Zynthian Hardware

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Zynthian hardware

You will find here more informations about Zynthian Hardware.

The official Zynthian kit:

Actual kit version is v4.1, it can be purchased by visiting the Zynthian shop. You can also purchase some individual parts if you want to build a custom version that will better fit your needs.

As is, the kit consists in:

  • a Raspberry Pi 4 (Raspberry Pi 3 and 3B+ are also supported but will be quickly overloaded when running too much sound engines simultaneously). The kit can be purchased with or without the Raspberry Pi if you already have one lying around.
  • an high end sound card, the Hifiberry DAC+ADC stage wich offers Burr Brown exas Instruments DAC (TRS 6.35mm jack stereo line out) + ADC (TRS 6.35mm jack stereo line in)
  • a dedicated 3.5 inch touchscreen display wich also has a port expander on board for connectig the
    • 4 rotary encoders for controlling the user interface (UI)
    • and the 4 assignable push buttons
  • an expansion board called Zynaptik that provides the MIDI interface (IN, OUT and THRU) and some footprints for components that are not populated: a second port expander for adding more switches and/or rotary encoders, an ADC and a DAC footprints for adding CV gates.
  • a lovely but strong metal case
  • all the needed wires with their already mounted connectors

Building an official kit is quiet easy and procedure is fullly described here.

You will also need, and this is really important for having the best experience:

  • A good quality SD Card of at least 16Gb
  • a good Power Supply Unit (PSU) (5V 3A)
  • a strong usb powering cable

Official Raspberry Pi PSU is highly recommended (can deliver 5.1V 3A and is shiped with an excellent USB cable) and is also available in the shop.

Other hardware

The Zynthian web configuration tool has several options to adapt the system to different kind of hardware but be aware that only the kit parts are officialy supported, other have been reported to work at a given time but could not work anymore.


Below is the list of the hardware that can be configured with the Webconf tool and the kind of interface they use.

  • PiScreen 3.5 (v2) GPIO-only
  • PiScreen 3.5 (v1) GPIO-only
  • PiTFT 2.8 Resistive GPIO-only
  • PiTFT 2.8 Capacitive GPIO-only
  • PiTFT 3.5 Resistive GPIO-only
  • RPi-Display 2.8 GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 3.2B GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 3.2C GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 3.5A GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 3.5B GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 3.5B V2 GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 4A GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 4C GPIO-only
  • WaveShare 4 HDMI+GPIO
  • WaveShare 4.3 HDMI+GPIO
  • WaveShare 5 HDMI+GPIO
  • WaveShare 5 HDMI+USB
  • WaveShare 7 HDMI+GPIO 1024x600
  • WaveShare 7 HDMI+GPIO 800x480
  • WaveShare 7 HDMI+USB
  • Sainsmart 1.8 GPIO-only
  • MHS35 480x320 GPIO-only
  • MPI5008 800x480 GPIO-only
  • Pi 7 Touchscreen Display 800x480 DSI+GPIO
  • 5 inch DSI Display 800x480 DSI-only
  • Generic HDMI Display
  • Generic 4k HDMI Display

Audio interface:

  • HifiBerry DAC+ ADC PRO
  • HifiBerry DAC+ ADC
  • HifiBerry DAC+ light
  • HifiBerry DAC+ RTC
  • HifiBerry Digi
  • HifiBerry Amp
  • AudioInjector
  • AudioInjector Isolated
  • AudioInjector Ultra
  • IQAudio DAC
  • IQAudio DAC+
  • IQAudio Digi
  • PiSound
  • JustBoom DAC
  • JustBoom Digi
  • Fe-Pi Audio
  • Generic USB device
  • Behringer UCA222
  • Behringer UMC404HD
  • Behringer UMC1820
  • Steinberg UR22 MKII
  • Edirol UA1-EX
  • Yeti Microphone
  • RBPi Headphones

Note: most of the usb sound cards should work out of the box with the "Generic USB device" settings.

Other hardware: Parts sourced in some Chinese shop.

Before you go for it

Note: You are on your own when trying to make them work with Zynthian. Some can be well supported by Zynthian software as they are clones from some well knowns products, some will work with more or less hassels and some will just not work at all.

Advice: Be carefull when trying to use any kind of "installer script" as they can overide a Zynthian configuration file. It is always a good idea to test these kind of harware on a stock Raspberry Pi OS and to study what's already done by the installer script.


Many of them are waveshare clones, look at them carefully and especially to the GPIO pins they use and to the chips used to control the display ad the touch interface. Avoid displays that are using parallel, RGB or DPI interface.

Audio Boards:

Try to identify the DAC, ADC or CODEC chip

  • with pcm5102, pcm5102a or es9023 chips, boards should be supported as hifiberry-dac light.
  • With a pcm5122 chip boards should be supported as IQaudio DAC.
  • With SGTL5000 Fe-Pi audio board should be compatible.

Port expander & rotary encoders

  • The MCP23017 port expander can be found as SMD component mounted on a small breakout board. No bad experiences have been reported with them.
  • You may find some rotary encoders already mounted on a small PCB: they do not fit to the schematic (have some pull up resistors and need to be powered) and bring usually many hassels.

A deeper look at Zynthian Hardware architecture


The following is based on the kit v4.1 schematics but keep in mind that most of it is optionnal ! One may choose to run an headless Zynthian, or with just a HDMI display and an USB and/or keyboard. Zynthian is modular enough to fits many needs a from pocket sized gear to a customized midi keyboard that will embed your build.

The audio side

The MIDI interface

Controls: Rotary encoders and the switches