The technology behind the sound generation system has been given the catchy tag of 'MASS' -- Multi Algorithm Sound Synthesis. What this really means is that more than one synthesis method is employed to produce the resultant sounds. In addition to the S+S (Sample and Synthesis) method which we have all come to expect on any new synth, the Quasar utilises both FM (as on the DX7) and additive synthesis (perhaps best known for its implementation by PPG).
A detailed explanation of these methods of synthesis is beyond the scope of this review, but suffice it to say that the differences, as far as this synth is concerned, are pretty much transparent. Indeed, when I was initially skipping through the Quasar's edit pages, I was surprised to find no parameters indicative of either FM or additive synthesis at all! It would appear that Quasimidi have taken the hard work away, by hiding the sound architecture somewhere behind the Quasar's front panel. Unfortunately, this also means that we are denied any fundamental editing of a sound at the waveform level.
For many players this might be seen as a bonus, since you can remain blissfully unaware as to how a tone is created and get on with making some music with it! But I can hear a whole generation of sound library programmers gnashing their teeth. If Quasimidi intended to keep their synth easy to use then they have certainly achieved this, but I feel they may also have robbed it of some flexibility. A better solution might have been to allow multiple editing levels, with the simpler functions (basic envelope shaping and filter cut-off, perhaps) at the lower levels, progressing to the more esoteric options in the higher level menus. One disappointment is the Quasar's inability to apply filtering to FM-generated sounds.
The filter parameters are still available in the edit pages, but they don't do anything! This is a little confusing, and it might have been better if the operating system had hidden the filter parameters when an FM sound is chosen. It would have been better still had they managed to get the filter to work on all the sounds!

Published in SOS August 1994