Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zoot?
Zoot is an easy-to-play yet highly expressive electronic wind instrument, about the size of a soprano recorder.
How big is Zoot and how much does it weigh?
Zoot is approximately 300 mm x 30 mm x 15 mm (11.8 in x 1.2 in x 0.6 in), and it weighs about 120 g (4 oz).
How do you play Zoot?
To make sounds, you place your fingers on the on the touch-sensitive pads to select the pitch, and blow into the mouthpiece to produce a note. When using Zoot to control a typical virtual wind instrument, like a clarinet, the amount of air supplied affects the loudness and timbre of the sound, allowing for highly expressive playing.
Where does the sound come out?
The Zoot hardware itself has no capability to make sound; the sound is produced by software that runs on a tablet, phone, or laptop. Only sensor information (not audio) is sent from the Zoot hardware to the Zoot app.
What systems is Zoot compatible with?
The Zoot software is currently available for iPhones (iOS 14.0 and above), iPads (iPadOS 14.0 and above), and Macs (macOS 12.3 and above). Search for Zoot Link on the App Store or download the macOS version from the Zoot website.
How does Zoot connect to my iPad or other device?
Zoot connects wirelessly using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Only sensor information (not audio) is sent from the Zoot controller to your smart device.
How loud is Zoot?
The ultimate loudness of Zoot is determined by the amplifier and loudspeaker that you use for output. For the best quality, we recommend a wired external speaker.
What sounds can Zoot make?
The Zoot app includes a high quality built-in physically modeled clarinet synthesizer, but you can also control any virtual instrument that has a MIDI interface.
What is the pitch range of the Zoot clarinet?
The clarinet’s essential range, where the timbre is most realistic, is from C3 to A#6. However, the instrument will respond from C1 (3 octaves below Middle C) to C8 (4 octaves above Middle C).
What is the end-to-end latency of the Zoot clarinet?
Measured from tongued air pulse or fingering change to audio output, the latency of the Zoot clarinet typically ranges from 20 to 40 milliseconds. Note that wireless speakers, whether Bluetooth or WiFi, add their own delay, and are not suitable for playing live. Even the wired auxiliary input (line input) of a typical Bluetooth speaker may add 25 ms of its own delay, and is therefore not recommended for this application.
How many finger pads are there?
For the left hand, there are three finger pads on top (for the second, third, and fourth fingers, as on a recorder), and one thumb pad on the bottom of the instrument (like the octave hole on a recorder). For the right hand, there are four finger pads.
What fingering systems are available for Zoot?
The default fingering system, “Recorder (Basic),” corresponds closely to the one used on baroque recorders, with the exception that there are no half-hole fingerings. There is also a “Simple” fingering system that’s extremely easy to learn and avoids all forked fingerings.
Is the “Recorder (Basic)” system C or F fingering?
Both are available; select the one you want by setting Base Pitch in Pitch Settings on the main Basics screen.
Where can I look up the fingering for a particular note?
From the bars menu (top left), select Fingerings Help. There you can see all the fingerings for the currently selected fingering system.
What if I want a fingering systems that’s not included with the app?
Please let us know what you’re looking for so we can consider adding it to the app’s built-in options. You can also define your own custom fingering system by creating a specially formatted text file that Zoot Link will load when it starts up. Contact us for detailed instructions.
How does the thumb sensor work to select the octave?
For the lowest octave, the left thumb covers both halves of the sensor; for the next higher octave, it covers only the left half (similar to a half-hole on a recorder); for the next higher octave, the thumb sensor is uncovered; and for the highest octave, the thumb covers only the right half of the sensor.
Can the octave be selected with a motion gesture?
Yes. If the “Octave Sensor” is set to “Up,” tilting the Zoot up beyond the “Octave Up Trigger” threshold causes all notes to be transposed an octave higher until the Zoot is tilted below the “Octave Down” threshold.
What happens when “Octave Sensor” is set to “Down”?
In that case, tilting the Zoot down below the “Octave Down Trigger” threshold causes all notes to be transposed an octave lower until the Zoot is tilted above the “Octave Up” threshold.
Can Zoot do pitch vibrato?
Yes. If “Sway/Roll” gestures are enabled, swaying the body of the instrument from side to side (using the thumb of the right hand) bends the pitch, producing a well-controlled vibrato.
Can I bend the pitch of notes?
Yes. If “Sway/Roll” gestures are enabled, rolling the body of the instrument around its main access bends the pitch. A future version of the app may allow bending of notes by lifting fingers slightly from the sensing pads, similar to the way you can bend the pitch on a tin whistle by allowing tone holes to “leak.”
What is “Soft Air Bend”?
In “soft air bending,” the pitch of the note varies with the amount of air, in a way that is similar to the behavior of an acoustic recorder. The amount of air required for the output pitch to be in the center of the note as well as the amount of bending are adjustable.
What is “Triggered Air Bend”?
In “triggered air bending,” the pitch of the note does not vary with the amount of air until the amount of air exceeds a threshold. From that point until the note is released, the pitch of the note varies with the amount of air. This allows for a kind of musical gesture that’s useful in klezmer and other contexts.
What is the “Strummer”?
When the “Strummer” is turned on and a polyphonic synthesizer like a guitar or piano is available, Zoot can produce chords using only a motion gesture. The chord is selected by fingering a particular note (usually the root of the chord), and the strum is triggered by a change in acceleration along the instrument’s main axis. See one of the video demos to get a sense of what the motion looks like.
What chords are available in the “Strummer”?
Zoot Link includes the chords commonly used in six major and minor keys. You can also define your own chords and chord groups by editing specially formatted text files that Zoot Link can load. Contact us for detailed instructions.
What is a “Preset”?
A preset saves the state of all the app’s controls, such as fingering system, transposition, gesture thresholds, etc. in a persistent file. On the Presets page, you can create a new preset or save, rename, delete, or set the default preset.