New Zinthianer

Hello,
just received my v4 kit (thanks @jofemodo), just assembled it and testing it up.
So far, so very good, the instructions in the wiki are foolproof (I still managed to pinch a couple of cables while screwing in the encoders)
Just wanted to report a very happy camper.
My plans for the zynthian are to use it to build a digital piano for the kids, that are starting to really get into it, and have them experiment with all kinds of synths and effects without having to break the bank.
I already updated Pianoteq and installed a licensed version, I own Bechstein, Steinway Model D and Electric pianos, the new version works well, but the licensed pianos are still under the demo instruments (they do work as expected: no dud keys and no stopping after 20 mins) … will have a look at ho to bring them up in the ‘owned’ list of instruments.

Other than that, as I said, all good. I have a fair amount of experience with raspberries (using a couple scattered around the house to monitor sensors and control parts of an homa automation system) and also ran a pi2 with an hifiberry with volumio for a while.
On the other hand I cannot play a tune (well, ok, I can, but very basic ones) so do not expect recordings of my performances.

My long term goal, if the kids keep improving in their piano skills, is to build a headless digital piano using a Kawai VPC-1 and the Zynthian-Pianoteq combo, still unsure what to use for speakers, as if I go too big the wife will throw me out :slight_smile:

Next steps: experiment with RTP-midi and having pianoteq/dexed playing sounds coming from a midi keyboard hooked to an ipad using rtp-midi … will be pestering you guys for sure …

1 Like

Hi, welcome

Well, don’t be scared. Look at this post :laughing:

The Kawai VPC-1


Is reckoned to have superb touch so that should be a real pleasure!

The Amplifier you add to the zynth is one of the messier aspects of this ( for messier read causes great discomfort to frequently less musically inclined person wot has chosen to spend their life with me… grudgingly …).

It’s not just the amp itself but the associated mains and leads.

Speakers are also another cause of problems because they involve … Wires …

Personally I use a hifiberry amp and dodge the whole issue going straight to Speakers but I understand this is a little radical so I use things like

As they are small and compact and do at least have a separate power supply (not a wall wart) that can be tidied out of the way and also left at one volume setting all the time, with the levels all controlled from the zynth, or better yet any controllers the MIDI Intrument offers ( My Roland has two controllers that are very handy in this regard)

Hope it all goes well, and I’ll hold the ravens off but, they will of course circle . . .

Get the kids to put something together, it’s really not about prowess, it’s more of a confirmation, and once you’ve done the first, it increases the likelihood of a second !!
. It’s a great way of reviewing what you have done!

1 Like

@Wileu,
my current chain is
Zynthian -> Livetrak l-12 -> one of:
Pioneer s-dj08 powered monitors
S-DJ08
or Behringer a500x + JBL 4411 Control monitors

The S-DJ08 are my computer speakers (go figure) and the JBLs are what I use when I really want to go up with the volume, but I realize they are not exactly portable/cannot use them for a virtual piano setup.
The powered speakers solve some of the cabling mess, but they do need a power cable and quality ones cost more than the amp/speaker combo … we will see!
For now we are using a yamaha PSR that has shitty action but can work standalone … the VPC-1 is my end goal if they keep going at it. It is pricey, but for the same amount of money you get a digital piano with 10W speakers and plastic actions, albeit quality plastic …

In the meantime, Dexed and Obxd are really great … RTPmidi in from IPAD works, albeit the connection is shaky, will have to look into what side is having issues …
Will try to record something from the kids playing :slight_smile:

Don’t dismiss the PSR, it may not be a properly wieghted keyboard but it’s an excellent keyboard for accompanied piano work and the zynthian should cope with both instruments comfortably.

Course two keyboards will producee twice the domestic harmony modulation so step carefully my friend…

… Stress the educational uplift, that’s the line I always used …

You are right, the psr, for the price point, is a wonderful piece of kit, line out, line in, usb host and midi, can disable the internal Sinth when using it as a midi keyboard, plenty of instruments to play with… It is just not suitable for kids taking piano lessons, as it allows them to ‘cheat’ when they are playing stuff, they can barely hit the keys and some sound will come out, unlike the piano… As for the domestic harmony, I like to think after 13 years of being married I’ve got the measure, but I always manage to screw up in some ways… like the time I tried to convince the wife that the JBL 4411s were classified as ‘bookshelf speakers’ and we could put them in the dining room :grin:

1 Like

I think playing piano & keyboards are two different things. Jan Hammer does stuff on a Mini Moog that I doubt he could play on a decent weighted piano !

2 Likes

Yep! I have a weighted keyboard for piano style playing and a synth action for synth / organ style playing. The resulting performances differ on each - but both fall below Jan’s standards :blush:.

1 Like

You sir, are a hero…

… Where shall we bury you? in the boxes . . .?

1 Like

I convinced my wife 25 years ago…

5 Likes

Goodness JBL is getting some love here !!

1 Like

It looks like your wife’s nutcraker keeps it under her control, unless it is Tchaïkovski’s spirit.

Matt is right, all is a question of…

:grin:

1 Like

@wyleu, you asked, here are a couple of recordings:

Zynthian running Pianoteq7/Steinway D Pop, RTP-MiDI
Ipad running Simply Piano and MidiFire
Yamaha PSR connected to the Ipad

My son (6, started learning piano this spring using Simply piano, now taking piano lessons, Covid allowing it)

This is what the Piano teacher gives him to play:

This is what he plays with with Simply Piano

3 Likes

The accompanist thing from Simply Piano seems an excellent encouragement. There’s so much you can get from feel, timing and touch with such a tool.

Perhaps we could start collecting similar things for zynth …?

Simply Piano has some very strong features, especially for a 6yrs old that (at the time) couldn’t bother learning the theory, the result is that in less than 6 months the kids were able to read basic arrangements and play them even not knowing ‘the name of the notes’ and things like moving hands around to play different notes/octaves were a given and not something they struggled with.

In my opinion there are some negatives, it is more a game than a teaching tool, so now that we are into the real lessons there are some things we need to ‘unlearn’ like the pause/stop/restart in the middle of a performance thing, and some things that need to be explained over and over like keeping tempo, staccato, legato and especially the piano/mezzo/forte concepts and the fact that playing the notes almost right, or hitting a couple more than necessary just to get simply piano going isn’t really a good thing.

On the other hand, we’re into the third month of piano lessons and we’re already looking at things like piano/mezzo/forte, legato and staccato and how to play the right way with the right tempo, because both kids started from lesson one already able to read a music score, and looking at scores that usually are taught in the second/third year of lessons …

I think we’ve also been blessed with the right type of teacher that was able to ‘factor in’ what was self learned in Simply piano and modify his training program to account for that: in these three months we’ve moved from a lesson that was 1/4 piano and 3/4 simply piano to 3/4 piano lesson and 1/4 Simply Piano arrangements with the volume turned down and the arrangement created live by the teacher on another keyboard, with some ‘solos/bass/drums’ added … the kids love it, and that’s the important part.

I can’t wait for the moment when they will need some ‘synth sounds’ in their experiments to bring in the real purpose of the zynthian :slight_smile:, we will see …