Documentation for new users


Hello fellow zynthian users,
I got a pre-built zynthian recently and am struggling with the first steps of using it.
I have a MIDI keyboard attached (Alesis Q49) and output. Using the 4 knobs on the zynthian I can select different instruments/sounds, playing in midi-channel 1.
I can easily reach the webmin site (and login) but there my journey ends.
But adding layers or using MOD-UI (how to enable that?) is not so intuitive. I would really like a walk-through for a few ‘typical’ setups.
1: simple piano
2: organ with use of the 4 knobs to adapt the sound (e.g. using drawbars)
3: synth with a layered (phaser?) effect
4: using the ZynAddSubFX via a different computer (and playing with an attached midi-keyboard)

Any help is appreceated!


A good default start up. A piano is what ‘most’ users expect it to do.

I tend to use the Fluid synth GM1 Yamaha Grand. I’d be interested to hear about any other favourites from other places… or you could really enjoy yourself and get Pianoteq.

First save a snaphot. Snapshots are all about the upper right encoder Labelled Snapshot & LS in the Users guide…

Its worth reading the stuff about the difference between presses here … . The Zynthian UI Users Guide…

That’s really all you have to know
Restore last state is in the webconf Under UI …


The basic idea is the length of the press on the Snapshot Encoder set’s you into Load or Save. It needs to be at least a Bold Press otherwise you will end up in MIDI learn which is interesting but not what you want at the moment.
This will put you into Load Snapshot

and another Press
will put you into the Save Snapshot menu.

Here you can overwrite the default ( so that’s how you always start it up in Piano )

You can also create a new snapshot with the New Snapshot menu item or overwrite existing snapshots…

The one thing you can’t do from the GUI is rename the snapshot you create to something useful but that’s where the webconf interface comes into play ( I run it in it’s own screen on the triple header zynth)

Selecting zynthian-nord.local ( the address of yours is in Admin /Network Info, use the ip address if on a naked windows browser)

Chose Library/ Snapshot ( might be under the hamburger on the right)

Here you can rename the snapshot you have just created and I suggest you do because otherwise you end up with a lot of numbers that you constantly have to preview to know what they are …

Actually loading a sound is really about Engines on Layers…

Once you’ve got the select and back key presses worked out to move between Admin & the Layer List screen

You can add an engine …using New Synth Layer

And there are lot’s of them . . . . :smiley: ( this is officially a good thing !)

Select Fluidsynth in this case althou’ you can obviously choose others … either way you will be presented with the MIDI screen . . . .


Choose an available MIDI channel

In Fluidsynth you choose from available presets of sounds (fluidsynth presets this time)

So choose (in this case ) the GM ( General MIDI sound font) It will take a little time to load…


and present you with an actual list of instruments…

Select Yamaha Grand . . . .

and there is your controls for the Yamaha grand Fluidsynth Sound font available on the MIDI channel you selected and if that channel matches the MIDI channel of your Alesis Q49 then it should play.

Hope this explains snapshots and a basic piano sound.