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Soundware for Zebra

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16 December 2011 at 11:33pmFarleyCZ

Yep. Agreed! :) When you got Zebra and you can't imagine any new sound to make, something's wrong with your imagination. (Perhaps tired...)

Love this one too!... so much! Got it around second year now and I can promise you this fascination with OSC's, OSCFX, MSEGs etc etc doesn't end.... AMAZING synth.

18 December 2011 at 12:17pmproletkult

Glad you agree Farley. Should have added that there is a very clever promotion going on... after taking a photograph of what ever analogue synth you are retiring because of Zebra and sending it in - you get a $50 discount!! Good for your pocket and their ego!!

18 December 2011 at 2:20pmUrs

Thanks so much proletkult! Happy that you like it :)


;) Urs

18 December 2011 at 5:16pmproletkult

You're welcomed, Urs and congratulations on a stunning product.

22 December 2011 at 8:45amHoward

"So inspiring is the whole experience of discovering Zebra2 that the manual (which has been critised by some) works, quite rightly, more as a great reference point as you venture through this sonic jungle".

Ha! I reviewed Zebra in 2007 and criticised the documentation as well as the presets. Since then the manual has been completely rewritten, and the presets have been retired/replaced... ;-)

22 December 2011 at 10:53amproletkult

I'll be honest with you, Howard. I'd tried Zebra 1 and found it fun but no replacement for other synths I had. The development since then has been on a scale you'd expect from a big set up like Spectrasonics. Fantastic acheivement.

30 April 2012 at 2:04amliquidsound

There are two synth I can't live without, Zebra and Surge.

if I had to choose, I'll keep Zebra.

18 June 2012 at 4:35amaudiomac

Thanks to everyone for sharing your Talent..

2 April 2013 at 9:31pmbabyblue


i just bought zebra today, because i like some of its sounds, but i agree, many sounds are over-effected. When turning the wet knob down, the sound is not really good anymore. In my opinion, the reason is first of all the looppoint of the waveforms. Especially with Pad Sounds, you can hear the loop of the used sample, the higher note is looping faster than the lower, resulting in an unsteady, not smooth sound. But this i heard nearly with every Softsynth. But i heard a few sounds, where this is not so obvious. So i hope, it is possible, to create really smooth pad sounds.

Is there a tutorial online "How to make Sounds with Zebra"? The userguide is not sufficient for me: The interface is really overwhelming.

2 April 2013 at 9:50pmHoward

@Babyblue: There are no samples in Zebra2, and therefore no looping or loop points.

BTW Zebra2 Tutorials are here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8B3F7A60F7C76BA
... but I would recommend that you study the manual in more depth first - start at the beginning, read very carefully, understand.

2 April 2013 at 10:53pmontrackp

I agree with Howard completely. Read the manual carefully, tweak the various parameters to understand what they do, and turn modules off and on to hear the results. You might also want to research some basics of different types of synthesis so you can really understand. I also recommend that as you go thru the presets you focus on the simpler structures so it is easier to understand what is going on.

And watch every single one of the tutorials! More than once....

You may have to dig around a little to find the waves that "speak" to you -- and remember, each wave has 16 possible iterations, some of which are completely different as you cycle through them.

Zebra is a beast for sound design, it's worth the time to learn how to use it.


3 April 2013 at 8:42ambabyblue

thanks Howard and ontrackp for your constructive words! I will do my best and dive into the secrets of zebra. When you say there are no samples used as groundstructeres for tweaking them with the different oscs, LFOs, envs etc., i must believe you. I came to that conviction, when i played a (one) note, i heard a repeating cycle, playing this note lets say 3 notes lower, i hear this repeating cycle too, but this cycle lasts a bit longer, resulting in an unsteady, not smooth sound, when playing both notes together.

But as i said, i try my best, to achieve what i am looking for. Thanks again for your advice and the link.

uups! just tried the Link, doesn't work....

6 April 2013 at 7:00amHoward

True Babyblue, the direct link to the YT playlist doesn't work (strange!), so here's the channel:


3 April 2013 at 2:44pmontrackp

The cycle speed of a LFO or MSEG can be modulated by key follow (or by specific notes for that matter) so the speed can change as you go up or down the keyboard. My advice is to deconstruct the patches. Go thru module by module and double click on modulation controls, zero out modulation amounts in the matrix and you'll start seeing how the modulators can affect cycling of filter cutoff, pitch, etc....

Just search on youtube for the tutorials, they come up all over the place.

3 April 2013 at 11:04pmPhader


you say you want warmer filters in the next version,,,.

Have you thought about getting the dark zebra upgrade?

it has a few additions, DIVA filters being one of them.

4 April 2013 at 12:22amhollo

Hehe, this was my fav because it's so presonal to me :).

"For me, the biggest downside of this synth is that it's easy to get so involved in the fun of experimenting with sound that you lose time getting work done.".


21 August 2013 at 8:55pmpsydenis

How to choose the right directory where the data of zebra will be installed.

13 November 2013 at 2:22amclangorous

Disappointed in the Zebra2 demo. The synth seems good but it's hard to tell because as soon as I start tweaking it starts dropping out. First time I tried it was just the static which is annoying but not too bad. But now I have to keep reloading a new instrument track to get it to even play more than one note. Evidently I am in the minority here, because I do not find anyone else posting similar. But had to be honest...it's hard to evaluate it when I can't really use it for even 15 minutes. If I have to use presets, and cannot create big sounds with it, then it's not going to be as useful to me. Would rather have a time limited demo...even one day would be better than this. Not meaning to be disrespectful or overly bitchy because obviously a lot of work went into it and I respect that. But that does not automatically mean it will be good for me personally.

Having got that out of my system, it seems to work in Studio One 2 so I'll probably buy it based on the stellar reviews of most everyone.

13 November 2013 at 9:21amHoward

@bksherwood: Zebra2's demo restriction is quasi-random notes (not "static"), so I'm wondering what happened there. Anyway, 15 minutes per session should be plenty of time to find out whether a product suits you. You just have to bite the bullet and reload, or purchase a license.

13 November 2013 at 4:20pmclangorous

@Howard: Then it sounds like what I was experiencing were not the demo limitations. I did purchase Zebra2 last night and I am VERY happy with it. Was able to take what I know and create some pretty awesome initial sounds. So far none of the notes dropping out or static etc. After working with it last night, I think Zebra2 is going to be like moving from a Model T to a rocket ship; it will drastically accelerate my progress and capabilities.

But I must say...wow! I never expected a response from you directly. I see that as a huge value of owning Zebra2. The community of Zebra2 is something you can't really put a price on, especially as someone who wants to excel at this stuff. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

13 November 2013 at 5:42pmsnigelx

Well, you absolutely made the right decision then. You've just ensured yourself a long winter with a fat grin. Not only do you have a deep synthesizer in your possession, you have a deep and active Zebra user community and lots of freely available and commercial patch banks at your fingertips (Check the official KVR U-he forums). Check out U-he's YouTube profile while you're at it. There are tonnes of excellent official pointer videos for consumption. Enjoy your striped synth-beast.

13 November 2013 at 8:48pmclangorous

Thanks snigelx. Spot one with the fat grin! Honestly, I am not sure I will need another synth for a long, long time...except Dark Zebra...that I am definitely buying. My interest is primarily big, unique orchestral sounds and DZ surely fits the bill.

So far I have reviewed the manual, downloaded the free patches from http://www.u-he.com/PatchLib/zebra.html, started on the Youtube tutorials which are awesome, and started to decompose some awesome HS patches. I see also some of the patches from the community are designed to teach you things like FM. Very cool.

Thanks for the lead on the KVR U-he forums. Just starting to realize how much is here on KVR. Been missing out for sure.

19 November 2013 at 10:50pmpdxindy

I have had Zebra for close to 8 years and I still discover clever new tricks... and of course it keeps getting better. Zebra just received a sweet new distortion module (actually 4 of them)!.

20 November 2013 at 1:27amsnigelx


Thanks for the heads-up on that. It's been a while since I've stopped by the forum. Nice news.

19 November 2013 at 7:46pmsnigelx

Re: 19th November 2013.

Great that you feel the need to review such a wonderful sound design tool, but I own the Prophet you speak of (why you compare software to this I have no idea) and no Zebra does not sound better. It is rather apples and oranges you attempt to compare my friend (which was not much of a comparison and much less a review). Of course Zebra has features more routing options because it is a piece of software relying on the computational power of the computer system that hosts it and a developer can add tonnes of bells and whistles into the software. For being a hardware unit the Prophet 12 is an amazing piece of gear capable of many a timbre, but the sound is VERY different between the two synths you mention in your blurb. Furthermore, a synth's sound will most usually reflect the level of skill and creativity possessed by its programmer and much less often the deficiencies of the synthesizer. Please, if you should write a -review- people then take the time to discuss the finer points. If you just wish to post that you like a synth then do that on the forum. Cheers.

5 August 2015 at 1:00pmPUSHA

The sounds that Zebra produces is just incredible!!!! I cant imagine what Zebra3 will sound like......It will be tough for anybody to top this synth in my opinion. Possibilities are endless with this synth. I LOVE YOUR WORK URS!!!!!.

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