Zynthian FAQ

Please, add your questions to this FAQ. And of course, if you can add/improve an answer, do it! ;-)

LINUX Audio terminology is confusing

Understanding LINUX Audio Helps understand the acronyms mentioned in this Wiki

Which compute boards does Zynthian support?

The currently supported computing boards are:

RBPi2 is not longer supported by official zynthian SD images. RBPi3 is supported but may be not powerfull enough if you plan to use many sound engines at the same time. RBPi4 is the best choice.

I want to run Zynthian OS on another Single Board Computer

Not an easy task, but it's doable for advanced users. If you want to use a different computing board model, you have to build your own SD image using the setup scripts. You can start from here on top of minimal Debian Buster install. This script and the environment variables should be adapted to match your board.

Where can i buy a Zynthian Kit?

You can buy official kits in the Zynthian Shop.

How do I edit entries in the Wiki?

You need to be able to login into the Wiki. Registering in the wiki is currently disabled for security reasons, but you can ask on the forum to get access.

I have a license for Pianoteq, what would be the process to enter the license key ?

You have to access the webconf tool and follow carefully the instructions from the "Software->Pianoteq" section.

I see a red lightning on the display, I hear cracks when playing

You are suffering from underpower. You need a reliable Power Supply Unit and a strong USB cable. The official RaspberryPi PSU bundle is the one that works perfectly. And it's available in the Zynthian shop.

Loading engines or soundfonts is slow

Be sure that you're using a high quality SD card. Also, if you're running ZynthianOs on a RBPi3, consider upgrading to RBPi4.

Despite I have a good PSU, a good SD card and a RBPi4, my Zynthian hangs

Maybe you have let the VNC server running while playing. Forwarding the sound engines native gui over the network is resource consuming. You should consider disabling the VNC server.

Does the pre-built kit come with a Raspberry Pi ?

In the shop, you can choose to buy the kit with or without a Raspberry Pi 4.

I’m primarily a guitarist and thus, I’m interested in the MOD UI...

Currently, all official Zynthian Bundle-All Kits include "audio input". The new official sound card is the ZynADAC.

Zynthia UI allows to create up to 16 processing audio-FX-chains and you can also use the fantastic MOD-UI.

Do you think Zynthian is for me?

It depends a lot. Building a recent official zynthian kit doesn't require soldering, only basic tinkering (plugging wires, screw-driving, etc.). The official zynthian software runs out-the-box and you shouldn't need to use the command line. That being said, being comfortable with Linux command line helps in solving problems. If you love tinkering and have specific needs, Zynthian is an excellent basis to taylor a unique piece of hardware.

About Zynthian Security

FYI, everything in Zynthian is executed as root user.

Anybody who wants to connect their Zynthians to a “not secure” network (any network not controlled by oneself should be considered “not secure”) SHOULD CHANGE the default zynthian password. You can do that from the webconf tool.

You also have to understand that:

  • Although the Webconf Tool ask for the password, it doesn’t use HTTPS, so your password could be sniffed by bad actors connected to the local network. That is especially true if you are using an ethernet cable or the old WEP Wifi protocol. If you are using WPA2 Wifi protocol on your 2 devices (Zynthian and your “computer”), then you should be protected against sniffers.
  • When a MOD-UI layer is created on zynthian, the MOD-UI server run completely open for everybody in the local network.

IMHO, these 2 are the main security holes in Zynthian. For solving it, we have to:

  1. Use HTTPS for webconf tool. This is already implemented with a self-signed certificate.
  2. Secure the MOD-UI server:
    1. Fast and Easy Way: Set a flag for “secure” networks, so MOD-UI will be “open” in that networks only
    2. Not so Easy Way: Use HTTPS and ask for the password. We should modify MOD-UI source code

How good can the Latency be ?

A forum post on Latency.