Workflow questions - building layers

Hi Everyone,

I’m new to these boards and to zynthian. I’ve been trying out zynthian on a basic setup of a Pi (4b) with some old bits from the cupboard- an old behringer uca202 audio interface, monitor/mouse/keyboard, UM-2G usb midi interface. Currently waiting for my version 4.4 hardware kit to arrive :slight_smile: So, in the meantime I’ve managed to set up some synth layers and some effects layers - have to say it is a really nice concept and I also really like the fact that there is a mod-ui implementation. Currently controlling it with a launchkey, and using it as an effects unit for, and sequencing it from, a digitakt.

I’ve worked out how to combine audio effects with a synth layer and i’m enjoying the possibilities this gives.
So one thing i tried was a layer with:
PianoTeq (demo) Steinway → YK Chorus->GxFlanger->TalDub-3
Gives a super nice spacey piano thing.

However, the demo PT times out - so i thought I’d do the same thing with a FluidPianos yamaha grand

  • and this leads me to some workflow questions. I’ve had a bit of a rummage through the wiki and searched these boards and didn’t find anything - but that doesn’t mean it’s not there so apologies if this has already been covered.

Is there a way to copy an audio effect with all its settings, or ideally a set of effects, from one layer to another? Alternatively can you clone a layer, and then change the synthesizer engine?
All I seem to be able to do is save a snapshot.

I found the snapshot page in the webconf - and that showed me the content of my layers - but it doesn’t seem to allow you to edit them, just to see the settings or delete individual effects. If it can’t be implemented in the hardware gui then it would be nice to be able to edit/copy/paste elements of layers in webconf.

Basically to do what I wanted at the moment I had to create a new synthesizer layer and then manually recreate the effect chain, and then set all the effect settings manually. Now, I appreciate that the settings would need tweaking anyway as the source audio characteristics are different. But it would be nice to be able to start with the same settings and change them.
I realise I could set up a separate audio effect chain in an effect layer and route the synth layers to it - but I like keeping them in the synthesizer layer as i can then tweak the settings to match each synthesizer.

Second issue → this led to a second workflow question - am i right that it is not possible to save effect/synth settings as new presets? If I create a nice setting on an effect I would like to be able to save it to use in another effect chain. I understand there is a program change saving feature, but that seems to be aimed more at live use, whereas I am more looking at how you set up and edit layers. I’ve seen that from the option screen for a layer you can click on the individual audio effects to access a setting page for that effect and select a preset - but how do you create a new preset?

Third thing - what is the workflow to set up a new snapshot based on layers from previous snapshot - say i wanted to create a snapshot for a new performance containing different layers taken from previously saved snapshots?
Any pointers on where to find this info gratefully received

Cheers and sorry for the rambling post

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Hi @Hengy. A warm welcome on a very warm day.

I don’t think there is a method to achieve your first request. Currently layers are bound to the root engine. I don’t know if a way to copy effects from one engine to another, other than maybe editing a snapshot file by hand.

Saving presets is not possible (beyond snapshots) within three main UI. It is possible from each engine’s GUI, e.g. via VNC.

If you want to copy a snapshot, you can do so from the snapshot context menu (added to testing version) or simply save snapshot with a different name.

it’s parallel pipes around engines at the moment. You are defining an abstract processor lump ( lv2 obviously :slight_smile: ) and then mapping that in with some state as a snapshot onto any existing layer…

We would need to change the present engine flow to a XY crossbar type arrangement and I suspect that might be a vision to far at the moment :-0

The snapshot is really as you describe a performance mechanism, some of us, well chiefly I , have twittered on about the environment on stage and the environment for construction of components that can be used by the snapshots. But the free form mapping sits within user interface presentation and that means GUI or webconf. There have been some fairly vigorous imposition that has kept these interfaces fairly pure, and perhaps it’s time to look at the webconf end as a more viable construction tool for this sort of presentation. Given vnc control of a particular engines GUI is becoming an accepted tool then perhaps mixing the webconf into that space with an expandable routing tool could be very fruitful.

What would people with GUI design experience make of such a challenge.

Patchage is sort of there but is almost too low a level of interconnect because its so easy to fool the zynth, so it would make an interesting point to start.

Thank you both for your replies.
It is indeed a very hot day - avoiding the heat by sitting indoors with just the zynthian running (too hot to turn on much else :wink: )
Slightly embarrassed that i haven’t explored connecting by vnc yet - that may well address a few of my needs - off to try that now.
I think you nailed my thinking exactly with the concept of the performance state and the construction state - and I would be more than happy if construction was achieved through webconf or other tools leaving the zynthian gui clean for performance operations.
the only thing I might clarify about my thinking was I didn’t intend to mean copying the audio effect instance - but more being able to create a new set of audio effects on a new synth engine layer based on the configuration of an existing layer - almost being able to use an existing layer as a template when constructing a new layer.

btw just realised i can have an audio effects layer running on input audio at the same time as synth layers responding to midi :man_facepalming: - such fun

You’ve made me think about a gui implementation of an lv2 audio sample (probably from the recorder) that would use the 4 encoders to display a chunk of audio that could be saved as a new audio recording. Not quite relevant of course but it would be very handy at the moment as I try to practise my disinterested rendering of the French in grace Jones rather excellent.

I wonder how well it would scale on the gui in its different sizes…?

basically turning zynth into a sampler - a zynthian take on something like 1010’s blackbox ??
so would you then have a means to load those slices into an engine for playback ?
Is recorded audio accessible to engines like PD ? if so the possibilities are endless

No not really that complicated. This is after all an audio swiss army knife …

Althou with the zynseq pads this could become a nice little sound effect playback tool.
IT’s really a way of quickly grabbing chunks of audio for the capture option that ends up in webconf. The GUI is quite stripped down ( which is why the routing is all fairly simplistic) and the features required as one gets audio chunks involved ( scrub, rock and roll etc. . . ) is probably best carried out in Ahlcemy or similar. This is really aimed at hacking down recordings and audio inputs to practise against or some similar audio chunk generatroe. Course if you do want to write it into a granular synth layer with stochiametric sampling go right ahead !! :smiley:

Just a facility to hack up some audio. :smiley: Don’t worry I tend to wantonly career across threads with little or no control. :crazy_face:

I like the idea of being able to top and tail audio. Also being able to zoom the display of the audio. A very simple audio editor could be implemented. I wouldn’t want to extend beyond the most simple of tasks. More complex craft editing can be done with an external editor, e.g. Audacity. That could be run on Zynthian and accessed via VNC so still all in the box

We / I have aspirations to replace the current audio recorder which might be a good time to implement such features.

Yes indeed, do remember it was a test tool originally ! :smiley:

fair enough, hadn’t even considered that audacity would run on the pi. however, some slicing and playback capability, maybe retriggering of slices from the sequencer, would definitely fit in the remit of a live performance tool. pretty sure my swiss army knife has a pair of scissors on it :wink:
actually i’d settle for a more robust recorder for now, just tried to capture a longish bit of noodling around and it got pretty corrupted. it is saving to a usb stick, however to be honest i haven’t done anything to optimise it, it’s stuck in a usb hub that isn’t even in a usb 3 port - so i can’t complain - and it is probably getting a bit hot.
hmm 62 C according to webconf - guessing that’s well below the pi 4’s temperature throttle. think i’ll overheat before the pi :hot_face:

just a snippet

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I happen to run audacity on a pi 4 as my desktop running raspbian but I’m not sure it would sit well on a pi4 with Zynthian but a pi 4 runs webconf and vnc very well.