Anyone using it with vocals?

Hi ! I’m trying to gather some users use cases ! I own an XLR microphone (w/ a built-in looper, Sonuus Loopa) + a digital Piano (Roland FP-30) + a microphone pre-amp (Art Tube Amp). So that’s a quite minimalistic setup to really focus on the piano & the voice !

My plan is to get a Zynthian in order to :

  • record some piano + singing sessions
  • record the piano then record the microphone output afterwards or the other way round
  • create a back track with the step sequencer + record the piano & microphone output (or play live, of course)
  • also add some effects to the voice
  • and also play some weirds synths & effects with the piano although ** important ** my piano has no knobs / additional buttons. (there’s a spare pedal though that could be assigned, out of the 3 pedals - it’s meant for turning pages on a tablet) - -I guess the 4 buttons added in the V4 could help too ?

Are those use cases relevant ? I’m trying to use computers as little as possible due to eyestrain issues + addiction :wink:

Could you people share some use cases implying the use of vocals with the Zynthian ? I couldn’t find any actually.

Thanks a lot !

Hi @mahen. What you described fits very well with the Zynthian. You are like many of the community who want the flexibility of a computer but without the issues incurred when lugging one around and setting up at rehearsals, gigs, etc.

  • The Zynthian has a builtin audio recorder which records its main output mix. This means you can record everything currently happening within the Zynthian (synths, audio paths, etc.).
  • Because the audio recorder will record the main output, if you play it whilst recording you can overdub. This isn’t its main purpose so the workflow is a little awkward but using shortcuts (like the 4 buttons on the V4 or a USB QWERTY keyboard) makes it easier, e.g. toggle record, toggle play.
  • There is a MIDI recorder which could be used to capture live and/or sequenced performances then used as a backing track. Similarly you could use the audio recorder which may have smaller overhead than triggering synthesizers from MIDI recorder playback.
  • You can add as many or as few effects to audio and/or synth layers. You could add some reverb, EQ and dynamics to the audio chain from the microphone and separately add some delay to a synth.
  • You could use a MIDI FX layer to split your keyboard so that a few keys play some Zynthian synths and/or trigger zynpad sequences.

I hope you enjoy your journey into this wonderful tool as much as the rest of us have.



Hi @riban, thank you so much for your exhaustive answer !

I fear it actually opens too many possibilities and keeps me away from practising properly :wink: – which is a pitfall I very very easily fall into !

Any idea if my external microphone pre-amp is necessary or if it’s gonna be redundant ? (Cardioid condenser microphone)

Hi @mahen!

You will need it (good you already have it!) because the Hifiberry boards don’t provide phantom power to this day.
Also, in terms of audio levels, they expect line level or something like an electric guitar, not sure if the possible amp gain is enough for microphones. Condenser levels might work, which is useless anyway because of the lack of phantom power :joy:

tl;dr: Use it, you should be perfectly fine then.

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Hi @freeKey ! I wondered this, because in the microphone manual they tell the user to disable phantom power… ?!

Oh, I’d have to look into the behaviour of that particular microphone.
My only thought was: condenser -> needs phantom power, as it normally is…

Edit: I see it is battery powered on its own, and outputs some kind of line level already, and you already got the right adapter cable. It should work without the preamp!
If it doesn’t work directly: Maybe have a look into the gain settings of your Hifiberry (or what particular audio card inside the Zynthian you are using).

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Makes sense. Thanks for checking :slight_smile:

Good luck and lots of fun with your Zynthian!
Also, we always like to hear* some of the outcome :slight_smile:

*or, as we usually put it round here: :face_with_monocle:

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@freeKey : Hehe, hopefully, one day, when I can come up with something I’m not ashamed of :slight_smile: Thanks again !


We all put stuff up on here that we’re ashamed of in one way or another, it usually turns out to be an inspiration to someone else in some different way and very likely expanding on what we thought Zynthians are capable of.

Hint: if you like to test your microphone did you try vocoders yet? :slight_smile:

And that’s before we examine the humour… :smiley:

Yes, there is never enough of that as an encouragement… :slight_smile:


Hmm, well, actually waiting for the V4 kit to be in stock again :wink: Heh, may I ask this noob & OT question while I’m at it ? How much ram should I get ?

From my point of view, 2GB is enough for almost everybody. I’ve tried to load 7 layers simulataneously, including LinuxSampler with Salamander Grand Piano, Pianoteq Steinwey D, OBXd, Dexed, NoizeMaker, FluidSynth with FluidR3, etc. and … i reached 625 MB. I’m sure that by loading more heavy SFZs you can reach 1GB, or perhaps 1.5GB, but you will have problems for reaching 2GB. So …

  • I’m pretty sure that 2GB is enough for 99% of use-cases.
  • If you really want to use several huge soundfonts simultaneously (>1GB) and want to cover your back, you could buy the 4GB version and sleep like a babe.
  • If you don’t care about the money and you like to have the maximum, then go with the 8 GB version :wink:

The best,


Thanks for your reply ! To sum up : 2 GB is sufficient for everyone, but 4 GB and especially 8 GB are more future-proof if a 64 bits build is ever available !

Just waiting for the kit to be available again then, money is on my PP account :slight_smile: But there is no hurry, I have much to learn meanwhile !

Still pondering whether I get a Pianoteq license or not… The built-in Piano sound of my Roland FP-30 is pretty decent…

Thanks again to all involved !

Just wondering something. I read there was a MIDI recorder and an audio recorder. Are both working separately ? Are they mutually exclusive ? May I record MIDI events + and audio track at the same time ? May I play back an audio track and/or midi track + record over a new audio / midi track at the same time ? If I record vocals and the analog output of my piano at the same time, is it easy to separate the tracks ?

Just making sure of all the possibilities !! :slight_smile: I’ll re-read the wiki !

@mahen most of what you ask for is possible. MIDI and audio recorders are simple, independent recorders. Each can record and playback simultaneously. The audio recorder records main output including any playing audio recordings so you can build up a recording by bouncing like we used to do with tape before we could afford multitrack (before portastudios). Audio recorder is stereo. Each recording presents as a stereo wav file.


@riban : thanks a lot ! I was about to ask several other questions. But I’ll rather test everything by myself and RTFM :slight_smile:

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Ask away!
A lot is possible with the Zynthian, and more becomes possible every day, so do ask about your use case.
Even if it isn’t possible today it may very well become possible tomorrow…
The community asks for nothing more than to post a nice recording in return, so it’s important that you learn how to record :slight_smile: