Merry Zynthians and Happy New Image – Newsletter #2, December 2016

Greetings from the sunny BCN, where today the rain fall over and tomorrow the air will smell clean and healthy ūüôā

It’s been a hard month preparing the new SD image, but finally it’s here. Its name is Gorgona!

If you already have a Zynthian Box,¬† i’m pretty sure you would like to try Gorgona right now. You can choose between two different versions, compiled for RBPi3 and RBPi2:



The only difference between Gorgona and Gorgonilla versions is the amount of soundfonts (SFZ and SF2 files) included in the data directory. All the rest is the same.

New features and improvements:

  • MOD Plugin Host & User Interface: mod-host + mod-ui
    This is the¬† main dish of this release. MOD Devices team have developed this amazing software for the ModDuo and they have shared their work with all the world, releasing it under GPL.¬† So, thanks a lot, MOD’s team!! You are really great! And also thanks to Holger Wirtz, for his great contribution making MOD’s software to work in zynthian!
  • A lot of LV2 plugins:
    • Dexed, an amazing Yamaha DX7 emulator that can import DX7 SysEx files. Thanks to Holger Wirtz by creating this native port to LV2.
    • MDA EPiano,¬† sounds like a true Fender Rhodes. Waaarm!
    • MDA JX10, a Roland JX10 emulator with a lot of mind-boggling presets.
    • TAL Noize Mak3r, a true ears-breaker with really fat sounds.
    • and many more …
  • Refactorized GUI, that scales to any screen size and uses customizable fonts and colors.
  • Default Snapshot: you can save a default snapshot that will be loaded at startup.
  • Audio Test function, available in the admin menu.
  • MIDI Test function,¬† available in the admin menu (if you want to hear something, you have to load some synth before!)
  • Improved Network Info function, available in the admin menu.
  • Improved initialization system, using systemd units
  • Auto-Expand SD partition on first startup, to fit the whole size of the SD card.
  • Zynthian Setup Script:¬† Now you can build your own image from scratch using the setup script. If you are interested, read this post in the forum.
  • And a lot of little improvements and fixes…

Accessing the MOD User Interface

You can access the MOD web interface following the next steps:

  1. Connect your Zynthian Box to your local network (or directly to your computer) using an ethernet cable.
  2. Load the mod-ui synth engine.
  3. Point your browser to: http://zynthian.local:8888
  4. Enjoy!

If you your browser can’t find the zynthian.local address, probably you are using a windows version that doesn’t support the link-local feature and you can’t connect your zynthian box directly to your computer. Don’t worry. You can connect it to your local network and obtain its IP address by using the Network Info option in the admin menu.

You will find more info about the new SD image Gorgona in this forum post.

Erratum from the previous newsletter #1:

In the last newsletter, be made a mistake and we would like to amend it. We set that mod-host software has been created by Filipe Coelho (falkTX) and that’s is not true. Mod-host & mod-ui have been created by MOD Devices, the company that develops the ModDuo. Filipe Coelho is part of the MOD’s team and collaborate in the development of this 2 pieces of software, among others. Sorry for the mistake.

Zynthian Kits

From October, with the incoming of the new serigraphied aluminum case,¬† we’ve upgraded the kits available to people who want to build his own Zynthian Box. Now we offer bundle-all kits that include all the needed parts, and also pre-soldered versions.

Aluminum Case Kit
Aluminum Case Kit

If you are interested in getting a building kit, you will find more information in this forum post.

Next Steps

The development never ends! We have a long list of things to do for improving Zynthian: better architecture, enhanced usability and, of course,  new and crazy features! These are some of the next ones:

Zynthian Configuration Webtool

This tool will allow you to configure your zynthian box using a simple web interface. You could configure easily things like:

  • system and wifi passwords
  • wiring layout
  • soundcard model
  • GUI fonts and colors
  • rename snapshots
  • etc.
PureData, CSound, SuperCollider

We are working in a new engine that will allow to load in your Zynthian Box sound patches from different languages and tools: PureData, CSound and SuperCollider will be some of the supported formats.

And that’s all by now … enjoy!!


The Zynthian Emulator

IMPORTANT: Comments are closed in this post, please, use the forum.

Developing software for Zynthian is slighty more complex than developing software for a desktop platform. You need a Zynthian Box (ZBox) over your desk running all the time and connected to the network. You must login by ssh everytime you reboot the ZBox. Every time you want to test your changes, you have to copy the modified files into the ZBox, compile if needed, and run the program from the shell.


This cycle makes development slower than normal, and although you use scripts and tools to agilize the process, finally you realize that there is a better way ūüėČ

Continue reading The Zynthian Emulator


New Website and Video

As I said in the previous post,  we have been very busy the past few weeks working in the new website and a short video presentation for Zynthian, among others.
Finally, both tasks are¬†finished … or almost finished.¬†There are still things to improve and details to fix, of course, but we will do it on the way. We don’t want to wait more time. Here is the video:

The new beautiful website remains in the same URL, of course, so you can visit it at:

Also, we have a new GitHub site, with a better structure and reorganized repositories:

In the next days, i will introduce you the new Zynthian Emulator …

Stay tuned!!


Building a Zynthian Box

IMPORTANT: Comments are closed in this post, please, use the forum to comment. If you want a guide for mounting your Zynthian Box, you should use the wiki tutorial.

Now that Zynthian Box specification is, more or less, closed, i would like to share¬†with you the Bill of Materials and some¬†advice about bulding your own Zynthian Box. I would like that other people build his own Zynthian Box and help me with software development ūüėČ


The list is composed of generic parts and specifically designed parts. All these specifically designed parts are called Zynthian Parts. You can build  these parts by yourself using the specifications, schemes and PCB designs, or you can contact me. I will try to make these parts available at a reasonable price._1020468_fixed

Continue reading Building a Zynthian Box


What is Zynthian?

IMPORTANT: Comments are closed in this post, please, use the forum.

Zynthian is an Open Synth Platform based in Raspberry Pi, some Open Software Synthesizers and more.

I’m trying to integrate all the parts in a realiable case with a nice and ergonomic User Interface, so everybody can enjoy this wonderful synthesizers in any place without having to install or configure anything.


When it’s finished, i would like to make it available for everybody, as a toolkit or as a finished product, so you can use it for Live Playing, Music Production or any kind of experimentation.

Of course, all the specifications will be freely available, so you can build your own device if you prefer ūüėČ

Continue reading What is Zynthian?