Naming presets

Hi you Zynthianers !
I see so many development going about here, it really is one amazing beehive.
While I recently choose not to interfere in the technical discussions (because I can’t :face_with_raised_eyebrow:), I believe I might contribute to the community by delivering pure user feedback.
So here’s one; I would love to have the possibility of naming and saving the sounds and effect layers to ‘presets’ (snapshots as we call them here), without having to link the Zynthian to a computer.
This would allow me to create, lock and remember (!!) Presets on the fly.

The easiest way would ofcourse be the popping up of a ‘qwerty’ type of screen, with the ‘0’ to ‘9’ keys aswell, nothing to fancy, and the possibility of saving the presets directly in the Zynthian using the touchscreen.

What do you people think about this idea?

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There’s always been a fairly distinct seperation between the zynth GUI and anything that involves naming ( or not selected from a list if you prefer). Certainly you can plug in a keyboard, ut what if you can’t then we are into the territory of on screen keyboard which when we go down to 2.8" screens ( @riban under 12 swimming certificate and minimum zynthian screen size user) .

The standard kit at 3.5" still wouldn’t allow a decent kbd that you could actually use fingers on.

But you’ve certainly identified something that starts to become a pressing issue the more productive you become.

The problem comes down to GUI screen’s that would produce text boxes some people couldn’t escape from, and that’s a bit of a problem.

There is, obviously, a simplistic but functioning autonaming scheme, snapshot 01, 02 etc but obviously that doesn’t tag a well as a fine name.

The other element is the present mechanism allows you access a lot of information like layers loaded in the snapshot and once again we’d end up with a fairly confused GUI. if we tried to do that at the GUI end.

In the Audio side we’ve tried to make the playback and previewing of things fast so you can quickly work down lists of possibly unrelated or misnamed objects and rename accordingly, but you are back at the webconf. I tend to run a pi 2 running raspbian lite adjacent to the ‘main’ zynth for just such a purpose.

As an ex Alpha Juno 2 owner I hope everyone agrees that naming things with encoders … (Does _ sit at the top of the set of below the lower case Numbers . . . .) is a gateway to insanity.

Sorry if this seems a bit negative but it has been considered.

I am not sure I do agree. If you limit the character set and wrap at the ends of the range and have a consistent and simple enter / advance type method then, although far from ideal, it is possible to add short names using encoders. I implemented this on my FluidSynth (although that used up / down buttons rather than encoder which is a bit worse!) and it wasn’t fun but it is a way to do it from the small interface.

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Ok, my persistence is probably a little lower than most,

I’m sure the availability of copy existing name sort of stuff might help but those interfaces fill up with hidden functionality that only the coder uses !!

Perhaps with 4 available encoders we could do something coolish. IT’s the spaces & the odd value ascii stuff I tend to miss most, maybe put a ranger of wierdo characters and numbers on one encoder capitals on another lower case on a third, which would leave you another encoder for left and right position and Select … damn it lacks a cancel . . . .:frowning:

Mind you not all of us have encoders. If the cursor enabled allow a screen typewriter?

Thanks to you guys for replying this quickly. Wouldn’t it be possible then to integrate a small ‘qwerty’ screen using the pointing pen to quickly scribble down short names?
I would say the screen is large enough (sorry @wyleu if I misunderstood a part of the explanation) to integrate the ‘qwerty’ keyboard.
I already use the Zynthian for launching wav files that we use during our performance, and to see them lined up so properly is a very assuring thing, especially when swimming between songs:

This adds a real value to the Zynthian, from a strict usability point of view.
The very idea of this project evolving, thanks to you guys, makes me think I really made a good choice.
Believe me, if I fix an equipment in my live setup there must be a very good reason for that !

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How do you find the queuing for the audio clips?
is it consistent?
Do you use it for any insert sounds ( sound effects that are required at an accurate point in a performance)? or do the performers work against the track?

Do you improvise to an extent when you feel the need to name something from a performance? or do you rigorously prepare a head of times…?

Do you think a :face_with_monocle: would be impertinent :smiley:

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In earlier days I would use a pad for these accompanying tracks, using the Zynthian gives me the possibility to have them right here under my eyes, in wav format (!), and yes the queuing is very accurate indeed. I prepare these ‘backbone’ tracks ahead, and like to have presets using the same names. So in the end I would simply have two lists, one of audio tracks ;

01 Lighthouse 98bpm
02 Sacred Haven 110 bpm
03 …etc

And for the presets :
01 Lighthouse piano
02 Sacred ambiance

We do a lot of improvisation, my friends are very good at that, but every now and then I need to lead the whole cavalry back to the core.
I do this by bringing the BPM of the jam to the BPM of the next song and slowly (or suddenly!) kick off.
A very clear visual order and identification is essential for these ‘back to some song’ key moments. And the Zynthian is very readable, unlike let’s say the more freewheeling and capricious Octatrack.

Furthermore I like your questions, they’re very accurate. Helps me wrap my mind about some future developments in our performance. To say it simply; I love to see things get ‘out of hand’ but being able to whistle the whole thing back using ‘familiar’ sounds and effects, if that makes any sense

Absolutely. It is certainly possible to screw up such an interface beyond belief in many ways (my Fostex D2424 has probably the worst text-entry interface I’ve yet to encounter), but with basic character set and wrapping selection with encoder rotation, push to select and don’t do idiotic stuff like jumping the selection cursor to start on select, it can actually be pretty slick. I mean, people are willing to go to great lengths to enter text, remember the pre-touchscreen days of typing SMS’es on mobile phone number pad? Compared to that, Zynthian screen is enormous and encoder typing almost pleasant :sweat_smile:

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I’ll bet as soon as you introduce a basic character set someone will complain it will be missing the Estonian õ character…

I have a encoder based naming on things like my vr09 and now I have a lot of items called piano, piaaaaaaa,pppppppppp, aaaaaaaa, aaaaaabbb.


NØØ !!! I promise we won’t complain!

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A faint menacing growling emanates from the rather large almost wolflike hounds looming in the shadows with red glowing eyes . . .


I’ve actually been thinking of trying to hook up a bluetooth keyboard for exactly this. I know bluetooth has been finicky on the RaspPi’s in the past though; maybe things have improved since?

And a related thought, helping with UX, was to introduce a list of a few hundred “tags” you could slap on presets (and ZS3!) “on-the-go”, while then coming up with real preset names at a later time through the web UI.

Selecting “Clean”, “Distorted”, “Heavy”, “Calm”, “Strings”, etc. from a list of words may be easier to UX up with the four knobs, than a full-on qwerty keyboard.


This sounds more appropriate. Bang on some tags in the heat of the moment, and edit a proper name in the web interface.

Yes. And totally not ripped off from any other preset-management software you may know. :wink:

I’m a great fan of any element of tagging and also rating of files via a meta data structure.

How many different categories would we use?

The Nord Modular has this breakdown…

Category Description
Acoustic Patches with an acoustic character like flutes, violins, guitars, ethnic sounds, bells, mallets etc. Doesn’t necessarily have to be emulations of existing instruments
Sequencer Sounds which use sequencer modules to produce melodic and/or rhythmic lines.
Bass All sorts of bass sounds
Classic traditional “clean” analog types of polyphonic synth sounds based on the classic
Drum Drum and percussion sound
Fantasy Melodic effects sounds and textures, often with rhythmic modulations
FX Atonal effects sounds like water, laser guns, explosions etc. Sometimes with heavy modulations.
Lead Sounds meant for lead lines. Usually monophonic sounds. Also lead “chord memory” sounds
Organ Different types of organ sounds
Pad Melodic polyphonic “chord” sounds with fairy slow attacks like strings, choirs etc.
Piano Different types of electric and acoustic piano emulations
Synth All sorts of melodic polyphonic synth sounds
Audio In All sorts of Patches that make use of the Audio Ins of the synth.
User1 Reserved for your own Sound Category
User2 Reserved for your own Sound Category

Still (the roar of the bloodhounds is perceptible somewhere behind me now) I believe that personalising / naming presets directly in the UI would be a big advantage (I don’t like having to connect keyboards and so), from a strict user point of view.
Evenmore I am convinced that such an option might attract other users like me. Please bare in mind that I’m nothing of a programmer, and I don’t want to use computers unless I really have to.

The ‘ideal’ solution would be a small screen like this for exemple:


As for the typing it might be possible to suggest some more adapted pencil.
I personnaly use a pen from one of my old Psion 5 units, it really works good and looks classy:


Once again, this is my feedback; I don’t know anything about programming, I don’t know if it’s hard to do, but like I said this will certainly help Zynthian to gather a larger audience.

Please allow me to add that I found it hard to believe, when first coming acroos the Zynthian, that such an option didn’t seem to be integrated. I believe the whole ‘personalisation’ side of the matter might be a huge asset.

And the advantage is that the touchscreen is right there already!! This would mean a considerable advantage compared to other open source solutions such as the Organelle.

It’s probably best to pick up some existing Xwindows keyboard component than try and write our own.

Not something I’ve ever really looked at, presumably there is a one that stays ahead of the thundering pack that pursues it … ( :japanese_ogre:) . .
WE want something VERY simple, I’m sure there are people that feel the need to imbed currency symbols and other bits and pieces ( didn’t we have an ADSR font back there somewhere … ? ), but at the GUI end I would suggest it’s kept simple ( CAPS ONLY ?) and the heavy lifting is done in the webconf.

No problem, there are many elements that have developed alongside the audio parts. It’s important to remember that there is a very precise audio engine at the bottom of all this and it’s refinement was always the first priority ( Search latency on the forum if you REALLY want some gore…).
Part of the reputation we are building is about careful consideration of quite how and why particular paths are used and there has been some features that grew out of test tools, and in the light of that the oversight may be understandable.

I fully understand this, and these things need a lot of consideration ofcourse.
Let’s just say that the obvious flexibility of the Zytnhian (from what I see here since a few months, reading and observing the spectacular evolution of the software (step sequencer, song mode, L2V classification etc.) really makes me realise the endless list of possibilities of the Zynthian.

And so I believe it might be interesting, every now and then, to throw in some practical ideas / questions from a total noob but enthusiastic user (follow my gaze…)

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Dont forget the Estonian õ character for our friend @Baggypants :rofl: