LOTS of crashes...normal situation?

Hi all,
so finished my build 3 weeks ago. During the last weeks I was able to make a lot of use of Zynthian for a concert. I had the feeling from the beginning that this is a project is still in development.
But I must say at the current state I experience so many crashes that it’s starting too get to frustrating too use.
I work mostly with 2-4 layers using Zynaddsubfx. The following actions make the zynthian crash (aka showing the waveform forever) around every 2nd or 3rd time:

  • Adding a new layer
  • Adding an Effect
  • Saving a snapshot

In that situation I turn on and off the whole zynth and after a reboot the same action works perfectly.
I’m wondering if other people experience the same or if it’s just my build?

Also getting lot’s of clicking regulary when having more than 2 layers (xruns). Seeing the little exclamation mark not flash not at some point while making music with it hasn’t occured to me yet.

Using Aruk Rc-3 image, updated last round 21-22nd of July.

Check your power supply. Even if you’re not getting there lightning alert on the display it’s still far and away largest cause of problems and worth checking.

Thanks for the tip. After the other thread I opened concerning power I’m currently using one that comes shipped with a raspberry pi-based product, should be close to an official one. Any other ideas?

Hi emji-1,
do you see any warning symbol on the top right area of the screen (red symbols) ?
I would check that point first. Even if Linux is rock stable (and thus is the Zynthian), if the machine is too highly loaded for a long time, some strange things may happen (and you will really feel it : the CPU board can become very hot)

Second point I would check : the quality of your SD card. I have here SD cards from various manufacturers (not only used in the Zynthian) and some models are really, really bad (most of them are strangely unknown brands bought in supermarkets). I have solved a lot of problems in some applications just by using another SD card. For my Zynthian, I use a SD card from a well known manufacturer, with excellent performances (but two or three times the price of the others). Note that a hot CPU board can also disturb low end SD cards…

Last point I would check : power supply quality. Same thing as previous point : I noticed that many USB chargers from unknown brands are absolutely not reliable as soon as the current exceeds 1A (and even 0.5A in some cases). Don’t trust what is written on the charger box. They all announce 2A but only a few chargers are really able to provide such a current for a long time. And I can tell you that a failing charger leads to unpredictable reactions from the Raspberry (and so the Zynthian). Data are being corrupted randomly and Linux becomes simply crazy.

Hi emji-1,
I have run zynth’s for month’s without problems. In situations where people have just assumed it’s a piano in a room. As others say check your power supply and SD card.

Hi emji-1,

It’s worth to check the USB cable between the power supply and the RPi. I avoid using data cables (usb+powering) and only use ‘charging’ cables which have higher power rating.

Hey @BEB I see those quite often. However mostly from the start already, not with a long time of use. Good to know though.
I use a regular sandisk sd-card bought of an electronics market 2 months ago.
Thanks again for the tips concering power supply. This seems to make really a major difference.

Thanks @wyleu, then I know at least that this ain’t the normal situation :slight_smile:

Hi all. So I got an official raspberry power-adaptor for my PI. That helped increasing overall performance noticeably. Still I got a lot of xruns and random crashes. In the end I backed up my snapshots and re-flased my minisd.

Now I can seamlessly go through the different patches and it’s a difference of night and day!
In some presets of zynaddsubfx and obx I still get xruns however. They are much more contained and clear in origins. Same as for crashes who are minimized to an acceptable level. Might have happened that I corrupted the sd through audio-recording or the flashing process went wrong to begin with. Hope some people can take advice from this.

This is normal. ZynAddSubFX’s AngelPiano, for instance, is a preset that needs more power than RBPi3 has … although i tested with RBPi4 and it worked like a charm!! Same is true for OBX and Pianoteq … and with the Pi4 also improves a lot. I couldn’t get xruns although i played very hard :wink:


When I had built my Zynthian, I fired it up with a newly flashed SD card (32 GB Sandisk), and I was getting lots of xruns and ERROR screens when I attempted to do various things. The whole thing just seemed rather unstable, and so I didn’t use it for a couple of months partly out of frustration.

I then reflashed the SD card, and started it up again… It’s much better now, to the point of feeling rather stable, although there are a number of things that don’t really work properly. Not sure why it was having difficulties the first time.

One thing with ZynAddSubFX is that there is in practice no way to limit the number of voices used, so playing sounds with long release times will lead to xruns eventually. There’s a patch on the master branch of the ZynAddSubFX upstream repository which introduces a voice limit parameter, which helps quite a bit. Don’t know how long it will be before it makes into Zynthian though; possibly not until another release point from ZynAddSubFX.

Are you still using a pi3? If so a pi4 will probably remove those xruns.