Controlling Zynthian V4 Headless with Faderfox E4

Good evening. I am new to the show, have been doing quit a lot of reserache, but still have a lot of questions :wink:.

I am working with a Raspberry Pi4 and a Waveshare 5" touchscreen. I just updated the V4 software via WebConf Tool.

Following the instructions from the " Zynthian UI Users Guide"I have been trying to map the encoders from Zynthian via MIDI CC with a Farefox E4 controller and have failed.

I am not quit shure what else to add, as to say that the colours of the “??” neither change colour, nor do the start blinking. One deviation from the writen instructions is, that the cc values, before mapping the encoders, are shown as 1#7, 1#74, 1#71, instead of 7, 74, 71. The encoder for panning has no cc value set at all.

Has anyone used the described combination of Zynthian and Faderfox E4 controller? Does anyone know if this combination works at all?

Thank you for your attention.

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Welcome @SirAdrianFish2

1#7 indicates that MIDI CC 7 on channel 1 is mapped to the control. If working in “Stage” mode (aka omni-mode) then you don’t see the “1#” prefix because all MIDI channels are passed to the active chain

If the Faderfox send MIDI CC then it should be learned. You first need to enable MIDI learn by pressing the Learn button then adjust the parameter you want to map. Then send the MIDI CC from the Faderfox.

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I also own the Faderfox E4 and everything is working as explained to control Zynthian via CC messages. In my setup the E4 is powered and connected by Zynthian over one of the 4 USB ports.

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Thank you for replying. Eventually I got the Faderfox E4 encoders mapped - at least partially.

The Learn button on my Zynthian device does not initiat a mapping. But the instructions state, that you can “swipe” the control buttons, which works. This works for the encoders 2 - 16 on the Faderfox. But it is not possible to map the 1st encoder on the Faderfox to any of the controls on the Zynthian.

The 1st encoder button works and sends a MIDI signal, shown on the touchscreen of the Zynthian. Furthermore it works with other devices.

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Just one more question to ask, which is bugging me… :wink:

As writen above, I have been mapping the controlls in a Program/Sound/Instrument, or what ever you might call it. This means, I have to repeat the mapping with every programchange. Is it possible to do this on a globl level, so that you only have to map the controlls once? I guess this is the way the Kit works?

Having spent some more time, working with the combination of Zynthian V4 and the Faderfox E4 and trying to map the controlls, I finaly gave up.

To map all the controlls from the V4, I would need a 2. or 3. Faderfox device and I guess, I would eventually loose the overvierw. Unfortunatly I haven’t found a way to map the four bassic controlls (press & turn), als seen on the the Kit, to work the whole Synth.

Working with a 5" touchscreen is no alternativ - at least not for me.

As a final summary I can say, that it was a very interessting excursion into the world of Zynthian, even though I did not really get the chance to dive as deep as I would have liked to have.

I guess I will give it another try, when the Zynthian V5 is available.

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AFAIK it’s only a matter of mapping MIDI CC encoders/faders from the MIDI controller to engine parameters, and it’s relatively straightforward.

MIDI CCs in the MIDI controller might be hardcoded or hopefully can be programmed or changed. The second option is the most common, when you are given the option to map a controller to a given DAW what you are doing is to give a certain CC to each fader/encoder.

What you need to do is to find which MIDI CCs you need to map and, once mapped, they will work for all the presets in that engine (in any chain where that engine is used).

This is a list of MIDI CCs that could be mapped.

You can debug your MIDI controller via webconf and see which are the CCs assigned to each encoder/fader to better understand your Faderbox. You probalby discover that many of them are probably already working.

And one important thing: start in stage mode (omni) so that the MIDI channel does not matter. When you understand stage mode, complicate things and try multi mode.

Good luck, don’t give up!


Thank you for your explanation. Eventually I managed to map some of the MIDI CC Values, like Volume, Filter Cutoff and Filter Resonance. Panning is not possible.

So far I have not found a way to map any MIDI CC Numbers to maneuver forth and back through the menu.

I’m not sure how to do this, there are CUIA commands for it but I think yiou need OSC for it. Don’t take my word as I have never used it yet.

I did not think there would not be an easy solution für this “problem” :wink:. I guess you are refering to this Accessing Zynthian from your computer - ZynthianWiki?

I had tryed the following MIDI Notes, but none of them workted either Zynthian UI Users Guide - V1/V4 - ZynthianWiki.

I will just accept, that I won’t be able to set the Zynthian up with my limited knowledge of Linux and MIDI and fokus on other projects again.

Thank you for your help, it was worth a try.

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Yes, this is what I meant. There are many OSC controllers that could be used for this.

Wow, I didn’t even know about this!! It should work if you set your MIDI controller (Faderfox E4) to send the notes using MIDI channel 16 (Master Channel). I’m not sure that this is a practical solution but if it works for you :slight_smile: good luck!

Indeed, if you can send MIDI note-on from encoder up / down then you can use Zynthian’s MIDI binding. This only works if “Master Channel” is enabled and you send on the MIDI channel that you configured as “master channel” which is channel 16 by default.

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Well, as stated, I could not get it to work, so it was not really a practical solution for me :wink:. My knowledge about MIDI & Co. is not deep enough to know, how to get it working, so I have to put it aside, for the time being, until the new KIT ist available.

When starting, my hope was, that it would not be that complicated… You never stop learning.

I guess you presumed that you could match 4 encoders in the Faderbox to the 4 encoders in Zynthian. That looks like something that could be useful, maybe there’s a MDI solution that I don’t know about.

In V5 you will have more buttons/faders and encoders but again you can’t match them to controller encoders AFAICT.

I guess I am misstaken here, but I thought it is possible to navigate through the V4 Kit menu only using the 4 encoders (push & turn), and the touchscreen would be more like a goodie. So I missleadingly thought, it would be possible too, instead of using the 4 controllers from the Zynthian, transfer the funktionality on to the the Faderfox.

Thank you for enlightening me. Sorry for causing so much confusion.

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I never use the touchscreen, only the encoders. And i use a MIDI controller to select instruments and control some parametres via MIDI CC.

I’ve been looiking at the Faderfox E4 specs and you can map anything to the encoders but I don’t know how difficult is to emulate the zynthian built-in encoders.

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The easiest way would have been to buy the Controllers Set v3 & v4 but for them to work one needs the ZynScreen 3.5’ touch-screen which contains the controller interface.

My understanding, from all the reading I have been doing in the last couple of days is, that this unfortunatly is not possible.

It is what it is…

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