should have my user bank with some editings I did myself back in the day saved somewhere. But not the factory default, so thanks for the file! Will provide the battery replacement and reload it.
    Btw, I always used Bome’s Send SX (https://www.bome.com/products/sendsx) program to backup/restore the user data in my QS 6.2, and it always worked flawlessly. So, there you have a cheap alternative (as cheap as a post card). :)

  15. Hello Jeff,
    Any ideas where I might find the same info for the user banks for the QS 8.1? The links on the page that you used arent working anymore, or at least the 1 for the QS 8.1 isnt. I also changed my battery in mine 2 years ago and lost I believe the bank user sounds. I know I am missing the bank with the Pure Piano and 4 Draw Rock organ, etc. Everything else seems to be there. Just missing all the Bank User sounds. I also have 2 sound cards installed, which I have tried removing and resetting to no avail. Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Chris

    I just purchased a mint QS 6.1. The battery is almost dead I believe since it wont stay in tune. It keeps dropping maybe a 1/2 step. I am getting the battery replaced and dont want the same thing to happen to this keyboard. :) Also is there a way to midi them together and just do a Sys dump from the 6.1 to the 8.1 to get the sounds back?

    1. HI Chris,

      The info for the QS8.1 is indeed on the Alesis website (the image isn’t there, but the info is):
      http://67.192.162.144/qs81

      The page for the QS6.1 shows info for the QS8.1 (which might work), or you can use the QS6.2 data bank that I included.

      Best,
      Brian

        1. Hi Chris,

          Thanks, you’re right. After I tried to enter my email address, the page was not found. Try contacting Alesis customer support.

          Best,
          Brian

      1. Brian,

        I hope you’re still monitoring this thread!

        I have a QS8. In an abundance of caution, I’m wondering how to reload the user bank into the keyboard from a Mac. The manual talks about how to upload the files to a computer (into SYSEX Librarian?) or another synth, which I will do, but there’s nothing about REloading the user banks into the keyboard, say, after you’ve replaced the battery. I have GarageBand and just got Logic Pro. Is down-/reloading the user banks into the QS8 via MIDI a matter of following the Logic Pro, or Sysex Librarian protocols, or is there a QS8-based process? Below are the only “bulk” loading/exporting instructions I could find in the QS8 manual: (Thanks!)

        p. 124
        To send the entire User bank via MIDI:
        ¿ Connect a MIDI cable from the QS’s MIDI Out to the MIDI In of a device capable of receiving the data (a MIDI sequencer, another QS, etc.).
        ¡ Press [STORE].

        ¬ Press [PAGE
        ] four times to select Page 3 of the Store function.
        The display will look like this:

        [“SEND ALL DATA TO MIDI? (STORE)”]

        √ Press [STORE] to transmit the data out the MIDI Out connector.
While transmitting the data, the display will temporarily read “SENDING OUT MIDI DATA…..”.

        p. 122
        LOADING A BANK FROM AN EXTERNAL CARD

        The QS can read data directly from a card by using the [ BANK] and [BANK buttons. To overwrite the User bank with a Card bank, use this procedure:
        ¿ Insert the card into the card slot on the back panel. ¡ Press [STORE].
        ¬ Press [ PAGE] once to select Page 7 of the Store function.
        This selects the “LOAD FROM CARD” option. The display will look like this:

        [“LOAD FRM CARD 1? (Press STORE)”]

        √ Use the CONTROLLER [D] slider to select the bank on the card you wish to load (1–11).
        ƒ Press [STORE] to transfer the data from the card into the QS.

        1. Hi Chris,

          If my memory serves, you don’t need to put the QS in any kind of MIDI receive mode. Just start sending the MIDI data from your sysex program. Even if I’m wrong, it won’t hurt the keyboard.

          Best,
          Brian

  16. After replacing a dead battery and reloading SysEx files(thanks for this) onto keyboard, am having a challenge setting up Effects Configurations 3 & 5, LEZLIE+REVERB and OVERDRIVE+LEZLIE, and am finding the user’s manual challenging, leading to my question: How is, for example, SEND1 set up (Configuration 3) through LEZLIE, DelSND/PCH, DELAY1, RvbIN1/IN2, REVERB? Once I set the configuration, I’m having a challenge routing the effect. Maybe I should read the manual more. Thanks,

  17. Just dug my 6.2 outta moth balls to find battery dead and user bank fried. This helps greatly!! Thanks, Reno

  18. Man, THIS is public service. Thank you very much!

    And I must say I got negatively impressed with Alesis’ site. In the Legacy list I just couldn’t find the Quadrasynth. Does Alesis regret it? I think my QS6.2 is a very nice synth. Good job! : )

  19. Brian, Just bought a QS6 on ebay, no display (screen glows green but no data display) also no sound output. Just wondering…even if I reinitialize the synth still makes no sound. Does this have anything to do with having no visible data on the screen enabling me to navigate to a patch? BTW I ordered a new screen on the way, just hoping it’s not the motherboard. Visibly everything looks ok on the motherboard. Components warm up as they should…….any insight would be appreciated! Thanks,

    Keith

      1. Thanks for the insight, Brian! I guess I have one more question..lets say theoretically the synth is working normally, if you were to re-initialize to factory settings by pressing 0 and 3 simultaneously while powering up, would you be able to play a sound right afterwards, or would you have to scroll thru the menu and choose a patch in order to make a sound? (With a blank screen and no display, I’m wondering if a sequence of commands are needed to produce a sound from a mix or a program first…)

    1. Hey Brian and Keith, I have the same problem Keith described: On power-up, display is blank (actually there are 16 cursor squares in the top row), and no sound. Could this be caused by a dead battery?

      I’ve read the service manual cover to cover, and I’m pretty handy with electronics but I haven’t had any luck with quick fixes. Here is what I’ve tried, based on the suggestions in the service manual page 27, section 4.60 General Troubleshooting:

      1. Factory reset (Power up while pressing 0+3) as well as attempting Test Modes (0+10, 0+11). No change.

      2. Pop the hood, pressed all ribbon cable connectors and chips to make sure they’re firmly seated. No change.

      3. Flipped the display cable connector upside down (mentioned in service manual as possible cause for blank screen). After flipping the connector and powering up, I got a blank screen (no 16 cursor squares like before) but still no sound. Flipped it back to the way it was.

      4. Service manual recommends checking pin 61 of the F/X ASIC chip. I did a visual inspection and it looks securely soldered. I ran a hair dryer over the whole board to gently heat all solder points (not suggested in the manual but it’s a trick that sometimes works with old solder points). No change.

      I haven’t bothered with the battery for 2 reasons: 1) This doesn’t seem like a battery problem because a dead battery would still give me some functionality, right? 2) I’m on the road with no access to a multimeter.

      Lastly there are more suggestions in the manual for the symptom “completely locked up” which seem to require replacement chips, but it’s too vague for me to go ordering & replacing all the components mentioned (Faulty Sound Card, Faulty SG ASIC, Incorrect value of C15 – Replace with a 1000μF Electrolytic Capacitor). I was hoping you might know of a quick fix trick I missed?

      I should add that my gig is in 12 hours haha, this is definitely a 911 situation. I’ll probably end up not using the board, but it would be great if I could.

      1. Hi,

        I don’t think a dead battery would cause those symptoms. It should still work, just with no user presets.

        Wow, I didn’t know the service manual recommended flipping the display cable. I wouldn’t have recommended that, as it might cause damage.

        Sorry, I think this would require a service center looking at it.

        Best,
        Brian

        1. I agree, the suggestion to flip the display cable had me worried, but I think it’s meant for people who have installed a new display (incorrectly). I noticed my QS8 had a few non-standard screws in its case, so I’m pretty sure someone else was poking around in here and might’ve scrambled a connector (I got it used, the last owner said it “suddenly stopped working” but you know how that goes).

          I guess unfortunately this QS6 will have to go on Craigslist for parts, as the cost of taking it to an authorized Alesis repair shop probably isn’t worth its current value. Thanks for your reply and help though. You saved me the frustration of replacing the battery!

  20. Brian: thank you for the post / SysEx file – a lifesaver! I am basic MIDI conversant (with note values, CC’s, etc.), but not SysEx saves and loads. Could you note the brief principles of how to send the SysEx file to the synth using something like MIDI-OX (and anything I need do on the synth to set it up to receive)? Many thanks…

      1. Brian: many thanks for your reply, and for the article. Interesting background on your work on the development of the updated model during your time at Alesis. Best regards, – Jeff

        1. I have a different type of question about QS+P. Using it as a master for my MX49, some mixes will play both midi 1 and 2 to the slave and most won’t, even though it clearly plays all the midi channels on the master (QS+P).
          I’ve set it to normal in global.
          Any midi channel can be sent individually.
          I appreciate any assistance.