Zynthian for MPC style beats

I usually integrate some MPC style drumming into my live performances. So far I’ve used a notebook with Ableton Live and a QUNEO or Akai MPD226 to input MIDI. I also conntected a MIDI keyboard to play melodies etc. I hate that workflow. Ableton Live is seriously frustrating, badly designed and unreliable for live (impro) looping. So I’m using an RC505 for looping and Zynthian for keys now. All powered from a single USB powerbank. It’s stupidly fun and portable.
The only thing I’m missing is MPC style fingerdrumming. LinuxSampler has some nice drumkits, but the Drum Machine presets’ MIDI mapping is all over the place. I also miss having some nice one shot chords in there.
I’d love to have an easy way to build consistently mapped 4x4 drumkits for Zynthian from samples on my PC.
I messed around with Extreme Sample Converter to convert some Battery 4 Kits to .sfz format, but it’s too much manual labour. The kits come with choke groups (closed hihat stopping open sound) and other “metadata” which has to be manually rebuilt in Extreme Sample Converter to get the wanted results.
Battery 4 Kits are stored in .nbkt files. I tried to interpret them to build a converter in python, but my file reverse engineering skills are limited. They’re compressed or something with just some parts readable.

I believe some dedicated tools or even a simple engine for drum sampling/MPC style beats would greatly add to Zynthian’s list of use cases :grinning: What do you guys think?

It’s something that @MrBroccoli desires and I’m sure he built a 4 x 4 pad set, quite when he destroyed it in some hedonistic and crazed orgy of destruction of it’s simply another case of a cable of the week need, is as yet to be determined.

It seems an obvious tool and I’m preet sure there are MIDI implementations of these pads. IN the talk we had about it he said that they generate MIDI notes, which should fit in with fluidsynth percussion pads if suitably allocated.

We discussed MIDI feedback to the pads.

He said this was just an echo of the Triggers. Do you experience anything different…?

It could be a big excercise in using MIDI mapping in the zynth MIDI config to hold it all together, but quite what you have where is probably something that might well be fairly personal. How do you lay yours out? and do you keep the same kit on the pads or do you change it per track/performance/concept lp/ aeon . . . .?

What other sort of functionality do you expect the MPC device to offer? Are there any other functionalities you would use?

Well, the pads just send MIDI notes, just like regular keys. The value of something like the standalone MPCs comes from the ability to easily assign samples to these notes and define play modes (looping, one/shot, choke groups etc) as well as having large libraries of 4x4 kits available (Native Instruments Battery Expansions, MPC Expansions). They usually come with consistent mapping (like this for example).
I would like to have a list of favorite drum kits available on zynthian (sfz format i.e. or as patches for another engine) and quickly switch between them on stage.
The problem is the lack of 4x4 pad optimized kits on zynthian. There’s a lot of great ones out there, but no good way to import them. Some tool to easily drag and drop samples into a 4x4 grid (or NxN or on a keyboard, the difference would be only in the depiction of the mapping) would solve that. I’d also love to see some options for nbkt / mpc to sfz conversion, but I guess this really wouldn’t interest too many people.
Essentially I’d like to be able to map different samples to individual MIDI notes using a simple and fast workflow. Also to adjust things like choke group, looping, ADSR and pitch individually.
Then play that like any other instrument on Zynthian.

Other than the standalone MPCs and Native Instrument’s Maschine there’s not many portable options to play beats like this and I believe Zynthian provide such a function with ease.
Edit: also they’re expennssiivvee

I assume you know of polyphone?

I always wanted to be able to load a wav file of a loop into one of the sequencer pads, but there isn’t a sampler that keeps loops in time with the clock yet.

Even with that, it wouldn’t hit your finger drum needs., Sorry.

Yeah ! the video helps to understand what’s the deal with @Kosro 's thread .

I like the idea :wink:

@Kosro : Zynthian offer a lot of possibilities, your control surface/midi keyboard too …
So it’s more how you make them work together :grinning:

I tried it, but it’s a huge load of repeated clicking and menu diving just to create one kit… doing that for 30ish kits would take forever :confused:

I guess I’m gonna build a sfz drumkit maker

What about drumkv1? It’s included in zynthian images from long time ago, but it’s not usable because we have no way to load files on it, until now … but as you probably know, the “open file” dialog for LV2 plugins is coming :wink:


Also, I’ve found this tools for converting hydrogen drumkit files to soundfont:

We could integrate it on the webconf soundfont import tool.


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Regarding this, I just solved an issue with the V1 plugins (synthv1, samplv1, drumkv1, etc.) that was preventing the native UI to work.

For testing, simply update (on testing!) and regenerate the LV2 cache by clicking on the webconf’s “search for new plugins & presets” button.

So now, you can experiment with the V1 native GUIs, specially with:

  • samplv1
  • drumkv1



Can sampv1 do loops?

Yes! I just got the naitive GUI working (after missing @jofemodo’s comment about needing to search for new plugins :blush:). There are offsets for sample start and end and a loop option as well as reverse, etc. Now to have a play with it…

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Ah, I mean… Can it play a ‘clocked’ loop… In time?

It is quite a simple sample player, speeding and slowing samples for each playback note and simply looping a section of the audio whilst key is pressed (in the sustain part of a typical ADSR envelope).

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A nice thing is that you can use samples you have recorder with the zynthian (aka, from the capture folder) :star_struck:

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