Minimalist Zynthian to begin?


Have been scouring the forums and web to gather (what’s turned into) FASCINATING Zynthian info and ideas.

My question: with

Raspberry PI 3b+
7” Raspberry touchscreen
Hiberry DAC + ADC
USB midi interface (Retrokits RK-005, for example), can I build a minimal Zynthian?

If the above is problematic, could someone straighten me out re: minimal requirements?

Thanks, in advance!

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No problem with your minimal setup. It should work, although currently the touch interface is not very comfortable. I always recommend the encoders + switches, or also, you could try a switches-only interface using the CUIAs.


Joefemodo, Thank you for your quick reply and suggestion for the CUIAs.

What I’m trying to accomplish, only for now, and it’s probably apparent in my question is to get a minimal (controllable!) Zynthian up and running asap.

I understand how the CUIAs can take care of switch requirements (thanks for suggesting that). Could TouchOSC or Lemur, on my iPad or iPhone) or a MIDI device through the RK-005 MIDI interface fill in for the encoders?

My question really comes down to, I think, weighing a minimalist Frankenstein approach against just building the (amazing) system V2 or V3 you’ve already created and which puts all things in place where they’re known to work!

… I get it that Frankenstein can create it’s own problems hence your recommendations for the encoders and switches …

Thanks again in advance.

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I have a fair degree of success using nothing more than a mouse and cursor on in the webconf gui section(once you’ve turned on custom in kit) it doesn’t have the controllability of an encoder for those human interactions but as far as getting a running zynth going it works pretty well…

If you’ve read the forum you will know the USB audio option tend to be considered travelling coach class (latency, crashing, not properly house trained, that sort of thing)

I’m not aware of anyone driving the encoder gui via CUIA it something I’ve been meaning to try (personal latency occasional social crashes and I’m definately house trained…) be interesting to see how it works as there are a lot of interesting remote control and multi zynth operations that will then become possible…
It’s also part of testing as well…


Thanks for that further info, it’s greatly appreciated. I’m totally in the clear now and I hear what you’re saying about USB. I haven’t yet looked into webconf but I understand now how that falls into the equation.


You know what might be fun? A PC program to create snapshots with subsnapshots that you could load into a screenless and encoderless zynth and manage from MIDI program changes. Then all you would need is an rpi, hifiberry and maybe the v1 kit midi in.


Actually we are working on it. So that you can create snapshots in the webconf.


The zynth render station!


Very cool! Would it be possible to check a snapshot for default loading also?

Thank you for your time


I like the idea.
But wouldn’t last_state be better?
Or both?
If last_state loading is active, it has precedence before default.css.
On the other hand default.css is always loaded, when last-state loading is disabled.

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I’ve build a secondary Zynthian with midi-only navigation: up, down, back, select, layers, snapshot. MIDI learn for the rest. It works pretty decent. Only minor annoyance is long lists, since it requires quite some taps on up/down :thinking:

The box is very minimal: An RPI3 i had lying around + cheap Chinese dac and display.


Wich is exactly was @jofemodo was suggesting :laughing:
Well I can at least confirm that it’s a great option to get started - docs are here:

BTW. is it somehow possible to use a midi rotary encoder for up/down navigation? I didn’t have any luck.