Zynthian on a Raspberry Pi Zero W


In your opinion it’s possible to load Zynthian on a RPI Zero W?? For my project I need a very small SBC, and the Zero W it’s the best solution…

The Gorgona SD image could be used out of the box with the Zero W?? I know that I could try, but I just want to understand if somebody have tried it before…


AFAIK, nobody tested it. Probably you have tweak something in the boot config file …

I’m gonna try it. With the different Zynthian images. Will see how it reacts. Minimization… :wink:

After the whole day of playing. Nope. No success. Well, there is no proper hardware connected, just bare Pi Zero and an HDMI screen, so it’s probably the predicted result…


I tried it a while ago… Didn’t get it going, but that’s often where my ideas end up… :slight_smile:

The issue I found to be most limiting was that you don’t have all the standard usb & hdmi ports. The best solution I found was one of those rather nice 3 port USB + Ethernet hubs.

Ironically bought from PiHut … :smiley:


Yeah… No go… Maybe someone will create appropriate ZynthOS image for Zero some time in future… Will totally appreciate that. It may be super-light, with only CPU light synth engines on it. Sweet dreams… :expressionless:

Or indeed no sound engine at all, just a remote control for zynths elsewhere . . .


What would be involved in building the zynth for BCM2835 over the

Broadcom BCM2837B0, quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU (Pi2)
Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC (Pi3+)
Broadcom BCM2711 Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC(Pi4) ?

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The zero uses a single core processor and has less ram. Zynthian works best on RPi4 so I see limited use for it on Zero which couldn’t run most of the engines. Maybe it might manage a lightly loaded fluidsynth.

…as well as other CPU light usage synths (MDA’s, Dexed and like).

Is it time to develop Zynthian Lite? :smiley: Only light engines, one engine at a time, even smaller than a normal Zynthian!


LOVE the idea!! Will be first to buy it! Would be good also to have smaller non-touch screen for more simplicity.

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How small do you want your screen. My first Zynthian had a 1.8 inch TFT with resolution 128x160 using a ST7735 module. It is supported by Zynthian but some display of rotary encoder values is suboptimal. (There is a thread with a discussion on improving display on low resolution screens.) You can probably squeeze one of these displays into a 1U rack mount box! I have just repurposed this unit as a fluidbox but have ordered some more display modules so I may recreate my mini-Zynth.

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Can we work with screens like this . . .

Screen Size: 3.5 Inch
LCD Interface: SPI(Fmax:32MHz)
Touch Screen Type: Resistive
Touch Screen Controller: XPT2046
Backlight: LED
Resolution: 320*480 (Pixel)
Backlight Current: 120mA


Yes, this is the screen size I have in mind! Less than 2’’. Let us know the mini-Zynth development progress :grinning: :+1:

Take a look at this thread. You can see the Zynthian running on this 1.8" screen and some discussion on reduced resolution screens.

Yay!! Great, thanks!

Incidentally, a smaller Zynth might make the keyboard-integration thing easier:

You could at least get it much smaller.

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The zynth doesn’t really sample. It can record chunks of audio it processes and if you have an audio in facility of some kind ( Audio card or USB) you can grab audio recordings in a very simple way.
Once you have a chunk of audio you can use software like Polyphone to make sf2 files and the like that the Zynth will play.

The full list of features is down to the Engine that a user chooses to use. With the LV2 PureData, and CSound engine options pretty much everything is out there . . . :smiley:
The zynth is as, as has been said, a Swiss army knife of audio !!

That’s certainly part of the attraction but it’s also a lot less battery hungry which makes local batteries viable.

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How about profiles based on the core hardware? Zynthian could (already does) detect which Raspberry Pi is hosting, enable only engines proven to work on that platform and indicate in webconf the level of compatibility each engine has with the hosting. This may require a mod (I have already requested) to allow enable / disable of all engines, not just LV2 plugins.

I envisage a single list in webconf for all engines (with filters as appropriate) allowing each to be enabled and with a description of its compatibility with each RPi version (and other hardware!).

This means we don’t fork a lite version but allow user to have control in a curated environment.