Help a newb? My MIDI in port lights up, doesn't seem to transmit MIDI to synth layers

Hi @steveheyerdahl

As soon as you see the display (whether that is the error screen or other) the device has completed its initial setup. Shame you waited an hour :slightly_frowning_face:.

The most likely cause of your issue is that the hardware you have is a different version to the firmware issue you have put on the SD card. This happens because the firmware is updated at different rates to the hardware but it is (relatively) simple to resolve. The hardware version is configured with a web based interface for the zynthian.

  • Connect the Zynthian to your network, e.g. plug network cable to your router or switch
  • Connect your PC, laptop or tablet to your network, e.g. plug network cable to your router or switch or connect via WiFi
  • Open a web browser on your PC, laptop or tablet
  • Enter the IP address of your Zynthian into your web browser - this should be shown in the error display on the Zynthian
  • This should show a login screen
  • Type in the default password: raspberry
  • This should show the web based configuration dashboard
  • Select “Kit” from the “Hardware” menu
  • From the drop-down selection, chose the kit for the hardware you have
  • Reboot the Zynthian

Please let us know how you get on. Good luck.

I understand your feelings but with a little more effort we will get there … :smiley:

This is the screen we are looking to see on your we browser connected to the zynthian .

Do you use a PC or a MAC to browse the Internet…?

because as @riban says we are VERY keen to see the screen above and where it says zynthian.local is where you put the ip address that the error screen should show…

We have tried to make this as easy as possible but there are some very basic things to do to get you to the first point at which you can make sound…

Do you know what an ethernet cable is ?


Think of this as tuning up…!

You would best connect your zynth to your PC/MAC using one of these cables but other ways are possible.

yes - I got there the first time, with the original SD card image - easy enough. However, though the zynthian shows my ip address I cannot access it from my computer. Furthermore, my laptop doenst have an ethernet port.

I’m looking at that file -(

but when I click on it, error 404

I’m really beginning to realize this is a device for people who are good with electronics, who enjoy this sort of thing - I do not enjoy this sort of thing…

I am going to try this one:

If this does not work I may be selling putting this on reverb

ok that last one works


3 posts were split to a new topic: It’s time for Buster RC-2. Testers Needed!

@ steveheyerdahl, i understand your feeling, but i’m sure you will enjoy your zynthian. Simply, when you have a stable image, don’t update. Or if you do so, keep a fresh copy of your last working image. Zynthian is a project that is developing all the time. From time to time i try to release a stable image, but updating can break things. We don’t have the infrastructure for making intense beta-testing on every update … or in other words, users updating are the beta-testing infrastructure :wink: If you don’t want to be a beta-tester, simply don’t update and use the latest stable release.

Anyway, you are right, zynthian is quite “techy” right now, but we are trying to travel towards a more “creative and musical” state and we need people like you who help us, with your criticism and patience.

BTW, what is your intended use of zynthian? Do you want to use it for live performance, as a keyboard expander, studio production, effects processor?


1 Like

I intend to use it, similar to how (I imagine) I would use a Zoia, as an effects unit, and as a synth module, alongside my MPC LIve, making sounds that the MPC isn’t particularily good at making - like generative, glitchy sounds - and yes mainly “live” though I guess I have all the time in the world before that is likely to happen haha

I got to play around with the MOD UI this afternoon - though so far, I haven’t figured out how to save patches (or if I can preview them before I save them… right now my computer is in another room, my Zynthian is next to my router in a different floor)

Also - I am hoping to figure out how to use the midi utilities to make the patches more interesting? I am also not entirely sure how the wifi is used on the zynthian? I have added my home router and it seems to see it

Have you thought about reaching out to someone like Loopop to review/do a tutorial on the Zynthian?

Just to explain the files in the long list.

These are the development versions.
Yes, there are many versions and some of them don’t work in all situations Pi4 /Pi3B being one frequent area).
THey don’t always work because they are built automatically by code ( they all have the time 9:00 for instance, people don’t do that. . .), but made from the code as it is at that time. so they have changes in things like the step sequencer, and config alteration for touchscreens.

Perhaps these bit’s produce problems because they interact in the code somewhere, or there’s a file that’s should be in there but hasn’t been copied during development… Whatever. A system called Jenkins serves up the versions that DO actually build properly, but it can’t spot all the functional errors. We do that, when we agree to use these new development chunks.

We get new features, but we also get the problems. :smiley:

Ultimately a ‘Stable’ version will emerge, and that is what we wish to recommend from the most public of locations, ‘the wiki’.

We are literally just before that time. :smiley:

The zip file is all the bits and pieces that go to make up the zynth and as you can see is quite big.
There’s two main advantages to zipping,

1/ Smaller overall
2/ Puts many many files and directories into one easily transportable lump.

~ 8G

When this unzips you are up around 12G

The MD5 is a tiny little file that is used to check that the zip file hasn’t been tampered with.
The code robot that builds this looks throu’ the zip file and calculates a unique ( well atoms in grains of sand in galaxies in universes sort of sized numbers…) that will change massively if one bit of one file changes in the zip . . .
So you run a hash check programme on your machine with the zip you have downloaded ( in truth most people don’t) , that runs the same maths, and compare the answer you get with the md5 hash on the site. If they are the same you know that hideous reptilian sound people haven’t done something damaging or malicious to your zynthian code. . .

Hope this helps. . .


Currently, MOD-UI is the only way of using the MIDI-tool plugins. I’m working for integrating these MIDI utilities in the Zynthian-UI so you son’t need MOD-UI for using it. I hope to release a working version in the next days/weeks :wink:

You have 2 options:

1.) Configure (webconf) your wifi networks, so zynthian connect to them as a client device. Same that your phone does. You can add as many networks as you want, and you can set the “priority” for every network. This is the typical use-case when you are at home or studio because in this way zynthian can access Internet using your router as gateway.

2.) Use your zynthian as an Access Point and configure your computer to connect with the Zynthian network. If you do so, your Zynthian can’t access the Internet, as zynthian network is isolated from the rest of world, but this has advantages when you are in stage and don’t want other unknown devices interfere. It’s also useful if you want to access your zynthian from your phone for changing some configuration and you have access to another WIFI network. You create your own private WIFI network.

Yes, many times, but i’m so busy with development (& family!) that i forget this important subjects … we need people like you pushing to do this kind of things :wink:


I am not sure, if this image has the broken fluidsynth

You’re right @steveheyerdahl, it’s nearly impossible to find a ‘pro’ type review on the Zynthian.
This, ofcourse, underlines the charm of this kind of small scale project, but wouldn’t it be fun to get the Zynthian on the international radar ?
The big boys like Akai, Pioneer and the others are probably already having nightmares because of guys like our friend José, can you imagine their fear of this open source way of development ?
This was a real motive for me personally, almost out of solidarity, there’s an ideal behind all this, one that speaks to me.
Furthermore it’s fun to hang out here on the pirates ship, I really appreciate this small community of nutty professors. And there’s always someone to help you out.


If we’re angling for a pro review I’d argue to wait until a pi4 zynth case is forthcoming. Any pro review is going to stumble across the OB-Xd or ZynAddSubFX patches that cause underruns on the pi3 and suggest rank beginners wait for a pi4 version.

And waiting for a stable image might be a reasonable suggestion too :slight_smile:

1 Like

@Baggypants is right it wants to be a review of the pi4 cased device with a stable image.

I concur. We need to have a stable platform, easy to construct or purchase pre-built with a better out-of-box experience. As well as the work to develop hardware and firmware that is robust and stable there was some work going on to provide a default or initial configuration which exposed / demonstrated some of the best / most liked patches / layers so that a user doesn’t have to venture into the dark unknown, possibly stumbling on unknown issues. If a user can turn on their Zynthian for the first time and start playing a selection of curated engines.

It’s well known that when you first enter a group of people which never met you before (for exemple, you are passing an oral exam, or an interview for a job), you have 90 seconds to seduce them…
In other terms they will have an opinion about you right from the first minute and a half…
I’m sure it’s the same when you plan your setlist for a record or a live show : the first song must be (rather) strongly appealing and/or convincing right from the first measure…
The first phrase in a book is also known to be of a great importance and will, very often, decide if you read it all or abandon it right now…
And sure also it is the same with objects, machines, cars…
Even though, in the case of Zynthian, you normally already have an opinion at the moment you order it, you also have expectations which hopefuly have to be fulfilled…
Once you start doubting, or being disapointed, whatever the reason, it most of the times leaves traces…

First time I downloaded Winamp, I had as a welcome this “It really whips the lama’s ass” which was perceived like “I’m fully working”…
You once will be bored of me mentionning Caustic, but once you have installed it, it starts with a fully convincing track including several sound engines like Vocoder, Bassline…
And I remember getting out of a music shop, convinced that I would buy a Yamaha DX9 because of that gorgeous bow attack on the violin preset, and the little click at the end of each note on the harpsichord… not mentionning the flute with the feeling that I could almost hear the breath of the player… Nothing in the world would then have been more desirable…

I totally agree with you and this is the main motive because of i’ve not pushed to get this kind of review. We need a reliable hardware with a curated image. But the time is coming … :hugs:

1 Like

Brilliant, let’s think up pre-release codenames. I’m putting in. “Zynthian: Brash Thundersynth”

Juicy Golden


Hello Jofemodo et. al,

I just got my Zynthian and build it well but i didn’t get midi working.
What i did now is i omited the led to reduce complexity and closed JP1 +JP2 on the zynaptik board. so now JP1-3 are closed.
Everything woks excpet midi…

Any Ideas?

I’ll check wiring according to this thread
My kit is v4.1

Just found this:



Ups! This photo is wrong. MIDI-OUT is reversed. The 3 MIDI connectors must be identically connected, with black at left and red at right. You found a “bug” in the wiki’s documentation. I will replace the photo ASAP.

so midi in was wrong connected. Will the controller still work after resoldering?