Questions before taking the plunge


Hey all,

Before I ordered a Zynthian kit, I exchanged a few emails with Jofemodo and he thought maybe it could benefits others if I post them here as well.

So here they are :

  • I have a license for Pianoteq6, what would be the process to enter the license key ? Is the process easy ? Is it done via a graphical interface ?

  • Does the pre-built kit come with a rpi3 or 3+ ? If 3, is it possible to order the pre-built kit without it since I already have a rpi3 doing nothing here ?

  • The appeal of this project for me is to be able to get away from my screen for synth and keyboard stuff but I’m primarily a guitarist and thus, I’m also interested in the MOD UI. I know some people have experimented with audio input and was wondering if this would be added to the “official” Zynthian kit at some point and if so, how hard would it be to “upgrade” to it ? (IE : will it be as trivial as having a new case and hat)

  • Knowing that I am comfortable with tinkering (basic soldering, basic command line in linux) and that the idea would be to use Zynthian in a professional environment (studio and on stage), do you think Zynthian is for me ?

I’m new to this forum so if I post this to the wrong section, feel free to delete or move it.


Hi @eamonn and welcome!

I have a license, too. AFAIK (and my way to add the license):
0. You need a Ethernet connection (Wifi or cacble - Wifi has range problems when Zynthian is inside a metal case!)

  1. ssh to Zynthian:
    ssh zynthian.local
  2. Login (as root or pi)
  3. Start PT on the Zynthian. The Window of PT should be redirected via ssh.
  4. Add your license like “normal”

Caveats: If using putty or anything else on Windows make shure that X11-Forwarding is activated.

This is not really easy to handle, but it should work.

Regards, Holger


And I would take the 3+ with Pianoteq.


Hi @C0d3man and @mheidt

Thanks for your insight.

I’m on Linux so no problem to use ssh. Though I have never used it for graphical applications. This could be a first :slight_smile:

Regarding using a 3+, It turns out that this is what ships with the kits these days so I went with that. I guess one can always find use for cpu power when running synths :wink:


The pianoteq really needs the cpu, its not too bad for the Rhodes but for the new Steingraeber (which sounds really great btw) it definitely pushes the cpu on the RaspBerry Pi 3 B+. Pianoteq tunes down features and sound for the pi fwiw, its not the desktop version but it sounds great and skipping the desktop is awesome for me.

The licensing is pretty straightforward for pianoteq, there are instruction on the wiki but its mostly login with ssh -X for the x11 forward and then the plugins normal interface comes up on your desktop linux box. Normal from there.

I can play piano and ignore it 99% of the time.

I would say I wouldn’t plug this device into J random network at stage shows… this thing seems like it needs some security work…

If you are comfortable with linux I think this is a great project and I do recommend it.


I would never plug any of my devices into a random stage network.
I would even say, that it’s your homework to prepare the show, so that you don’t need the web interfaces anymore.


Thats a good policy but I hope you don’t think that this device is “as bad” as other devices. It has some unique issues that are worse then even a standard linux distribution installation.

The problem is that musicians, like most people, lack the systems skills to do many of these tasks or to even know they are needed.


Maybe you should assess the upcoming CustomPiOS version and tell us the details you are concerned about.
CustomPiOS doesn’t have an open root…


Thats awesome! :smiley:


What do you mean by an open root?


You can’t login as root anymore. pi is the default user.


Ohk , That’s what I thought but wanted to be sure.


About Zynthian Security

FYI, everything in Zynthian is executed as root user. The Pi user in the new PiOS images have sudo rights, so i don’t see a big security difference between the Gorgona and the PiOS images. PiOS is about automation and evolution, but currently it doesn’t improve security AFAIK.

Everybody wanting to connect his Zynthian to a “not secure” network (every network not controlled by himself should be considered “not secure” :wink: ) SHOULD CHANGE the default zynthian password. You can do that from the webconf tool.

Also, you have to understand that:

  • Although the Webconf Tool ask for the password, currently, it doesn’t use HTTPS, so your password could be sniffed by bad actors connected to the local network. That is specially true if you are using an ethernet cable or the old WEP Wifi protocol. If you are using WPA2 Wifi protocol in your 2 devices (Zynthian and your “computer”), then you should be protected against sniffers.

  • When a MOD-UI layer is created in zynthian, the MOD-UI server run completely open for everybody in the local network.

IMHO, these 2 are the main security holes in Zynthian. For solving it, we have to:

  • Use HTTPS for webconf tool.

  • Secure the MOD-UI server:

    • Fast and Easy Way: Set a flag for “secure” networks, so MOD-UI will be “open” in that networks only
    • Not so Easy Way: Use HTTPS and ask for the password. We should modify MOD-UI source code …

Kind Regards,


I answer myself … better option … why don’t “tunnel” MOD-UI thru webconf tool acting as a secured proxy for it? Perhaps we could configure haproxy or something like that for doing the task …