Zynthian (was Re: please talk me out of buying a ...

Jay Vaughan ibisum at gmail.com
Sun Feb 7 21:42:34 CET 2021

> On 07.02.2021, at 20:49, tom adam <tom.adam at thebigear.be> wrote:
> Just checking out some demo's, this thing is nice. And not that expensive for what it does. Maybe I just get one and see how it goes...
> ToAd

I’m really impressed with the Zynthian - it continues to produce immense gems from its depths.   The obscure interface hides awesome, immense power, but as you get into it - you realise that its all about those snapshots, man.  And wow, what a routing architecture - layers can go back and forth through each other, MIDI, Audio FX, synth engines, ‘generators’, and ’special’ layers .. it is very, very modular.

So today I’ve spent some very enjoyable hours setting up my own snapshots for various things, one for audio processing (stereo signal input->plugins/FX/etc), one for multi-timbral / multi-synth engine MIDI sessions (8 layers, from ZynAddSubFX to synthv1 and HELM synth, each on an individual MIDI channel), one for live gigs with a backing track being played with a couple of synthv1 layers available for improv, split over various devices, etc.  This basically means I can load up a snapshot for whatever it is I feel like doing in the studio/jam, and then continue to use the processing/operations for each ’snapshot’ (mode?) in its own, unique way.

It is really fast becoming my favourite thing to play with, even though its digital and software.

Basically the way to think of it is this: ALL the power of a Linux DAW, none of the fuss of computer sysadmin: because the extreme power of the onboard synth engines/FX/audio tools of, say, Ubuntu Studio, is with the Zynthian packed into a very efficient, very interesting, dense little menu interface - which, once you get snapshotted, falls into the background while all the amazing instrument capabilities take the stage.

Tomorrow I’ll spend some time learning how to set up SF2-based samplers and get into some hot Sooperlooper configuration .. and I’ve definitely, definitely gotta get my Faderfoxes plugged in and configured, to get access to some of those amazing synthv1 parameters, at the very least ..

Easily my favourite studio investment in the last few years.  The MicroFreak still gets love, because its an instrument, but the Zynthian is a seriously dense and powerful instrument too.  I could replace my whole 19” rack, probably, if I got another one ..

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