Making Alesis QSR sample cards (Q-cards)
Synthesis- I love the word. I have an Alesis QSR, which is a great synthesizer. It is also very expandable and you can even make your own memory cards for it. One problem- they are pricey and don't appear to store as much as regular Q-cards for the QSR. You can store 8MB and the cost is about $75- if you can find one. Pretec is the only vendor I've had success with. The ability to re-use the card, though, is nice (but they load really slow). Since you can store the card image on your PC, you really only need one card.
To use the card, you need samples. I have a ton. I sample vintage synths, I have a software synth I wrote that generates nice samples, and I make small analog noise units that make great samples. The strength of the QSR is that you can put 4 samples into one patch and use its envelope controls and digital effects on each sample separately. This makes simple samples into rich instruments.
I primarily use Unisyn for creating patches from my samples. It lets you do a mashup between your samples and someone elses patch settings. You can siply pick your favorite patches and swap out all the samples with your own. This is a quick way to get your samples sounding really good. There is also software to randomize patches as well as intepolate the settings between two. Most results are not good, but you are really only looking for a few good patches.
To get your samples onto a card, you need Soundbridge. It's free and still works (it's a decade old) on a modern PC. As I said before, cards get loaded real slow- 10-15 minutes or more. I haven't tried using the serial port of the QSR. Got to get a new cable for that. But if anyone can say they load faster than MIDI, please let me know.
I just made a few samples this morning so you can hear what I am talking about. http://www.erichizdepski.com/music/qsrsamples.mp3
Check out the waveform- that tells you immediately the sounds are more analog and quirky than the overly-beautified digital sounds of today.