Zynthian Is A New Open Platform For Sound Synthesis

Zynthian is a open hardware platform, currently in development, that promises to be a ‘swiss army knife of synthesis’, equipped with multiple engines, filters and effects.

Zynthian’s hardware specification is public and the software is open source, so the platform is designed to be fully hackable. 



  • Powerful CPU: ARMv8 x 4 cores, 64 bits, 1.2 GHz, 1 GB RAM (Raspberry Pi 3)
  • High Quality Audio Interface: 24 bits, 96kHz (HifiBerry DAC+)
  • Touch Screen 2.8″
  • 32 GB of storage (SD Card)


  • Up to 5 MIDI instruments simultaneously (4 x USB, 1 x MIDI-IN)
  • Line Audio Output (Jack & RCA)
  • Headphones Audio Output (mini-Jack)
  • Ethernet Network (RJ-45)
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN (WIFI)
  • Bluetooth 4.1 & BLE
  • HDMI (future applications)


  • Multi-engine
  • Polyphonic Complex Synthesis (ZynAddSubFX)
  • Wavetable Synthesis (FluidSynth & LinuxSampler)
  • Hammond B3 Emulation (setBfree)
  • DX7 Emulation (Dexed)
  • Effects & Filters
  • Reverb
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Wah-Wah
  • Compressor
  • EQ

Details on Zynthian are available at the project site.

via matrixsynth

13 thoughts on “Zynthian Is A New Open Platform For Sound Synthesis

  1. This looks good.
    I want to see either a S/PDIF (RCA) or Optical audio output and/or audio out over USB.

    This looks like the next generation of the SM Pro – V-Machine, or the Use Audio – Plugiator..

    The Plugiator runs a number of propriatary synth instruments from the Creamware legacy (one at a time). The V-Machine runs most standard VST plugins, several at the same time.

    Both are DSP based synthesis and quite good sounding as standalone synth products.

    1. The V-Machine was a simple x86 cpu running an embedded version of Windows XP. No DSP on it. The Plugiator yes, a standard DSP based VA. Have one myself. Probably a Motorola or Analog Devices SHARC DSP. They seem to be the choice of most VA synth makers.

    2. Looks like it’s rolling with a raspberry pi & I2S DAC; There’s plenty of I2S-SPDIF/optical boards knocking around that you could drop in.
      I had a bash at installing Zynaddsubfx on a pi a while back; it installed, but didn’t have the power to run it (256mb Pi 1). I’ll probably try this out on a pi 2 sometime, see how it does.

  2. Very cool. Looks like the Nord Micromodular with a screen and open source firmware. I could get behind this. If it had a pair of stereo inputs then it would be a no brainer.

    1. This is really interesting

      But its nothing like Axoloti….
      software: its prebuilt linux apps, Axoloti is a modular environment to build your own synths,
      hardware : its a standard non-real time linux kernel, so your talking 10+ms latency , Axoloti < 1ms.
      also axoloti, has audio in/out, midi in/out, usb device and host…

      Zynthian does look nice though, if you want to build a PI environment for existing linux synths, its been done before, but its a load of hacking to do, whereas perhaps this will be a little easier.

      there is no mention if they will sell this in the future? or is just a build your own…
      (Id guess parts cost is about 130-150 euro, including their enclosure?)

      of course the other alternative is Bela , which is at least a realtime kernel based linux, so low latency, but this is more aimed at instrument makers i think… I will know soon, when mine arrives 🙂

      1. Don’t forgot that this is an open-synth, so you could make exactly the same here as you have on your Axoloti, when it comes to the modular environment.

        I cannot find the information about MS latency? (source?)

  3. wow so it has usb midi hosting or am I wrong – that is awesome if it does – I wish they would implement it on more devices so that you could just plug something like a k-board and have a setup w/o going through a computer or host/control center

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