ZynAddSubFx editing


I’m trying to create and edit my own ZynAddSubFx patches. I managed to get the GUI to display as follows:

apt-get install vnc4server blackbox

pico ~/.vncrc

and enter this line to set the desktop size:

$geometry = “2048x1600”;

start the vnc server:


Connect to the vnc server using (e.g.) windows TightVNC viewer.

Then on the Zynthian Add New Layer and select ZynAddSubFx. This will launch the ZynAddSubFx GUI in the VNC window. So far so good!

But then: how do I create a new patch and where do I store it? The bank list in the ZynAddSubFx GUI is empty.

When I edit the system effects of a patch, the same effects are applied to all sounds selected from the zynthian box. I can’t seem to apply effects to a specific patch.


Ok, found in the wiki:

Instrument - Save Instrument
Then save to /zynthian/zynthian-data/zynbanks/[folder name]/0001 - [instrument].xiz

Still, this doesn’t save the effects. All ZynAddSubFX sounds are dry. Why is this?


You shouldn’t need the vncserver to see the GUI if you run something that can display XWindows terminals. So in fact another raspberry pi will run it from Putty ( I tend to use Putty as my ssh terminal of choice even in Linux GUI’s) and there are XWindows terminals for MAC’s and PC’s.

Just remember to turn on the Enable X11 Forwarding option in Putty menu (Connection|SSH|X11)

then set up the PUtty to point at zynthian.local

Then in the case of ZynAddSubFx the GUI comes up in the Xwindow terminal.

XWindows is a little less Network heavy than vnc simply because it transfers the vector data for the screen and mouse data not the full screen raster as VNC does.

When you say it’s dry are you expecting to hear ZynAddSubFx reverb… or are you doing something exotic via MOD-UI?

One thing that is nice about this is you ain’t locked to the default screen sizes of the hdmi set up if you also use a screen. I can probably do it in the webconf, but I access my machines both over hdmi socket on the device AND remotely from the ssh x window.


I guess you’re right. But I had a vnc client at hand. Actually it works great, no mouse lag, even over Wifi.

Yes I was trying to add a little reverb to a ZynAddSubFx patch. But once I did this in the ZynAddSubFx GUI, the reverb would remain active even when switching to other patches.

Or should I do this using MODUI? I couldn’t figure out how to set this up with a ZynAddSubFx intrument.


I’d concentrate on just ZynAddSubFx for now. OD-UI is a whole other ball game :-D. I’d put it on a separate zynth but that’s tending to be my answer to every question at the moment

I’ve not looked too hard at the GUI control of ZyntAddSubFx for example since I have only really given it the ‘oooh it works sort of look’.

Obviously from a zynthian perspective we’d do it all throu’ the gui but it would be churlish not to properly support the GUI interfaces if they are available and for devices like PureData it’s realistically the only way to interact and edit (Althou’ I haven’t looked in any detailed way as to whats avaialble in the zynth interface for PureData)

Aeleos pops up a GUI and the Basic ZynAddSubFx GUI even gives you a nice on screen keyboard, which (roughly) matches VMPK.

If you could work it over and produce some kind of list as to what works and what doesn’t in the ZynAddSubFx GUI then that will be a great help. Quite what gets set at what time by what interface makes for a fairly involved process until we clearly define quite how this should all play nicely together.
Simple elements (as you have found) like file saves can’t really be expected to be interactively be driving the GUI, but I think we could be developing a MIDI handshake for driving on-screen events might go some of the way towards that sort of thing.
The Nord Modular ran it’s entire GUI Interface over a MIDI channel so it’s been done.


Actually it could be my lack of understanding of ZynAddSubFx, I only discovered it yesterday because it is included with zynthian. Perhaps the effects parameters are simply not stored in the .xiz file. I’ll try to find out.

The GUI is a bit daunting but I found there’s a genial sound sound engine inside, more versatile than any synth I’ve played with. I wouldn’t even start to attempt to replicate the GUI in the zynthian user interface though, it’s much too complex.


The zynth interface gets a lot of it!!
It’s pretty clever in it’s implementation. Considering it’s pretty generic it allows a lot of control.

Course if you want to use the magnificent recording facility (admin| Audio Recorder | Start Recording) and then using the webconf pick up the file you create and upload it here! ( I am the new official sponsor of this function :slight_smile: )


Hi @joostn!

Have you tried the “Insertion Effects”? It’s the tab aside of “System effects” …

You can assign an insertion effect to the “part” you want, but both, System Effects and Insertion Effects are not saved in “xiz” (instrument) files. You need to save a “xmz” file (File->Save All Parameters) that is a kind of “ZynAddSubFX snapshot” :wink: If you save the “xmz” in the right directory inside the “/zynthian/zynthian-my-data/presets/zynaddsubfx/XMZ” folder, you can load it from the Zynthian UI.

Anyway, if you want to save the effects in the “xiz”, you have to “Edit” the instrument and click the “Effects” button. It will open a specific dialog for adding a specific instrument’s FX chain.

Kind Regards!


Ah thank you! I will try this (soon…).


Yes this worked, exactly what I needed. Thanks!