Would like to configure onboard sound on my rpi4 and latest Zynthian buster image

I downloaded the lastest Zynthian image and installed on my rpi4. I configured for onboard sound with Custom audio config. I also configured for HDMI video. The Zynthian gui kept restarting… with journalctl I noticed it was a jack server issue. I reconfigured for dummy audio device… Hi started. I updated the alsa config to use the onboard audio as primary … jack server failed again

I configured jack, alsa , and oulseaudio on other distros, no problem. Do you have a wiki entry regarding how to configure Zynthian on rpi4 onboard audio ?

I am using an maudio keystation 44 with it

Tested it on my i7nuc, Ubuntu 19.10, fluidsynth with the extreme keyboards sf2 soundfont and rosegargen. I would really like to try out Zynthian on my rpi4 4gb + flirc case 4amp power supply

Sorry, RBPi on-board audio is not supported by zynthian. Simply it’s not usable at all:

  • Latency is HUGE
  • Sound quality is dreadful

Believe me, you don’t want to test zynthian with this crap :wink:

Hi @Jerryn!

Good news! You made me think that it’s been a while from the last time i tried, so i decided to “google” a little bit and … i found a trick for getting the RBPi PWM to work as a Delta-Sigma converter, witch should make a big difference with i’ve tested before. After a few tries and errors, i have a “not-so-bad” configuration and i decided to add it to the list.

You could update your zynthian image and choose from the list or try this custom audio configuration:


with this jackd parameters:

-P 70 -t 2000 -s -d alsa -d hw:ALSA -r 44100 -p 512 -n 3 -X raw

I MUST insist in:

  • the low quality of sound
  • the non-linear frequency response
  • the poor dynamics
  • the high latency
  • the low output level
  • etc.

It’s not academic. You will feel and ear all these deficiencies from the first note you play.

Of course, you are free to try different configurations and please, tell me if you find a better one :wink:

Anyway, if you really want to enjoy with zynthian, you should get a decent DAC, preferably a I2S-based device.


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Course the audio records will be decent quality, even if jofe is determined to drive the audio quality down !! :smiley:

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Thanks for the quick response! I just wanted to see how bad the latency was with a rpi4.

It worked with fluidsynth and a Rhodes Piano sft…but add some sustain pedal and you can hear the distortion. Is the hifiberry less cpu intensive ?

Also I will see if I can map the maudio keystation control keys to navigate the Zynthian UI menus.

pi4 with a hifiberry is to compare night to day. I successfully ran 6 simultaneous layers of OB-Xd without any audio issues at all. foo-yc20 which was unplayable on a pi3 becomes the gold standard for transistor organ simulation. Others on this forum run pianoteq with higher settings. It’s revelatory.

The RBPi on-board audio is crap, so you shouldn’t take it as a reference for nothing: sound quality, latency, etc.

Please, use a I2S DAC. If you can afford a Hifiberry DAC+ADC PRO, do it :wink:

If not, there are lots of really cheap DACs, starting from 2-3 euros:


I have my RPI4 in a FLIRC case, it’s a really good heatsink. I am definitely interested in buying a hifiberry Pro from you. I like the fact that I can boot up the pi and have a working keyboard to practice on. I’m using the Nice-Keys-Extreme sf2 , Upright Piano loaded. I just boot Zynthian on my RPI4 without the need of a monitor. On boot Zynthian loads up the defined synth layer… awesome.

Hi @Jerryn

It would be great to see some photos of your Zynthian, especially how you have added connectors to the case.

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It’s not much to look at. I just have the Audio going out to a Lepai HiFi Amp… out to my old Realistic Minmus 7 speakers. The RPI4 is a nonmodified FLIRC case.
The RPI4 runs cool in it


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Ah! So you are using external USB or onboard sound? It will be interesting to see if you can fit an internal soundcard in the enclosure and connectors.

Hifi Berry do a rather nice case for this sort of use … .


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Are they the kind of audio connectors used by TV people? :wink:

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They haven’t yet produced the nice XLR based Pi4 implementation that are made proof against the tender gentle handling they receive in the audio world where, as I understand it, it isn’t considered usable till it’s been pounded by a pack of paranoid baboons on ketamine !! :smiley:

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Part of the crew on BBC One (TV) Monkey Planet show.