My current zynthian daydream

My current zynthian daydream is starting to look like this…

Pi 4 8gb
Usb3 emmc ssd (250gb probably)
Hifiberry DAC ADC with balanced combined XLR 1/4" input jack’s
3.5" touch screen
All in a nice compact cube case.

Anyone here got the skills to design / print a case for all this to fit in?


I actually just wrote a detailed description of my build here, which is very similar to your idea, except without SSD, and including battery.

However, I myself considered and SSD and ran a few tests; I decided against using it, because of the following:

  • Boot time of the raspberry pi 4 is actually longer with SSD w.r.t. SD card (at least it was for me)
  • Load time of SF2 sound fonts was quicker, but not my much

Do share your experiences though, it’d be nice if the RaspPi learns to boot from SSD a bit quicker :slight_smile:

The videos I have seen on booting from ssd all say that it improves boot time. Not so worried about sf2 times, but multilayer sfz soundfonts play from disc in Linux sampler… I think that will be the biggest gain

Raspberry Pi’s big problem is the lack of a SATA port.
Linuxsampler does not fully load samples into Raspberry memory, but loads them at runtime, as needed…
the more samples are used in the instrument, the more crack when playing samples occurs.
Especially a lot of these problems arise when using a flash drive and sfz … As you know, the speed of reading from flash drives decreases with decreasing file size and increasing their number.
There are less problems with stuttering when using GIG samples …

Interestingly, on raspberry pi 4 with its usb3.0 port and corresponding flash drive, there are fewer bandwidth problems??


That’s what I’m hoping @Roma … I am currently using a pi 3, what has these stuttering issues every now and again. I hear that an emmc ssd on a usb3 port will fix it.

Btw, I am not even remotely interested in sata on a pi… I read that some emmc drives can do 3,500 MB/s so I’d go straight for that and forget sata. For comparison, a class 10 SD card reads at 10 MB/s

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Perhaps a RAM disk (with 8gB to play with it wouldn’t be too much trouble) - where the sampler data (SF2, SFz, GIG or whatever) is copied from slower storage for performance use.
Would require some tweaks to Zynthian OS… but nothing too difficult.

Emmc ssd kind of is a ram disk… I wonder how fast you can retrieve from pi ram :joy::+1:

As I know, linuxsampler uses save memory resources technology similar to that which was once used in Gigasampler and Gigastudio … The company “Native Instruments” now calls this technology “DFD” - Direct From Disc and uses it in its sampler Kontakt.
The technology is beautiful, it allows, with a small amount of RAM, to use instruments that are large in volume of samples…
Disabling this function in linuxsampler seems possible?
Am I right in assuming that the boot time will increase many times as the throughput of flash drives remains the weak link in the system?

I think about replacing pi3 with pi4, is the game worth the candle?


I got a 1G pi 4 for my v2 kit. It made a huge difference.

Talk to me, Mr. Pants… What gives?

Got rid of all the xruns click and pops and I didn’t even fit a heatsink!

Yours was 1G? Wow… maybe my 4G was over the top, then… :thinking:

Which sound card are you using? Have is it been good enough to allow you to reduce the sample buffers? Going by previous discussions, social distancing with real musicians would mean that they are a minimum of 6ms latency away from you… How virtually close is your zynthian?

v2 kit Hifiberry dac, I use the default (I think ) 256 frames, 2 periods @ 48kHz. 10.7 ms latency. i.e. about 10 feet speaker distance.

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Imagine the massive soundfonts you’ll be able to load.

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Raspberry Pi 4 8GB & USB Boot:

This video talks about the 8gb version of the pi and usb booting it. Nice.

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Time to buy a low profile usb drive then!

I ordered all the things! Amazon says they will arrive today!

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So :face_with_monocle: tomorrow???

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Have they arrived yet?