Zynthian Raspberry Pi-based synthesizer

CalicoSkies

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Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,106
Beaverton, OR, USA
Recently I found about Zynthian, an open-source synthesizer project that involves software & a hardware kit based around the Raspberry Pi mini computer. (If you're unfamiliar with the Raspberry Pi, they are very small kit computers that can be built on for many uses - You can install Linux on them to use them as a tiny desktop computer, or there are tons of other projects you can use them for.)

I bought a Raspberry Pi 4 (along with power supply and micro SD card) and one of the Zynthian 4.6 hardware kits to build a synthesizer out of it. I just put it together tonight (it took me about 2 hours), and flashed the software onto a micro SD card. It booted right up, and it seems to be working so far. I did its sound test, which seems to be working. I haven't used its synth capabilities yet, but the idea is that you'd plug a MIDI controller and speakers into it, and it's a small synthesizer. It looks pretty cool.
Zynthian1.jpg Zynthian2.jpg Zynthian3.jpg Zynthian4.jpg Zynthian5.jpg Zynthian6.jpg Zynthian7.jpg Zynthian8.jpg
 
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fos1

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 7, 2018
2,268
Texas
Nice work!

Review when able. I'm going to check out the Zynthian kit. (already have a shelf full of RPi going back to the first run in 2012)

Thank you.

PS. Sold out. :(
I'll check back.....
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,433
Michigan
.

+1 R-Pi!

There are a few youtube pedal and related builds a few years back using the older R-Pi's with guitars.

Your kit looks interesting.

.
 

Murdog

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Gold Supporting Member
May 7, 2021
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Nice! I didn't know you could use a Raspberry Pi like that, I thought they were only for video games.
 

fos1

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Nov 7, 2018
2,268
Texas
Raspberry Pis are probably the most versatile computers you can buy. They run a version of Debian that is a unix clone very similar to OS X used on Macs. I use one for my daily computer and only switch over to Windows when I have to use some proprietary software. (Rare now that I am retired.)

At less than $100 it doesn't cost much to give them a try.
 

Triple Jim

Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar
Silver Member
Feb 27, 2018
8,154
North Carolina
Pretty neat, CalicoSkies. We're using a couple Raspberry PIs as video players, running Kodi. I got another one that I plan to use for running Ardour, for digital recording.
 

CalicoSkies

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Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,106
Beaverton, OR, USA
Neat! What kind of sounds will it be able to make? Are you gonna hook it up to a midi controller keyboard?
Yes, that's what I'm planning to do.
I have a Roland Juno-G synth, but it seems its LCD is failing and is difficult to get replaced. I may buy another stand-alone synth, or maybe just a MIDI controller keyboard, but either way, I'd plug them into this via MIDI.

I'm not sure yet about the sounds it can make. I haven't tested that yet, but I've seen some videos on YouTube, and it looks interesting. Also, I'd hope its sound set is expandable. For something like this, I'd think you could download sounds online to add to it. Also, I'm wondering about its ease of use.. It sounds like you can't just turn it on and start playing - It seems you need to set it up in the right mode first.

Nice work!

Review when able. I'm going to check out the Zynthian kit. (already have a shelf full of RPi going back to the first run in 2012)

Thank you.

PS. Sold out. :(
I'll check back.....
The Zynthian kit appeared to be in stock when I ordered it (on April 4) but they said they were sold out but would ship when more came in. It seems it only took a few weeks for more to come in, and mine was shipped last week.

Nice! I didn't know you could use a Raspberry Pi like that, I thought they were only for video games.
Where'd you hear that?
The Raspberry Pi is a general-purpose kit computer that can be used for pretty much anything. Some people do use them for video games, but they're very versatile. You could install Linux on it and use it as a small general-purpose desktop computer, or so many other things. If I didn't already have a secondary desktop PC at home, I'd consider buying a Raspberry Pi to run a home media server (using Plex).
 
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Murdog

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 7, 2021
1,378
U.S.A.
Yes, that's what I'm planning to do.
I have a Roland Juno-G synth, but it seems its LCD is failing and is difficult to get replaced. I may buy another stand-alone synth, or maybe just a MIDI controller keyboard, but either way, I'd plug them into this via MIDI.


The Zynthian kit appeared to be in stock when I ordered it (on April 4) but they said they were sold out but would ship when more came in. It seems it only took a few weeks for more to come in, and mine was shipped last week.


Where'd you hear that?
The Raspberry Pi is a general-purpose kit computer that can be used for pretty much anything. Some people do use them for video games, but they're very versatile. You could install Linux on it and use it as a small general-purpose desktop computer, or so many other things. If I didn't already have a secondary desktop PC at home, I'd consider buying a Raspberry Pi to run a home media server (using Plex).
Just didn't really know what it was and the co-workers I know who have them only used them for video games. So I guess I just associated them in that manner. That is pretty cool. I might look more into these.
 

CalicoSkies

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,106
Beaverton, OR, USA
Just didn't really know what it was and the co-workers I know who have them only used them for video games. So I guess I just associated them in that manner. That is pretty cool. I might look more into these.
They are pretty cool. They even have a set of pins where expansion boards can plug in (which enables things like this Zynthian kit). It's a cool little thing.
61LG5t4dUDL._AC_SL1246_.jpg
 


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