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This quick-start will guide you through the process of using Ardour to launch Zyn-Fusion and then using Zyn-Fusion to open an existing patch and modify it.

Don’t worry if some or most of these terms are unfamiliar, we’ll cover them soon but for now we want to get you having fun making sounds!

When you’re finished with this project you’ll learn some fundamentals such as:

  • How to use Ardour sessions to save/restore work

  • How to create Ardour tracks

  • How to use Zyn-Fusion as a plugin from inside Ardour

  • How to open and save an existing patch

  • How to perform basic sound manipulation on an existing patch

This guide expects that you are starting with a working installation of Ardour and Zyn-Fusion; at a minimum you should be able to play and hear the Ardour metronome to confirm that your audio is routed properly.

Create your Ardour session

If Zyn-Fusion can be used as a standalone tool why are we using it with Ardour?
We’re choosing to use Ardour primarily for it’s session handling, ensuring that we can save and return to our progress at any time.
Start a new session
  • Launch Ardour and create a new session using the Empty Template

    • I named mine QuickStart but you can choose any name you’d like

Add your first track
  • Create a new Zyn-Fusion midi track for our synthesizer

    • Shift + Ctrl + N

      • Name: Synth

      • Instrument: ZynAddSubFx

      • Click Add and Close

ardour new track
Save your Ardour session
  • Save your Ardour session so the work you just did is saved.

    • Ctrl + S

Launch Zyn-Fusion
  • Select your Synth track and then double-click on the ZynAddSubFX button (circled in red below)

ardour launch zyn fusion
Play the default ADDsynth

The ADDsynth is an additive synthesizer. It’s totally fine if you don’t know what that means yet.

You can launch it by selecting the ADD button. Try launching it and then playing a few notes by pressing some keys on your keyboard. You should see the corresponding key light up on the virtual keyboard. Listen to the default sound or "voice" of the ADDsynth.

launch ADDsynth

Next try playing around with the virtual keyboard at the bottom of the window.

virtual keyboard
Open an existing patch
What is a patch?
For now think of a patch as a saved Zyn-Fusion configuration. Once you create a sound you like, you can save the configuration as a patch which can be shared or reloaded to recreate this sound in the future.

Now that you’ve heard what the default ADDsynth sounds like, let’s load up one of the built-in patches.

Click on the "Browser" button to browse the default patches; I’m going to select the FM Bass 2 preset but you’re welcome to pick any preset you like the sound of.


Play the synth using your keyboard or the virtual keyboard.

Modify an existing patch

Now let’s try experimenting with some knobs and dials to see how you can modify the sound.

Try modifying the:

  • Global Amplitude Envelope: A.DT

global amp
  • Global Frequency Octave

global freq
  • Voice Frequency Envelope: A.DT & Voice Frequency Octave

voice freq
Save a patch

Let’s save your modifications as a custom instrument so you can reload it at any time.

Click on the File drop down that is to the right of the Zyn logo and select Save Instrument.

save instrument

Navigate to a directory you want to save the patch in and type a file name before selecting "Enter".

file manager
Close and relaunch Ardour

Now that you’ve saved your patch, let’s imagine you just closed everything and forgot to save, in fact, go ahead and close Ardour without saving.

Now reopen Ardour and select your session. If you’ve followed this guide closely then your session should resume right after you added your Zyn-Fusion track, but before you modified any patches. Luckily, you saved your patch before you closed your last session.

Load your saved instrument

Relaunch Zyn-Fusion from your Ardour session and load your saved instrument.

Click on the File drop down that is to the right of the Zyn logo and select Load Instrument.

load instrument

Navigate to a directory you saved the patch in the previous steps before selecting "Enter".

file manager

Once you’ve loaded your instrument the synthesizer should play the sounds you saved.

Congratulations, you’ve synthesized your first custom sound!