A 25-key keyboard is handy

Alesis QX25 - USB keyboard controller put to the test

Control dwarf to take away
by Markus Thiel,

Keyboard controllers with 25 keys seem to be clearly ahead in the balancing act between mobility and functionality. So it's not surprising that the shark tank of this very own “class in the class” can get pretty tight at times. we took a closer look at the Alesis QX25.

Tell me, don't we know each other?

The family resemblance of the Alesis QX25 to the two big brothers QX49 and QX61 is already striking and undeniable after a quick look at the little one. The surface design of the black plastic housing with the rounded corners makes a well-sorted and tidy impression. In the immediate vicinity of eight centrally located rotary encoders, a set of transport buttons for DAW control and four square, practical, good and backlit trigger pads with velocity can be identified.

In addition, the Alesis QX25 has a duet of modulation and pitch wheel, seven control buttons, a slider and a three-cell LED display. On the back, the device offers a small but fine selection of connections consisting of a jack socket for the sustain pedal, a MIDI out and a USB port. The latter can also be used to supply the device with power during normal operation via a connected PC or Mac. If this is not possible due to serial overcrowding (hard drives, audio interfaces, etc.) or if the QX25 is used in standalone mode with a MIDI sound generator, the power can also be supplied via an optional 5-volt power supply.

With the QX series, the American manufacturer Alesis is expanding its in-house “Q” keyboard controller series with three extensively equipped models for stage and studio. With the baby of the QX25, one would now like to make a qualified contribution to the 25-key compact class pool. We'll see if it's worth biting into!


Play something?

The two-octave keyboard is easy to grip and runs smoothly, and it has a really nice pressure point. This seems to be due to the good interplay between the spring mechanism that is noticeably used here and the subtle weighting achieved by metal plates on the underside of the keys. The built-in controls and buttons also have a consistently high quality and convince with a good feel. The processing of the actual plastic cover of the device is less nice with the Alesis QX25, which seems a little thin and unintentionally over-elastic to me, which is particularly noticeable in the fact that the housing surface gives way a little when the button and pad are pressed. Unfortunately, this material-saving trend can now be observed with many manufacturers in the course of optimized portability through weight reduction.

When connected to a Mac or PC, however, the QX25 is completely uncomplicated. The usual driver installation is not necessary thanks to the USB class compliant-compatible device design. For quick starters, Alesis has included an optimized version of Abletons Live in a lite version on DVD for its control dwarf. If you work with other DAW software, you can of course adapt the QX25 to your own needs. To do this, activate the Advanced mode using the appropriately overwritten button at the top left, which gives you complete access to the parameter level. Their individual areas are distributed in the meanwhile common way on the white and black keys of the keyboard.

With the help of the printed instructions, however, you quickly step behind the somewhat cryptic operating concept, which aims to provide a maximum of flexibility with minimal resources. The three-cell display alone is only of limited use in the process of getting to know each other and should initially raise more questions than answer, especially for beginners. In addition, buttons that are used provide useful feedback on the status of certain states via background lighting, such as the activated transpose function. The integrated recall function can also be used to call up up to 20 storable preset programs, which offers solid added value, especially on stage.


For its price range, Alesis ’" little one "already has a lot of the controller functionality required today in the smallest of spaces. If you disregard the initial, display-related handicaps in understanding, the Alesis QX25 does well in practice between a studio table-top unit and a compact live control unit. Alesis ’control dwarf clearly deserves the biggest plus point through the used and universally applicable keyboard, which is clearly positioned in the upper midfield and thus skilfully outperforms a certain proportion of the competition.

Plus minus

+ Compactness
+ Keyboard
+ Range of functions
+ Price-performance ratio

- display

Tags: Alesis, keyboard, MIDI

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