The Vaco Loco Zira Synthesizer (Demo Video)

This is an informal demo of the Vaco Loco Zira synthesizer – a synth that, according to its designer, “came out of an idea I had to see how small I could build a synth and still get it to sound good.”


  • Two oscillators, each with 48 waveforms
  • One Sub oscillator
  • Hard Sync of oscillators
  • Two ADSRs, one VCF, one VCA
  • One LFO
  • Multiple routing options
  • 64 patch memories
  • MIDI updatable firmware

This is a sneak preview, the Zira is still under development. See the Vaco Loco site for details.

via VacolocoSynth:

A quick run through of Zira and it’s features.

6 thoughts on “The Vaco Loco Zira Synthesizer (Demo Video)

  1. this is really cool and well thought out, i would want one but i already bought a meeblip, but i am definitely starting to get into these little synth modules, a feature i haven’t seen yet which sounds cheesy but would add value for me is an arpeggiator.

    are any of this guys units sold assembled? i like the gorf sequencer he has for sale but i would just break it trying to assemble it.

    1. Firstly, thank you for your kind words, I’m pleased people like Zira.

      I’m finishing assembling the last few in the next couple of weeks (delays cause by suppliers) so I would expect them to go on sale around the end of the month. Keep an eye on my twitter ( or my facebook page ( for updates. There will only be 12 available for sale in this format (size and filter type) as that’s all the NJM2069AD chips I had.

      @Darren, The Zira’s will be available as full assembled units. In the near future GorF will also be available as an assembled unit.

      @papernoise, Why so small? basically I wanted to see what I could do with a predefined PCB size to match GorF, it was also a great exercise for me as there was about a bazillion other features I wanted to add, but having the limited size and menu meant I had to keep to what I thought was truly important.
      You’re very right and the landscape changing, the skills and equipment to make great sounding synths for the hobbiest have never been so readily available, parts are cheaper, technology is more powerful and people are re-gaining their love of hardware. I expect a lot more “boutique” synths and synth manufacturers to pop up over the next 3 to 5 years.

  2. not bad. I don’t really see the point in making something this small, since it makes the knobs a bit fiddly to work with (at least it looks like from the video) but still I think he managed to put quite a bit of features inside it! DIY synths are getting more powerful every day! 🙂

  3. I think the reason why these kinds of boxes (like this one and the shruti) are so appealing to me is that I’m just so impressed by the capabilities of the boxes, but also the abilities of the designers to make these things in hardware form. Yes, I can make lots of cool sounds with my i— but this just seems more … human.

  4. or more real…
    another thing I noticed: I never really dug so deep into a virtual synth as I did with my hardware boxes, probably staring at a compiter screen for 8 hours a day is enogh so that I don’t want to do it in my spare time as well!

    anyway if you compare the landscape to 2-3 years ago it’s really changed. diy synts have gotten really capable, challenging (and sometimes even besting) the industrially made ones from big brands. I think this is really amazing!

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