Affordable Alternative 3rd Party ZEN-Core Editor From Italy

US Access hidden parameters and macro controls      16/10/23

Affordable Alternative 3rd Party ZEN-Core Editor From Italy

Roland's ZEN-Core synths are undoubtedly popular; the combination of PCM samples with VA waveforms, FM and filtering makes for a large range of sounds. However, the UI experience varies from instrument to instrument within the range, and sometimes a computer editor can come in handy, especially with a deep and unwieldy synthesis playground like ZEN-Core.

Whilst Roland's own Zenology PRO offers full and deep editing of Zen-Core tones, right down to partial level (that's Roland-speak for single waveforms; enveloped and combined with options like ring modulation, FM, multi mode-filtering, etc) that option is quite pricey to purchase outright, else requiring a subscription plan to Roland Cloud.

Benedetto "Benny" Schiavone has therefore decided to release a 3rd-party editor for Windows and MacOS, available with or without a new collection of 222 tones. Editors are available for the Fantom 06/07/08, Fantom 6/7/8, AX-Edge & Jupiter-X/Xm. The, admittedly dense-looking, user interface packs in a lot of features.

Some unique features of the editor include:

  • Vector and resizable graphic interface.
  • Communication speed between synth and computer capable of real-time listening of changes without any additional latency. The division of the summary parameters allows the editing of the most important parameters in a single screen.
  • Real time graphic display of the envelopes (Filter, AMP and Pitch) and the keyboard and velocity range sections.
  • Copy and paste of partials via clipboard.
  • Use of Macro controls to speed up editing by controlling the same parameter of any combination of the 4 partials in parallel.
  • Editing of "hidden" ZEN-Core synthesis parameters not directly accessible on the synths: VCF Gain Correction, Partial LFO Phase Lock, Pitch Down Depth,  Pitch Drift, Pitch Drift Cycle Number - Condition of VA Init Phase.
  • 4-track step sequencer. Using a Template it is possible to obtain 4-voice melodic and rhythmic sequences with a single Zen-Core tone, synchronized with the scene BPM. To do this, up to 8 STEP-LFOs (2 for each partial) and 128 steps in total are used simultaneously, all organized in a graphic interface designed to facilitate programming.


Of the soundbank, Benny stated that he has given ample space to the ZEN-core tones, which allow 4-voice melodic and rhythmic sequences (there is a template in the software to facilitate programming, also described in the manual) and to the 4-operator + shape FM sounds (Zen-Core incorporates an excellent linear FM mode). The bank obviously also contains more "classic" sounds including pads, choirs, synth basses, and sequences inspired by Jarre and Vangelis.

The author also showcased his editor and sounds in a Star Trek-themed video. Benny's Zen-Core creations are accompanied by isolated vocal tracks from the series.

I had fun creating a video that imagines an unlikely flight from my home to the Enterprise where some of the occupants..., including Spock, started singing to the tune of my synths and sounds. A way, I hope fun, to "tell" the characteristics of the software and sounds in music.

The current promotional price for the editor is €24,99 and will be available at this price until 30/10/23, just in time to make some spooky sounds for Halloween!


Posted by MagicalSynthAdventure an expert in synthesis technology from last Century and Amiga enthusiast.



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