ToFF's music rig with Zinthian - changies in time

Here is my first music rig with Zynthian.

Simple Practising Rig for EWI Controller

is composed of the following elements:

  1. Zynthian from scrath - based on Raspberry PI 4
  2. AKAI EWI USB Wind controller
  3. Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller
  4. BomeBox or PC software Bome MIDI Translator Pro
  5. USB host

Wiring is simple. Zynthian, wind controller and foot controller are connected to USB HUB, output from USB hub is heading to PC or BomeBox.

In details:

Zynthian from scrath - based on Raspberry PI 4

connected as OTG, more in this topic Zynthian from scratch made by ToFFmashines
Zynthian is in Multi-timbral Mode, Loaded Snapshot 000/004 Practising Rig

AKAI EWI USB Wind controller

Wind controller can be setup by native software, Cognitone Akai EWI USB Control or by MIDI SysEX, which are well describe CONTROLLING HARDWARE SETTINGS VIA MIDI - PART 2 OF 2. In my case is working on channel 1.

Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller

My foot controller has new rom with UnO2 firmware: details are here UnO2 firmware. In UnO ControlCenter editor is possible configured presets in banks as is on figure. Press of firsth 8 pedals in Bank ch 1 and Bank ch 2 send the program change with values from 1 to 15 on channel 1.

BomeBox or PC software Bome MIDI Translator Pro

BomeBox™: the MIDI Hub for Stage and Studio or software MIDI Translator Pro can create custom MIDI routings, rules, logic, layers.
In this case:

  1. when is coming program change from FCB1010 save value of program number to global value.
  2. when coming note on, note off, control change, channel pressure, polyhonic key pressure and pitch bend from Akai EWI USB, is change output channel on global value and send to Zynthian

This solution does not depend on the choice of snapshot.
In BomeBox I can set AKAI EWI by SysEx message but in this it’s not necessary, I can use also other MIDI instruments.
My knowledge of Zythian does not yet allow me to come up with a routing solution without BomeBox now, but I will try.

Stay tuned.


That is very cool. I learned of several bits of hardware and firmware, thanks. You may be able to do most of this without the BomeBox but Zynthian currently does not support SysEx.

Good luck with your adventure and keep us informed.

Hello to all Zynthian fans,

I have a brief overview of how the wind controller works with Zynthian.

EWI Controller and Zynthian - elementary settings

wind controller - AKAI USB EWI - controller setup

  • Breath sensor sending message on CC11.
  • Bite sensor sending message on CC1
  • Pitch Bend Up / Pitch Bend Down key sending message on CC127
  • Velocity is set to static value 127

AKAI USB EWI can sending message from breath and bite sensor on two channel for each sensor. The second channels are unused in this case. Standard setting is channel CC2 for breath. But find engines which use this is terrible difficult, With recomendation from Wind controller synth quick start I remmap EWI USB on channel CC11 .
Second important point is set Velocity to static and maximal value 127. With dynamic setting I got unstable playing results.

Zynthian engines

I tried most engines without adjusting the presets. Here are the results:

  • ZynAddSubFX - in selected preset engine responds to blowing intensity
  • FluidSynth - responds to blowing intensity independent of preset
  • LinuxSampler - non responds, I need to explore editing of sfz fonts
  • setBfree - responds on CC11
  • Dexed - not responds, in this case, I didn’t go deep
  • Helm - responds for selected preset
  • MiniOPL3 - responds for selected preset
  • OPNplug - responds
  • String machine - responds

Snapshot with used presets si here: EWIxEngines.zss (44.4 KB)

FluidSynth meets my expectations and I use it to practice and play with the wind controller. ZynAddSubFX, Helm, Surge and maybee Dexed after adjusting pressets have the potential for satisfactory use with wind controller, LinuxSampler needs editing of sfz fonts for full use if its possible. Of course, if I gain more experience in this area, I will be happy to share it with you.

Stay tuned.


Some vaguely Wind Instrument related notes:
The newly added Vitalium (open src Vital) plugin synth has lots of CC routing possibilities.
jofemodo endorsement

For wind instrument rookies:
Programming a Synth for Wind Control Part1 . . . Part2

A video tutorial site has a compilation of production tutorials loosely associated with “breath controller”.

The Swedish breath controller maker TEControl BBC lists 10 packages they are compatible with, all high end modeling, orchestration software that produces remarkably authentic sounding instruments. (Violin demo)
Their default CC outputs:

  • Breath Control CC2
  • Bite Control CC1
  • Nod Control CC12
  • Tilt Control CC3
    (A cheap usb orientation sensor could be hung on a instrument to give big band choreography purpose.)

An interesting research area:
Countless lab studies of vocal tract modulation of various wind instruments have been made, using specialized measurement instruments, including electrodes on the tongue. Clarinet References:
1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5

It would be a fun breakthrough if the throat intonation could be detected in a Wind Synth. perhaps spectrum analysis of white noise shot down the throat or swept ultrasonic looking for harmonics of the musical scale.
(Too bad the throat is not part of a tuned acoustic system like the real deal)

I have an Akai 6 channel keybrd/wind synth. (need to replace dim EL backlight) a very tiny niche product would be a USB to 13 pin instrument adapter so such a museum piece could be used.