Zynthian is upgrading its open synth platform to v4 with more CPU power & control options that make super smooth performances possible.
Synth Anatomy already reported in 2019 about the open-source Synthesizer project Zynthian. The platform is based on Raspberry Pi and allows the user to freely configure the hardware. It can be used for example as a VST host for virtual instruments (multi-timbral synthesizers, drum machines…), effect processors, or as a MIDI processor (sequencer, MIDI filter,…) There are no limits to the imagination, ok there is one limitation, the performance of the hardware.
The Zynthian hardware goes now in the fourth round (v4), has more power, and contains many improvements. The new hardware revision is designed for the latest Raspberry Pi 4 which has up to 8 GB of RAM in the best configuration. It keeps all the good things from the v3, but integrate a much more powerful core. The RBPi4 allows us to run all the synth-engines without reaching the limits. No more “clicks” (XRuns) when playing Pianoteq, OBXd, or ZynAddSubFX. You can also play simultaneously more layers, which comes in handy when using the new integrated step sequencer, ZynStep.
New Zynductor Passive Cooling
The new CPU power has a price to pay: increased heat dissipation. To solve this problem, the initiators of the project have developed passive cooling system that allows to evacuate of the heat generated by the CPU towards the aluminum case.
We were quite space-constrained and initially doubted about the efficiency of this solution, but after some tests, the Zynductor emerged as a well-enough solution, and we are really satisfied because it’s cheap, silent, reliable and decrease the CPU temperature by 10ºC, what it’s enough for almost every use case.
More Control & Connectivity
Besides the two big improvements, the v4 adds a second balanced audio input, which perfectly fits the last improvements on audio routing that allow creating separated FX chains for every input. Of course also stereo effect processors. Further, the developers added 4 extra push-buttons that are fully assignable.
For the rest, the v4 is almost the same than the kit v3:
- Zynaptik module for MIDI IN/THRU/OUT and extended I/O
- Zynscreen v1.5 touch display & control interface
- 4 x incremental rotary encoders with switch
- Hifiberry DAC+ADC PRO
- Black-anodized Aluminum Case
- High quality connectors
Zynthian Kit v4 is available now for 325€. All the parts are pre-soldered and you only need to plug the wires and tighten the screws. You still learn what is inside and how to replace any faulty part, but you don’t need to solder anything.
More information here: Zynthian