Headless Zynthian


Hi all,

In addition to: Own Fork - Where to start?

I am experimenting with a kind of headless Zynthian. Currently it is more a headless MOD-UI and not really working. The goal is to have a synth which only has some options to recall preconfigured setups for using it on stage.

Since the Zynthian GUI seems to work with a touchscreen this can also be done with a Zynthian and (engine-)presets. But on the Maker-Faires they ask us how to build a Zynthian without soldering.

I am currently also testing the integration of Pianoteq. I made am image with some GUI around for easy configuring: https://gigamove.rz.rwth-aachen.de/d/id/pMSoy2duNdNMjv (available until 13.2.2018). This one is working with a screen attached to HDMI and different soundcards (including HDMI audio out, so you only need a Raspi, a TV and a USB-MIDI-keyboard).

I ordered a HDMI-to-RSA converter to test if this is working replacement for a soundcard. So my easiest setup for a Zynthian (not really headless) is:

  • Waveshare 10" HDMI capacitive touch display
  • RPi3
  • HDMI-to-RSA (between RPi-HDMI-output and Waveshare HDMI input)
  • USB-MIDI-keyboard

=> no soldering. Costs about 170 EUR without keyboard. But you have to live with a touch interface for Zynthian.

As I wrote: It is more a kind of test than a real project.

Regards, Holger


I have been working along parallel lines with a slightly different emphasis.
I have been using a hifiberry case with a hifiberry amp(25W & 60W) and I similarly see this as a minimum configuration, where an external HDMI touch screen is used without encoders.

The other possibility is instead of running an hdmi screen from the minimum device, the interface is run over ssh -x to allow a remote raspberry pi ( or any other xwindows capable device) to operate the interface.

This allows multiple zynthians to be controlled from one location, and with MIDI netwroking a veritable orchestra starts to look possible.


The real bottom line is can the entire zynthian interface be successfully and reliably driven in such configurations?


A headless zynthian server with audio injector board and a butchered hifiberry case…

No soldering … :smiley:


Ok. it runs straight out of the box!
An HDMI monitor with a cursor visible because it comes up as DUMMIES Encoder.

I’ve plugged a mouse into the zynth and you get a mouse driven zynthian interface.

Observation so far, the single press is a back button and on the parameter page you need to press and hold to alter a value.
And the value is a vertical cursor movement within the parameter.

Not intuitive are the on/off functions sustain etc. if you just press & release in the area you get a back button , if however you press and hold and then move up and down you will toggle the parameter.

Access to snapshots, I’ve got there but not I’m not sure how.

The test audio doesn’t clear down on a press you get the whole piece if you select it but it does come out correctly once its’ played.

Not tried anything on the input yet :smiley:

For home builders a HDMI cursor on/off would still useful for the webconf.


Hifiberry guys will love to see the way you used their case :rofl::rofl:


Yes it is a bit cheeky putting an audio injector in one isn’t it. :smiley:


Be really nice to have the mouse wheel operate the parameter setting as well as as done by the up/down cursor position.

If it could scroll in select lists as well throughout the interface then we start to get something rather nice IMHO.


OK! It could be nice …
Please, create an issue with your “feature requests” in the “zynthian-ui” repository :wink:


Done :wink:


And it works!! :smiley:

The ‘mouse’ on headless zynthian & HDMI combination is starting to feel like a usable option!

Observation. Mouse or Touch screen touch does not stop admin functions like test audio.


Ups! You are right …
Please, add an issue in the zynthian-ui repository :wink:


Hi @wyleu!

This is fixed now :wink: